We asked some brilliant folks from the community to talk to us about how they think about risk and the role risk has played in their lives and careers.

Mario Loor | Founder of LA Boarding School & Recording Artist

important to focus on building a strong emotional, social, financial and spiritual foundation to have your back when this happens. Most people quit. You should be aware of the right things to quit. If something is not serving you it’s best to move on but you have a burning passion that can light up the universe, please don’t hold out on us! We need you. Risk taking has and continues to play a major role in my life and career. I love trying new things. This is how I find what really works. I am so grateful this life chose me. Taking risks is me continuing to choose it back. Read more>>

Joanna Socha | Founder and Editor at W Insight

In December 2019, I decided to change my stable editor’s job at a prestigious business magazine for a freelancer’s unpredictable, unstable life. I wanted to have more time to focus on W Insight, a women-oriented platform about careers. But, of course, back then, I didn’t realize that the weird virus that the media were starting to discuss would soon turn into a global pandemic. As I left my job, I wondered whether I would be able to make a living without a stable monthly salary. That was the risk I thought I was taking. Read more>>

Stephanie Solomon | Published Children’s Book Author

In the process of writing my first children’s book I had less than $800 in my bank account. I always knew I was doing this for purpose over profit. It took all the hardships, grit and grace to discover my own worth and publish a book about that. I truly believe that sometimes you do have to risk everything for a dream that no one can see but you. For me taking risks gives me an adrenaline rush of motivation. To manifest that the greater the risk I take the bigger the impact I will have for myself and others, in a good way. Read more>>

Vincent Madero | Photographer

For me, risk is part of the process. When I’m faced with a big decision–usually financial–I take a long time to make up my mind. I’ll make a list of pros and cons, I’ll talk to friends, I’ll research other options, etc. The last question I ask myself before taking a risk is: Would this help me get closer to my goal? If there’s not a direct line from that decision to my goal then I decide against it. Read more>>

Mathew Verderosa | Inventor of the Beatbox

I believe taking risks are like the backwards pull of a slingshot bow. If you don’t use your strength to pull back, line up your shot, and breathe through the fear, you won’t hit your target. For me, I have taken several risks for my company, Beatbox Drums. The biggest risk I took was leaving my home state of Pennsylvania at the insistence of a business advisor to move to California for the sake of the business. I left my family, friends, my dog, my house, my business’s stability, and my music career behind for California, which promised growth and a new chapter for Beatbox Drums. There have been major ups and downs since moving here, but overall my risk has paid off. So much of that is about mindset too, but that’s another conversation! Read more>>

Billy Hanson | Screenwriter, Director, Author

In the world of the arts, anything worth doing is going to be a risk. As an author, I spend a lot of time fleshing out ideas that may or may not work. Some ideas develop into a short story, some into novels, others into comic books or screenplays. Many of them reveal themselves to be terrible, untenable, derivative, and I realize that I wasted weeks, maybe even months chipping away at something that was never going to work. It’s an awful feeling when a gamble doesn’t pay off. Read more>>

Belle Eykmans | Freelance Production & Actor

Risk, though terrifying sometimes, is an essential part of success. Risk has played a significant part in my journey but not for about 27 years of my life. I grew up doing exactly what society expected of me; graduating high school, going to college, majoring in something “practical”, graduating college, and getting a job that paid me decently. I wouldn’t change those decisions for anything but there was not a moment in that journey that I felt like I took a risk. Read more>>

Wesley Foster | Filmmaker

My philosophy is “jump and the net will appear.” The first time I moved to New York was a huge risk for me. I didn’t have savings or a job lined up or a place to live, I was sleeping in my car and just looking for any opportunity. It was a huge learning experience for me. It taught me a lot about embracing uncertainty, staying grounded in a sense of purpose, and prioritizing my creative pursuits above merely getting by. I had a year or so of mixed success. I found a job waiting tables and a sublet (a 2BR apartment with six guys all on bunk beds) but I wasn’t having any creative traction. Read more>>

Karo Moralyan | Artist/Musician

Risk taking has definitely played an important role in my life/career. The pursuit of the arts (the industry I’m in) is a risk in itself. Because of this, artists often get caught playing too safe and afraid to take chances. But to really stand out from the crowd and create something meaningful, you have to be bold and daring. That often involves doing something different and putting yourself out there. Whether that is in the art itself, or in the marketing/promotional aspect of things, it can help take your career to the next level. Read more>>

Victor Maristane | Illustrator & Computer Scientist

The most important things I’ve ever accomplished involved taking risks. The best you get by playing it safe is… safety. If you’re lucky, because crises happen, circumstances change, no matter how safe you think you are. Life is risky anyway, so you might as well risk making it your own. Many years ago I had a job that I thought was safe, but got fired when they unexpectedly closed my branch. I had “safe” relationships that ended abruptly. All the while I was just trying to be a good employee, and a good boyfriend, and a good son but things around me kept changing chaotically anyway, because that’s life. Living things are chaotic. Read more>>

Yvette Dibos | Arts Educator and Visual Artist

I listened to my mother’s unconventional wisdom and pursued a degree in art. She was very good at walking he line between risk and safety. I was always risky- a destructive teenager, a curious kid, and forcefully sought after what I want regardless of long-term hazards. I am glad an internal compass kept me from the catastrophic. And I’m glad I had a clear deep aim in my life to make art. It has led to my teaching career and continued art practice. Sticking with it after 10-15 years has worked out. I did not always know it would. I knew I wouldn’t be happy unless I tried. Read more>>

Shane Alexander | Singer/Songwriter/Performer/Producer

There are countless risks to being a full-time artist. I quit my day job 16 years ago to become a 24/7 independent musician – that’s about as risky as it gets. To be vulnerable and speak/sing your truth publicly is risky. To leave your family at home and tour (often alone) internationally is risky. For me, it’s all about keeping a very high standard for myself, making and maintaining meaningful relationships, finding balance for my family time and trying to use my humble gifts to touch people’s hearts globally. To give up on my dreams and live with regret is one risk I’ll never take. Read more>>

Bjerke Frandsen | Business owner

Risk, challenges and dreams those three words, I learned from a very young age will always be connected and should serve as a motivator. I have spend the majority of my time in Denmark a small Scandinavian country and in many ways a fantastic place to live well known for its social safety net and hygge just to name a few. So how did I end up becoming a business owner in America putting everything on the line. Read more>>

Lydia Horne | Artist & Journalist

I’m pretty risk averse. Less “follow your dreams” and more “do they offer a 401(k) matching program?” But I suppose leaving my full-time job in an industry that I loved to enroll in art school in the middle of a pandemic was risky. Moving to SF with no job in sight was risky. Making both these choices was a miserable process because it was really uncomfortable. However, I’ve realized that the moment in which I felt discomfort are also the moments I’ve been most successful professionally and socially. Read more>>

RAMIRO RODRIGUEZ ZAMARRIPA | Film Composer

I like to think of risk as an essential motor for progress and change. Taking risks has significantly contributed to being where I am. It forced me out of my comfort zone and pushed me to be a better version of myself. It was not an easy decision to study music composition in Argentina after graduating from school. It’s not easy to earn a living working in the arts in South America. So I knew I had to be one hundred per cent committed and give it my all. The following risky decision was to leave my home country to move to the US to pursue the dream of becoming a film composer in Hollywood. Once again, it was a tough choice with lots of unknowns, but I knew if I worked hard on my craft with persistence, eventually, an opportunity would arise. Read more>>

Jasmine Walker | Photographer and Business Owner of J. Lorraine Photography, LLC

Risk is something that I take into account daily as a full time military member. Last year in the Fall, I deployed to a combat zone in Saudi Arabia- this also happened to be during my first year as a business owner. I know how critical the first year of business ownership is, and putting it on hold for 4 months, I knew there was a possibility that my business would not survive or be successful. In spite of having to put my photography on hold for the time being, I stayed active on my social media accounts and engaged with past and potential clients the entire time that I was gone. I returned and jumped right back into my business without missing a beat. Read more>>

Bryer Garcia | Coffee Shop Owner

RISK Defined: a situation involving exposure to harm or danger. In my life I never wanted to live by this rule, but some how this has been who I am. From high school I didn’t want to follow the norm and just graduate and go to straight to college. I wanted to do things my way, explore, travel, meet new people, try different jobs and most importantly figure who I am. Read more>>

Lasse Holopainen | Warden of the Maruia River Retreat, NZ

I am extremely risk-averse, yet I am drawn to risky pursuits, whether physical or metaphysical. Risk and the challenges they present define our experience of life. The trick is in choosing those that meet our capacities, the ones that we are capable of overcoming. Therein lies the importance of preparation and practice. I do not think of myself as particularly brave, so the riskier the challenge, the greater the need to practice and prepare. The alternative is failure, and in some cases, injury, death, or financial diminution, although the latter I hardly consider as serious as the former two. Read more>>

Anisha Thakur | Film & TV Producer

I have never been ashamed of trying. I have worked, struggled, sacrificed, studied and dreamt of achieving what I have today. I learned at a very young age that you don’t always get all the things you wish for. Part of growing up and moving into a new chapter in life was difficult and risky but I decided it was worth the risk. Looking back at everything I have accomplished in my life so far, risk and trusting myself has always been the common thread. Read more>>

Kieran Hellum | Artist & Music Producer

I’m a firm believer that without risk there is no reward. Starting a career in music with zero industry connections and zero experience in music was a risk but through that risk I have enjoyed the rewards of so much organic growth in my skills and also my fanbase and also my point of view for what’s possible. Taking this risk into such an uncertain path has been such an amazing opportunity to connect with people in a way I didn’t see possible a few years ago. Read more>>

Emily Amber | Founder of Zon Swim

Risk taking is almost a character trait of mine. It’s what’s propelled my life forward, in my career and in my personal life. I grew up in a very non-creative family, and so venturing into the creative realm appeared to be a risk in and of itself. But I am a very intuitive and instinctual person, so when I decided I wanted to have my own company and be in control of my own life, I went for it full force. In my mind, failure can reach you whether you’re cautious or fearless- and I’d rather be fearless. And so Zon Swim was born! Read more>>

Lauryn Pena | Author

I’m not afraid of risks. Whenever I am pitched a new opportunity, I see it as an adventure. I certainly do my due diligence before I take on anything new. I want it to be worth the time and effort for everyone involved. But when it comes to taking risks, it doesn’t scare me. I’m a very curious person, I am also a big picture thinker. I know how it feels when you are at the beginning of a new opportunity that seems like it will overtake the rest of your life. There have been many things I have encountered that at the starting line seemed like it would over take my life. Read more>>

Tatiana Dumitru | Brand & Naming Specialist

I see risk as a synonym for entrepreneurship – it’s unavoidable, and the biggest reward lies on the other side of the risk. You can’t start a business or make progress without being willing to take a risk. When you’re willing to take a risk, it shows that you have a mission and a vision and that you see the potential of reward on the other side. While you can’t be sure that your risk will pay off, you’ll never know if you don’t take it. Read more>>

Andrea / Siecuna Valenzuela / Yeboah | Producer and Director of The Vagina Monologues Los Angeles

Andrea’s Response: By taking risks, we learn to speak up for ourselves and others. My life would not be where it is today if it wasn’t for the risks and leaps I continue to make every day. I am a firm believer that we can wield our own destiny. Shape it into the reality of our hopes and dreams. Hard work also goes hand-in-hand. Read more>>

William Boodell | Writer / Director / Editor

Right now I think about risk in my career and life as doing the things I want to do but which also frighten me. In fact, these things frighten me the most. For a long time I avoided them because I was afraid I wasn’t skilled enough or worthy of success. I was afraid to fail, afraid of disappointing others and myself. In the last ten years I’ve been learning that this is all nonsense. I am recognizing that I am immensely talented and powerful, and that all I need to do is create. Some work will turn out better than others. That’s the nature of doing anything in life. You work with what you have. You put your mind, body and soul to it, and you work. That’s what matters. Read more>>

Trina Gregory-Propst | Wife/Mother/Chef

My perspective on risk taking has always been outside of the box I’m only realizing how much risk taking Ive done in my lifetime recently …. But it started when I was 19 my first huge risk , leaving college 3 years into a degree in vocal studies and realizing I didn’t want to sing for the rest of my life, then entering a risky career in the Spa industry. I found joy and a commitment to making other humans look and feel their best , it was rewarding and I remained in that industry for a little over 27 years . Read more>>

zhen qin | Sound Artist/Composer/Photographer/Cinematographer

When I see risk, I also see opportunity. In my opinion, opportunity has always coexisted with risk. Risk is more like a mirror or a close friend to me, and it will make me see clearly what I am lacking in my life or my career path. In other words, it reminded me that I need to strengthen some areas of my ability to better hedge risks. Read more>>

Shivani Desai | Actor

Having grown up watching Bollywood cinema, my interest in the arts was sparked at a young age – but I only realised at age 16 that I wanted to be an actor. The pushback for making an “impractical” and “premature” career choice at a young age from the people around me was palpable, but I nonetheless have relentlessly pursued the path of making art for a living ever since. It was a risk – standing up for myself and the career I wanted, especially in the face of naysayers who made very valid points – but I had a gut feeling that acting was my calling. Read more>>

Jenisa de Castro | Vocal Coach & Performer

I believe that taking calculated risks is an important part of a healthy life balance. Itʻs been a huge part of my life and career. Starting from the age of 6, when I took the risk of putting myself on a stage to dance and sing in front of others – to now, taking the risk of investing in more trainings, traveling to new places, auditioning, performing, trying new things, etc. Everything that makes you a little nervous or scared is somewhat of a risk because youʻre risking humiliating yourself or getting lost or confused or failing your task. Read more>>

Ebone Smith, M.A., AMFT | WE ARE R.I.S.E. Inc. Founder and Executive Director, Therapist, and Educator

When it comes to taking risks, risks can be scary and that fear of those risks can also be a hindrance to you accomplishing your dreams. Risks are often looked at as reasons to keep us from accomplishing our goals. I look at risks as motivation. Without risks, I would not be where I am today. One of the biggest risks that changed my entire life, was my decision to move to Los Angeles, California on my own. I knew it was a risk when people did the best they could to talk me out of moving to California. Read more>>

Fiona Lu | Story Artist

For a long time I have played safe and tried to avoid any high risks I might have. But I came to realize that “risk” is not as terrifying as it sounds. If taking risks meaning to do something new, then I think that is actually the core of filmmaking. I want every story I tell to be refreshing and authentic even though it means that I have to put myself out there and try things that I’ve never done before. It can be very challenging but that’s why filmmaking is so fascinating to me. The result, no matter good or bad, will be a reward for being brave and inventive. I can’t wait for the next “risk” I will take. Read more>>

Joshua Bryant | Multi-Instrumentalist/Producer/Content Creator

Taking risks is definitely a huge part of creating. I personally feel like the love of the craft should be present in everything that an artist does, then risks aren’t as scary because its genuine and ultimately for the happiness of the creator. Taking risks has been a huge part of my career as a creator, and has pushed me into different forms of art I never imagined creating. Combining different elements like acting, comedy, and writing into my music videos really has helped me become a better artist! Read more>>

Ja’Corey Bellamy | CEO/ Founder of Corey B Photography est. 2018

When it comes to Risk Taking you have to calculate your moves according. Great advice would be to not let your emotions or fear to become a factor in taking some risk. A perfect example would be me planning to take pictures at North Carolina Central University Homecoming Concert back in 2019 feature Megan Thee Stallion, Lil Durk, and Tink to capture moments at my very first concert. By networking and properly preparing myself Including not being nervous on approaching the right individuals, Read more>>

Logan Merry | Solutionist

I think about risk as an exciting necessity and as opportunity for growth. A major bullet point behind the Deep End name was Risk; I’ve always been an all or nothing type, I just eventually gained some patience and judgement helping me be more productive with that energy. I’d say through life a general willingness to try things has gotten me far. Read more>>

Jess Brohier | Photographer + Creative Director

I think risk and the ability to take risks has played a huge role in both my personal career as a photographer, and especially in the way of running the company I currently am. There was a crossroads in both careers, where there were 2 pathways, one based on safety and security and the other based on potential opportunity. Read more>>

Jessarae | Singer songwriter Performer

Risks are like an addiction every time you go on stage and perform you are taking a risk. Up there anything can happen it always gets your blood pumping and it’s like being in a natural high. Opportunities come in for me I never truly feel ready enough but you just have to hit the gas and take the jump and often times you will be very rewarded for taking that risk. Read more>>

Tyler Parker | Producer, Engineer, & Songwriter

I once heard a man say everything is risky. As risky as it is to take chances and go for things you want, it might be equally risky not to. When I first got to college I had already selected a major, but I took the risk of switching majors to better myself and get access to resources I might not have see otherwise. Read more>>

Buka Osondu | International Entertainer, DJ & CEO

When overlooking my journey thus far, risk has played a huge role in many of my successes. I was told that many risks may come to play but I wasn’t sure to what capacity. Being in my position as an International Entertainer, DJ has forced me to take many unexpected risks in order to elevate my brand and overall business. The risks taken in my life and career has made me more disciplined with my decisions and has opened plenty doors for me. Read more>>

Haylee Baldwin | Model, Actress, and Creator

One of my favorite quotes is from Mark Zukerberg: “The biggest risk is not taking any risk.” If it weren’t for me taking risks, my life and career would look so much different. At 22, I packed up my car and drove from Winston-Salem, North Carolina to Los Angeles, California to purse acting. I decided I was moving to LA in July 2021 and started my solo cross country road trip in August 2021. Read more>>