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.

Manuel Andrade | AKA Spit Hell Manuel. Renaissance Man

I’ve found that when you realize that Michelangelo and Van Gogh are both considered master artists in their craft with painting on a dramatically different scale in the same realm of creativity, that’s when I knew that the expectation of one’s success compared to mine was a kick in the pants. Read more>>

Sherief Sutton | Photographer & Graphic Designer

I would the say the most important factor behind my success is my drive and consistency. If you do not keep going, and going often, the only thing left, is to fail at the goal at hand. When you make sure that failure is not an option, the possibilities because endless and you realize that success is inevitable. No matter what, keep going! Read more>>

Dr. Xavier Segura | Professor of Practice & Professor of Law

The most important factor behind my success derives from the quote, “never forget where you come from.” Growing up in South Tucson and in the Sunnyside Community, and seeing the struggle firsthand as a child, fuels my passion, drive, ambition, and dedication as a professional. I want continuing paving the way for other first-generation (students), Latino/a/x, and low-income families and youth, so they can see firsthand that I was a product of a similar environment and persevered to become the successful professional I am today. Read more>>

Kyle Dimes | Musician, Videographer, Photographer

There’s definitely a few factors behind my success. First off, my goal for every song I Make or every video project I shoot, is to always strive to have my latest project be better and more creative than my last. Second, I like to make sure to show up earlier than everyone involved to brainstorm any location possibilities. Lastly, I work with my clients budget and make sure they know I’m as invested in their overall creative vision as they are. Read more>>

Isa Bellido | Musician

Under my point of view the most important factor of success is HAPPINESS, maybe im no satisfy with the result of my music career now but im happy to know that im doing what I love, i’m happy of the process even with the hardest moments because they left me a lesson, i’m happy because I can see people around me supporting me, I’m happy because I can reach different lifestyle, countries, cultures doing what I love that is music. Read more>>

Kym Stutzman | Boutique Owner & Personal Encourager

The most important factor behind the success of Just Be Youtiful is faith. Just Be Youtiful is a women’s boutique in Surprise which resulted from a prophesy given to my husband Rich Stutzman. When he first told me that I was to open a store, we had five children (three in college), his parents, and his disabled brother all being supported mainly by my salary, as my husband was a fulltime caregiver. Read more>>


The most important factor behind my success is most definitely my support system. I would not have made it this far if I didn’t have people like my best friend DJ J-ME LEE who passed me my first gig and constantly motivates me! Read more>>

Ana Pejic | Life & business strategist

Consistency. I have been running this story for 11 years and building my brand, and the brand is me. Everything I do is an image that the outside world sees. We all do sales, some more successfully than others. Everything we do is the sale of ourselves and what we represent, and that’s exactly why I say that everything I do is the image that the outside world sees, and that is also the sale of our story, our ideas and goals. Read more>>

Justin Davanzo | Entrepreneur, Founder and CEO of The Ruff Ranch: Romp Rest Repeat

I believe that our mission at The Ruff Ranch in providing unparalleled care for our clients and their dogs is key. How we do that is multi faceted and a daily practice of earning trust and proving that we mean what we say and do. Read more>>

Alicia Reisinger | Founder/Creative Director

Surrounding myself with humans who are really passionate and great at what they do best. Building a team – whether that means on your business’s payroll or contractors – can be really fun and also frightening at the same time. It took be awhile to be okay with accepting that I didn’t have to know everything about everything…or that I even should! Read more>>

Tiffani Mitchell | Beauty Business Mentor & CEO

Having a strong foundation, brand mission, and vision that I refer back to and lean on in any business decision making. The larger you plan to grow the more you will need proper organization with systems, processes (everything is a process- from hiring, firing, to how you communicate with your employees!). Properly leading your team to be in line with your mission and vision is key as well! Read more>>

Gina Giuliano | Raise The Bar Rehab owner & physical therapist

Raise The Bar Rehab was created for those who hope to raise their standards on physical therapy care outside of the standard medical model. Therefore our success relies on our amazing clients who want more for their health. All too often people settle for subpar physical therapy simply because their doctor referred them to a particular company, or because a clinic is “right down the street”. However, their needs aren’t being met and they don’t see significant improvement which is why many people give up on physical therapy entirely. Read more>>

Dr. Tim Harrigan | Chiropractic Physician, Husband, Father of 4, Speaker, Freedom Fighter!

Absolutely the most important factor behind our success is a crystal clear VISION and unwavering PURPOSE, followed by an insatiable obsession to do better and help others. Everyone wants to be successful, of course. But I think most people have a wishlist, without a very precisely clear vision of what they want. For example, “I want a million dollars”. Read more>>

Jeff Draco | Musician/Touring Artist

I feel that honesty and an expressive personality have allowed my brand to grow and succeed. I’ve always tried to stay transparent and it has allowed me to push my creative ideas further with the dedicated support of my audience. Read more>>

Rachel Bell | Wedding, Lifestyle and Travel Photographer

With my profession, photographs are everywhere, and it can be so easy to get lost in a sea of gorgeous images. I think the two main things that elevate my brand and set my business apart are the relationships I make and maintain as well as being true to my style, even as trends come and go. Read more>>

Amanda Koepke | Artist & Candle Maker

The most important factor behind the success of my business is the personal connections I am able to make with my customers that eventually leads them to recommend their friends and family to my business knowing they will be taken care of and will get a product they love, and that is unlike any other. Since each of my candles is one of a kind and can be personalized to each customers request, I get to know each person through their favorite things, and they always get one on one customer service if they need anything during their buying process! Read more>>