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.

Betsabé Apte Román | Makeup and Hair Artisan

Hi, my name is Betsabé and I am originally from Veracruz, Mexico. I first came to the US when I was 12 years old. My dad had gotten a scholarship to do his masters degree in Cleveland, TN. That’s when I learned English by going to school. After that I have been traveling between the US and Mexico, and have visited a few other countries around the globe. I love traveling, meeting new people, meeting with old friends, and learning about other cultures. I think part of that led me to meeting my husband Sanat, who is from India. We bonded over food on our first date. Read more>>

Elidia Dostal | Business Attorney

I am from the central valley of California (Modesto), where my parents moved in the early 1960s because of the agricultural work available for my dad, who was a farm laborer. My father emigrated from Mexico in the 1950s, and my mom was of Navajo descent, and grew up in Arizona. Growing up, my parents would take us to work in the fields when we were on summer break, and there was a constant refrain of “do well in school so you can make a better life for yourself than this.” It was an effective lesson – all six of their children went on to get college degrees, and three of them went on to get graduate degrees. Growing up in the central valley, where many immigrant laborers worked, impacted my view of hard work and the value of education to make the American dream a reality. Read more>>

Leslie Grodin | Interview Host and Proponent of Sharing People’s Stories

I am originally from Las Vegas, NV. I moved around a lot as a kid, going to 9 schools in 12 years in 3 different states on two different sides of the country. Yes, that is true and no my dad wasn’t in the military. I look back on all of that change and feel as if it prepared me for what was ahead in life. They say the only thing constant is change right? I was able to adjust to college easily, unlike some of my friends who had never left their childhood home before then. I enjoy meeting people and making friends. Read more>>

Gordon Leverton | Urban Artist – Original & One of a Kind Art

I’m originally from a small town outside of Chatham, Ontario – Thamesville. and it was at an early age that I was drawn to the arts, primarily to music. Initially, I followed my passion for music and worked in all facets of the music industry including performance, writing and promotion, which eventually led to fulfilling my dream of owning my own record store in London, Ontario then moving it to Hamilton. Read more>>

Tamara Bell | Service Dog Program Instructor

I am from Northern California and grew up there for most of my life. I have a large family who have always been very supportive and close with each other. Since Northern California offers many different cultures and experiences we were very adventurous and always trying something new and different. Having my family show me that great things can come from exploration I have been more open to new things. It lead me to pursue a unusual profession of training service dogs for individuals who need them. Read more>>

Patricia Yoshioka | Atelier and Crafter

I was born in the U.S. but I moved to the Dominican Republic at a young age. My mom worked as a flight attendant and we didn’t have a lot of money. Since she was not at home often, and we could not always afford new clothes, she showed me how to become self sufficient and take care of what I had. One of the first things she showed me was how to stich and hem my clothes. These simple things would eventually jumpstart my passion in sewing. Read more>>

Sandy Wall | Founder

I was born and raised in San Bernardino, CA. I am a daughter of an immigrant and a single mother. I came from a home that dealt with domestic violence, struggled with mental health, a lineage of addiction, and poverty. As you are reading what seems to be a list of unfortunate events or dealt the “wrong cards” I always grew up seeing it differently. My upbringing and childhood served as some of the most important lessons I’ve learned in life and has helped me arrive to where I am today. Read more>>

Jillian Price | Founder

I am a self-taught doodler, horrible dancer, and sharpie hoarder. I have always had a passion for illustration. I contribute this love to my late grandfather, Ken Hultgren. He was a well-known original 1930’s-1960’s Disney animator/illustrator. I grew up obsessing over his illustrations ranging from Bambi to Sleeping Beauty. His book, “The Art of Animal Drawing,” is notably one of the best tutorials of animal anatomy/caricatures and is my primary source of education for my sketches of animals. Read more>>