Getting to do what you love? Providing for your loved ones? What does success mean to you? Below you’ll find perspectives from some of the city’s best and brightest.

Juan De La Rosa | Menswear Influencer & Graphic and Web Designer

The Dapper Juan has always been about dressing well without having to break your bank. I think what has made it successful is that I’ve kept to that motto over the course of the last few years. Even while being offered to work with other higher-end brands I’ve always kept my audience in mind. While it might be a great opportunity for myself, I know that my following isn’t necessarily going to be able to afford those products and that that point not only am I failing the brand collaboration but I’m also failing my audience. The fact that I keep them in mind at all times is what keeps The Dapper Juan true, relatable, and successful. Read more>>

Sepi Bahadori | Childrenswear Designer

The most important factor behind the success of my brand is focus. Read more>>

Daniel Lawrence Wilson | Producer, Director & Editor

To reinvest in your craft. I rebuilt my brand by spending money on my content, my people, and not only equipment. Read more>>

Cheray O’Neal | Multi Hyphenate Actor, Writer, Producer & Teacher

The most important factor behind my success is to walk in courageous risk taking. I was able to produce a philantropic performance event collaborating with the American Cancer Society and a wig company to raise awareness around breast cancer and be of service, all the while fulfilling my creative mission in telling stories raw in spirit and content. My sole goal in my writing / performing/producing endeavors involve breaking generational trauma and finding your own voice in this maze we call life. I take full responsibility for my own happiness and make it a mission to ride the ebbs of flows of life knowing I will get to the other side. What we may perceive as failure, I see as a blessing and am grteful for the lessons it teaches along the way. Read more>>

Tabitha Andelin | Fashion Designer & Catalyst Creative

Time is a wonderful thing but when it comes to measuring success and how far I have come I will leave it out. When I was younger accomplishing things in an allotted amount of time was an easy measure of success. Finishing a test quickly, running a mile quickly, or just being younger accomplishing something usually older people do. Now, I see time not as a measure of success but a measure of quality, love and effort when put into something. Just like how couture fashion brands record the hours it takes to complete a gown. I put time into my work and myself because I care deeply about the fashion I bring into this world. I let myself be free to create the things I need to create and build a name for myself that is truly what it needs to be. Read more>>

Daphne Subar | Founder

It sounds cliche, but I think the most important lesson I have learned is that there is nothing you can’t do if you are passionate and are willing to work hard. I left the practice of law in 2016 to launch Subarz an online bakery/gift-giving business that specializes in a unique baked good called Subarz. I had never done anything like this before and had a lot to learn. I was passionate about starting my own business, creating something unique to help others and that passion motivated me to learn as much as possible to start and grow my business. Read more>>

Heather Dowling | Writer, Actor & Producer

I would have to say, resilience. As I approached 40, after years of doing so many other less than fulfilling things to survive, I found that the resilience I had built over those years was EXACTLY what I needed to make the leap and pursue my dream career as a writer/actress. Read more>>

Amanda Reed | Actress, Writer & Producer

There was this moment about 12 years ago where I realized that I wasn’t doing my acting for myself. I was letting other people’s opinions be louder than my own. I made a decision that I was going to do acting my way. For me that meant that I wasn’t going to try to figure out where the industry wanted to put me or how I should look, dress, act to fit into an idea that I think people will want of me. It is too hard to do that. I don’t know what people are thinking and who is “the industry” anyways So that was the first part of it. Was I decided to think for myself and make me who I wanted to be. Then it was to really get specific on it, what value do I bring and what do I specialize in so I will be known for that. And then get clever on the packaging lol. Read more>>

Krista Stryker | Author & Fitness Entrepreneur

Consistency and grit – the passion and perseverance to stick with something long enough to see progress. Read more>>

Sean David Christensen | Artist & Producer

I choose to see success through the lens of collaborative harmony, particularly with my career as an artist & producer. Any claim I can make to my “success,” is owed to the trust given to me by the remarkable individuals I’ve had the honor of collaborating with over the years. By emerging together from the creative process with a bold statement, be it a film, song or show, if I’m able to amplify the unique strengths of all those involved while creating something singular and memorable – we’ve accomplished something truly special. You can’t do that on your own. Read more>>

Liz Baghaei | Yoga Teacher & Studio Owner

Being messy. In order to be the best version of myself, I had to surrender to being messy first. To navigate and get to the most authentic and best parts of who I truly am, I had to be ok with being vulnerable and not having it always look or feel polished. I teach yoga, and there’s no way I can ask people to look inward if I’m not willing to lay it all out for my students first. I share where I have struggles in my own life and teach what specific techniques and skills I apply to bring more ease and less anxiety for myself. It’s not enough to tell people to ‘have self love’….. what does that actually look like on the day-to-day and how does one truly begin to respect themselves? For me it comes from having a strong sense of self and trusting my body and instincts. Read more>>

Jackie Shea | Health, Life and Business Coach

I am willing to try and fail. I am willing to be rejected. I am willing to be wrong. This and I simply do not stop — everyday I take action. Read more>>

Mario Campanaro | Founder & Master Acting Teacher

One very important point that I always speak of at our studio (MC² Actors Studio)… Is that Life will always be the most potent, informative and powerful acting teacher any actor will ever study with… Life itself gets all the credit and acclaim!… What we do… This thing called story-telling (living)… Is a mirror or reflection of life… It is there reflecting the human condition from generation to generation… We will always connect with the things that we relate to… And those things will always be the stimulus that create story… Because of present circumstances with the pandemic… I recently felt compelled to share a very critical season in my personal life to one of our classes… Read more>>

Jennifer Fernandes | Co Owner

Being a couple who owns a business together, having each other is what drives our business’ success. We are lucky in the sense that we are not only able to find balance between our business and romantic relationship, but this experience has truly allowed us to flourish in our personal and professional lives. Throughout our journey of building a successful business we have found an effective way to identify and nurture one another’s strengths, effectively work alongside one another towards the same goals, and establish clear roles, trust and respect which provide a space for each of us to create in our own unique ways. First and foremost, the goal of our business has always been to make meaningful content through our storytelling skills that would have a historical impact. Read more>>

Ritchie Greer | CEO

Like a lot of people in this great city of Los Angeles, I came out to pursue a dream in the film industry. I arrived ten years ago from North Carolina with no job, very little money, and no place to stay. The little money that I did have, I used for rent (which I was lucky enough to find on craigslist). Even though I didn’t have a bed or any furniture, that didn’t matter to me. I remember going to sleep and using my clothes as a pillow. Then when I woke up the next morning, I had this overwhelming feeling of excitement and hope. I had finally made it to Hollywood and I was going to do everything I could to achieve my dreams. After almost a month of sleeping on the floor, I finally upgraded to a mattress and I really felt like I had arrived. I was so thankful to have something soft to sleep on. Read more>>

Kimberly Bradach | Founder & President

Being able to adapt to what the present situation holds. Here is a quote that I repeat often to myself from The Art of War by Sun Tzu: “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” This quote helps keep me focused, knowing that even in moments when it all looks and feels like madness, I am moving forward, I am looking for solutions, which may open new doors with endless possibilities. Read more>>

Sarah Blessinger | Intimate Wedding Planner & Designer

When I first started my wedding planning company, Kindred Weddings and Events, I very much fell into the trap of believing I needed to be everything to everyone! I needed to have the best message, I needed to paint broad strokes to get as much business as possible, and I needed to never say”no”. These lies were revealed to me during my first case of burnout. I had completed my second year working with couples and realized that I couldn’t keep doing it all, I was exhausted. I needed to find what set me apart in the wedding industry and focus on that specific niche. Branching out with many offers brought my business opportunities, but niching down brought my business consistency and quality. Read more>>

Craig Posey | Event Producer & Talent Manager

My network and relationships. In this industry relationships are key. Over the years I have met a lot of people who have become really good friends and business partners. Read more>>

Sophia Ngo | Eyelash Artist & Lip and Eyebrow PMU Artist

There are a few things that have aided in my success as a business owner and Eyelash Artist. The most important is that I am very open and honest with my clients. When clients call me, I don’t treat an inquiry any different than I would one of my regular clients. I always make a point to answer all questions, and give them guidance on their decision to get eyelash extensions or not. After that, it is up to them to decide if they want to get them done, and by whom. If they have a place in mind, I will guide them in the type of questions to ask and the things to look for in an artist. I don’t view my clients as a cash transaction, because they are more than just income to me. I care most about the integrity of my work and the health of my clients. Read more>>

Karen Nguyen | Entrepreneur, Educator & Artist

The most important factor behind my success has been consistent innovation. My mind is always thinking of new ways to serve my customers/clients. Whether it’s introducing a new product or process, I’m passionate about delivering quality results at every touchpoint of the business. While it’s important to know what competitors are doing in the market, I consider myself my biggest competitor. Maintaining this mindset inspires me to work harder, work smarter and think more creatively so I can continue to be a value-add to my clients. Read more>>

Sheena Tahilramani | Owner & Chandler in Chief

The most important factor behind my success and the success of Banter & Bliss Candle Co. is my willingness to try new things and take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself—especially at the beginning stages of the company. Now that we are out there, I can be more strategic and selective with our collaborations and partnerships but when I started, every opportunity was a chance for exposure. Read more>>

Justin Ramirez | Music Tech Entrepreneur

Mentorship has been the most important factor to building a successful business. When you start a business you are committing yourself to an ongoing learning process. Everyday I learn something new. The mentors around me help provide the “north star” through this process. When I fall, when things break, when I hit a wall, my mentors seem to offer the right words that help me find a way to move forward. I believe that I have become more gritty because I carry an obligation to earn their respect by staying the course and finding my way to success. Remembering that my mentors have families, business, their own obligations but still find time to share experience, wisdom, and strategy with me provides a sense of humility that I use to push through the difficult times of the entrepreneurial journey. Some of the life principles and ethos I live by have been adopted from the advice of my mentors. Read more>>

Hailley Howard | Photographer & Producer

My commitment to honoring my word. Sometimes I feel like a disgruntled old-timer; nostalgic for a world before plastic when things were built to last and honor was everything. Read more>>

Jen Sosa | Photographer

The most important factor behind my success is my community. Someone once told me “you are the average of the top 5 people you spend time with.” I have a core group of friends who are honest, hardworking, and are fun to be around. A college professor told me, it’s a good sign when you have fun at work. It means you will work a little harder because it doesn’t feel like a chore. Joy is a powerful connective force. It bonds you to people, makes the work experience enjoyable and you are willing to do more when you operate from that place of gratitude for life. It’s like my father would always tell me, people want to work with people they like. Read more>>

Natalie Vartanian | Relationship Coach, Strategy Consultant, Writer & Executive Director

Redefining what success looks like for me has been the most important factor behind it. Allowing my rebellious side to shun convention and get curious as to what is true for me. Because traditionally we look at success through the lens of money, fame, status, power, even influence. However most of those reasons do not actually create fulfillment. We end up getting on a hamster wheel, terrified and unable to get off. I lived that life through my late-20s, early-30s. However when I focused on my values and what truly lit me up, turned me on, then I finally found a path to success that worked for me. I value freedom, compassion, accessibility, intimacy, full self-expression, acceptance and more! And what turned me on was helping people come to their own freedom, full-self expression and sense of vitality + turn-on. Read more>>

Raymond Karago | Actor, Voice Actor , Producer & Director

For me, the biggest factor of all the success I’ve had is grabbing any opportunity that presents itself by the horns. You never know what it’ll lead to. One example, I was asked to give voice samples for a documentary 600: a soldier’s story, they liked my voice so I ended up being the narrator. It has since been to the Pan African film festival amongst others. Another project, Illville, has me playing older but it has been to the Pan African film festival. Go for it! Read more>>

Wendy Alane Wright | Leading Motivational Expert

For me success takes relentless effort and you have to be doing what you love and doing it for a reason bigger than yourself. My brand is successful because I really care about people achieving their own goals and dreams. I don’t want to see anyone die with their dream still in them. I put my heart and soul and most of my waking moments into helping people get past their own fears, procrastination, self-doubt and build them up into people who believe in themselves and can take action on their goals. I love what I do. Read more>>

Kabwasa | Hip-Hop/R&B Artist

The most important factor in my success as an artist and within my brand has been collaborating and working with the people around me. I realized early on that the most important people in growing towards your goals is working with people in the same lane as you with the same goals. every bit of progress that I have made has come from working with my peers. My best songs have been made in collaboration with my friends, even my connection with my manager is incredibly strong because it started as a friendship. Working with my peers has been the most important factor behind my successes thus far. Read more>>

Stacy Parker | Cookie Artist

I feel the most important factor behind our success is our attention to detail. We make a beautiful product that is pleasing to look at as well as delicious to taste. I started my business with the goal of providing a high-quality, organic product with clean, simple ingredients that you can taste in each bite. Our hand-decorated cookies are a passionate, creative expression for me and my team. We love what we do so our products are infused with that love. Our goal is to make you smile! Read more>>

Laurie Angress | Yoga Therapist & iRest Meditation Teacher

After years of study in the field of Yoga Therapy and meditation that so greatly enhanced my life, I knew the teachings had to be shared. When sharing tools for living a life in balance and harmony is the business, it is imperative that I practice living a balanced life. I continue to be reminded as I offer my services that I am offering a piece of myself. To be a great teacher, I need to walk my talk and practice what I preach so to speak. Practicing what I teach keeps me grounded and allows me to embody the wisdom so that what I share is authentic and relevant. Additionally, I have had to face my fears as an entrepreneur! Read more>>

Ronjini Joshua | Business Owner

It is critical to try new things and keep learning. Staying true to your values and methodology is important but if your business isn’t changing over the years to adapt and stay current, you will fall behind your competitors. Seeing and recognizing innovation has been critical to our success. We saw early on that integrated services were going to be critical, especially for the market that we were in, so instead of trying to create those departments within the business, I focused on cultivating partnerships that would enable us to stay nimble but offer anything that a startup may need in the communications sector. Read more>>