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.

Gary Hall | CEO and Technical Director of The Race Club, Inc

Raised in Southern California, I became passionate about the sport of swimming at a very young age. My dream was to one day compete in the Olympic Games. Through great coaches and amazing facilities in Southern California, I was able to attain my goal. By the time I was 25 years old and in medical school, I competed in my third Olympic Games, winning three Olympic medals. I practiced ophthalmology for many years, but ultimately became disenchanted with the direction of medicine in our country. Read more>>

Nessa Lily | Makeup Enthusiast & Beauty Content Creator

I was born and raised in San Diego and grew up in a very diverse family. However, the diversity didn’t stop at the differences in culture. We all had our own unique talents as well. Some were gifted with singing and dancing while others specialized in culinary and visual arts. There was so much creativity around us and it’s something that has had the biggest impact on who I am. Being creative is a huge part of my identity. I feel like I can do anything with makeup. Whether I’m going for a more soft glam style or creating a bold and detailed makeup look, I’m always using a variety of color combinations and blending techniques. Seeing the end results come together and being able to share that with my audience is always very exciting. It makes me want to brainstorm more ideas and see how I can have those new visions come to life. Read more>>

Kaylie Babajan | Cosmetologist

I’m from a tiny town in Northern California. I was raised out side, picking black berries and catching salamanders, with my siblings. My mom and dad raised four kids on a very small income and money, or the lack there of, was always a point of contention between them. I remember my freshmen year; my mom paid for my sister and I to have our hair done for our winter formal dance. We had been asked to the dance by both of our crushes (Chris Prigmore, if you read this, I still love you.) and my Mom knew it was important to us so she wanted to treat us: She paid with tip money. Read more>>

Allie Lai | Content Creator & HR Admin

“Where are you from?” To me, that one simple question is a lot more complex to answer. That question used to make me unravel my entire life story to the person inquiring. I am a Third Culture Kid (TCK) adopted from China, moved to seven different countries, two different states, and have been to over 60+ countries all before the age of 26. My parents brought me home to New York City before we moved to Jamaica, Malaysia, Western Samoa, Germany, and back to New York City. I later moved to Taiwan and then Hong Kong as an adult and recently moved to San Diego, California during the pandemic. Read more>>

Mina Lynn Streeter | Entrepreneur & Esthetician

I am from the small and beautiful island of Guam. A proud Pacific Islander and always will be. Growing up, I was a foster kid and never really had my parents in life. Growing up I felt I was dealt with a lot of adversity at a young age. From being homeless twice, physically, verbally and emotionally abused to the point where CPS had to be involved and a lot of childhood trauma has definitely affected my wellbeing till this day. However, all the events that have lead up to my present have definitely gave me the mindset and mentality I have now. I like to think that you can look at life two ways. Read more>>

Tran Tran | CEO of EnhancedbyTran & Price Community Scholars Mentor

I was born in Vietnam and moved to San Diego when I was around a year old. I grew up in City Heights the melting pot of Southeast Diego, where I am surrounded by many immigrants and refugees and exposed to so much culture and history. My favorite way to connect to my Vietnamese upbringing is through the taste of food. I am always on the lookout to try new restaurants serving traditional and also fusion Asian dishes. I run a foodinstagram account @TablewithTran and also had a phở TikTok that blew up with 18million views, and I hope to document all my food adventures. Finishing up my last year at San Diego State University, my goal is to pursue graduate school to aspire to work within the community specifically City Heights to help those that are vulnerable and marginalized, I want to be able to help first-generation college students by allocating resources to guide them to the pathway of college success. Read more>>

Lauren Davila | Real Estate Investor & Property Manager

California born and raised, mostly by a single mother to a large extent, whose roots go back to the mid-west, South Dakota, where her side of our family is from and still ranch and farm to this day.  A very tough breed, both physically and mentally of the type of people it takes not only to live that life but love it as well. I spent two years in South Dakota, 5th and 6th grade, and it definitely had an impact on me, showing me the real worth, emotionally and mentally more so than anything, of hard work, perseverance, and true grit. Read more>>

Aisley Sengthong | Content Creator

I’m lucky enough to say that I was born and raised in San Diego, a city with cultural diversity and an abundance of happiness. I am a product of Laotian parents, and being Laotian-American is a big part of how I identify myself. As I grew up here in San Diego, my family and I would often visit Wat Lao Boubpharam Temple for events such as Lao New Year every April. Being at the temple feels like I am at a second home, the monks are like family to me. Also, during New Year, I have the opportunity to meet with other people of my culture and get to taste traditional Lao food from a place that isn’t my own kitchen. While exploring San Diego, you can find significant cultural spots such as Wat Lao Boubpharam. Read more>>

Eleanor Lowden | Artist

I am Canadian, born in Toronto, Ontario. My family was very traditional; a stay at home mother, professional father and I am the second born of four siblings. I always loved colour and I loved to draw. As an eager young artist, I remember going to a French nursery school in Montreal and each of the children were given one crayon and a piece of newsprint on which we could draw. When it was my turn I was given the yellow crayon. Do you have any idea how frustrating drawing with a yellow crayon on a piece of beige coloured newsprint was ? No matter how hard you press, or how much you scribble you cannot make more colour come out of that crayon. I think I began plotting my career that very day. I was three. Read more>>