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.

Tinah “Tina w/ an H” Ogalo | Podcaster

I’m from a relatively mid-sized town in Southern New Jersey. Sicklerville to be exact. 25 minutes east of Philadelphia, PA and 25 minutes south of Cherry Hill, NJ. My parents are a little far from home as they both are originally from Kenya. They came to this country for the ‘American Dream’. What many don’t tell you about the American dream is how difficult it is for POC to reach it. No matter how many hours you work, sleepless nights you have, sacrifices you make – sometimes you get stuck in a cycle where there aren’t any stairs to climb. Read more>>

Lindsay Marty | Digital Marketing Expert for Law Firms

I am from a, Baraboo, small town in Wisconsin. My80’s upbringing in a small town was exactly what you would expect. My sisters and I started working at our family restaurant at the age of 12, when we could get a work permit. My grandfather was a restaurateur who owned 19 iconic supper clubs throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota. The work ethic I developed throughout my life, I largely attribute to my work in those restaurants. Read more>>

Kelley K. Gusich | Retired Teacher, Current Writer & Forever Wife and Mom

I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, but raised in Grand Junction, Colorado. My father owned a used bookstore in Salt Lake (the first one in the US, I’m pretty sure), and he commuted there from GJ for forty years. He was an excommunicated-by-choice-Mormon and an unrepentant reader, and his influence turned me into an irreverent-high-school-teacher-turned-writer. Also an unrepentant reader, although I’ve never driven a car with my knees holding the steering wheel, a book opened in front of me. I guess he used to commute across Spooner Summit like that. Seriously. I’m not a good enough driver, AND I’m on much busier streets. Those are the only reasons I don’t do that like my dad. Read more>>