We asked some of the most interesting folks in the community to open up about how they think about taking chances and the role risk has played in their lives and careers. Risk is by far the topic folks talk to us most about and we hope the responses below will help shed light on many different perspectives.

Heather Chavez | Photographer/Owner of Heather Ann Photography

When thinking about risk I think about the move my family and I made from Florida to Colorado. Rewind to my husband and I discussing how we thought we were finally ready to make an out of state move. I am from CT and my husband, David, is from NY so FL has never really felt like home (I actually loathed it). We thought Asheville, NC was the place for us and we visited the area and loved it. Shortly after we found out we were pregnant with our third child and thought it was best to hold off until after our baby was born before we moved. Then when we thought we were ready again COVID struck the world. Do people move during a pandemic? That was our thought when the world was going through a bit of a shock. Read more>>

Brittni Shambaugh Addison | Education Director

I am a strong believer that if you don’t try something, you will never know if it would have worked out. Before I started working at Creede Repertory Theatre, I was living and working full-time in New York City. I wasn’t planning to leave, and I had never even heard of Creede, but I happened to stumble across the job posting and thought to myself “this seems like a dream job.” So I took a risk, and applied in secret. When I was offered an interview, I revealed the secret to my husband, who encouraged me to take the risk. When they offered to fly me out for an in-person visit, I again took the risk. Read more>>

Kara Hudzinski | Wedding, Elopement & Portrait Photographer

I wouldn’t be where I am or who I am today without risk. It’s like they say, “no risk, no reward”. I didn’t really apply that to my life until a few years ago. I grew up following a path that seemed “normal”. There didn’t seem to be another path I could take. Sure, investing in a college education was a risk, and taking a job as a nurse in an intensive care unit was a risk. At the time, however, that just seemed like what I was supposed to do. And then day after day, I was forcing myself to go to a job that made me mentally miserable. When I made the decision to be a nurse at the age of 20, I didn’t know how much life would change, and I would grow in 10 years. Read more>>

Kim Rivera | Artist

When I think about risk, I think about unique growth opportunities. When I take risks, I rely more on intuition and what decision will bring me more peace and freedom than anxiety. I primarily focus on whether or not I can imagine myself in one situation over the other. Over the last few years, I have taken risks with jobs, moving, and pursuing projects that I have never done before. Each risk ultimately influenced my artistic pursuits over time. Read more>>

Sarah Carpenter | Culture Editor | Food Writer | Aspiring Anthrojournalist

When I think about risk, I think about Travel. If it wasn’t for the teacher’s assistant who talked me into leaving the country for the first time on a study abroad trip to Guadalajara in college, I never would have discovered that writing for travel could actually be a thing. If I hadn’t taken the leap a few years ago traveling solo for the first time, stumbling my way through meeting strangers and keeping track of myself on my own in San Diego, I wouldn’t now be preparing to move there and go to grad school for anthropology. In an era plagued with disconnection and uncertainty, traveling can not only bridge humanity, but also reveal to us that we have the capability of navigating the unknown. And as the industry continues to change to make travel more accessible to everyone, may our risks become more graceful. Read more>>

Laura Bodine | DNP, FNP-BC, NP-C

Starting a business is not a small feat. I am aware that many businesses do not make it in their infancy. I can attest to the difficulties, the failures, the hesitations, the heartache, the stress and questioning if opening my own practice was the right decision. I am not a risk taker- I like to have a plan, solid ground under my feet and lots of stability! My practice manager (my husband) is the risk taker, he was the force behind me, the encouraging words and to be honest the financial backing. My husband and I started our business on his year one airline salary and a credit card. It was a big risk. Read more>>

Alaina Ann | Marketing Consultant, Graphic Designer, Photographer, and Author

At this stage of my life and career, taking risks almost feels natural. If I can live with the worst-case scenario resulting from a risky decision, I go for it. My choices have landed me across the board over the years, from beyond my greatest expectations to living with consequences I knew were possible, sometimes even probable. Starting my own consulting company in 2009, five years into my post-collegiate marketing career, felt like the biggest risk I would ever take. Turns out, it was the first of many to grow and create the life I now live. Read more>>

Oscar Romo | Paranormal Researcher & Investigator

Risk is both scary and exciting. You truly don’t know what is going to happen when taking that risk but you do know that your “norm” will change and you’ll definitely learn from it. In my own life, I took a giant risk of leaving California and moving to New York which was a major culture shock. It taught me to be more open to the world and that’s helped out majorly with the paranormal work I do. I’ve talked to people from all different backgrounds from the states all the way to Australia. It’s a risk talking to people about ghosts, aliens, or monsters but once you reach out there, you learn that almost everyone has a story. Read more>>

Riley Cameron Alexander | Photographer, Videographer, & Graphic Designer

If you always play things safe and avoid the risks, I feel like you are also passing up opportunities that have great potential. By not always being worried about making a profit and being more focused on building my business, I have built amazing relationships with my clients. I’ve always maintained another job to keep following my passion, and the more I follow my art, the less necessary my other jobs become. The payoff typically matches the risk, but you have to be ready for it to not work out, too. Read more>>

Donna Hoang | Aesthetic Nurse Injector, Social Media Coordinator, Lagree Instructor, Model

I used to hardly ever take risks. I was always taught to stay with the safe route, take the guarantee, and minimize your risks so that you don’t lose or fail. I think playing it safe all your life can become one of the biggest losses you’ll endure. Sometimes the unexpected, the things we can’t foresee, the spontaneity of life are the biggest and best surprises! I think society has conditioned themselves to think of “risk” has a bad occurrence, when we hear “risk” we usually hear a negative connotation with it. A risk is only a “risk” if it has the potential to be rewarding. You wouldn’t take an idea that is guaranteed to fail, there is no risk there, only failure. You can take the safe route and you’ll know and expect the outcomes, nothing more nothing less. Read more>>

Jon Pushkin | PR agency owner

I’ve been taking risks my entire career. I moved from New Jersey to Denver with very little money and no job. I spent the next 15 years as a musician and if anyone knows about taking risks it’s musicians. The band breaks up, you start another. The gig falls through, you find another. You spend your last dollar on gas to get to the gig hoping you make enough money to get to the next one. After I was done with life on the road I didn’t know much about anything else except baseball, so I walked into the Denver Zephyrs office and asked if the had any jobs open. The guy said, “like what?” And that’s how I started my career in Minor League Baseball. Read more>>

Whitney Henson | CD(DONA) Birth Doula, Reiki Master, and Sound Bath Practitioner

Risk taking is something that holds many people back from moving forward to perusing their dreams. When there are children involved, unknown for financial stability, the constant “what if” that runs through our minds day and night, it can deter anyone from making the jump and taking the risk to fulfilling their life purpose. I was diagnosed for the second time with cancer at the age of 32 during the start of COVID. I had a 9 month old daughter at home, as well as a 5 year old son. Daycare shut down, we were all sent to work from home, with no childcare, trying to navigate total chaos. Read more>>

Ken Mostek | Photographer & Videographer

When I think back on my career, I find it’s been full of risk and reward. But I also know that the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward. In fact, I’ve been fortunate enough to have three careers all in photography. It all began when I graduated from college. My first career goal was to a local television news reporter. I wanted to be that guy on air that told stories with my words. But as with most college graduates, it was difficult to find a job doing what I wanted to do. I learned early that I needed to adapt and change to be successful. Read more>>

Chelsi LeBarre | Photographer & Business Consultant

Every decision we make in business is a risk. You’re either risking complacency, growth, or failure. My business has only grown from the risks that I take. Even when I fail, it’s a lesson of where and how I need growth. The way I see it – I will always bet on myself. That’s the most empowering thing about being an entrepreneur! On a deeper level, being a Black Woman comes with a myriad of additional risks. Whether I am risking my physical or mental safety, I know that the risks that I take end up breaking down barriers for the next Black Woman that comes after me. Read more>>

Deborah Snell | Business Owner & Holistic Wellness Practitioner

Risk: working for yourself can be a big risk. It required discipline, self motivation, and and an attitude that “I won’t quit no matter what comes my way. Yes its great to be the boss, take time off when you want, however you are the responsible party for the income & debts. Read more>>