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.

Jen Kays | Artistic Director, Circle X Theatre Co.

One of the most important factors behind any successful person or brand is their ability to connect with others. The music industry as well as many other industries is a tight knit community. If your not a part of this community its harder to collaborate and connect with other successful peers. Read more>>

Aurora Fox | Actor

The most important aspect of my success has definitely been throwing away expectations. I think a thing that trips up a lot of actors is obsessing over getting the role. Obsessing over the audition, over the impression on the casting director, obsessing over every choice they made in their performance.  Read more>>

Loren Stephens | President and Founder, Write Wisdom and Bright Star Memoirs, ghostwriters

Hard to limit to one factor. Probably hiring a pr firm to strategize public awareness through social media and traditional print. I am also a stronger believer in networking. My initial clients were people I knew from my position as development director of a nonprofit — generous donors who were interested in telling their life story. Read more>>

Matthew Kessler | Plant Specialist & Shop Owner

The most important factor behind our success and brand is of course our passion for all things plants but mainly it’s building relationships. Building relationships with our customers and having them know we are here for them is very important to us. Read more>>

Shandra Crymes | Mindset and Manifestation Coach

The most important principle to me and my business is authenticity and being true to yourself. Although I was usually a person that couldn’t be peer pressured or didn’t give into conformity, I would find myself making choices to making other people happy, even if it meant sacrificing my own happiness. It wasn’t until the death of my 19-year-old son that I realized how short life is. Read more>>

Adrian Mainou | Music Business & A&R

I consider myself a person that often feels hard to accept a win, I’m slowly working on accepting that more and I feel that thats something key about your path to success. You have to learn to trust yourself and what you have learned along the way, having that trust on yourself will always be a boost that will get you pass the worst moments just like it can be there for the best ones! Read more>>

Roland Kortbawi | Architect & Entertainment Producer

The most important factor behind my success has always been in paying attention to the minimal details and never taking shortcuts that would compromise the quality, functionality, marketability, and esthetics of my creation. Whether it being while I am building a structure, writing a song or designing a project, Whatever you do, do it right and to the best of your ability. The big things in life are made of small details. Read more>>

Jana N Nagase | Entertainment Journalist & Film Critic

I’m an entertainment journalist and film critic so the most important factor of my success is to watch as much movies and TV shows as possible. I’m always honest and about my opinions and views regarding the films or TV shows… if I don’t like, I will know right away. My opinions are genuine! I love independent movies and I’m always spreading the love to newcomers filmmakers, actors, producers… Read more>>

Sean Dillingham | Actor

Hustle! That no one, NO ONE, is going to make you, but YOU. Agents, managers, etc those are great people to know and have, but ultimately YOU have to make it. A great piece of advice is, whatever you get on your own is the meat and potatoes of your career, whatever the agent gets, thats just the gravy! So don’t sit around and depend on that. You hustle up work, you get jobs, YOU move your career. Be like Nike and, JUST DO IT! Read more>>

Josh Zammit | Writer & Director

Perseverance has played a huge role in all of my successes. When writing or shooting a film, you are constantly bombarded with failure, disappointment and self-doubt. Sometimes it takes years to get a script or edit right, with endlessly finessing and reworking. Read more>>

Nicole Ruth Starrett | Actor & Producer

The most important factor in my success is belief in my Self. I capitalize the S there because when a tough situation arises, there are a ton of resistance both externally and internally that tell me to quit. And that’s my little self… ego… my fear. Read more>>

Lisa Malcolm | CEO LynkPR

The most important factor behind my success is people. My relationships with my clients and in turn their satisfaction with my work. I have been very blessed with having strong relationships that turn into referrals and word of mouth advertising. I couldn’t ask for better people to be a part of my business. Read more>>

Casey Robin | Illustrator & Designer

I’ve never been one for strategic business tactics or analytics. Graphs make my head spin. I approach my business with the same caring one-on-one attitude that I bring to my valued friendships. When I make a new print or book, I think about the person receiving it and how it may impact them in their daily lives. I try to make art that feels like a hug. Read more>>

Timothy Kline | CEO & Primary Director

The way I treat the people, clients, crew and everyone in my life on a daily basis is by far the most important factor behind my success as a person as well as the Hilo Motion Pictures brand. I used to measure my success on how much money I had, car I drove and the “usual suspects” of the old 80’s and 90’s perception of success. Read more>>

Baba Gina Cavalier | Founder, teacher at The Liberated Healer

I am writing a book titled, “Failing Up and Succeeding” and the reasoning is each little item that feels like a failure or a loss and sometimes a giant step back is actually a tiny little step towards success. Without these little failures you would not know what your soul prefers. Read more>>

Julie Skon | Wellness Entrepreneur | Co-Founder Modern Muze

The secret behind the success of Modern Muze is that it is a true partnership. Starting Modern Muze with my best friend and business partner, Zulay Henao, is what has propelled Modern Muze to go into our second year with exciting quarterly events on the calendar, fresh mindset elevating and disruptive content being created daily, partnerships and collaborations with inspiring humans and brands happening consistently, and we see the voice of Modern Muze making an impact. Read more>>

Jamyr Greene | visual artist

Being honest when it comes to my artwork is most important. I like to convey stories within my pictures and videos. I never want my success to get the best of me because that’s not who I am. Read more>>

M’benda N’dour | Software Engineer, Youtuber & Pageant Queen

I really believe the most important factor is my content. I only create videos that I would’ve needed to see when I was navigating the space of Tech Read more>>

Sela Recordz | Record Label

The most important factor behind Sela Recordz success would have to be pushing our product beyond our limits creating a top quality industry standard product. Darmedius and myself are constantly pushing to make our newest track better than the last, musically and mixing wise. Read more>>

Tamara Mckay | Makeup Artist & owner of Beauty & The Lashes

First, let me just mention that throughout this journey of becoming a successful makeup artist along with having own brand has not been an easy journey AT ALL! and its actually one of the most time consuming as in no work hours and hardest job I’ve ever had. Read more>>

Maxwell Riesberg | Entrepreneur

5.) What is the most important factor behind your success / the success of your brand? Everyone loves to talk about “authenticity”. There was an ethos a few years ago “authenticity is the new authority”. Cool. Read more>>

Kate Hallam | Model/Actress

Dedication towards your craft, I’m a big believer in Discipline and staying by focused. There are so many ‘distractions’ in today’s very fast life that it’s good to keep your head down and focus on your career and not lose sight in doing what you love. You really can achieve anything you dream of with that willpower and dedication! Read more>>

Kristie Hang | Food and Travel Journalist, Blogger

I always let the interviewee direct how and where the interview and conversation will go. Sometimes the best quote or content you’ll get from speaking with someone is when you end the interview and ask if there’s anything else they’d like to add that you haven’t already asked them. Read more>>

Loreen Hwang | Lifestyle influencer

Being an influencer and blogger is can be very difficult. If you’re are not authentic and being yourself everyone can see right through you. I see a lot of people trying to paint these picture perfect lives to share online. Life isn’t perfect. I want to connect with people and make it feel like a community. Read more>>

Jonathan Kunke | Owner of Honeydew Sleep

The most important factor behind our success as a brand actually stems from 2 qualities that can sometimes be seen as a detriment – our obsessiveness and our unwillingness to compromise. In a typical workplace setting, these qualities can be problematic, but they have been our compass and our saving grace. Read more>>

Kimberlee Peterson | Photographer/actor

I’ve never let fear hold me back from trying… Read more>>

Chase Jackson | Multi-Instrumentalist, Composer, Producer & Educator

Personally, I think that the most important factor behind my artistic and professional career has been curiosity and constant exploration. I’ve loved playing and making music for as long as I can remember, but for years I had anxiety about how to make this passion a career. Read more>>

Bobby Rose | Film/Video Game Composer

I think a key to my success has been the strong support system I’ve surrounded myself with, both personally and professionally. As with any career, being a creative can take its toll on you mentally and emotionally. Imposter syndrome is also never far away. Read more>>

Kay Soul | Meaningful Artist on a Journey to Heal the Soul

I believe the success of my brand is largely because of my faith in God and trusting in the vision that he has given me for my life. Faith gives me the strength to keep moving forward even when it seems like the odds are against me. Read more>>

Ball Hog Beats | Music Producer & Songwriter

The most important factor behind the success of my brand is having ambition and the perseverance to accomplish your goals no matter how hard it is, or how long it takes. Because at the end of the day it’s about happiness. What I do makes me happy , regardless what my status is or looks like at the , moment . That’s the Ball Hog brand. Keep working and just chase your dreams, or #BallHogYourDreams is what I say. Read more>>

Ali Stone | Music Producer, Songwriter & Artist

I think the most important factors behind my success as a producer, songwriter, and artist have been my persistence, discipline, passion and resilience. I’ve always loved music since I was little, and I feel that the constancy of studying and learning different instruments, honing my craft as a producer, practicing a lot, having the ability to adapt, and never taking anything for granted have all taken me to where I am today. Read more>>

Marina Yermakova Timm | Collage Artist

I believe that the most important factor in achieving long-lasting success as an artist is continuous striving to produce better work, guided by authenticity and perseverance. Read more>>

Kasie West | Young Adult Author

My audience, my readers, are the most important factor behind my success. Without them, without people sharing and talking about and reading my books, I wouldn’t have success. Early on in my career, I was lucky to be able to publish two books a year. Read more>>

Carl Hopgood | Contemporary Visual Artist

I feel like there are several factors that I would attribute to my success. For me it started with the passion I had as a boy for creating things and the encouragement that my Grandfather showed me.( he was was an engineer – he designed airplane engines) Read more>>

Linc | Music Artist

I believe maintaining my integrity in my mission is the most important factor of the success of my brand. Once I stopped becoming infatuated with results and trusted that my work would breed progress, I was able to move at a greater pace. I believe there is an art in not caring too much. I implement that art into every aspect of my brand. Sweet, short, and simple… Those three words keep me from going crazy! Read more>>

Vanessa Gonzalez | Comedian

The most important factor behind my success so far has definitely been my family and friends unconditional love and support. They have always believed in me even before I was able to believe in myself. Whenever I doubt myself or I’m too scared to try something they always give me the strength to keep going, especially this past year. Read more>>

Sean Bartholomew | Holistic Body Therapist / Master Practitioner

The most important factor behind The Bartholomew Method brand is the Method itself, because it WORKS! I may be a nice guy, easy to talk to, and a good listener, but I am also committed to fixing bodies. Bodies with pain, toxicity, imbalance, and people who feel hopelessly broken, and have tried everything else, come to me, and my Method fixes what ails them. Read more>>

Serena Saltzman | Jewelry Designer & Creative Director

I started my jewelry business, SJLA, in the first month or so of the pandemic when times felt shocking and frankly quite hopeless. I wanted to do something creative that would give me a way to connect with people while still being stuck at home, and also to help keep me sane while bringing others joy through my pieces. Read more>>