We asked some of the city’s rising stars to reflect on what made a difference in their journey.  We asked them to tell us about what they think the most important factor has been behind their success.

Mike Masilotti | Small Business owner and Stand Up Comic

The people I work with. Starting with the co-owner Nolan Culver and his wife Betsi. We are a great team and consistently work to make the company grow. I could never have done anything close to what I have been able to do with Third Wheel if it wasn’t for them. Having a good team around you is so necessary. Even our engineers at the Podcast Studio are so solid it allows us to not focus on the day to day. This helps us grow even faster. I would 100% say having a great team has been the most important factor behind our success. Read more>>

Mimi Bosika | Entrepreneur & Table Tennis Champion

The most important factor behind my success in business has a lot to do with my competitive career as a table tennis player. I began training and competing when I was 6 years old in my home country of Serbia. When I was a teenager, I won two US Open Junior titles and traveled the world to train and compete. Having a father who ultimately became a US Olympic coach came with my own lessons about discipline, hard work and goal setting from a young age and the skills and experiences I gained from being an athlete have carried me throughout my business career as an entrepreneur. Competing at a high level internationally requires a significant amount of training, courage, risk-taking, teamwork, being-coachable and dealing with failure, all of which are values that are required for any leader in business. Read more>>

Christian Steele | Fashion Designer

I feel that I am true to my customers. I give them a little more insight about me. I show my creativity with my designs and my promo videos. The videos I do takes a lot of hard work and planning. I do it to show appreciation to my customers for supporting me through my journey. I am not just a clothing line that creates shirts, hoodies and sweatsuits. A lot of my success comes from the accessories that I have. I had to switch it up and elevate my business in ways others were not doing. Read more>>

Cindy Chau | Spiritual Guide & Psychotherapist

The most important factor behind Wellness Vybz’s success is its ability to shift and transform as many times as needed. Wellness Vybz was initially created to provide mental health crisis intervention at festivals. Since then, it has dabbled into the realms of esports (with speaking engagements at Twitchcon), and is now a container for 1:1 mentorships, group programs, online courses and integrative, wholisitic psychotherapy. The core remains the same- to promote wellness and help people address their emotional well-being. The ability to shift, represents an openness and flow to change. Wellness Vybz flows to what is most aligned in the journey. There is always a willingness to take risks, flip the script and pivot- which has led to so much success and expansion. As long as the core remained the same (amplifying wellness), these shifts were welcomed as they added value to the overall brand. Read more>>

Christal Luster | The Creative Entrepreneur

Most people in America equate success with money and status. It’s the American way. For a while, I too was obsessed with increasing the amount of followers I had and counting the service receipts from my many creative endeavors. However, in 2016, my perspective of success changed forever. My best friend and sister Karen gave what would be her last bit of advice to me on a Wednesday night in the hospital room of the cancer wing of Rush Hospital. I sat there trying to find something to talk about that wouldn’t unleash the well of tears ready to burst from my eyes. I told her about an opportunity I had to follow my creative dreams and pursue them on a more professional level in a different state. I brought it up with no intention of actually following through because there was no way I was going to move and leave my sister and my family while she was fighting for her life. Read more>>

Paris Ysatis | Personal Shopper & Fashion Blogger

I recently launched my own personal shopping services on March 1st – Paris Ysatis Personal Shopping Services. I source fashionable pieces to create a desirable look for clients who need assistance in gathering items for any occasion. I seek to not only assist clients in shopping, but to provide multiple options for outfit choices. I support clients by targeting their style needs, enhancing their closet, promoting and contributing to their individual fashion inspiration. I also curate personalized mood boards, create shopping guides, and advise the client on an achievable budget. My goal is for clients to feel a sense of hospitality when they utilize my services. I want them to have extreme confidence and trust in my work, that they get excited every time they come back for more personal shopping! Creating a customized experience for clients is a priority to me. It’s important to do what you love and it is even more important to shower your clients with that same love and attention!. Read more>>

Joe De Pinto | Co-Founder and Chief Sales Officer

Persistence. I think that persistence is what separates true entrepreneurs from people that start companies or have cool ideas. Barpay was barely generating any revenue (definitely not enough to hire or pay any type of salary) for the first 5 years of its existence. I think a lot of people would have quit after a year or two, but we kept moving forward because we believed that the industry would eventually evolve. We like to think that as long as we are doing something to move the company forward, something will come of it. But we know for a fact, that if you’re not doing anything, you can expect nothing in return. Read more>>

Tyler Capri | Intuitive Astrologer

I think the most important factor behind my success is not being afraid to take risk and express my true authenticity, even if others may not understand me. This inspires me to be a better communicator so I can create dialogue of education and connectivity. Read more>>

Saudamini Madra | Mandala Artist & Illustrator

I believe in patience, practice, and perseverance. These gave me strength to quietly wait for the right moment to launch my online store. Though I started posting my artwork in 2017, I didn’t launch my shop until January 2021! It took me time to create the best set of art to reflect my brand, but today I proudly display the work. Read more>>

Julia Wahle | Owner/Creative Director at SIIX Trailer Music and Sound.

I feel like what’s been most important is that we’ve always focused on being innovative. When setting out to start SIIX, I wanted to make great music and sound design – and to do something that hadn’t been done before in that process. Having a constant challenge to improve and create something new has made it easy to stay passionate in what I do. Probably that and the simple fact that I love what I do. Read more>>

Kamala Kirk | Co-Founder of Spa & Beauty Today

The 5 elements that allow me to be successful are confidence, determination, passion, patience, and the ability to envision my future success. These traits allow me to persevere when facing long hours and the unexpected challenges of running a business. By maintaining a positive outlook and taking daily action towards my goals, I can achieve anything I set my mind to. Read more>>

Dr. Lauren Cook | Therapist, Speaker, and Author

I try to continually tap into persistent bravery. That can look like reaching out to people who are a few (or several) steps ahead of me, believing that I’m capable, and using my voice to offer value to others. We all struggle with imposter syndrome and if I fell into the trap of doubting myself, I would have never believed that I was worthy of speaking to thousands of people, getting my doctorate, or starting my own business. And here’s the thing–you often have to start believing in yourself before others can see it. So show up, speak up, and sit at the tables that you’re doubting you deserve to sit at. You have something to contribute and you need to give yourself an opportunity to share it!. Read more>>

A.E. Wasserman | Author of Historical Mystery/Thrillers, The Langsford Series

In my experience, success comes when one enjoys what they do. Whatever anyone does, they need to enjoy it; love it. Or else why do it? I know everyone says, “Do what you love,” which is easy to say, but not always easy to be able accomplish. I have always loved writing, but when I first began as a novelist, I had no idea just how much was involved after that first book was published. So initially, I only enjoyed part of my “job.” I knew, of course, that being a writer meant that the work is always in your mind, either thinking about it directly or subconsciously—plus the many the hours, days, months, at the keyboard. I expected that. But what surprised me was everything that happens afterward—the launch, the book signings, the book festivals. Initially it was daunting, and I wasn’t sure I liked it much—I am not a naturally outgoing person—but the marketing is a critical aspect of being a writer; an author. Thus, at the beginning I loved part of what I did, all the writing, but as a professional author, I needed to encourage myself to love the rest of what I did. Read more>>

PL12BEATS | Producer & Songwriter

I believe the most important factor behind my success in my music career is my determination, work ethic and conquering “the fear of the unknown”. I remember a few years ago I had a family member who was highly sought after musician in the industry playing on tour with, Nipsey Hussle and The Game to name a couple people he played for. He told me I wouldn’t get a record placement unless I left the city I was living in at the time. From that moment on I was determined to prove him and my other doubters wrong. I began utilizing my internet knowledge and using every email of important people I got my hands on. Fast forward 2 yrs later, my work is featured in XXL magazine and is being spinned all over the globe alongside my guys Dj Iceberg and Scotty ATL. Today I’ve produced for numerous platinum and Grammy award winning artist including Beanie Sigel, The Nappy Roots, Dribble2Much, Young Money, Don Trip, Scotty ATL, Dorrough and many many more. Never let no one write your destiny. Read more>>

Karen Happel | Agency Owner & Personal Branding Expert

I’m currently running two businesses – one is Genuine Content, my web design and branding boutique agency, and the other is my digital product line where I help aspiring non-fiction authors find the following they need to attract agents and publishers. Authenticity is at the core foundation of both. The more my brand message aligns with my authentic personality, the better my business does. It’s absolutely a direct relationship. came up with the name Genuine Content when I was first building the business. I asked a friend and early client what sets my work apart, and she nailed it on the head – I have the ability of listening to someone’s story and can then turn it into something that both genuinely speaks to the heart of their business and also has a marketable message to their ideal audience. I’ve carried that mission throughout every part of my business. Read more>>

Natalie Sparaccio | Photographer & Spiritual Mentor

I didn’t realize the journey to creative success was something that happened purely inside of the self, until I was already so far removed from it. From the very first time I picked up a camera when I was 13, I knew that authentic connection was the key to successful creation. But somewhere between then and when I dove into working as a full-time photographer two and a half years ago, I confused success with profitability, and my priorities, in turn, sneakily changed. Without noticing it, I started to believe that appealing to the masses was what I needed to do first and foremost to be a successful artist. What once brought me exhilaration and deep connectedness was beginning to bring me an exhausting and depressing battle with my own consciousness. Read more>>

Levi Lawrence III | Said To Be One of The “Saviors of The New World”, Owner & Lead Founder of Professional Fundraising Networking Organization Alluvione!

The most important factors behind the success of Alluvione are its Official Members and Alluvione Affiliates. The Official Members of Alluvione are required to give a fairly large percentage of themselves to the organization while continuing to build on their own businesses. Every member fits in the organization playing a specific role. For example, we have Christian Sergeant owner of “Vicky Cakes Pancake Mix” and Co-Founder of the Organization Eric Jones aka Doctor Dapper owner of “LFLS Shoes” whose’s main responsibilities are using their large platforms and addictive personalities to bring more attention towards Alluvione’s current goals & events. There is Heather Sulton owner of “Ohque” who singlehandedly controls the time efficiency and order of the organization. Ariana Trae Lawrence owner of “Sol Haus Tea” handles the operations and logistics for Alluvione. Read more>>

Dan Natarelli | Owner of a Managed Computer Service Company

In my business I knew right away that my clients didn’t know technology and had no idea of what they needed and there were many companies in my industry that cared more about making money then really taking care of their clients and providing them with a solution that fit their needs even if it meant not making a lot of money in the deal So from the very start in 2000 when I opened my business, I was going to offer the best solution for my clients and actually save them as much money as I could because then I knew they would never have a reason to leave me. I always looked and continue to look at the long term and not the short term. I wanted to get a client and keep them for many years and in my industry that wasn’t an easy feat since there were a lot of companies jumping into the computer service field and they would start up and try to undercut everyone to build their client database up. Read more>>

Viveca Chow | Broadway Actor & Creator

I think the most important factor behind my success is that I know my purpose. When you know why you do what you do and what impact you hope to have on the world – it makes aligning with your potential collaborators and projects a lot more seamless. I hope to heal and empower the world through my creative endeavors. I also think the amount of energy I have catered towards my mental health and personal development has been of utmost importance. I think growing up in a competitive city as well as a conservatory program, I subconsciously learned things that didn’t quite serve me. In fact, a lot of those things were very toxic. Throughout the years, it’s been so empowering to come to the realisation that being an artist is a state of mind, not a reflection of my achievements or lack thereof. The latter is something I wish to have unlearned faster when I first started out. Read more>>

Katie Hartman + Danielle Gary | Event Floral Studio Owners

The most important factor behind our success is our willingness to put in the hard work day after day, year after year. It’s easy to see successful people and brands on social media and think it came easily or overnight but most of those people put in a lot of time and effort to get where they are today. We don’t believe in overnight success stories because to truly be successful you need to exhibit longevity. You have to keep going and growing. Read more>>

Ibrahim Genis | Entrepreneur

When I begin any endeavor, I focus on my own sincerity, peace of mind, and calmness rather than focusing on the success I might or might not have. Also, I like to act fast, be myself, and find my unique way of doing it rather than adapting to other people’s way. Read more>>

Mikel Dever-O’Neil | Director & Script Writer

The most important factor behind my success is the willingness to reach out to others and help out, while also figuring out who is worth helping; in short, building connections through collaboration. There’s this mentality that you need to be some crazy auteur and there’s a lot of sociopaths out there, especially in entertainment. You should be looking for authentic people who you can give your all to — even if that means not being an “auteur” for this specific project. When I was in my teens, I helped out a friend of mine make a video game — and all I did for that friend was clean up her English since it was her second language. After graduating the University of Southern California, my friend had gone on to start her own company and I was able to be hired as a writer for said company because of that work I did back in the day and how hard I worked for her then. Read more>>

Catalina Esteves | Founder & Owner

Before the COVID world pandemic, I’d say keeping a clean, professional and modern image paired with our mission of saving cats and a fun in-person experience was a good combination for the success of our brand. After COVID I realized people were craving human connection and authenticity. I think now more than ever people want to know who’s behind the businesses they love, they want to hear real stories. Throughout the pandemic I would release founder messages and I included our team in live streams of our place and I was really clear about our ask: For our dear customers to support our small business, now more than ever. I think people really enjoyed the realness of our message and this change transformed our brand and established it even further in the community. Before, making your small business appear “larger” was considered cool, as customers perceived you as very professional. Now I feel it’s the opposite, if you’re a small business, people want to know so they can support you. Read more>>

Kathryn Emery | Home Improvement & Lifestyle Expert

Authenticity. Being in Public Relations, if your are true to yourself, you learn early on that you cannot promote something your don’t believe in. This goes in business and it should flow through to the other areas of your life. When you speak about what you know, and genuinely enjoy what you do, you give off an energy, and people will naturally gravitate towards it. I’ve been fortunate in my career, where I had a position created for me at Home Depot in about my tenth year there, all around telling stories for products. That job was developed for me because I gave it my all, and then I gave more. I’ve always loved the written word, and found a passion in home improvement products and being their voice. And was surrounded by people who recognized that in me and let me run with it. It has brought me to where I am today. Everything you see me talk about, I genuinely believe in and that allows people to trust me. I treat that trust with the utmost respect. Read more>>

Natalia Moscoso | Cinematographer

I think a factor that helps behind my success, as a cinematographer, is being open-minded. When it comes to film, you meet people of all different types. It’s important, to me, to keep an open-mind of all this and be able to adapt with everyone I work with whether it’s the director, production or my own crew. I’m able to adapt to new personalities and can easily be able to read someone’s energy. I like to remain in a calm state of mind as well, even in the most stressful environments because I know that the way I carry myself is going to influence the environment and people around me. I feel like a lot of people can easily show their anger or stress on set and the work etiquette really downfalls from there. In summarization, you need not only to be talented and knowledgable in this field, but the most importantly being a people-person/open-minded. With that I believe that your success will come easier and more plentiful. Read more>>

Phillip (Phil) Gilchrist | Executor Of TrueScale Records

“Pain+Reflection= Progress, You have the crash and you have the experience”. Ray Dalio said in an interview with Sean (Diddy) Combs. I had to figure out what I wanted for myself, for my culture and how to be the change in the entertainment industry. Having said this, I had to stop dreaming. You dream with your eyes closed, but I figured out that in order to make those dreams a reality, I had to open them to understand what it was going to take to become that “Big Change”, hints…. TrueScale Records. Read more>>

Quincy Alexis | Fashion Model

One of the most important factors behind my success i woud say is my determination. Growing up my mom has always told me that I’m the most determined person she knows and she still says that to this day. I feel there always has to be some kind of passion or drive behind a successful person/business. I don’t see how I could have gotten to where I am today without it, without that push to be the best version of myself I can be and I really want to show people like “look at me, you can get out there and do this too if you just believe in yourself”. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy because we all have our roadblocks but if we just push through and get done what needs to get done, then we can make it. I truly believe that and all I want to do is encorage everyone to believe that they’re not stuck, that they can keep on moving and break barriers. Read more>>

Kevin Williams | Actor/Writer/Comediane

Accountability is what I would best describe as the factor I used basically upon myself to direct my focus and channel my drive to create these words and give visual life to them. Read more>>

Robert Ruiz | Creative Director

Valuing our customers and respecting them by providing consistent quality and value is the key to our success. The Brand has evolved from decade to decade but always grounded in focus on style with the constant change. The secret is consistent market testing and fast product line collections based on market response from week to week. Read more>>

Caroline McFarlane-Watts | Creative Director & Sculptor

I think that success comes not so much from doing something well, as it comes from loving what it is you’re doing. Obviously skill and experience are necessary, but I only really became successful when I stopped creating custom pieces for what I believed my audience wanted and instead started creating something I personally felt passionate about. I made what I loved, told visual stories I wanted to tell and then shared this world I was in love with with everyone else. It probably boils down to – “do something you love, do it well and success will follow. Read more>>

Kevin Short | Painter and Printmaker

The most important factor in my success has been focus; that, and not quitting. I have become known for painting Glare. Painting Glare became an obsession for me; I am hypnotized by the allure of glare, especially on the water. I noticed that I was not alone in my facination of the beauty of glare. I choose to determine that if focused on my love for glare, then my work would appeal to others who resonate with that same affection. I hear often that a sunset “looks like a Kevin Short Pianting” I like that. It is funny to me that it is now my brand. Read more>>

The CheeseBergens | A punk Rock Family Band From Burbank

I’ve been in bands for a long time and I know that it’s really hard to make it in the music business so you really have to love what you do. Having fun is the most important factor behind our success. Read more>>

High Society Homeless | Rock Band

Having a great chemistry with all the band member. A good friendship and good bonds show when you perform on stage and write your original music. Read more>>

Alix Maria Taulbee | Filmmaker, Writer, Actress

Success to me has never been a final destination…but a continuous journey of reaching new heights and an increasingly higher level of responsibility. I think a lot of people view success as reaching the top of a mountain and being able to say, “I did it! I made it!” For me, I look at each peak or summit as another level of success because it was the journey getting there and who was with me throughout it or since base camp. So I guess you could say the most important factor behind achieving any level of success is the entire journey and deciding to keep moving forward, even when you feel you’ve had enough. Read more>>

Andy Kabamba | Manager / CEO & Executive

Loyalty, Honesty & Hard Work is the most important factor behind my success & Unity is the source behind the success of my brand. Read more>>

Saransh Desai-Chowdhry | Author, Marketer & Artist Manager

The most important factor behind my success as a storyteller is my ability to inhabit a variety of perspectives. In my writing and in my work, I aim to be nuanced instead of categorical. I draw from a variety of disciplines, considering the specific conditions and implications of each domain I explore, instead of settling for abstractions. I’ve learned to come to terms with the idea that multiple things can be true at once, even if they don’t seamlessly integrate with one another. What rings as true to one person or community may be entirely disparate from how others perceive it. Whether I’m writing, working on a business campaign, or supporting an artist, I try my best to honor the notion that subjectivity drives each of our lived experiences and how we connect with one another. Read more>>

Saeg Arts | Songwriter & Day Trader

My transparency and authenticity is everything for my brand. I have never and will never hold anything back from anyone. I believe the only way we can become the greatest versions of ourselves is by sharing our truths with each other. I know many people who live in fear of who they are or have become embarrassed and secluded based on their preferences and lifestyle. My goal is to unravel the inner workings of what it means to be human in order to show that we are all the same at the core. Read more>>

Ilana Friedman | Founder & CEO of TUSOL Wellness

The success of TUSOL is rooted in the relationships we develop with our customers, and the impact we’re able to create in their lives. As a direct to consumer wellness company, we focus primarily on supporting our community along their health journeys with education, content, and effective products. We listen closely to their experiences so we can continue innovating in this rapidly-evolving space. Read more>>