We asked some brilliant folks from the community to talk to us about how they think about risk and the role risk has played in their lives and careers.

Stephanie Hawthorne | Real Estate Agent

I have been selling residential real estate for about 10yrs and only recently got into commercial investing. The first investment was in a little commercial building/restaurant in 2019. I met a guy, Jesse Scott who asked me if I would be interested in partnering in the purchase with him. At this time in my career I have bought and sold residential only. Our business ethics and practices align so I thought Why Not? The purchase would be considered risky as we didn’t have any experience in commercial real estate. Read more>>

Lauren Pollema | Mental Health Therapist

Risk has always been something I have tried to avoid. My whole life I have been a planner and have been able to plan my life out in a way that did not involve too much risk taking. Beginning in high school, I knew I wanted to be a therapist and I outlined the path for myself to get from one step in the process to the next. Risk is vulnerable and scary and I much preferred to stick the the script I had set out before me. But I have also learned that the best ideas come out of taking risk and that I needed to develop some tolerance of this uncomfortability because a life without risk is not realistic. Read more>>

Leah Chutz | Art Director / Designer

I’ve never really considered myself a “risk-taker”, but I think a lot of people in my life would say I am. I think taking risks comes fairly natural to me because I love to try new things. Whether I’m traveling, eating something different, trying a new creative process or medium that I’m not used to – I like stepping out of my comfort zone. Moving from Colorado to Taiwan six years ago to challenge myself and the status quo of what the timeline of my life should look like, was probably one of the riskiest, but best decisions I’ve ever made. I ended up living there for 5 years and grew more than I ever could’ve imagined personally, and professionally as a creator. Read more>>

Breanna Banks | @mywildsidekick

For us, life is all about risk taking. I used to be afraid to do things that made me afraid, but after finding myself in an environment that Bellamy and I weren’t thriving in, we took a risk and I quit my job and moved across the country. Bellamy has always been brave though. When we are hiking, he will always choose the riskiest path or try to jump on the tallest boulder. It’s my job to make sure he can be brave while also being safe. But he teaches me to be a little bolder and that taking risks often brings the greatest rewards. Read more>>

CRISTINA SCHUTZ | Co-Owner | Master Designer

Starting our own business(es) is risky, entrepreneurship in and of itself is risky. But we do not like to get too caught up in this as we know it will limit our success. Do we ask ourselves important questions before taking the leap, of course. But if you do not lean into your fear you will never grow. We spent much of our previous careers playing it safe, staying within our comfort zone, and not going to lie, it was nice there! However, feeling day in and day out that you are not living up to your true potential, and not doing what you are passionate about overrules the fear and we went for it. Read more>>

Kellie Falbo | Executive Director

We use collaboration as a basis for our work. We acknowledge that there is much to learn in the social impact space. We align ourselves with people who are willing to learn and organizations that are willing to teach. We connect with our community on relevant and timely issues that need to be addressed. We are a resilient organization that is not afraid to take risks and we possess a willingness to fail, understanding that the greatest failure is not trying at all. We’re not afraid to roll up our sleeves and get to work. The growing and evolving nature of sustainability reminds us that we can’t know everything, so we look to our partners for support and strategies. Read more>>

John Thomas Dodson | Orchestra Conductor

My relationship to risk has changed over time. Risk is, of course, related to our fears of failure, and so most of us avoid it if we can. But I began to notice that the best musicians I worked with weren’t avoiding risk, they were going toward it. They were leaning into the dangerous waters every chance they had. I began to realize that was those waters were where their genius was to be found. One day I asked one of them – a musician I really respect – “How did to come to be so at home with this level of constant risk?” He answered back, “I finally realized that I’ll never find what I’m seeking if I’m comfortably in the middle of the road. Read more>>

Taylor Anderson | Real Estate Agent

While I am naturally the kind of person who would rather play it safe than throw caution to the wind, taking risks has shaped every accomplishment I have ever had. I went to school at Colorado Christian University to get a degree in Business Administration. Shortly after I enrolled, I was in a car accident that really prohibited me from reaching my full potential at the time. I had always been a straight-A student, so not having the same capability I grew up with was devastating. After shifting between the mentalities of “pursuing something greater” and “failing at the one thing I had always planned on”, I made the decision to put a pause on school and pursue my real estate career. Read more>>

Theo Wecker | Photographer & Software Engineer

I took a huge risk starting a photography business. When I was fresh out of my degree, I met a woman who really pushed me to follow what I wanted to do in life. I had no back-up plan but, still, I decided to give my dream a shot. I quit my job and started searching for freelance jobs. It was slow starting but they started to roll in, even in a small town in the Midwest (where my wife was attending university). I took risks to drive to Chicago and to go to places I had never imaged, like spectacular cooking events hosted by tourism boards for different countries. I made a lot of mistakes along the way, but that’s just part of the risk isn’t it? Read more>>

Krista Bayer-Toth | Brand & Partnerships Manager

Risk – what a loaded word. Its definition is “a situation involving exposure to danger,” but what is life without a little bit of danger, really? If you don’t take risks in life, you don’t get put in situations where you grow, either by choice or by force, and if you don’t grow, you don’t blossom. I’ve honestly always taken risks. In college I decided to take the risk and switch my major to graphic design after spending 2.5 years in the exercise science program because I just wasn’t happy, knowing that the careers looked vastly different and having been told for years that “artists make no money.” Read more>>

Monica King MA LPCC | Somatic Therapist & Curandera

I grew up in south of here along the Rocky Mountains in Santa Fe. Around there you are kind of taught a more rural way of life that has an intrinsic high risk tolerance built into the lifestyle. We are taught to live with a sense of self and sense of grit that turns into resilience later in life. Survival of the fittest baby! This high risk tolerance has been the most valuable aspect of building my career. The ability to move with agility, shape-shifting, and dancing through life is so critical these days. Our economy is sometimes unpredictable, and the way we navigate making money on a personal level requires bodacious skills of pivoting what we offer on a regular basis. Read more>>