There are so many factors that affect how our lives turn out, but one of the most interesting is how our backgrounds give us unique strengths and perspectives that affect who we are as adults. We asked rising stars from the community to tell us about their background and upbringing and how they feel it’s impacted who they are today.

Dr. Yanira Hernandez | Licensed Clinical Social Worker and CEO/Founder of Pa’lante Therapy, Inc.

I was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles. A place I proudly represent. Growing up in South Central, in a Mexican immigrant household, meant more than just waking up to delicious Mexican food and cafecito on Sunday mornings or blasting cumbias on Saturday mornings to remind you that is clean up day, It also meant more than just community violence and under-resourced schools. It meant community, culture, pride, and resilience, Read more>>

Adam Hampton | Owner, Hampton Designs Studio & Shop

I am from New Palestine, IN, a small town full of corn, about 20 minutes from Indianapolis, IN. It was a wonderful place to grow up, but a place I would dread living as an adult. From the ages of 5-19, I spent every summer with my grandpa and grandma in Monticello, KY. My grandparents owned a family gas station on Highway 776. Two gas pumps, sliced meats & cheeses, a minimal rotating selection of video rentals, groceries, and feed for the animals. It was a small place, but it had a big impact on the community and a HUGE impact on the man I would be. Read more>>

Diana Giovinazzo | Author and Podcaster

Even though I was born in Central New York, California was always the place where I wanted to be. My father lived in Southern California and I would spend my summer vacations with him, it was as much my home as New York was. Once I turned eighteen I was on a plane to LAX and haven’t looked back. Read more>>

Roxana Becerril | Bilingual Freelance Journalist, Writer

I was born and raised in San Diego but spent a few years in Tijuana, Baja California, the city where my parents are from. I grew up on both sides of the border, often alternating between two different cultures that have equally shaped who I am today. Mild identity crises were part of my teen years since I sometimes felt like I didn’t fully belong with neither my American or Mexican friend groups. Read more>>

Keeda Kollins | Professional Model & Aspiring Actress & Chef

I was born in Philadelphia, but lived most of my childhood in a small town outside of philly which is Lancaster,PA. I have 14 other brothers and sisters my parents have been married for 45 years, and we lost one sibling my sister Deanna to breast cancer last year and it’s been tough to deal with but ere making it through the storm. My upbringing was no picnic by far growing up I saw alot of violence and drugs within the neighborhoods we lived in as children. Read more>>

Erika Borden | A wife, mom, Veteran, and a Business and Mindset Coach

I was born and raised in Dallas, TX. My parents divorced when I was 5 and my mother passed away from cancer when I was just shy of 15. Most of my life my dad ran an exotic petshop. We always had alot of animals in our home and both my dad and I were blessed with the ability to really connect with animals and one of our sons has that gift now. My dad would board exotic animals for owners as they had no place else during the 70s/80s to board exotics so they trusted him. Read more>>

Ana Luiza de Sousa | CEO & Creative Director of Orla California

I am originally from Brazil. I moved to the United States at the age of 2, and lived in Boston until the age of 14. At that age, I returned to Brazil, where I resided for another 10 years, until 2017. I then returned to the United States, back to Boston. I lived there for two years until I realized the West Coast was probably better weather and better business opportunities in my line of work. Being from Brazil and daughter to two very hard working parents, I learned from early on the meaning of being flexible, putting in the work and resiliency. I bring these characteristics to my business, where customer experience takes precedence and fulfilling each of their needs and wants comes in close second. Read more>>

Jamille Rodriguez | Online retailer, and seed collector

I was born in Monterey Park and grew up spending a good amount of my time in the clothing district of Los Angeles.  My dad worked there with my uncles, for Umerico clothing on Santee St. I always felt sorry for them that they worked all the holidays and seven days a week., long hours.  But it is a work ethic that I have adopted. I don’t mind working hard, I don’t mind working every day, customer service is sacred to me. Read more>>