In our experience, most folks, including ourselves don’t have enough of an understanding of risk and the role it plays in our lives and careers and so we have made a concerted effort as a team to have conversations about risk with our interviewees.  We’ve shared some highlights below.

Kei Moreno | Fashion Photographer & Authors

There is a saying in my native country of Venezuela, “Who does not risk does not win“.  When I make decisions in my career, I know there are risks but I never allow fear to decide for me.  I try to live my life in a way that sees the positive in everything. After all, even when things don’t go as planned, there is something to be gained in the learning experience of it all.  Risk has always been a part of my life. I left Venezuela at a very young age to pursue a career in modeling. There were no guarantees that it would turn out well, and there were some tough times having to navigate that world at such a young age, but I am very happy I followed my heart despite the risk as it led me to where I am now.  I can say the same for photography. It was an intimidating transition to make but it has been an incredibly rewarding pursuit thus far. I think the best thing one can do to minimize risk is to educate oneself and prepare as best as you can. Read more>>

Krysta Masciale | Executive Brand Strategist

I look at risks like investments in myself. As a born and raised midwestern girl, I never considered myself a risk-taker. I followed the rules, made a plan to climb the corporate ladder and thought that’d be it. At 22, I started to become more terrified of the predictability of my future than the uncertainty of taking a leap in a new direction. Since making the decision to move to Los Angeles, I’ve lived a life of one risk after another. My husband and I do a bit of a dance between who gets to take the giant risk and when. I’m grateful our kids get to experience a household where fear doesn’t rule over creativity and vision. Read more>>

Dr. Marcy Cole | Holistic Psychotherapist & Wellness Educator

During this time of unprecedented stressors, including economic hardship, many are losing their jobs or choosing to change course. Consequently, much is being revealed regarding what is working well and what has never, perhaps, been in alignment in the first place. So for many in our country, this turbulent time of uncertainly and the dismantling of what we thought we knew or wanted will require some level of risk to let go of and move on from what is familiar; in order to find what companies, causes and possibilities you are looking for and deserve to experience, receive, and contribute to. The idea of “risk” comes from the mindset that there could be a possibility of loss or injury. When it comes to career pursuits, my perspective is that taking what you may assume to be a “risk” is really about listening to the whispers in your heart, that are calling you forth. Read more>>

Nicole Ziza Bauer | Writer & Creative Consultant

I look at risk as a gateway to growth. Healthy risk has the power to catalyst your evolution as a person, both personally and professionally, and I’ve always tried to keep that perspective when it comes to my “career.” I put that word in quotes because what I’ve done for a living has always followed my curiosity, and there’s a sense of risk with that. I’ve shifted from a lot of preconceived set paths: An acceptance to medical school to an editor at a start-up magazine, to a freelance food and travel writer, to now focusing on some personal writing and also starting homeopathy school. There’s always risk with a shift–but I think you can miss out on the unique mark you’ll leave on the world if you don’t. Read more>>

Tim Gledhill | Textile Designer & Retailer

Risk is what makes having your own business so exhilarating and also so stressful. There is no bigger risk than betting your livelihood on your own entrepreneurial venture. You are left to balance your own creativity, quality of life and financial security while riding a runaway rollercoaster. I, like a lot of entrepreneurs, am highly motivated by risk – if things start to feel comfortable we push the boundaries to grow further and become more fulfilled. Read more>>

Robert Kingi | Owner & Instructor

Life is all about taking risks! I have never been the risk averse type, probably due to being raised in martial arts, more specifically the way I was raised by my parents. We were taught to take risks, whether it was in class, in competition, or in areas outside of Kajukenbo. I took a risk by taking over our martial arts studio from my Dad over 10 years ago. At the time, I was young and taking on the responsibility of managing a studio with over 29 years of invaluable contribution to the community, not to mention the huge shoes I had to fill. I compounded this by taking an even greater risk, quitting a stable corporate position in order to manage the studio full time. Add to that, I had just recently got married and this seemed like the perfect recipe for disaster, if you look at it through a lens of fear and anxiety. Instead though, I saw an opportunity to pursue something I was passionate about, improve upon a legacy of service. Read more>>

Nicole Santolo | Production Coordinator & Filmmaker

Sometimes you plan a risk, sometimes you take a risk and fly 3,000 miles across the country on Halloween night from New York to LA for a six hour job interview 12 hours after you step off the plane. My move to LA happened randomly by chance and I still can’t believe how fast everything fell into place. In 2016, I worked for an Australian tech startup and they sent me to LA to film an interview. I was ECSTATIC because I’ve always had this fascination with LA and I did every touristy thing while I was there, including the Warner Bros. Studio Tour. I. LOVED. IT. I loved it so much, that I convinced my family to do it with me a year later on our vacation. But this time I was jobless, the Aussies laid me off. While we were waiting for our tour, my parents made me ask one of the guides how he got his job and he said he just applied online. I absolutely did not believe him and laughed all the way home. Read more>>

Marissa de la Torre | Photographer

Risk has played a major part in my life. Moving to LA a little over ten years with no job lined up with rent and my car note due was a huge risk but I knew staying where I was in the bay area I would become complacent and always think what if..So I chose to risk my comfortable surroundings to entering the unknown; Los Angeles. When I first moved to LA I quickly did what many others do who are trying to figure it out and got a couple jobs at restaurants. Some worked out and some did not. I then got a 9-5 job at a start up in the tech industry to gain some experience in an area I did not know. After a couple of years of “figuring” it out. I was not really succeeding at that part. I felt just as stuck as I did before I moved to LA, although this time I had successfully not worked at a restaurant full time. It was then I felt like it was time to make another big jump/risk and leave my cushy 9-5 office manager job to start my own thing; a dog walking/pet photography business in the heart of downtown la/dtla. Read more>>

Lupe Mora | Author, Writing Mentor & Founder

Risk-taking can be the easiest or scariest thing you do, depending on how you define “risk”. It used to be the latter for me—risking anything felt counterintuitive and, therefore, incredibly scary! I always used to play it safe, never choosing a path that wasn’t clearly laid out with all possible outcomes clearly understood, until I learned how to listen to my intuition. It may sound metaphysical, but intuition is actually something we all have heard of and probably know by other recognizable terms such a gut feeling, inner voice, or instinct. Whichever term you use, it’s all the same thing— an internal guide that always wants the best outcome for us, every single time. As a result of listening to my intuition or, in other words, learning to trust my inner voice, it became incredibly easy to take a risk or, as I now define it, making the best choice for me at that particular moment. Read more>>

Carolina Groppa | Film Producer

Taking risks is an important part of living a creative life. One cannot really exist without the other. Many of the accomplishments of my career have been direct results of risks I’ve taken…from moving to Los Angeles at 19 to figuring out how to produce and finance my first play. It’s not an easy pursuit, but it’s certainly a worthwhile one. Read more>>

Matthew Nelson | Music Producer, Songwriter & Mixing/Mastering Engineer

Taking risks has shaped my life and career every step of the way. Every leap of faith that I have taken has been as a result of an obstacle that I have turned into an opportunity. Let’s skip the first 10+ years of my journey as a musician which presented obstacles in it’s own right and get to what I think of as my first major risk. In the early 2000’s I was in a band in Chicago and was arguable the most serious or at least the most dedicated member at the time. However, in 2007, our drummer and the owner of the house who’s basement I was living and recording in, graduated from college and decided it was time to start his professional career. When he announced to the band that he accepted a consulting job in LA and invited me to hitch a ride with him, I immediately agreed. Read more>>

Tracy Newman | TV Writer, Producer, Singer-Songwriter & Guitarist

The most important factor behind any success of mine: Passion. I worry about kids who grow up without a passionate interest in anything. All kids probably have an early passion, but maybe they don’t have anyone around to encourage them. I know men and women in their late 30s with no ambition, direction, goal, etc. They might even be passionate about something, but never recognized it or understood how to pursue it as a life’s work. You have to recognize a passion in yourself and develop it. For me, it was guitar and folk music, which turned into performing and songwriting, which led me to become a co-founder of The Groundlings Improv Company, sketch writing and TV writing — All things attached to show business. When I was growing up, a lot of my female friends had passion for something, but got married early and started their family. Read more>>

Matt Kamin | Nonprofit Leader & Consultant

In my opinion, taking risks is incredibly scary, but also extremely important to get what you want. Growing up, my dad was always taking risks, teaching me to do whatever is necessary to make things happen. What I learned is that when an opportunity presents itself, you have to go for it and if you believe in yourself, it usually works out. But I also saw my dad fail a few times, which also taught me that when things do not work out, you need to learn from your mistakes, move on, and continue to the next potential opportunity. Starting Envision Consulting was a huge risk. I was the Executive Director of a nonprofit that was in a good place financially doing amazing work, and I was choosing to walk away to start a company with no business plan, no clients, and no startup funding. I was ready for my next challenge, even though I was “safe” at work. But I really wanted to try it out, and the week after my business partner and I started Envision, we landed a huge client, which was all we needed to move forward. Read more>>

Captain Woody Henderson

My career as a yachting and conservation captain has been focused in four areas. Charter flotillas, where we organize multi-boat sailing trips around beautiful islands all over the world. Writing about sailing for sailing magazines. Yacht deliveries both sail and power, specializing in long range ocean and international voyages. And running ex-Coast Guard fast cutters for the conservation group Sea Shepherd. I would say the first two have limited risk. Deliveries and on-site Conservation are a little different. Everyone has a different way that they look at risk and often, their view depends on the activity. Most people have no fear of driving everyday yet many of those people consider the risk of crossing an ocean on a relatively small boat, out of the question. Stats indicate you are safer on the boat. The risk increases of course, as the boat condition declines. Most people that hire out the moving of their yacht have decided that it was not safe for them to do it themselves. Read more>>

Shana Meyerson | Yoga Instructor & Mobile Studio Owner

There is a direct correlation between risk and reward. The more risk you are willing to take in life, the bigger the reward. I have to be honest that my entire yoga business was the byproduct of a tremendous risk. When I found yoga, I was almost a decade into my professional life (first in the film industry and then in tech/.com). I was well-situated with a great career that I loved and was simultaneously getting my MBA at UCLA. Let’s say that yoga completely blindsided me and within weeks of discovering it, I knew on a visceral level that it was what I was really meant to be doing in my life. A calling. So, I left my career and withdrew from my Master’s program in order to pursue a life of yoga. Honestly, I didn’t know if I would ever earn another dollar. And I didn’t even care. It was what I knew I needed to do. Read more>>

Daria Yushkova | Entrepreneur & Business Owner

As a famous saying goes, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” That totally reflects my life philosophy. I took risks by moving to the other side of the world twice (first from Russia to Australia and then from Australia to the United States) and both times it turned out to be highly rewarding for my professional and personal development. I started wedding photography in Australia working for a friend of mine who was a a professional wedding photographer and later on these skills became essential for opening my own studio in California. I learned how to pose the couple, give them clear directions during a photo shoot, make them laugh and feel comfortable in front of the camera. I also had a chance of working with groups and, as stressful as it was in the beginning, it proved to be invaluable for my for my photography career. Read more>>

Stefanie LaHart | Author, Speaker & Social Media Strategist

I think about risk as educated guesses that are driven by four pillars- information, emotion, value and potential. Every day and every decision has the possibility to be seen as a risk depending on your personal life, experiences and motivations. What is deemed risky to one person is not necessarily so to another person. I think in general we have a faulty view of the word ‘risk’ and rather than see it as danger, it should be seen as ‘opportunity.” I consider myself a risk taker from early on in my life in that I was not a kid that was swayed by the ideas of the crowd. I had different opinions and views of the world I grew up in and that led me to move across the country at a young age and start a new life in a new city. It was a risk that paid off. I had the freedom of new and uncharted territory which led me to build a career in a then new industry- the internet. I continued to take risks in my career when I pivoted from my successful web design business to focus on social media marketing. Read more>>

Justin Schaefers | Director

Risk is an interesting thing as a freelancer. Any wrong move could set you back or totally destroy what you have been building towards. You know we are taught our whole lives that Failure is a bad word. Do everything you can not to be a failure. That really is a backward way of thinking. Now don’t get me wrong I don’t want to fail but if you live your whole life trying not to fail you never take the risks that might help you achieve the success you ultimately want. I like to think I take calculated risks, ones that I can see all the angles of and weigh the pros and cons. Do I take this job that might pay me more money now or do I do the one that might be less money but can give me a piece for my reel that I really need or is it working with someone I really want to etc. I have also taken some big swings trying to chase something that I thought was going to change our family’s life only to have it all come crashing down and set us back big time. Read more>>

Jackie Treitz | Graphic Designer

I wouldn’t say I’m a big risk taker by nature—I’ve never been one to willingly seek out change. And yet, without a doubt, I know that it has served me well—taking chances and betting on myself has benefited me in all aspects of my life. When I quit my job and started The Paper Bakery, I was terrified—terrified to give up a steady paycheck, to embark on a new journey and to enter a world that (at the time) I didn’t know much about. And of course there was that voice, the voice that is constantly asking, “What if I’m not good enough? What if I fail?” Even though it was a huge risk, and the potential to fall on my face was there, at the same time, I felt like I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. Yes, because I was working for myself and building something to call my own; But more so, because I was investing in my self-worth and my valuable time, and designing a life for myself that suited my needs and those of my (growing) family. Read more>>

Francisco Lorite | Writer, Director & Filmmaker

Risk is somewhat relative, isn’t it? What I might consider dicey and what someone else might think of as straight-up nuts, could be worlds apart. Each year on my birthday, for example, I do something I’ve never done before (usually something that scares the bejeezus out of me), and most of those new experiences involve some level of risk: horseback riding in the mountains, parasailing, walking with a pack of wolves, etc. But I’m positive that, when I jumped out of that shockingly small plane and screamed all the way back down to Earth for 14,000 terrifying feet at 120 miles per hour, the skydiving instructor who was strapped to my back (and who was wisely put in charge of pulling the cord so we could land safely), did not even fret a little bit. Parachuting is part of who he is. It’s his passion and he couldn’t imagine his life without it. He feels lucky to be able to do it. Read more>>

Varak Sossikian | Restaurant Owner & Operator

Risk taking has become the main factor in today’s marketplace for businesses embracing the future and adapting to change. While being risk-averse may have once been a safe option, with today’s economic uncertainty this no longer holds true. Today’s economy calls for innovation and creativity, as well as the perseverance to progress with agility and adjust to new ideas quickly and effectively. In many ways, risk taking is today’s market driving force. Entrepreneurs who recognize this are the creators of those in-demand products and innovations strategically targeted to meet market demands. As quick-serve restaurant owners, risk taking and staying ahead of the curve remain especially important. While Father Nature Lavash Bistro has a well established track record and history of 36 years, taking necessary, well calculated risks remain a major factor to staying relevant with today’s tech-savvy market and consumers. Read more>>

Glenn Vilar Troy Galvan | Vegan Chefs & Business Owners

Risk is a very interesting subject. It can be very scary yet exciting. I think we like to approach risk by analyzing the positive and the potentially negative aspects. Depending on the actual risk at hand we sometimes roll the dice and hope for the best and sometimes we take the less riskier choice to make sure we come out ahead. I think starting a business at any time is a risk. You risk and sacrifice so much to put yourself our there and you push towards certain goals because like us we had a product and concept we felt was lacking and we knew that we couldn’t drag our feet in it because we needed to provide a service. ultimately i believe risk taking is a very important ingredient because you discover things about yourself that you would have never known if you’d ignored them in the first place. Read more>>

Natalia Molina | Photographer & Director

You know, for a while risk-taking was a habit, I was a highly impulsive young adult and I attracted so much abundance in experience, friendship, and inspiration and don’t regret a single thing. The day came finally when those risks became detrimental to my stability and I found myself hopping around city to city trying to figure out where to place my feet long term after a few risks “didn’t work out”. Risk-taking lost its allure and I had to figure out a balance without letting fear interfere. In this industry work comes and goes and making firm decisions can be terrifying, they can leave you sleeping on a friend’s couch for a few months while you get ghosted by clients, or they can open up doors. Essentially I don’t regret a single risk I’ve taken because those moments of strife humbled me and the aftermath of that is a person who knows their worth, knows their strength, and can make something out of nothing. Read more>>

Denise Vallejo | Plant-based Chef & Hermetic Occultist

What part of life isn’t a risk? Every decision opens a new road. I no longer want to think of life happening to me and just the result of decisions I’ve made over the years. What I see now is life unfolding because of the risks I’m willing to take. So many of us play small & fear taking risks. I try to stay rooted in the idea that I’m a co-creator of my reality & no matter what may unfold, I can create opportunities for myself that are beneficial, and I can look at any setbacks as lessons on how to play the game. I’ve made risks of applying a lot of esoteric teachings and ideas to my work. Especially with my zodiac themed supper club. Putting myself out there, labeling myself as a bruja was risky. I could be faced with ridicule, which is very common, or superstition. But over the years now I see the world is catching up. The communities I want to directly impact have all embraced these ideas of what it means to be a witch or mystic. Read more>>

Simona Popovic

I was a lawyer in Serbia, with pretty nice income and promising future in a law firm where I was working. Almost everyone said that I was completely insane for quitting that job and coming to LA to start something totally new in my late 30s. But I took that risk and so far didn’t regret it for a second. For me the biggest regret is regret for not trying something, not for not succeeding. Always follow your heart. Everything else can mislead you. Read more>>

Tyler Spangler | Freelance Graphic Designer

I am very risk averse. However my wife is the opposite. The choice to quit my job and go freelance was motivated by my wife’s optimism. In hindsight, it was the greatest thing for my career. It forced me to put 200% into creating new work, finding clients, and navigate uncharted territory. Each time I had a success it would add a little more confidence to my next project. After a while I stopped thinking about risk. It was as though it wasn’t the same mysterious boogie man it once was. Read more>>

Catherine Joy | Composer

When I was 18 I packed up my life and moved to the USA from Hobart, Tasmania. The only thing I really had squared away at that point was a place to sleep. Everything else was up in the air – including a visa! It was a massive risk. But I knew with everything in me it was the right thing to do. I have taken a lot of risks since that time and not all of them have panned out but so many have. I think my favorite one was moving to Los Angeles from Seattle in Thanksgiving 2012 to continue my career as a film composer. It was another great risk. However, before I moved I visited here many times. I met with many people, joined key organizations, and came to know the community..The result was that seven days after I had moved I received a call asking me if I was here yet, because there was a gig opportunity. All this to say that I greatly believe in Risk. Read more>>

Verónica Gopar | Executive Housekeeper

New norm is been very challenging you are putting yourself in front of the unknown untouchable sickness that has no cure your changes are survival taking a big risk for yourself your family, my profession is cleaning and has a major impact of fear, I had to change completely the ways I clean Covid 19 . You fear if I get it if I touch my face my nose, going home change my routine. These career of cleaning is super important people depend on us to be the first one to clean and make them feel safe and secure that we will clear the danger for them. My way of thinking and doing my job is very different and difficult. Read more>>