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.

Alex Oceguera | Artist/ Music Producer

I would have to say the pure love and obsession for music. If you don’t truly love music and are in it for the wrong reasons, it won’t work out. Yea you might get a few hits here and there but when it comes to your music lasting, you have to truly be obsessed with your craft and enjoy it every step of the way no matter how hard or stressful it can get. Read more>>

Rosemary Gutierrez | Founder & Curator of SOYYO Candle.

Authenticity. As soon as I let go of what I imagined a “business owner” should look like and I started sharing my authentic journey, my community started relating to our mission and growing. Read more>>

Dr. Maria Cozette | Recording Artist, Songwriter, Producer, University Professor

the most important factor behind my success is mentorship and throughout my life I’ve had the unwavering support of my parents and influential opinion leaders who not only believed in my vision, but encouraged me to pursue even what might have seemed impossible. Read more>>

Todd Tucker | SFX Makeup Artist / Director

The most important factor behind my success is: Always stay motivated, creatively driven, positive, passionate and humble. The entertainment industry can be brutal and unfair at times and as an artist/business person, you need to stay strong and focused on the prize, what ever your career goal may be. Make sure you do your research on any elements connected to your career goal. You need to be current and prepared. Anything is possible! Read more>>

Heidi Revay | Sexuality & Empowerment Coach

Showing up as myself, no matter what. Sharing my stories, connecting and building relationships Read more>>

Tere Schwartzbart | Salvadoran-American Fine Artist and Owner of Galeria Bezalel

I am literally on a mission from God! Everything I paint is for the glory of God. I had always dreamed of painting but for decades it was just a dream. At some point, I felt that the Lord was saying “Stop dreaming! Go!” So I went. I picked up a paint brush relatively late in life and apparently found what I was born to do. Read more>>

Fehr Rivas | Singer-songwriter

I think the biggest factor in my success has been being true to myself. Working on my music always showing what I am Read more>>

Lara Vanian-Green | Investment Manager & Podcaster

There are several factors that I credit for the success of my podcast, but if I had to narrow it down to just one, it would have to be authenticity. Listeners instinctively sense when there is a lack of transparency or sincerity. By being honest about our stories, our lives, and perhaps most importantly – our imperfections, we foster a genuine sense of trust that people can relate to. We refer to our listeners as family and think of them as such. Once a month, we host virtual zoom meetings around a single topic, chosen by the participants. These have evolved into intimate gatherings of like-minded individuals and some have blossomed into real-world friendships. Read more>>

Mira Lanz | Ceramic Artist

I believe showcasing the “behind the scenes” to my brand/work is what drives its success. I aim for MCL Ceramics to be personable, engaging, and interactive through a redefined idea of the expression of struggle. There are constant ups and downs within the practice of ceramics and I believe it is essential to reveal that openly and compassionately in order to create a more meaningful connection between maker and viewer. Read more>>

Ana Menendez | Miss Dynamita – Producer & Dancer

The concept of success is a topic that has changed quite a bit along my career. Before I started working in the entertainment industry I believed success was a goal, an ideal state in my career that I would attain once I have worked with certain clients, I have won a certain awards or I have earned a certain amount of dollars. I was wrong. All these years of career have taught me that success is not a goal but a journey. Success is not about always winning but about always learning. Success is a resilient attitude based on being true to who we are and what we came to do to this world. Success is about authenticity. Read more>>

Gwendolyn Jones | Artist and Small Business Owner

I always keep a strengths based perspective on my mind when it comes to my business. It can be difficult to see other creators making sales and creating fun new things and being more successful than I am. But each person has their own success. Everyone has their own struggles behind the scenes that we don’t get to see on social media. Read more>>

Mitchell DeGuzman | High-Energy Wedding MC

As a high-energy Wedding MC, I really work hard at being myself. I may not be for everyone, but I try to exude a fun vibe without putting on a “hosting” voice. Even my personal social media is mixed with my business posts. It’s important for my clients to get to know me on a personal level where they can relate to me or not. I don’t recommend this for everyone, but it works for me! Being real with my clients has brought me the most success; especially during these times of wedding postponements. I really think people appreciate that. Don’t tell them what they want to hear, tell them what they need to hear. Read more>>

The Proscribed | Rock N’ Roll Band

“Originality, Honesty and true dedication to the culture of Rock “N”Roll. We’re each driven to the same end goal, and work together to formulate new ideas that we use to launch the band forward on our social media and professional applications. Our ability to work together and communicate well is the main reason why we are so successful at self managing.” Read more>>

Carole Maggio | Creator & Founder of Facercise

I think that what has been most essential to the success of Facercise is that I truly believe in what I am doing. Facial exercises really work—and once I discovered this, I wanted as many people as possible to be able to access my techniques. Facial exercises changed my face to the point where friends, clients and colleagues were constantly asking me what I was doing to my face. They told me I looked different and more youthful and that my skin was more radiant. Read more>>

Nedra Jones | Curve Empowerment Creative Director ,Owner

Helping Women Shine And to Teach women to continue to Love themselves know not to wait for a future date to do . My overall Goal behind my Brand has always been to encourage every woman . Judgement free Zone Nedra has always Embraced her curves. Through the years she has learned to love herself , on a level the outside world doesn’t understand or doesn’t want to understand. Read more>>

Keder LeBeau | Comic book artist, illustrator & character designer.

I believe perseverance is the most essential part of anything you do, from learning new skills, practicing or putting your work out there. Just by keep trying and moving forward, you can achieve anything you want. Read more>>

Beth Rohde | Singer, Musician & Music Educator

This is an easy question to answer! Coast Music’s success comes from having the most extraordinary teaching staff. Every one of our music instructors has exceptional talent, and they are also great teachers. This combination is not easy to find, and we spend a lot of time and energy identifying those special individuals through our extensive interview process. We only invite the best to join our staff. Read more>>

Holly Gresto | Owner

Optimism and determination. I have always been a very optimistic and determined person in my personal life growing up. Carrying these traits into entrepreneurship has been absolutely vital to my success as a business woman. Being a business owner is TOUGH, to say the least… without positive thinking and drive, it would be very easy to get discouraged and to back out of uncomfortable or less than ideal situations. My ability to think for the better and to never stop pursuing new ideas is the reason I got to where I am today. Read more>>

Andre Damar | Hip Hop artist

Persistence. Pushing through when you know things weren’t or isn’t going the way you envisioned. Knowing when to change things up to get to chapter in your career, rather that’s your look, or your scenery. Read more>>

Barkley Romero | REALTOR ® With Gratitude & Actor-Singer-Model

In my opinion, the word “success” is relative. But in a traditional sense, there are two important factors behind my “success.” The first is that I firmly believe that nothing ever happens ‘to you’ it happens ‘for you.’ The other is that there is always a purpose greater than ourselves. When we come from a true place of contribution, real miracles can happen. Read more>>

Ignatius Kabuye | Artist/Rapper and Community Leader

I feel the most important factor behind the success of the brand that is “Ignatius” is the guaranteed authenticity involved in my music. My songs tell my stories exactly as they were, I speak strictly from my heart and no place else. I feel this way is the “long way” in terms of reaching notoriety but the roots remain strong and ensure longevity when an artist speaks from a real place. Read more>>

Justin Conway | Drummer & Sound Designer

The most important factor, I believe, is consistency. I think that applies to pretty much anything you are passionate about. You have to at least dedicate a block of time to what you are working on every day. Even if its just 15 minutes because you may have not been feeling your best that day, those 15 minutes dedicated to your brand is better than no time spent at all. Read more>>

Claudia Conte | Actress, Presenter, Writer, Producer

Behind every success that lasts there are sacrifices, effort and hard work. To establish yourself in show business of course you need talent, but it’s also very important to study and get education in important schools ( I have studied in New York film academy and in Italy with important maestros of theatre) You have to have patience, determination and costance. Real aims have always obstacles, it’s never easy. Its also necessary to build a team of professionals that can support you. And in this I would like to thank my manager Angelo Paradiso, my look maker Claudio De Martino and my International PR Ekaterina Shevlyakova. Read more>>

Alonso Homs | Filmmaker

I would say empathy. Hard work and talent is a given for success, but being able to empathize for your collaborator’s challenges is key. The film and commercial industries requiere artistry as much as a business mind, and we’re all for the most part pretty emotional people. And if you’re able to be understanding and kind to those around you, people want to work with you over and over again. Read more>>

Brandon Baumann | Singer, Songwriter & Voice Actor

Success is relative. Success should always be individually defined. In the music business there’s a perceived notion of what is considered “successful”, with the obvious being large-scale touring, recognition, and mass music consumption. But the reality is, that this scale of success only happens to a very, very small percentage of those who pour themselves into their art. Read more>>

Jonathan Sanford | Film & TV Composer

If I had to point to one singular thing, people have been the most important factor behind my success, not only as a composer, but also in all other aspects of my professional and personal life. Whether these individuals are friends, family, collaborators, or peers… the support and love I experience have been amazing. I find I am surrounded by kindness and generosity. Now, nobody is going to do the work for you, but I found that if you create a spark or light a torch, people will help you carry the fire. Most of us want to be around folks that are moving progressively. Together we create this wonderful energy. It is magnetic. Read more>>

Paul James Houghton | Dreamotion Studios Founder/CEO, Filmmaker, Screenwriter and Creative Producer.

I truly believe Quality is essential to the success of a product and/or brand like Dreamotion Studios. Quality is a ‘result’ in the form of ‘value’ based on the expectations set by or for the customer via brand definition and the ability to meet those expectations, and 1 of the 4 critical pillars defining Brand Equity. Brand Awareness, Brand Association, Brand Loyalty and Quality are those pillars, but Quality is the defining characteristic you can and should install instantly. Read more>>

Ben Hirschhorn | Actor, Director & Writer

The most important factor behind my success is the people I surround myself with. When you surround yourself with creatives who are just as passionate as you, people who are eager to show up in the morning and willing to have their visions improved upon by the rest of the community, your success or journey will be that much more gratifying. It’s important to dissolve your ego and trust that these people are going to bring in ideas and techniques that are different than yours, which can only make your product that much more exciting. Read more>>

Abigail Oliver | Choreographer & Movement Coach

For me, unequivocally, it was being relentless and unwavering in the pursuit of what I wanted to do. I think so many of us view success as this elusive, undefinable goal – I just knew if I continued working hard and never gave up I would get there in some shape or form. My goals have changed over time, and success doesn’t look exactly the way I thought it would when I was a 16 year old dancer in college – but most importantly, I have never once let doubt get in the way. I have had so many personal and professional failures, dealt with life challenges, Covid 19 and everything in between – if you have a dream let NOTHING stop you. Small daily strides over years WILL lead to growth, I truly believe that. Read more>>

Angela Hadl | CEO/Founder & Mad Bath Scientist behind BB Bombs

The most important factor behind the success of my brand is the community. I acknowledge daily that this business would not exist without the love and support of the people that buy, share, and uplift BB Bombs. They are the reason why improvements are made, new products introduced, and why lives are being changed by the brand. Read more>>

Justin Whitesel | Senior Art Director (Video Game Advertising) / Musician

Learning your audience. Catering to them but don’t pander to them. Authenticity is everything in this day and age and is more-often-than-not the difference between success and failure. Find the niche’s, see what makes them tick, because those are the ones that are going to influence the mainstream. Read more>>

Kacey Fifield | Singer/Songwriter/Actress

I am a singer/songwriter and an actress. I love what I do and that’s very important in any success story. I am 16 years old so balancing school and a singing career is very important as school is always a priority. I take things seriously and I commit to the process in all I do. Read more>>

Austin Arrington | Founder, PLANT Group

I think the most important factor to the success of our brand is our ability to focus on the goals of our clients without sacrificing our company’s mission and vision. Read more>>

Germain Arroyo | Actor

The most important factor behind my success is staying true to myself. I’ve learned to accept and love everything about myself being a gay non binary Latino. Being gay was used against me, I was bullied a lot growing up I had a soft voice and I never stood up for myself. Read more>>

Jaquan Hood | Industry Music Producer

Dealing with industry Engineers spiraled me for the most part….and understanding how much they matter lol ..i didnt even know what anyone had going on we was just real friends and boom my beats started getting pulled up and landing ….., i would also say practice , time , and genuine longevity …..genuine longevity is simply building relationships not only to prosper for a Read more>>

Lucretia Williams | Web Designer & Strategist

The most important factor behind my business is helping nonprofits and mission-driven businesses create impact with the services I provide. Having a digital presence is what helps keep businesses and organizations thriving. Helping them continue to increase revenue and their online presence is the true transformation I like to make for my clients. Read more>>

Michael “Maku” Ursu | Actor, Composer, & Content Creator

I am always outworking everyone I know. Whether it’s pivoting to a successful VO career (In 8 months, I have auditioned 1000+ times for VO, all by myself), or creating content (not something most LA actors do), I don’t wait around for things to happen. No one is going to pluck you out of obscurity to become a star. Remember, we are artists. We should always be creating art, which may mean helping out a friend on set pro bono, even if that means just holding a light or boom pole or being the actor for their demo reel. Read more>>

Geovanny & Johnnie Ragsdale | Owner & Baker

Authenticity Read more>>

June Mugo | Motion Picture Directress

Having to step away from everything going on around me to find my focus and understand what it was I truly wanted and dedicating all that I can to the target. Once I step myself back from everything (mainly distractions) it all became clear. Read more>>

Ryan Schuermann | Luthier

Any business transaction is, essentially, a temporary relationship with another person. And so we treat our customers the way one expects to be treated in any relationship – with respect and compassion. What sets LA Guitar apart is that we’ve always provided outstanding customer service. We cater to each player’s individual needs and preferences, letting them choose how they want their instrument to sound, rather than harboring the belief that there’s a right way to set up a guitar. Read more>>

Euan Davis | Barber/Media

Obeying my Spirit! From the first vision I knew I had to this. I also knew it would take 20 years and had to rely on my spirit to guide me. My purpose was way bigger than me and way ahead of its time. I needed that time for my Spirit to lead and prepare me, because this industry deserves things to be right. It is full of purposeful people! And I have been blessed to be the one to manifest its reality. Definitely needed to follow my Spirit to get where I am now! #blessedandhighlyfavored #barbertimeallthetime Read more>>