In our experience, most folks, including ourselves don’t have enough of an understanding of risk and the role it plays in our lives and careers and so we have made a concerted effort as a team to have conversations about risk with our interviewees. We’ve shared some highlights below.

Cheyenne Brown | Photographer & Content Creator

What do you have to lose? Honestly. Being a content creator is literally defined by taking risks. You want people to notice your work? You have to try things that have never been done before. You have to be your biggest supporter no matter what. And you have to STOP with the impostor syndrome. Taking risks has played such a major role in my life since I graduated college. I have had to stop second guessing my talents and skills and went for it. I started from scratch, I took those out of state jobs, and I even started pursuing my passions. Taking risks come with discomfort. But its important to remember growth and success doesn’t come from being comfortable. Read more>>

Chidozie Adindu | Professional Actor and Hip Hop Artist

For Hustlers, movers and shakers, risk taking is just a part of life. I happen to be an actor/ Hip-Hop artist who was living in Jackson MS. I graduated from Jackson State University in 2010. I would travel to New Orleans, where my agent was located, for auditions and gigs. Eventually, I realized Mississippi only has so much opportunity and so many sources available for me to build my craft and craft my career. A took a major risk by moving to Atlanta GA. I have one family member in Georgia and he lives outside of Atlanta. Sometimes you have to put yourself in a less desirable situation while working toward your desires. Risk taking is a part of the sacrifice. Read more>>

L. M. Davis | Writer

It took me quite a few years to realize that I was an inherent risktaker. For most of my life, people would tell me that I was so brave for doing things I would do just as a matter of course. I like that I have this bit of fearlessness about me. At the same time, understanding I was a risktaker was an important realization, because it allowed me to be a bit more strategic about deploying my daring to achieve my creative dreams. Risk is foundational to creativity and for me risk is all about faith. Faith in myself, in my collaborators, and in my vision. When I have faith, then risks don’t seem so risky anymore. Risktaking is central to all of my creative pursuits both in terms of the ideas that I explore and the stories that I share. As a writer, a storyteller, I have always tried to tell the stories that I don’t see every day. I have tried to take the road less traveled in terms of theme and idea. Read more>>

Kimya Rainge | Educator

With a background in consumer foods, fashion, TV/film, and music dating back to the early nineties, I was recruited into fashion by then ultra-popular urban entrepreneur, April Walker of Walker Wear.  When I think about the definition of risk and looked it up, Investopedia states risk is the chance of something happening that is negative or the potential consequences of an unwanted event. All the risk that I have encountered in my life have actually been positive and opened doors for me leading to growth in my career. As an intrapreneur, I launched brands created by entrepreneurs and introduced products to people all over the world. Through entrepreneurship and leadership, I have learned to use risks as motivation to succeed and reach my goals . I had the opportunity to witness first hand the evolution of Hip Hop and Streetwear lifestyle in the 90’s become a profitably and dominant industry. Read more>>

Tarika Holland | Performing Artist

There’s so much risk in simply being an artist. It takes a great amount of strength and courage to open yourself up and create about your life experiences and even more of it to share it with others. While I am pursuing art as a career and I am a prominent face and voice in my community, I’ve come to the realization that I create for my own self. Inevitably, I spend a lot of time in solitude and I find so much thrill in the risk you take sitting alone with solely your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. You never know what you will discover or who or what will decide to visit your mind that day. I don’t owe anyone my art, rather I owe myself the healing that comes from diving into a new realm of the creative process and finally releasing what I may have been holding in for so long. I make the choice to take the risk of sharing it with others. You never know how people are going to respond, if they are going to like or appreciate it, you don’t even know if anyone will care. I do keep in mind that someone might just need it. Read more>>

Rebecca Ulmo | Gimbal Tech/Operator

I think one of the privileges of the freedom we have as artists, is the ability to take risks. In a competitive industry such as the film industry, I’ve observed that the ones who “make it,” are the ones who took risks throughout their career. In the beginning of my career, the risks I’d take were more about putting myself out there and finding a way to be comfortable when uncomfortable. It’s an essential trait that is needed for healthy competition. As a young filmmaker, I would observe what someone did when they were made uncomfortable and picture how I would like to handle that situation in the future when it happened to me. I had to start practicing getting stronger at these kinds of things. Exercise was a great physical and mental practice for the demands of the job. It can be a way to practice being uncomfortable and seeing the results of your efforts pushing through. As my career as an assistant progressed, so did the degree of my risk taking. I realized in order to keep moving forward to my goal of being an operator, I needed to become more valuable in my skills as a camerawoman. Read more>>

Sally Brooks & Jen O’Neill Smith | Dumb Love Podcast

We have the same philosophy when it comes to taking risks— if it’s a question of putting ourselves and our work out into the world– it’s always a risk worth taking. As stand-up comedians, we’ve learned to be okay with failure. If you’re not failing occasionally, you’re not trying new things! When we decided that we wanted to start a podcast together, of course we wanted it to be good. We talked a lot about the format, the sound, the design, the marketing, etc. Eventually though, we knew we just had to hit record and send it out into the universe. Even if it wasn’t 100% perfect, we just needed to take the risk and get started. More than 80 episodes later, we’re so happy we did. Read more>>

Terese Young | Artist, Animal Lover and Travel Enthusiast

I might actually be able to write a book on risk taking. I think I’m wired to take them and my mom raised me to listen to my gut at an early age. Those two things together have led me to make some pretty huge leaps over the years! I flew to Australia by myself at age 20 and backpacked around there and New Zealand for 8 weeks. I eloped w my now husband of 24 years when we had 24 hrs to decide if we wanted to stay in the same country together. But I was a slower to take risks when it came to my art. I have a fundamental belief that you should really lean into things that scare you. But with my paintings, that conflicted with a tendency to be a perfectionist. Perfectionism is my Achilles heel! The more I’m able to shut it down, the happier I am with a piece. So it’s a HIGH priority for me every time I paint to push myself to take risks and grow. Read more>>

Nicole Kutz | Artist and Curator

Pursuing a creative career is often more aligned with risk because it involves choosing passion over comfort. For me that has manifested in various ways throughout my life – from getting my MFA, to moving across the country, building a startup company, planning a residency in Iceland or even just putting myself out there. When I am making art, I find that stepping out of my creative comfort zone has always led to more authentic and stronger work. Before I leave my studio, I try to do one thing that scares me or disrupts the precious thing I have spent the day toiling over. This change can feel reckless, but almost always pushes the work in a better direction in the long-run. I think adding this into my studio practice shifted not only my art, but also my perspective on risk-taking. On paper, I was probably living a “riskier” lifestyle a few years ago, yet this year was the riskiest professionally. I started 2020 with three career paths in the arts: one as an artist, one as a curatorial assistant and one as the chief curator for a startup. Read more>>

Alex Kirsch | Designer & Illustrator

Well when I think of risk I immediately try to think of the rewards. There’s always a reward if we’re considering to take the risk in the first place. Unless you really just live your life on the edge… No, but anyway – I try not to let the cloudiness of the uncertainty prevent me from taking risks. If you can see the reward and you know it’s worth it, you can usually get through the scary stuff in between if that makes sense. I think when something feels scary but you’re still considering doing it – then you should usually do it. There’s also a quote I really love, I forget who said it, but it’s like, “The cost of not trying is far worse than the cost of failing.” I try to think about that when I’m contemplating doing something I’ve never done. Read more>>

Callie Cullum | Creative Director & Designer

Most people who know me would say that I like to take risks. I’m of the mindset that if you don’t take significant risks in your life and/or career, you’ll likely miss out on some amazing experiences and opportunities. Becoming a full-time entrepreneur and starting my business is a risk that has paid off, but not without it’s ups and downs. I decided to become an entrepreneur when I moved from San Francisco to Atlanta, and had a strong desire to have autonomy over my design work as well as more flexibility in my schedule. Not having any back-up option lined up, I began putting myself out there and picking up any freelance work I could possibly find. The first year or two were rough–I was doing lots of uninspiring work and making pennies just to build up my portfolio. Lots of instant ramen was consumed. Slowly, as my portfolio got stronger and I built a base of clients I was able to find more creative work and subsequently charge more for it. I began to think, ok, I can turn this into a full-fledged business. Read more>>

Javarra Sykes | Fitness Trainer

I think if the pros outweigh the cons then the risk could be worth it. When I was in undergrad I had to weigh the pros and cons of switching majors. I couldn’t decide which is why I ended up switching majors three times. I had to do the pros and cons of what classes would count toward my major, how much longer I would be in school and was it really worth it for me, etc. The final decision was worth the wait for me, being able to have a career in a field where there is so much to learn and being able to learn about what I love: Health and Fitness. This risk has forever changed my life, changing to a major that taught me how to help others (and myself) through avenues of Fitness is amazing to me. Helping others understand the impact your health can have on your mind and body is not only a career for me but a passion. Had I not thought about the bigger picture I would have never switched my major and figured out there are so many ways to help others through my love of fitness. Read more>>

Troy Lyricz | Songwriter/Recording Artist

They call it “risk taking” I say “faith jumping” I’ve learned that the most uncomfortable things are the things I should attack. Doing it when you are scared. I just refused to live my life wondering if I could have did this or became that.. I rather know for sure & the only way to know for sure is to take the necessary risks. Read more>>

Ali Rose Dachis | Artist, Painter, Actor, Teacher.

I am learning that my desires as an artist, and as a human lie way beyond the “good girl” structure I was raised in. I am opening myself up to more risks in my life, and in my work- and I think they go hand in hand. When I take a risk and move into new territory in my work I am often terrified. Only until I live in the risk for some time, does that begin to subside, which leaves room for a new risk to present itself and I am invited to go even deeper. Whenever a risk comes, fear comes with it, usually in the form of what other people will think of the work, of me-but if I can take other people’s narratives out of my equation even for a moment, I am able to dive in with a pang of gratitude, panic, and exhilaration. And it is worth it every time. Read more>>

Jazzy Jenae’ | Esthetician and Creative Director

I think of risks as a challenge. Being a business owner within itself is a risk. However, I started with a risk… I didn’t necessarily have a plan I just knew I had to get out of the plan I was currently in because it wasn’t doing me any justice. Taking risks jump started my success and if I wouldn’t have done it…. I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today. Read more>>

Punam Saxena | Parent Impact Coach

Taking risks has always been a part of my vernacular. It’s in the fabric of who I am, what I want to do, and where I want to do it. In fact, I would even say that if you are a risk taker, then you are also a trailblazer. You may not be the first to accomplish the goal, but you are the first to accomplish your goal. When you are an immigrant, you automatically take risks by leaving your support system, navigating all the nuances of the new country, and trying to assimilate to your new environment without losing your heritage. I am the child of immigrant parents from India and grew up in Griffin, Georgia in the ’70s where we were the only Indians for the first 12 years we lived there. In fact, many people did not know that India was a country and would frequently ask which tribe we belonged to. This was the time of integration where everyone was trying to find their place in the world, and, then, here comes a family whose mother dressed in her traditional Indian clothing and made the most delicious Indian food. Read more>>

Katelyn Louise Photography | Professional Photography Services

I never considered myself a “risky” person, but when I look back at the decisions and sacrifices I made to create Katelyn Louise Photography, I see that risks are a necessary part of dream making. From a young age, I had a camera in my hand taking pictures of anything and everything I could. It seems I never grew out of this, but instead refined it through years of practicing and experimenting, as well as classes and education. It’s not so risky to enjoy a passion, but the risk comes when you choose to invest and share your passion with the world. Not only do you need a higher caliber of equipment, but you are putting yourself out there to be seen and evaluated by anyone who sees your page or chooses to hire you. I think it’s important to realize that risks are not only monetary, but also emotional. In school, I knew photography was always going to be a part of who I was and I knew I needed to step up my equipment in order to truly move my aspirations forward. This led me to taking a loan out to purchase a camera. Read more>>