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.

Natalie Chiles | Photographer

I was a music teacher for 13 years, and I taught in a prized district with amazing colleagues for most of it. However, as my family grew my love for teaching was rerouted into my children, and I realized that teaching was not the only calling in my life. I took a risk in 2011 and left teaching, and while it was scary at the time, it was the right decision. I slowly grew my photography business as my children grew. My business is basically my fourth child. Fast forward to two years ago, and I took another risk by opening my studio in La Mesa. Having a studio space has opened opportunities to me that I would not have been privy to if I didn’t have a space in which I could be creative. Corporate and creative headshots, fine art portraits, and more are possible because I have a space in which I can create. Read more>>

Hana Pepin | Yoga Educator, Silversmith, Gemologist, Mindfulness and Meditation guide, Astrologist & Holistic Herbalist

For me, taking risks continues to journey of self growth. As a business taking risks and putting myself out there is what propelled my presence. I took the risk of failure and by doing so increased my chances for my product to be seen. Reaching out to yoga studios, going into boutiques, shops, spas and salons was intimating and a lot of people said no, but not also said yes. Now my product is featured in shops along the west and east coast of the United State as well as overseas and if i hadn’t taken the risk, who knows if id have the same success. Read more>>

Melody Jean Moulton | Artist & Gallery Owner

Risk-taking is everything. Sometimes you just have to let go, dive in, and hope for the best. I wouldn’t be where I am today or the person that I am today without getting out of my comfort zone and dipping my feet into the unknown. Read more>>

Stefanie Brendl | Executive Director

Risk-taking has been ever-present in my life and career choices. I have tried to push the envelope in every aspect of my life because I always look for something that is new, that is challenging and that will make a difference. And making comfortable, safe choices does not go along with breaking new ground. What people perceive as risky is subjective, and many of my choices may seem riskier to others than they do to myself. The difference is experience and awareness, whether that is in sports, exploration, or life choices. In my case, people perceive interacting with sharks as risk, but in reality, it is not because of the many years and opportunities I have had to help me build up good judgment and an awareness that helps me stay safe. Read more>>

Doris Lew | Makeup Artist

As a freelance makeup artist, you’re working for yourself. You’re not working for anyone which means you’re not getting a a steady paycheck or benefits. You don’t know when or where your next job is coming from or at all. As a single female, that is scary. I always wondered can I do this? How am I’m going to pay my bills or rent if I don’t get a job any time soon. So it is a risk to pursue a career as a freelance makeup artist. It is a unique career. It’s not like a ton of people are going to be knocking on your door requesting your profession. It’s a tight knit profession that only a small group of people would be interested in what I do. It’s not like opening a restaurant were everyone has to eat. No everyone is going to hire a professional makeup artist and when I first started in the business, I worked strictly in the film, TV, Photography industry. Read more>>

Morgan Johnson | Tattoo Artist & Painter

I took a lot of risks when I was first trying to get into an art career and then especially when I started apprenticing at a tattoo parlor. Risks are crucial when getting into the arts. This type of industry thrives on risk. At least, I think it does. Those who are willing to risk it all for what they love are going to really appreciate the successes and acknowledge the failures as steps forward. I remember when I was preparing for my very first solo art show, I only had .75 cents left in my bank account. Some may call that risk “irresponsible”, but I knew I had to get my work out there to survive as an artist. I ended up making double the amount I put into the show and came out of it so confident in my path forward as an artist. This isn’t always the outcome for people and maybe I got lucky, but I also believe a positive mindset needs to go along with risk to survive. Read more>>

Liz Orient | Editor & Travel Journalist

Taking risks is an essential part of life. The hardest step of the process is whole-heartedly committing to a decision. I certainly took a few risks to get to where I am in my career: I left the world of neuroscience research to become a professional editor. I also started my blog, “The Traveling Editor,” to establish myself as a travel journalist. Ultimately, the answer will always be “no” if you don’t take a chance. When the universe asks you to jump, you reply with “how high?” Read more>>

Katie Rooney | Co-Owner & Director of Operations

Risk is scary and exhilarating, but absolutely crucial as an entrepreneur. Growing up I was challenged to always try new things, new sports, new activities. I believe this helped foster a love of the unknown for me and showed me at an early age that I could still enjoy doing something even if I wasn’t that great at it. If I really wanted to be better, I would have to work for it. I have been financially independent since I was 17 so I think that also plays a huge part in my ability to take risks, mainly because I was forced to in order to survive. I didn’t have a support system to fall back on, so I had to work really hard at being successful, develop a strong work ethic early on, and become humble enough to work hard at jobs I didn’t love, but needed. Once I saw the correlation between hard work and reward (survival) I was able to seek out better opportunities. Read more>>

Diego Lapetina | Photographer & Designer

Risk is a broad and ever-present factor in our lives. But, often, we believe risk can be managed by careful organization. The meticulous planning of every step can create that sense of security that helps us to understand this fickle thing we call life. But, in reality, we can only manage what I like to call “Perceived Risks”. Perceived risks are scenarios that we can project in our minds, and as a consequence, we can plan for it. A good example of perceived risks is a hiker carrying pepper spray during a hike in bear country. The hiker understands the possibility of facing a bear and has a plan in place for how to deal with that scenario. Our ability to prepare for perceived risks grows as we explore different experiences. But, sometimes, life will present challenges that you would never be able to imagine happening. And those are the moments that make you re-evaluate your existence. Read more>>

Kennedy “EraNetik” Phounsiri | Dancer, Artist & Chef

Everyone should take risks, before they live life in regret. When I finished high school, it was either college or move to Las Vegas to pursue a professional dance career with the Jabbawockeez. Of course, I chose to follow my dreams. I was 18 years old, no money, living motel to motel for a couple months until I had enough to get my own place. Thankfully, my older brother was by my side through all this. It was one of the best times of my life. After 3 years in Las Vegas, I made a decision to move back to California to further my career elsewhere. I went back home to San Diego to be back with family before transitioning to move to Los Angeles. During my stay in San Diego, I received a television gig to compete on season 1 of TruTV’s Fake-Off, where we became finalists and lasted till the last episode. Read more>>

Anne Menik | Women’s Wellness Expert

In my early 20’s I dreamed of getting married and having a family by 25 yrs.old. My life didn’t turn out exactly as I planned. I became very ill at the age of 26 while I was undergoing fertility treatment. A simple outpatient surgery resulted in numerous life threatening surgeries and hospitalizations. The risk after several unsuccessful years with Allopathic Medicine, I fired all my doctors and refused to take anymore medication due to feeling dysfunctional and worst with the side effects. I chose to try Alternative and Holistic Medicine and it saved my life. With Becoming Vegan, Yoga, Acupuncture, Energy Healing, Meditation and Qi-Gong, the mind body connection allowed me to heal emotionally and physically. Eventually, I chose to serve others and became a Holistic Health Practitioner in return for those who helped me through healing journey. In the last 20 years, I have worked with thousands of people to achieve optimal health in mind, body, spirit. Read more>>

Rachel King | Co-Founder & Chief Development Officer

Ahhh risks. Taking risks has taken me far, but also made me get comfortable with anxiety and fear. I like taking educated risks. Risks that I have a chance at succeeding if I work hard and do things right, but still have a little fear in my mind regarding failure. Thoughtful risks truly are my MO. I thrive on them. I live in the slight discomfort and find motivation from the possibility of it not working out. My culinary journey has been marked by milestone risks. I wanted to go to culinary school for a long time. I thought about it for quite a while. We’re talking years of thinking. Then one day I dropped out of Law School. The following Friday I enrolled in culinary school. The Monday after that, I started school. Everyone close to me couldn’t believe it. Read more>>

Asha Mody | Brand Strategist

RISK: Taking a risk opens up an entire new world of possibilities for you. It makes you feel like there is no end to your passion. Taking a risk is the best way to overcome your own weaknesses and confusions. Personally, taking a risk actually makes me feel more confident about my own abilities and make me feel good about the things I can achieve in life. I took a risk by changing my career from accounting to design. For marrying an unknown person through arrange marriage in 1 month time from first meet to get married and country change. I took the risk of closing down my business, leaving my family in India and coming on H4 visa (no work permit) with my life partner. In my career I negotiated a job offer. I stood steady on my ground and offered to work for the company I wanted to (Chosen Foods) instead of choosing what they offer. Which gave me fulfillment to work on my passion (food + design) and grow. Read more>>