We asked some of the city’s rising stars to reflect on what made a difference in their journey. We asked them to tell us about what they think the most important factor has been behind their success.

Dana Stillman | Graphic Designer

The most important factor behind my success is that I love doing what I do and creating a bridge for investment for my Clients. Building a visual identity that represents the story of an individual and/or a business, makes people feel beautiful. And creating the right narrative for people to talk about themselves and/or their business effectively, develops confidence. The combination paves the way for future investment as people want to invest in companies that invest in themselves. I truly love helping Clients move that needle in their success. Similarly, I continue to invest in myself and Inspire Graphic Design. Whether the investment is specific to business or my own personal growth (as my brand is an extension of myself) there is always an opportunity to build upon or rethink what you already know. I stand by the following four foundational pillars of strength: adaptability, always seeing through the eyes of a beginner, building partnerships, and problem solving. Continuing to evolve how I navigate business and the world, continues to create new opportunities and improved ways of helping others. Read more>>

Janessa Alexandra | Denver Photographer & Digital Content Creator

The most important factor behind my success would have to be my willingness- my willingness to show up when I need to. The willingness to struggle, and constantly push myself for the greater good. Striving to see & portray the world in such a different and beautiful point of view. It has been such an amazing journey getting to build my craft, and being able to share it with those around me!. Read more>>

Kristina Rosa | Educator turned Innovator

There are three major factors that have aided me in having a successful brand. Firstly, I create from what I know and put my heart into each of my sets. My knowledge as a prior teacher and a mother help me to see how children will most benefit from the activities. As an educator you have very little time and resources to create new materials, so making these sets attainable and affordable is very important to me. I often joke that I love what I do so much that I’d even do it for free! Secondly, I do not have much competition. I stumbled into a market that really doesn’t exist much and is highly sought after. What I make is virtually unique and one of a kind. Lastly, and probably the most important factor behind the success of my brand is communicating with my customers and making sure that they receive their orders on time and are 100% satisfied with them. I have a lot of repeat customers and my business would not be as successful without them. Read more>>

Nikolai Puc’ | Professional Photographer

The most important factor behind the success I have had so far as an Artist is heavily attributed to the simple but powerful act of not fearing rejection when pursuing opportunities. This means so much to me because the entire Concert photography portion of my company was built solely on the mindset of just asking people for the chance to showcase my skills and passions. You wouldn’t believe the number of opportunities that can come from simply asking permission to do something. Whether it be asking a band to shoot their show or even just asking someone on the street to take their portraits, breathtaking and important moments can occur when the fear of rejection is absent in mind. Read more>>

Jahna Church | UX Designer & Artist

For me, besides consistency and goal-setting, I attribute a lot of my success this far to staying true to myself and the messages I want to share through my work. By doing that, I have attracted wonderful people into my life and improved my business’s identity. Since I have learned about myself and the woman I want to be, I continuously feel encouraged and supported by others when I am my authentic self. And because of that, I am far more confident and driven to speak my truth and use my art as a microphone for activism. I’ve been grateful to realize that a lot of people are willing to listen when the message is coming from an empathetic place that encourages solidarity, understanding, and love. Read more>>

Michael Linert | Musician

Creating connections! A large part of my work and passion revolves around connecting people to one another through music education and performance. Good music can stand alone as a wonderful facet of life all by itself, but it can be even more powerful to enhance lives through meaningful connection. Giving someone the gift of music education or a meaningful performance is one of the greatest gifts one can give!. Read more>>

Sarah Cannizzaro | Custom Dessert and Cake Designer

Far and away the most important factor behind any success I’ve encountered has been wholly due to my husband. He is the one who fostered my passion for baking and cake design in the early exhaustive evenings where I worked tirelessly in the kitchen after coming home from a grueling day at the office. He encouraged me to leave a high paying career in order to pursue something that I loved, and he has been on this journey with me every step of the way. Matthew designed the website, drew our logo, takes all of our photos, transformed his office into a custom studio for me and watches our two young boys while I work. When disaster strikes, he’s the one who starts the coffee, tells me I can do it, and stays up with me all night. When it’s done he’s the one I toast with a victory shot. Honey and Ry is truly a team endeavor. Honestly, I get to create because he does all the hard stuff. Read more>>

Nina Cashman | Founder & Coach / Pave Your Way

Persistence. In fact, I think this word defines the difference between those who make, versus those who don’t. There are peaks and valleys in anyone’s career and life — times of perceived success, as well as those of perceived failure. I think it’s those who can ride the constant between these two counterpoints who stick around. Those who don’t rest on their laurels due to a couple of successes, and those who don’t throw in the towel due to a couple of losses. People who are persistent and curious about how to become more masterful in their work are not only those who stick around, they’re people who others seek-out. Persistence in any endeavor leads to a state of flow that can only be described as pure joy. And, what could be considered more successful than pure joy itself? So, what’s the most important factor behind the success of my coaching practice, I’d have to say persistence. Read more>>


The most important factors behind my success has been continuing education and certifications, clinical support from Dr. Reo Leslie, LMFT, LPC, LAC, MAC, RPT-S, ACS, AAMFT Approved Supervisor (CEO of the Colorado School for Family Therapy) and Dr. Evelyn Leslie, Ph.D., MAC, LMFT, LAC, RPT-S, and having a steady home life which enables me to focus on my career. Read more>>

Kate Homel | Artist

Art is the ultimate form of catharsis and healing for me. I am interested in using myself and the female form to express vulnerability and emotion. Most of my inspiration comes from my journals, the processing of trauma, and reflections of the everyday struggles facing most young women. For the past few years I’ve been working on self publishing a book featuring a collection of watercolor pieces paired with some of my writing. The body of work I have been making most recently is a series of large-scale self-portraits in oil paint, reflecting similar themes of the struggle, joy, and beauty of womanhood. I believe the honesty and vulnerability in my art is what makes it relatable and emotional. I see my work as a direct reflection of my life, thoughts, and feelings. This connection to the viewer is what I consider to be the works greatest success. Read more>>

Meg Atteberry | Copywriter, Content Writer, and SEO Specialist

impact on my growth. I did this by choosing to step away from social media and instead focus on nurturing genuine connects with my most wanted audience. Social media never felt like an authentic platform to market my services. Something about it always felt fake and forced and I constantly found myself feeling “less than” whenever I used the platform. So instead I focused on what I do best, email marketing, person-to-person outreach, and passive sales strategies through SEO (search engine optimization).
My business specializes in helping women-owned businesses stop hustling and start selling in an authentic, passive way through on-brand copyrighting with strategic SEO. So I walk the walk and that’s how I generate interest in my brand and what I do. I’ve found that stepping away from social media has not only freed up a tremendous amount of time, money, and energy in my business but it’s also enabled me to be more genuine in my marketing. Read more>>

Chris Marchio | Founder and Head Brewer

I would say the most important factor behind the success of Knotted Root is not compromising our intentions about who we are, both in the traditional and experimental nature of our brewing process, the quality of our products, and above all, presenting them in a way that people can relate to while also pushing their conceptions what one can expect from a craft brewery. We started off with a vision and although there have been areas where we’ve had to evolve and adapt, we’ve stayed adamantly true to our mission. This can be felt in our labels and our marketing approach. In some cases, we may do things that seem counterintuitive or even by accident, where pieces of a release will line up perfectly and serendipitously. The artwork, the flavors, the rustic feel of our taproom, our staff: everything has come together to create something that is greater than the sum of its parts. I am so thankful that people are picking up what we’re putting down in such a enthusiastic way. Read more>>

Emma Przybyslawski | Technology Advocate for Defense

100% of my success is because of the people I have been fortunate enough to surround myself with. From colleagues to family, I have an incredible network that I lean into for support, constructive criticism, deeply examining losses, and – perhaps the best part – celebrating wins! These people come from all walks of life, with different professional and personal backgrounds. Because of this, I am certain the success of my brand is owed to them. I am able to learn lessons quickly through diversity of thought and experience, and bring better, more creative ideas to my clients. This makes me more valuable to them and elevates my brand. Read more>>

Patrice Bazile | Massage Therapist and Energy Healer

I feel grateful that I’ve never really had to market my massage therapy and energy healing practice. The vast majority of people that come to me arrive via clients referrals. I believe one reason why is that is, is because I really focus my practice on connections. Connecting people back to themselves, their body and their inner knowing. I think in these days especially with covid it is so easy to lose that connection and we are starving for it. Read more>>

Laura Posiak | Butcher, Restaurateur

When I look back on the timeline that brought me here, I think of all the different parts of the food industry I sought to experience; feeling the thrill of the line in the kitchen of a top San Francisco restaurant, spending hot summer days on a tractor tilling fields for next year’s crops, making skin sausage alongside an old Italian butcher. Though all that time it felt wrong not to commit to one specific trade, I now know each experience was an essential building block of the business, and having them was imperative to being where I am now. Read more>>