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.

Anna Klimala | President

I learned early on in my career that you need to rely on people around you because they are there for a reason; either to see you succeed, or to see you fail. The first group cheers you up and has your back, the second gives you fuel to prove them wrong. Either way, it’s a win-win. The sooner you get over your own insecurities and start listening to all voices of advice, whether solicited or not, you will put yourself on a path of learning, growth, and ultimately, success. Read more>>

Jacqueline Journey | Award-Winning Producer, Actress, Author & Coach

The most important factor behind my success has been defining and developing my individual Impact. The mindset, communication skills and authentic execution of it are imperative to my personal brand. Finding the confidence, courage and standards (personally and professionally) that make me who I am comprise the foundation of all I do. It took me years to understand that I wasn’t aligned with what I was meant to be doing. That I had a choice, and that I did have everything I needed to take that leap into the unknown and just go for it. I defined my Impact and accepted that all success requires a risk of failure. You have to embrace the wins and losses. It’s definitely been challenging at times, but the rewards have been more fulfilling than I could have ever dreamed. I feel so aligned with myself and my brand. I’ve never been happier and I’ve never looked back. Read more>>

Shanine Alessia Young | Educator & Authorpreneur

The most important factor behind the success of my brand is the source of my motivation and inspiration. God inspires everything I do, when He gives me a vision, I run with it. I’m a woman of Faith and I strongly believe that He is guiding my steps and that is why my brand and business has been growing and flourishing. I also think that people love to connect with those who are authentic and I try to stay true to my values and core beliefs. The world has enough pretenders so I prefer to build my brand by being my authentic self. Read more>>

Femke Tewari | Photographer

Being punctual, reliable, hard-working, and honest. And nice! Photography is more than anything people work. My photographs turn out well only if the people I photograph feel comfortable and relaxed. Every shoot is a collaboration, which is what I love about what I do. Often the people I photograph are quite creative and that usually comes out during the shoot. You can frequently hear me say that someone else deserves the credit for a photograph – be it the subject or model or the stylist or another creative that helps with the shoot. It’s so important to let things unfold naturally. This way the photographs always look fresh and authentic. Despite or because of my willingness to ‘go with the flow’ during shoots, the final photographs are very consistent style-wise. My style is quite unique I feel, which I owe to my international background. Read more>>

Carlos de Varona | Producer & Director

The most important factor behind my success is work ethic. That and knowing when to step back and giving my team the room they need to push further and break new ground. I made sure to build a crew that gets along with each other and is complementary to each other. I always hire top of the line talent with serious work ethic and skills. Attitude is first before skills. I cant stand having a highly creative diva on set, that would never happen. When people feel good, they work good. Read more>>

Gina Geiler | Wedding Planner & Designer

The most important factor behind my success is persistence and focus. When you own your own business you can get sooooo wrapped up in so many little things that don’t contribute to your success. Whether that is spending countless hours scrolling through social media and comparing yourself to your competitors or spending a lot of money trying to rebrand yourself when you are still searching for who you are exactly as a company. It’s also reminding yourself that you are on a journey. There will be so many leads that will come and go and to not judge your self-worth on how many couples you book in a month. That is where the focus comes in and to be honest, can be really hard to remember at times. Persistence is key when growing your business and brand. Read more>>

Sheena Eizmendiz | Coach, Speaker & Author

I believe the ability to disrupt cultures and the people I serve is what makes my business is from sets me apart from all others. I make sure to lead my clients by helping them dissect and pinpoint what isn’t working and shift that to finding ways in which they achieve success and progress. Read more>>

Haidar Hachem

Having learned to just let go and let what will happen, happen. I am a huge believer in fate/destiny. One thing Marilyn (my wife, @littlemariii) and I always say is that “it always works out”. No matter how much you plan or try to set something up, there will always be outside influences that will come into play that will either work towards or against you. If it doesn’t happen to go your way, you just have to let go of your ego and take whatever the outcome of the situation was as a learning experience. I have been a type one diabetic since the age of two. That didn’t stop me from playing football all the way through high school and having the chance to play college ball with scholarships (I had the chance, but didn’t take it). Read more>>

Oscar Diaz, Jr. | Vocal Instructor & Director

When asking myself what the most important factor(s) behind my success as a vocal instructor/coach and what sets me apart from others in my field I immediately hear the voices of my students’ online “REVIEWS & Endorsements” of my teaching: http://www.performersmusic.com/pdf_download.html#main-content . They express (better than I myself can) many of the things -about my singing studio- of which I am most proud of. Several of them mention “ARTISTIC INTEGRITY as being the heart and soul of the entire operation, making him (me) one of the best voice teachers in South Florida”. Others speak of how although I am often demanding that “my passion (for the art-form) is almost contagious”. Read more>>

Alan Ataman | Mealtago – Meal Delivery Service

Alan – Guest Relations. Without our members we don’t exist so that is why for me, I try to go above and beyond when possible and try to learn as much about our members as possible to try to create an actual relationship with them. I’ll text them to check in to see how their meals are, I’ll wait for them to answer the door when delivering their meals so I can say Hello, I’ll play with their dogs if allowed too, and really be a buddy if possible more than just a company they get their weekly meals from. Yes, Chef George has some of the best food I’ve ever tasted, and they are pretty sexy as well, but I do think strong Guest Relations and going above and beyond when possible is what is going to separate us from the rest. Anything less than 100% satisfaction by those who use us means we have work to do to improve. If it’s important to them, it’s important to us. Read more>>

David Urbinati | Animator & Music Producer

To me, what’s most important about the success of my brand is that I’m able to accurately and authentically represent myself. As a creative, the value I see in what I offer is not the product itself but my personal interpretation and ability to express myself in it. Otherwise, there are several other talented people who could accomplish the same thing. The goal and hope is that if you are coming to me for myself and I’m able to give that, then we can create something special. Read more>>

Marcus Sterling | Proprietor

Consistency and attention to detail. Our goal is to provide our guests a fully immersive experience from the start. We are a horror-themed escape center, fashioned after a 1940s hotel. Our website gives off that vibe, as do our social posts. Once a guest reserves a room, they receive a confirmation email fashioned after one that a hotel might send out. Upon arrival, the lobby is dimly lit and spritzed with a haunted mansion scent. 1940s music emanates softly from behind an old-fashioned radio. At the front desk, guests receive a welcome letter from management along with their room key. Speaking of the guest rooms, even these have details built in. While some guests might not realize it, others find they are fun ‘easter eggs’. For example, the door to Carnival Macabre is room 1962 – the year Ray Bradbury published ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’, a novel about a dark carnival. Read more>>

Edison Peñafiel | Visual Artist

I believe that being constant and believing in yourself and what you are creating is one of the most important factors of making it out there. This goes in hand with projecting on what you put out there is truth, and this must come from your real interests, ideals, and emotions. The idea is to make it personal, at least for me, and trying to reach those goals one way or the other. Collaboration and constructive feedback is also an important part, involving coworkers, collaborators, assistants, friends, family, etc. Counting with their support is a must for those times when everything is failing and you cannot really focus on what made you create something in the first place, so these persons help you get back on track. Read more>>