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.

Josh Universe | Painter & Grafitti Artist

I’ve always embraced taking risks. As a teenager, I did many things without thinking them through. This, inadvertently, created a sense of fearlessness within me. As I grew older and more mature, I began critically thinking things through, but with the same fearless feeling. Risk taking has been one of the driving forces behind my career. Many said choosing a career in art was a huge risk in itself. However, I learned early on that everything I wanted out of life always came with risks. But, the more I succeed through my risky choices, the braver and more ambitious I become. Read more>>

Mason & Tabitha McDonald | Commercial & Narrative Filmmakers

We wouldn’t be where we are if we didn’t take risks. From moving halfway across the country, taking on loans to get started, taking on projects we weren’t sure we could handle, and saying yes to deadlines we didn’t think were possible – our business would be nothing if we didn’t push our boundaries. While we have taken risks to get where we are, the risks are always calculated and our communication about all possible outcomes is strong. Because we have always taken risks and pushed ourselves to grow, we have been successful in working with the clients we want to work with, and making the content we want to make. Read more>>

TraMel | Physical Therapist, Singer, Song-writer, Artist, and Father of 2

Risk-taking has been pivotal to any major accomplishment in my life. Going against the grain seems to be inherent in anything that anyone does that would be considered risky. For this reason, risk involves a great degree of fortitude, resilience, and perseverance. My career path as a physical therapist at the time seemed like a big risk due to the low presence of black Americans in the field. When I would voice my goals, there may have been one or two people who were supportive. Most people thought it was a big reach. It was the same when I began my journey as an R&B artist. In the beginning, the believers were few. I learned that sometimes the doubt can be a great motivator. I don’t consider them haters. Most often, they just can’t see the vision. The doubters have actually motivated me by understanding what I’m up against and so I put a series of short-term goals in place in order to get to the larger objective. When someone was asked, “How do you eat an elephant? Their reply was, “One bite at a time.” “If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you But make allowances for their doubting too.” – from “If” by Rudyard Kipling. Read more>>

Pamela Larde | College Professor, Entrepreneur & Author

I am a radical risk-taker. I know of no other way to live. Every phase of my personal and professional life consists of me taking a major leap of some sort with nothing more than a vision of how I might land. Sometimes, my landings fall short, and other times, I far exceed my expectations, but in every case, I grow in ways that make me want to find another opportunity to leap. Risk-taking can be scary, but I truly don’t see how to make it from level of living to the next without taking a chance. As a young single mom, I took major risks by leaving home on a whim to pursue a college education with my 10-month old son by my side. Those were the most crucial years of my life as I had to navigate life on my own, juggling three jobs with a full schedule of classes, and no secure housing for months after my arrival. My son and I slept on the couches and floors of kind strangers until I could secure a place of our own. Those years showed me everything I was capable of accomplishing. I have since taken risks to purchase homes, to pursue my education, to become a college professor, to start businesses, and to reclaim my life with a schedule and boundaries that work for me as a mother and a professional. Read more>>

Elissa Vassar | Writer & Operations Manager

I’ve always been a risk taker. I jump before I think about falling and getting hurt. In my writing career, I had the opportunity to use a publisher which would’ve helped me greatly with getting the word out and so forth with my brand, but I had choice 1. Sign with them and have my marketing controlled and writing censored 2. Self publish, edit, and design my books and have complete creative freedom and no censoring. I picked option two. It was a major risk, because there’s no team behind me to back me up, no one to help with editing, and no company helping push my books. I’m grateful I picked option two. I’ve had support from family and friends, I can publish at my own pace, and I can give my brand the image and ideals that I want it to have. Read more>>

Shaquoya Jackson-Ishman | Designer and Model

I am a rebel at heart so being a risk taker is nothing out of the ordinary for me. My sister Kisha always says that Im the type of person that would jump in the sea and learn how to swim later. It sounds crazy, but it is true. If there’s an opportunity thats presented to me and I feel like I have to take the chance, whether I’m prepared or not, I just may still do it. You just never know… maybe it’s the opportunity that will help you grow and prepare for other things. I believe in taking the chance and growing with the opportunity. I’ve taken some big risks in my career in which some has lead to greater opportunities and some has lead to learning lessons to better prepare me for the future. Read more>>

The Lukk.e Jos | Artists & Creators

Risk are essential in the process of progressing an expression or aspiration. Without risk ,one is confined to the figment of one’s wishes, rather than the manifestation of one’s said goals. In our endeavors as artist , risk are a staple stigma that is interwoven into the fibers of our “wild-card” like creativity and expression. Therefore, We would identify ourselves to be against the grain, contorting the societal norm of what most would generalize as music. In a sense, we have an admiration for risk and place them at the forefront of our psyche , to propel a harmonious momentum. Read more>>

John Mgbemena | Model, Actor, & Artist

When defining risk, “a situation involving exposure to danger.” Risk symbolizes how taking a chance could lead you to various obstacles, uncertainties, and even failures. However, on the other side of the risk, a prolific story is formed. On how one overcame adversity to become who he or she is today. The role risk-taking has played in my life and career are the new opportunities, blessings, and successes I have gained by taking risks. If not for me taking a risk my freshman year in college to do something outside my comfort zone, modeling. I would have never been the prominent model you see here today. If I never took the risk to choose the career path of modeling over becoming a pharmacist after being accepted to pharmacy school. I would have never been in many shows such as Chrisley Knows Best, Fatal Attraction, to name a few. I would have also never had a feature on Thisis50 news article for my album; “I Hate it Here.” Lastly, I would have never done a modeling ESPN College Gameday football photoshoot and commercial, also to name a few. Risk-taking has been Monumental for me; it has shaped the entire course of my life. Read more>>

Caroline Harris | REALTOR (R) and Real Estate Investor

For most that know me, they will tell you I am not afraid to take risks. For the most part, that is true. I do lean more towards taking risks versus being conservative. However, it’s interesting because risk can be both a noun and a verb. As a noun, it is defined as “the possibility that something bad or unpleasant will happen” and as a verb it is defined as “to do something that may result in something bad or unpleasant”….But what if Meriam Webster turned that into a more optimistic definition as the result may be something good or pleasant? In my opinion, the majority of people automatically see risk as a negative rather than a potential positive. It’s all about mindset and how you think something will turn out. Because I am an entrepreneur, I am wired a little differently, and see risk as an opportunity. I choose to look at the positive outcomes and weigh them against the negative ones, instead of vice versa. If you believe you will fail at something, it’s most likely going to happen. Having the right mindset is crucial with entrepreneurship. Had I not been able to take a risk, I would have never become a REALTOR (R) or an investor. Read more>>

Chia-Yu Hsu | Graphic Designer & Illustrator

It’s the gateway drug to success! For me, it’s been my source of motivation, after-college education, and career compass. Risk in a project means that there are things to learn and often times saying “yes” to a project you’re not 100% about will result in some new skills once the final deliverables are in their inbox. Risk and my high tolerance of it, both fortunately and unfortunately, have contributed to most of my mild success since it allowed me to jump in various positions early on in my career to help build a large, stable toolkit to build off of. That being said, all risky/mentally-consuming projects needs to be properly weighed against your quality of life since it can get easily out of hand and cause lasting depression, burnout, and stress-induced physical illnesses to name a few. Read more>>

Michelle Pokopac | Actor & Producer

It must have a sibling named “Success.” Your definition of success affects your connotation of risk. I’m constantly reminding myself that success doesn’t have to look the conventional way. Money, power, charisma… Growth is my measuring cup. So when I think of risk, I imagine the next step up the mountain that is ahead. Usually it’s surrounded by danger, and it may cost me time or strength or even worse, perhaps my dignity. But sometimes there’s nothing to lose at all, which is like finding a golden nugget. If the opportunity is risky, instead of questioning if I could be successful or not, I wonder if I could grow or not. An actor’s career is probably drenched in risk. Will I be a starving artist? Will I get the role? Will I give the character enough life? Will this ruin my reputation? Will I know where I’ll be in the next 6 months? As I’ve transitioned into also wearing a producer’s hat, the risk no longer just affects me, but everyone in my circle that I’ve hired, partnered with, and the intended audiences. No pressure, really… I suppose I consider risk one of my catalysts that has prevented me from being a 9-5 corporate, full-time employee. Read more>>

Riley Cooper | Dancer, Teacher, Choreographer

One of the most foundational pieces of wisdom ever passed along to me when I trained at LINES Ballet in Summer of 2018 was that “mistakes give us information.” It seems that in today’s society, we are terrified of making mistakes. This makes sense – our bodies are trying to protect us from the trauma of rejection, external or internal. This greatly limits us in our practices, though. Similar to how muscle fibers require being broken down in order to be rebuilt stronger, we must lay down our pride sometimes and risk falling down, messing up, and looking a fool so we can stretch ourselves into more confident artists. In a lot of ways, loving and accepting yourself is a huge risk and it’s one well worth taking. Read more>>

Ronald Beets | International Artist & Painter

Believing in Art as a viable career was the first, and most important, risk I had to take. I was all too familiar with “the starving artist” trope and encouraged by family to get a “real” job and make Art as a hobby. The word hobby In reference to my passion made me cringe. I now know that the diminishing of Art in those earlier years was what caused it to grow so big inside of me. I turned to retail jobs when the sales were slim and always felt like I was drowning in it. Inspiration fled and I resented the work. I would quit those jobs cold turkey with no plan but to rededicate myself to Art and I’ve never regretted it. Risk taking has been a major part of my career, most of it before the brush ever touched the canvas. Read more>>

Louis Buralda | Artist, Song Writer, and Dancer

Risks actually give my life volume. I’ve never stood out or received outstanding results by playing it safe. Risk taking and unorthodox methods in my decision making are the cause of my most successful moments in my career. Read more>>

Connor King | CEO of Resolute, LLC

Risk is crucial if you want to do big things. Without risk, things things will always be a little mellow. I am someone who loves taking risks, but only calculated risks. For example, risk taking has played a huge role in our company, but it wasn’t always like that. We set a goal for ourselves to save up 6 months of expenses in cash before we began to take big risks. Now that we know we have that cushion to fall back on, we are able to take many risks because in the event the worst case scenario happens our company will be alright. Now it is just a matter of time before some of our big risks payoff and propel us to the next level of business. If you want to do great things, you have to take risks, but you need to be smart about it. Read more>>

Krystal Benson | Creative Director & Founder of Clique Bait

In my opinion, there are two types of risks — those that are planned and those that are rushed. Planned risks are healthy and I think everyone should take healthy risks in their life because those are the risks that help to push you to reach your fullest potential. You can go far by playing it safe but, when you take that leap, trust your inner gut and follow God you can go even farther. My biggest risk in my career was quitting my 9-5, well paying corporate job and moving to NYC to pursue a career within the fashion industry. Now, I didn’t just up and move, I created a plan. I saved money, found temporary housing and connected with a friend on employment. Before I took the risk of relocating, I made sure that I had things in place to help achieve the outcome I was looking for. While I didn’t stay in the fashion industry, that risk helped me to find my true passion and one of the reasons why Clique Bait is here today. Read more>>

Kate Windley | Artist Educator

I always follow the idea that whatever you are most afraid of, you should do with art making. I try to follow the path of selecting personal projects that might be a little uncomfortable, underexplored, or going against the standards. This idea has helped to take my work away from using one medium, one theme, and one regular way of creating art. Read more>>

latoya tomlinson | Owner of Prima Dons and Donnas Boutique

Risk taking is not for all, but worth the risk even if success for every risk is not achieved. That is how i perceive risk. Every time i choose purchasing more inventory, or increasing marketing budgets over putting away money for savings is a risk i accept, and that i would choose to take over and over. Always hoping I have taken the right risks, and rewards are worth the risk. This is my career at this point in my life. Read more>>

Mz Ladylox | Master Cosmetologist , Educator & Hair Model

I think taking risk is like exploring your creativity. I have been growing my Locs for 20 years and I have my hair colored a signature bright red . I was told hairstylist that wanted to work for a brand had to look a certain way . I was able to break the mold . I am a Master Cosmetologist that specializes in Locs only . I created my own brand “Mzladylox “ . I started in Atlanta competing and winning hair shows. I got the attention of photographers , tv shows ,hair &beauty shows and hair companies. I worked for the number one Loc company in the work Jamaican Mango and Lime . I was their brand ambassador ,model and platform artist . I have been in several magazines for Ads for companies. I was the first hair Loc hairstylist to obtain a work permit in Bermuda. I was approved due to my hair styling skills . I am currently preparing for upcoming hair shows where I educated other hair professionals about Locs . My teach boot camp style classes with Premiere Hair shows and many natural hair show in the states and abroad. Read more>

Ja’ness Tate | Artist & Musician

I’ve learned that In my career if i don’t take some kinds of risk or even leaps of faith in certain situations I won’t grow I won’t go anywhere. I believe that there are some necessary risks you have to take in order to jump start or keep your career going. It is also good to do this in your life as well. As long as it’s not physically hurting you or anyone else it’s okay to fail because you can always try again. Read more>>