The Decision Makers Series is one of our staff’s favorite because decision making is a topic that so many of us have studied deeply.

Kara Mickelson | Food stylist, chef, author, producer

It’s’ not just one decision that leads to “success”. Sometimes it’s about who can stay in the game the longest. And, then your version of success keeps evolving as you grow. I am extremely persistent. That’s my superpower. Also, I had the benefit of a lot of crossover skills right out of culinary school. Before I pulled the trigger and traded in my fancy suites for checked pants and a chef hat, I was a professional event and incentive planner for over ten years. Read more>>

Martin Venezky | Designer, artist, and educator

In 1991 I decided, in the middle of a modestly successful career, to return to school. I enrolled in Cranbrook Academy of Art, where I received my MFA in 1993. It was there that I learned that my design career could fully integrate with how I experienced and understood the world. I practiced putting all aspects of my self into the things I made: my politics, my identity, my likes and dislikes, and my curiosity. That experience provided me tools for success. But more than that, it gave me tools for happiness and pleasure in the things I created; things often overlooked in measuring achievement. Read more>>

Lu Mendoza | Filmmaker

It is funny to think about my success because I believe I have achieved all, if not most of it, by working for others. I arrived in Los Angeles with the wish to help a loved one make his film ideas come to life. Most of the stuff I have done in life has been a mix of doing it for others and myself. Regardless, the most important decision I have made was to be good. This involved being good in the stuff I did, being good to others, and over everything, it was about being good to myself. Being kind and open to people has helped me become approachable and easy to work with. This has helped me meet new people who want to work with me and contribute to my success. Read more>>

Leanne Lawrence | Baker

I would have to say getting over the idea of fear and self doubt. I was extremely scared when I first started my baking business. I was scared I would not make sales or people would not like my work. Fear prolonged my business process. Until one day, I took that leap of faith and told myself I will not let fear slow me down with my business. I believe once you get over the idea of fear you can accomplish anything you desire to do. That courageous act will always lead you to success. Read more>>

Tim Tolka | Author and Screenwriter

I was moonlighting as a writer in SF, working as a teacher by day, but I had to work around the clock to pay rent, so the big decision for me was quitting my day job and moving to Mexico City, where I started writing full-time. Now, two years later, I’m much happier and my writing has taken off. Read more>>