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.

Max Madly | Singer/Songwriter

Listening to my gut instinct and inner self, especially if I’m feeling unsure. I know that even when I fail or make a mistake, if I stay true to myself, I’ll still be proud of any outcome. Nurturing that has helped me navigate the highs and lows of building a music career. I also strive to create balance in my life. I’m definitely in a grind with music right now, but I keep myself grounded with other interests. Read more>>

Malcolm Lee | Barber/Photographer & Videographer

I’m never afraid to go against the grain. It’s daring to be different and doing things in your own way that ultimately decides whether or not you succeed. I learned from a young age through experience and trial and error, that if you want to do something do it. Don’t think about the challenges and struggles, and continue to fail forward. That is what has defined any success that I’ve obtained through the years. Read more>>

Kat Hoelck | Creative Director

I am pretty fluent in facing rejection. It’s a life skill to be able to shake it off and keep rolling. In building anything there will be a series of false rejections– someone saying No to something or declining to partner with you or whatever it might be. They are only fatal blows if you don’t get back up. Its evolutionary biology to want to seek the approval of others, we are hard-wired to fear rejection. But, but it’s a surefire way to lose your edge if you let someone else’s vision of you dampen on your drive. Read more>>

Dinorah Pena | Founder & Chief Talent Officer, Bodega7

I believe that having faith in what I was called to do, and actively and proactively praying about it, and having an intentional self-love and self-care practice has helped me, and thus Bodega7, succeed. When you pour in to yourself and nourish yourself mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically, your output is so much more powerful and impactful. Read more>>

Sharod Duncan | Lover of Photography

There’s many smaller habits that have helped with my success like taking as many photographs as I can and always carrying a camera with me so I can actually take as many photos I can, lol. But I have to say the best habit, by far, that has helped me succeed is UNDERSTANDING and BELIEVING that learning never stops. Once I really got that, that is when I felt my creativity expand and my desire to create grow even more. Read more>>