Where you grew up and your background can often have surprising effects on our lives and careers. We’ve asked folks from the community to tell us about how their background has affected them.

Alon Goldsmith | Photographer

I’m originally from South Africa and lived in Israel for six years. Being exposed to different cultures has helped me develop an expanded worldview that impacts who I am. Read more>>

Lori Jimenez | doTERRA Essential Oil Educator

I’m from a small town nestled in foothills at the base of Sequoia National Park, called Three Rivers. The population is 2,500, there aren’t any stop lights, fast food restaurants and it is a peaceful community. If you blink driving through the town you may miss it. But that’s exactly what gives it it’s charm, simple living at its finest. The summers there are hot and we would spend endless hours swimming in the cool river, jumping off rocks and soaking up the summer sun like lizards. My dad worked for Sequoia National Park Service and my mom was a teacher’s assistant at our local school. Both, instilled a love of nature in me and my brother. We were always outside exploring, going on hikes and adventures in the back country of Sequoia. My mom’s knowledge of plants blows me away, when we hike she will name every flower and plant. It’s funny, that I grew up to teach other’s how to use plants (essential oils) for their health, her love of them definitely rubbed off on me. Read more>>

Justin Jackson | Artist & Musician

I am originally from the South Side of Chicago, Il. I grew up on 95th and Wallace until I was about 12 or 13 and then moved to 63rd and Dorchester until I was 18. I was raised by a single mother who worked very hard to keep my busy and who made sure I had a number of older male mentors around me to helped maintain and influence my interests in music and the arts. As a child I spent a lot of time at church singing in choir, on the step team, and participating in other youth activities that kept me active. Between that, piano lessons, basketball, and school I had a pretty busy schedule most of the time. The Southside of Chicago is extremely rich in culture and community, but just like any other city it has its struggles. For most of my adolescence violence in the city was pretty high and sometimes felt like at any point anyone could be on the wrong side of a gun. During this period of my life, I was lucky enough to find that there were various outlets for kids like myself and-to that I will always give credit to for birthing the essence of who I am today. Read more>>

Karen DeMamiel | Lifestyle Photographer & Yoga Instructor

I am a Southern Californian native. I am an only child who lived in Orange County until I was nine years old. My dad loved riding horses and wanted to move us to a property where we could build a house and a barn for horses. He moved us to Murrieta Ca, Which is only an hour away from where we lived, but it felt like moving to another state. My dad is a small business owner, he started his business in our house when I was four years old. My dad is a dreamer, a go-getter, and an adventure taker. My mom always along for the ride, took on the job of his bookkeeper. They are a great team. My dad being a balloon, my mom being the string, keeping him grounded. I am so thankful for their example of hard work and dedication. When we moved to horse country, I soon fell in love with the outdoors and animals. My dad taught me to be brave as I was scared of riding horses on the trail. My mom taught me how to save my babysitting money and balance my checkbook. Read more>>

Bonnie Kalner | Cruelty-Free Makeup Artist

I grew up in upstate New York in the Adirondacks where I was lucky enough to have a family that shared their compassion for animals with me. Love and respect for living things has been a value that has been instilled into me at an early age and is something that has been important in many aspects of my life and business. When starting BonnieK Makeup, it was very important to me to use ethically sourced products that did not test on animals. I have found that not only are there a great deal of products that are cruelty-free, but that clients also appreciate that the products that are being used on them are ethically sourced and a lot of times, made up of more natural ingredients. Read more>>

Donika Brown & Myra Hollis N/A | Marriage and Family Therapists & Hosts of Black Womxn Healing Podcast

I am from Louisville, Kentucky. Growing up in a small upcoming city has really helped me understand the importance of community. My Mother put me and my sister in programs at community centers, so growing up I was always involved in something ( dance teams, step teams, knitting, cooking classes, ect). This really shaped my understanding of being involved in the community and continuing to grow through such programs. This is the very foundation of my work now. I love to feel connected to those around me and I find joy in many times this being a healing modality in itself. Myra: When I think about my roots, community instantly comes to mind. I am from Inglewood,CA before it started to be gentrified. Everyone in my neighborhood always knew each other from the grocery store, to local restaurants to the corner AA Mart. I think the biggest impact my neighborhood has had on me is how I form community and what community really means. Read more>>