We asked some of the city’s most brilliant and creative minds to tell us about the most difficult decision they’ve had to make.

Irma Medina Mazon | Creative Merchandise Designer

Imagine living a life where you don’t look forward to your day, your career was not what you imagined it would be. That is when I decided to work on myself. This began years before my business and I believe my company has been a byproduct of all that work I have done internally. It has far the most crucial and most difficult decision I’ve made. Daily I remind myself I have to be the best I can be before I can give my best. Due to this change, my perspective on life has shifted and that has changed me entirely. Read more>>

Jackie Shope | PhotoFunBooth Owner & Operator

My whole life I wanted to be an educator. I would pretend I was a teacher and “teach” my younger sisters with a chalkboard when were growing up. I followed my dreams and was in my eighth year of teaching high school math when I found out I was pregnant with our second child. I knew daycare for two would be more than my paychecks, and was stressed that staying home to raise my kids would place a large financial burden on my husband to provide for us. That’s when the opportunity to own and run PhotoFunBooth came into play. The idea of working from home as a business owner and being able to contribute financially was perfect. Read more>>

David Barker | Professor, Actor, Director, Fight Choreographer

Difficult decisions have always involved family and how it is impacted by my career choices. Family will always be the top priority in any decision-making, but sometimes a career choice while appearing self-serving on the surface, actually has family values at its core. Three difficult decisions in quick succession occurred early in my career: dropping out of an Off-Broadway hit so that I could see our first child born (1979), leaving my pregnant wife Eileen and 2 year old son to go on a 6-month national tour (1981) and 4 months after that tour ended, uprooting our young family and moving coast to coast, from New Jersey to Santa Barbara to take a position as Visiting Lecturer at the University of California. Read more>>

Candis Spivey | Cake Artist

When all the COVID madness started a few months ago, like most small business owners, I panicked. E-mail after e-mail, cancellation after cancellation. Custom cakes are a luxury item. I had spent years tirelessly building a brand known as edible artistic centerpieces for large gatherings. I knew this wouldn’t work again for a while. I watched many of my baker sisters stop accepting orders, the risk was too high with so much unknown while serving food. Supplies were scarce. I decided in that moment that I had a job to do. I needed to set my art aside and try to make people smile during such an unprecedented time. Read more>>