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.

Malcolm Bohm | CEO

Recognizing the need to take a risk to realize the opportunity has been something I’ve always been comfortable with. If I don’t do this I won’t make it or I won’t achieve it or I won’t win it. Looking for the opportunity, assessing the risk and taking it is part of my makeup. It’s not that I’m cavalier or reckless, I always look at the risk reward balance but I won’t shy away from the unknown. Throughout my professional career this is true. I recall my first interview at my first pharmaceutical company – I truly had no idea what the job really entailed but I took the offer and jumped in head first. When I decided to leave the relative security and comfort of corporate America to start a new company I knew it was the right thing to do. I always describe it as jumping off the Titanic without a parachute. I was free falling to fatal crash or I’d make it back to the surface and swim. As my career has progressed through 3 of my own companies over approx 20 years I have gained more experience (some might say wisdom) and that gives you greater ability to assess the risk. Read more>>

Marisol Amezcua | Cake Artist

You will never know what you are capable of, if you DO NOT try. My whole career has been about risk taking. I mistakenly found my passion by entering a competition I knew nothing about! At the age of 14, I entered SkillsUSA thinking it was an after school activity. Weeks flew by when I was handed a stack of papers, of what is to be expected for this competition. I was panicked and confused. I followed through this competition, knowing I have zero experience. At this moment, I mistakenly found my passion for cake decorating. At the age of 15, I got my first job at a grocery store bakery, as a cake decorator. I gained confidence and experience for the future competitions, I already had in mind. My senior year, I made a promise to myself to place at State. I was so determined, I packed my suitcase with already made buttercream icing and bread dough. All of this to practice in my hotel room a day before competition. Read more>>

Valentine Svihalek | Abstract Painter & Educator

I’m all about jumping heart and head first, an approach that ensures I’m always learning and growing. I believe this is essential for a creative. Discovery, pushing the boundaries, necessitates our willingness to dive in to the unknown over and over again. If we are not sensing, observing, developing, evolving, unearthing, creating, sharing… what’s the point? Read more>>

Brittany Keeling | Founder of Be Elevated, a Launch and Business Operations Agency

I believe that taking calculated and intentional risks are essential to creating something great. When I think about those that I look up to, I see intentionality, innovation, and someone that has stepped so far outside of their comfort zone that they had no other option than to make it work. That’s the same approach I’ve taken in my business. Many decisions I’ve made haven’t exactly made sense on paper – but when you’re creating something that nobody else has done, you have to learn to trust yourself and your intuition around what the right risks and decisions are. It was a risk when I invested my last $5,000 into my business to get it off the ground in 2019. It was a risk when I decided to let go of ALL of my retainer clients just one year later, in order to restructure and rebuild everything my company was doing. It was a risk to hire my first full-time employee just 3 months after letting all of those retainer clients go. Read more>>

Heather Binns | Health & Fitness Strategist

Risk is invaluable! Since the moment of conception, risk is an inevitable part of life. This doesn’t mean the level of risk involved in any circumstance is either determined or gauged by us, but it does have an effect on every moment of our existence. Most people think of risk on a grander scale, versus the risk of every moment in our life. In that the grander scheme of things, I am a big risk taker! Part of the reason I am not afraid of taking big risks is because of the excitement it brings along with the uncertainty of the outcome. Especially if the reward outweighs the risk. Most often, the greater the risk, the greater the reward. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t taken any major risks in life. Many of those risks were followed by success, while others led to a newly learned lesson…what others may call loss. Read more>>

Imani Wade | Influencer & Author

I’ve always been a risk taker, yet for years I took impulsive and nearly stupid risks. This led me to making bad decisions, and overtime it was difficult for me to trust myself. Yet over the last 3 years of my life, I’ve been learning how to trust my gut, and I lean into my faith. I know that if something keeps popping up in my mind, then it is worth pursuing. I also have this fear of waking up one day thinking “what if I would’ve just done ___”. Read more>>

Yago Mann | Music producer and guitar player

I think risk taking is essential for growth. But it can also be scary. Looking back to some of the happiest and most important moments of my life, I was definitely in front of a crossroad. And the best outcome always came after choosing the scariest option. The way I see it is: you can’t avoid messing some things up, so when the time comes, take that risk, make the decision and move on. If it was the wrong one, now you know better! Either way, you’ll grow and learn. But don’t just stand there without doing anything. Read more>>

Carly Topazio | Artistic Director, Professional Dancer, & Multidisciplinary Artist

My life has been defined, in every way, by taking risks. From a very young age, I’ve always been drawn towards overcoming challenges, and confronting my fears. Proving myself, if you will. I’m not exactly sure why, but it might have something to do with being the only girl and the youngest of three, I always wanted to show that I could run with my brothers and excel the way I saw them succeed. I didn’t ever want to be told I couldn’t play on their team because I was too weak or not good enough. I’ll admit, some risky endeavors, like jumping off a ski lift as a child, might not have been the wisest of choices, but even just the practice of consistently taking risks, whether consciously or not, has made me more comfortable with feeling fear, living with it, and pushing forward regardless. For me now, risks, fear, trepidation, anxiety, or discomfort are synonymous with possibility, and opportunity. Read more>>

Jess Novello | Owner of Flora & Fauna Candle Co

You know that song by O.P.P, “Naughty By Nature?” Well, I think I’m “Nervous By Nature.” I’ve never been skilled at risk taking. I’ve unfortunately lived a lot of my life afraid and let that fear dictate what I will and won’t do. I started to realize in my 20’s that the only thing holding me back from living a richer, more vibrant life was myself. I started to force myself to put myself out there in a variety of different ways: education, relationships, opportunities, etc. Every risk I took didn’t always pan out the way I wanted it to, but every time I took a risk, I found myself feeling more confident and more resilient. Starting my own business was a huge risk, and one that kept me from moving forward with my ideas for quite a while. I’m so glad I finally took the risk of launching Flora & Fauna because it’s been such a great way for me to grow personally and I am also so passionate about what I create! Read more>>

Allan Quijano | Footwear designer

Risk. Risk played a huge part in my success/business today. The bad thing about risk is that you’re left thinking about what would happen if I did or didn’t take it. Going back to why It played a huge role in my life/career, I took a risk not going the traditional route. I knew I was meant to chase my passion and to show others that it’s okay not follow the same path as everyone else. Read more>>

Krista Marcheschi | Events and Marketing Director

Eleanor Roosevelt said “Do one thing every day that scares you.” I’m not a fan of quoting people, but I heard this a long time ago and it really resonated with me. Life is far too short to play it safe, especially if you want to leave a dent in this world. You must jump in, and only then, devise a plan around where you land! I realized that if I wanted something, I had to make it happen for myself, and with that taking risks has driven my life and career path to where I’ve landed today. To say I am an adrenaline junkie is somewhat of an understatement and outside of the traditional daily risks that many take, I (in align with most entrepreneurs) often choose the unconventional path for just about anything. I’m a firm believer in Bigger the Risk, Bigger the Reward but I don’t necessarily believe that the benefits are instant. The risks we take become steppingstones to the reward we seek over time. Read more>>

Stephanie Spence | Award-Winning Author, Yoga Scholar, Activist, Global Citizen, and Creative Leader

Risk taking has been extremely positive in my life. It’s important to define just what that is first. Risk behaviors fall along a spectrum: On one end of the spectrum are negative risks, which are generally antisocial or dangerous. Positive risk-taking is about learning new things and exploring unfamiliar territory. The risk is positive because, while it still evokes a feeling of uncertainty or fear, you develop a new skill or there’s a possibility of a positive outcome. Personally, I’ve learned the most in life from challenges (meeting and moving through them), pain (physical, emotional, and spiritual), and taking risks (in business and in my personal life). By far the greatest risk I have taken is learning how to use my voice – personally and in my writing. As a former CEO of my own magazine publishing business, I impacted many people by providing uplifting and inspiring editorial. Read more>>

Fa-Harra F. Vision | Entrepreneur/Artist

Nearly everything I have is the result of taking risks. To start a business when practically no one believed in my vision was a big risk but, I now have a thriving business that’s growing every day. Another huge risk was moving to California and leaving the only home I’ve ever known. People thought it was crazy to move so far without really any support or immediate life lines. But, in doing so, I’ve connected with people I never dreamed I would meet and I’ve only scratched the surface. I believe there’s always a level of uncertainty when taking any kind of risk but for me, my greatest risks have led to my greatest rewards. Read more>>

Andrew Barrack | Content Creator & Musician

If you don’t take any risks, you can’t expect any rewards – it can be that simple. This philosophy applies to both our personal and professional lives separately and together. What I had to first learn in all of this is how important developing a belief in yourself is, which can also be a challenge at times, but something you have to take a risk the initial on. Once you realize how much you are capable of achieving, the concept of “risk” in other areas of your life won’t seem so intimidating. Once you develop this necessary self-confidence, you can create an unlimited opportunity for your future. Leaving a full-time job at a great company to start my own media company (Full Wave Creative) was no doubt a risk, but I realized one day how many opportunities were out there to chase. I had to take the risk of fully trusting in my skillset, my network, and myself. Read more>>

Guzel Khosnullina | Freelance Photographer

I took the biggest risk when I moved to the United States by myself. I was 21 years old. Since then, risk has always been by my side, it became an essential part of my life. I had to learn a new language and a new culture from scratch, by myself. That said, going out of my comfort zone and embracing risk has also been the main driving force of my life and career. Moving to San Diego and starting my career as a photographer was one of the hardest, but very inspiring moments in my life. I decided to spend all my time learning photography and grow my creative social media channel. The main risk was that I had no stable income and no secured future – but I did it anyway. Read more>>

D Benzo | Tattoo artist & generally awkward

I believe taking risks is a major key in being successful and progressing in your goals. Regardless if the risks pay off or not there’s always something to be gained from the experience. I still tend to overthink and doubt myself but in the back of my mind I know ill never get anywhere playing it safe. Taking the risk to move here when I didn’t have much, being out of my comfort zone, and traveling on a very tight budget are just a few things that have helped me grow mentally and also given me experiences that ill cherish forever. Read more>>

Gary Hawkins | Ex-engineer and author of ‘A Life Redesigned.’

My willingness to take risks depends on the circumstances. When there is nothing to lose, then taking a risk is a simple choice of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ based on whether I want to do this? If, however, failure carries a high penalty, risk must be carefully assessed. When you and your family decide to embark on, ‘A Life Redesigned,’ a failure to execute your plan has substantial risk, and thus, embarking on this course must be thought through carefully. That is, thoughtful consideration has been given to the probability of failure and the extent of the reward. Reducing the chance of failure to a minimum requires careful planning, and that is why my book, “A Life Redesigned’ examines all aspects of preparing for this type of lifestyle change. The most important items to organize if stepping away from the traditional American Dream are finances, medical coverage, and schooling. Of course, there are many more significant, but less critical areas to consider as well. Read more>>

James Bene | Owner of Bene Mudra Wellness & Singer/Songwriter

Its seems like my entire life has been a risk. I am no stranger to the feeling of having to jump in order to make my life happen the way I envision it to be. Choosing the life of an artist and an entrepreneur is risky business. It comes with zero guarantee! It seemed really good on paper when I was much younger and eager to give up everything to follow my dreams. As I got older I realized the amount of work it would take along with faith and determination to make it happen. As a singer/songwriter and a spiritual teacher I have learned that no matter what, you must put some sort of effort into your craft everyday without judgement or outside validation. Forget about motivation and inspiration….this comes and goes. You can’t wait until it feels right…you have to just do it. I spent a very long time wishing and hoping, trying to manifest my life in my mind instead of actively taking part in the process. Life feels risky if you are not taking a risk! Read more>>

Eloy Manalo Jr. | Photographer & Cinematographer

Everything in life is a risk. Pushing yourself creatively and emotional is a risk. Doing nothing is also a risk. It’s how you manage that risk and weighing out your options that can make you grow overtime. Read more>>

Beorht Lewinski | Actor & Model

How do I think about risk? I’m an individual who believes you can achieve and overcome anything you set your mind to, by any means necessary! Reward without risk.. ? said no one ever. it’s true you definitely can’t control everything but what you can control is your emotions, reactions and yourself. Taking Risks has played a big part of how I view my world. For example I know I’m not perfect for every single role I want but in my career as an actor and model I like to take a chance at every single opportunity that comes my way. CASTING INFO – Caucasian, 6’6 , piercing blue eyes, my stats say otherwise African American, 5’11, brown eyes. regardless of the details I still apply because I have something to prove I deserve to be in the conversation and around the table when the decisions are being made. I’m just as good as the rest, Am not in competition with anyone but myself I’m here to provide my talent and skill and do what I love. Read more>>

Erin Kluzak | Wedding and Event Florist

Starting your own business is exciting, but not without risk. The fear of the unknown is real: will you succeed, fail, or fall somewhere in between. Flowers by Erin was born in December of 2002 with the simple intention of arranging a friend’s wedding flowers and since then I had many years “in between.” I am not ashamed of this; and in fact, it has made me love what I do with even more passion—it is a part of who I am. The wedding industry is seasonal, my ability to manage finances in the beginning were sorrowfully lacking, markets crashed and many couples were unable to afford the wedding of their dreams. Even now, a year into COVID, the wedding and event industry, most industries, are at a virtual standstill. So many small business owners are struggling to stay in business with many more individuals foregoing their dream to start businesses of their own. I am originally from Bay Park in San Diego. Read more>>

Kayla Leday-Poole | Intuitive Tarot Therapist

I personally love taking risk. I think that is truly where the reward resides. I’ve been taking risk in major ways in my life since I graduated high school. Risk teach you life lessons. Risk are a 50/50 chance but that’s where faith comes into play. I’ve realized most don’t take risk because they are afraid of failure. I’ve gained the wisdom of know that there is no true failure in life. Just lessons that show you how to go about succeeding in a healthier way. What my brand is about and stands for is a risk. I’ve had to risk losing my family over what I do, because they are highly religious and are completely against spirituality. I realized I’m at more peace without them controlling my life choices and decisions. It’s brought me to an even closer place with God. Then, comes society and how it’s viewed. Read more>>

Body Salt | Musical duo

Ultimately not taking risks is the largest risk of all. Choosing to not challenge yourself and remain complacent cultivates the most regret at the end of a life. That being said, as musicians we have had to embrace so much risk. Projecting true venerability in the face of almost certain rejection, such as contacting hundreds of industry professionals while constantly hearing crickets, releasing music that at times falls on deaf ears, and playing to sometimes empty rooms can be very difficult. Also forgoing opportunities that provide more finacial stability is incredibly risky. In a society that places so much external value on men’s financial competency, pursuing a career that is almost laughed at as a real career pursuit in most circles is a huge social hurdle to overcome. However, Body Salt has been an exercise in embracing the growth and beautiful experiences that accompany risk and doing things that are difficult for one’s true belief in art and creation. Read more>>

Lydia Kulka | Interior Designer/Staging Expert

Risk has been a huge factor in the success of my business. When I was contemplating switching careers, from my six figure corporate job, I figured out what the least amount of money I would need to survive every month. The decision was hard, and quite frankly risky. I was giving up a good income, benefits, 401k, medical, vacation, all to start my own business that I wasn’t sure could make the same amount of money. But with big EDUCATED risks, come big rewards. I capitalize educated because you can’t just hope for the best, you have to work for it. When you look at what it is you want to do, is there a need for it? Is this something people will pay for or want? If the answers are yes, then taking a risk would be an educated one. If you are going in blind and don’t know those answers, then it would not be. Those risks can fail quickly. Read more>>

Rock Vitale | CEO of

I have always been conscious about minimizing risk in any business endeavor. I look for an “asymmetric risk profile” where the amount invested (time or money) is dramatically lower than the potential return on investment. Given the state of technology in 2021, it is not uncommon to invest a small amount and have a return on that investment that is significant. All that said, everything is always clear in hindsight, so do not beat yourself up if your plan does not work out or if you need to pivot. Read more>>

Carly Hodson | Crunch Fitness, LLC. Vice President, San Diego & Fresno

I took a huge risk several years ago, when I left another fitness company and accepted a position at Crunch Fitness. The potential for growth for my aspirations at the previous company were non existent. I’m a practical person, and I weighed my options but I also did a lot of self reflection. Prior to leaving the company, I wanted to make sure that I personally exhausted all of my resources to grow and develop. Essentially, I concluded that my values and beliefs had changed over the course of the 10 years as did the companies. I could stay there and be stagnant or leave. I chose to leave and restarted my career essentially from the ground up. I couldn’t be happier with my decision. In a little over 3 years, I progressed from Assistant General Manager, to General Manager, District Operations Manager, District Sales Manager, and now Vice President of our franchise California Clubs. I have been fortunate enough to have mentors and supervisors who share the same vision and work ethic. It is truly an honor to work along side our teams in club and above club. The talent and work ethic that I’m surrounded by on a daily basis is nothing short of inspirational. Read more>>