There is a wealth of academic research that suggests that differences in risk appetite are at the heart of differences in career and business trajectories. We wanted to go beyond the theory and ask real people from the community about their perspectives and experiences with risk and risk taking.

Jose Benacerraf | Latam Entrepreneur, social volunteer

To me, risk taking is a way of life, in some people, it causes absolute panic and in others a tremendous rush and the energy to live. It is not an easy way of living, it may have more lows than highs but to those of us who are not afraid of failing several times, the rewards are certainly worth it. I started to be very attracted to risk taking (although I have only set foot in a casino twice with a $50 bill both times) upon entering university in Venezuela when I started in Civil Engineering and by the end of the 3rd semester I decided that I was wasting my time and switched to Law School after being inspired by a good friend of my father. I do not recall ever taking a safe route in my life since then as far as my career, my goals, and my eagerness and willingness to get involved in things I believed in, and those I found to have a purpose.

Melissa Guzman | Owner of The Caribe Vegan

Risk taking has completely shaped who I am today. Thanks to my risk taking whether its considered responsible or not has led me to such an adventurous life. I have lived in major cities- LA, NY, ATL, DC and now home Miami. Thanks to risk taking, I have been able to travel the world on my first solo trip and now one of my favorite adventures which is my business, The Caribe Vegan. I think risk taking is how we grow. It pushes our fears to the fore front and enables us to stare them in the face. Its scary and ugly but risk taking is one of the most beautiful things that propels our life forward. Read more>>

Elaine Fitzgerald | Boutique Hotelier and Former Journalist

If anyone told me years ago that I would become a small hotelier, I would have thought they were crazy. I never had a lot of money, and knew nothing about real estate or hotels other than going on vacation myself. But I managed to parlay $60K into a business with several boutique lodgings worth millions, that are mostly paid for today. Many people say they could “kick themselves” for letting a great opportunity get away. But not everyone can afford to take risks, like families with children that may need to go for the “sure thing” of a stable job. I wasn’t in that category, so I put faith in myself and went for it. Read more>>

Miguel Camacho | Art Director/Visual Artist

I am all about taking risks. Through the years I have discovered a passion for not only design but also illustration, photography and even tattooing. My colleagues have talked to me a lot about focusing in only one area and with that I will have more chances in finding success but I just can’t. Most of the times I find myself within these loops of inspiration or a necessity to do a specific task at a certain time. So far this is how I have managed to create and let my creativity flows. Whatever I am feeling I do. Read more>>

Michael Pirolo | Executive Chef / Owner of Macchialina

I learned a long time ago to follow my gut. When I do that, I usually don’t regret it. I had a stable career working for a large restaurant group. I could have easily stayed there, but I ultimately knew that wouldn’t make me happy. Deciding to leave that position and open my own restaurant was a huge risk. The first several years there were times I even wondered if I had made a mistake, but ultimately opening Macchialina turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made. Read more>>

Humberto Comellas | President & CEO – Ulltium Consulting

In general, life is full of challenges and events. Some better the others, but they all contribute the overall outcome. Taking risk is what lets you know you’re alive. It elevates your pulse and makes you think twice about what you are about to do. Personal and professional growth comes from these experiences, the wins and losses all contribute. Read more>>

Karen Allegretti | Owner, Market Earth

I think there is always a necessary element of risk with any success you hope to achieve. If everything was simple or guaranteed everyone would do it quite frankly. For me personally I decided to leave my career in the Midwest (I owned and insurance agency for 22 yrs) and move to Florida to pursue my dream of creating a boutique that specializes in unique and ethically made products. I wanted to find a way to give back and create a new business model. That required my leaving everything I knew and a steady and lucrative career to enter into a completely unknown world. Many principles in business apply universally to any venture but short of that I was learning and making it up as I went along. The beauty of it for me was I wasn’t as afraid to make mistakes along the way knowing that ultimately you learn from them and apply those lessons to future plans and ideas. Read more>>