Even if you are from the same neighborhood as someone else, you might still be coming from different places. Where you are from is a complicated question and it elicits complicated, but interesting and thought-provoking responses. We’ve shared some of those responses below.

J. Han | CEO of ClosetSignature.com, Director of Expansion at Virtue Financial, & Sound Meditation Practitioner

I’m a creation of god through my umma (mom in Korean) and appa (dad in Korean). Umma, is a word I frequently say because she is the one that raised me with my halmeoni (grandma). They immigrated from South Korea with my ill grandpa and 2 aunts when I was born. Appa, is a word I never use because I’ve never met my birth dad. I’ve had 2 stepdads while I was growing up. Before I get into the story of appa, I’ll start with my umma. She is one of the most resilient people I know. She came to the US. when she was 19 to study. While studying, she had to make money to support her and her family since her dad became ill in Korea. My grandpa practiced Traditional Chinese Medicine. The healer lineage comes from my umma’s side. Being raised by my mom and grandma has shown me how important family is. Read more>>

Ju Martins | Photographer & Visual Storyteller

I’m from Rio de Janeiro – Brazil. Brazil is a country with a great diversity, you can see it in everything and everywhere there.I grew up in a neighborhood where rich people go to the same beach where people from poor communities go, and the crazy thing is that they never mix on the beach, so growing up seeing this huge contrast taught me a lot about respect and that everyone is the same. It doesn’t matter the race, color, where that person lives, but what matters is that we are all human beings, born in the same world and what differentiates us are our life stories, which doesn’t make us better or worse than anyone. I like to observe everything around me, so, as a curious person, observing people has always made me see from the inside out and admire my surroundings. Maybe that’s why I became a photographer and visual storyteller. I think everyone has at least one interesting story to tell, and I think that people’s actions. Read more>>

Joan Nabatanzi | Co-Founder & Co-CEO of The Girlnow Foundation

I am a graduate of a girl’s empowerment program and a celebrated mentor of the project for eleven years now and have directly trained 350 girls through the project curriculum, empowering them to reach their fullest potential. I am a 21 year old Ugandan female. I study at Makerere University doing a Bachelor’s degree in Horticulture. I am a firstborn of seven children living with only a mother. We lost our father in 2014 to gastrointestinal cancer and we have ever since struggled to provide a decent life and education to myself and all my siblings. Having worked with a number of girls, I have seen what being a girl means to a number of girls. I have seen the challenges girls in Uganda face that deter them from achieving their goals. I have also observed the underutilized and unmatched potential that girls have. I have come to understand that the best investment one can make is transforming lives of girls for the better. Read more>>

Remy Gerstel | Entrepreneur & Lifestyle Blogger/Influencer

I’m originally from Manhattan, New York City, but more specifically Washington Heights. My background not only impacted my upbringing but made me who I am today. Growing up with a single mom who was an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, showed me just how strong and fearless women are and that we can do it all. She didn’t even know the language, came to America, and raised 3 kids on her own, myself and my 2 brothers. I’m the middle child. My older brother was more like my father figure and as such the best possible male influence I could have had around. He had such a major hand helping my mom raise us. They both showed me about the hustle, grind, and New York State of Mind which taught me my work ethic and pushed me to always be ambitious and want to be an entrepreneur. They helped show me how to be the strong, beautiful, fearless, independent, go-getter woman I am today. Read more>>

Franck Houdin | Hairstylist, Photographer, Musician, Artist.

I am coming from france, i am a hairstylist since 37 years, get trained in my country and move with my wife maryline in 2000, start build up my business for a company is call jose eber and after 7 years decide to fly on my own, we found a cute spot in cardiff by the sea where that area become my photography sanctuary[hobby}, discovering that town, vibes and atmosphere. Read more>>

Janette Almazan | Finding Herself

I was born and raised in San Diego, California. In my early years, I lived abroad in the Philippines and Japan, since my dad was in the Navy. After his tours were over and was ready to retire, we came back to San Diego. He retired as a Lieutenant Commander and was a Lead Configuration Manager, before his passing. My background and upbringing has shaped me into the woman I am today. I come from a Filipino family. My dad was the bread winner of the family. My mom graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing in the Philippines, but wasn’t a nurse for too long. Before moving to California, my dad promised my mom’s parents he would take care of her. My mom wasn’t a nurse for too long, once they moved, because my dad didn’t want her to work. There was a time where my dad worked up in Concord, California for a couple of years and eventually moved back to San Diego for a better opportunity. Read more>>

Delia Ruiz | Children’s Book Author & Educator

This is always a fun question since the question depends on where I grew up or where does my Spanish come from. I was born in San Antonio, Texas. However, I lived part of my life in Mexico and most of my childhood, teen years, and college life in Alabama. I come from an immigrant household of two hardworking parents who believed in the power of education. With that being said, I was also a first-generation college student. I grew up in a household where hard work was valued and education was the ticket to following your dreams. Growing up, my parents valued their culture, language, values, and hard work ethic which continue to drive me today. Read more>>

Robert Fleet | Restaurant Owner (Del Mar Pizza) Real Estate Developer & Investor

I grew up here in San Diego as a 3rd generation San Diego native. After attending USC in Los Angeles, I couldn’t wait to get back to San Diego to start my mortgage banking and real estate development careers. I honestly can’t imagine ever leaving San Diego for more than a few months a year. My great grandfather brought his aircraft manufacturing business (Consolidated Aircraft) here from Buffalo, New York back in the 20’s. Reuben H. Fleet was the epitome of a entrepreneur, as was my Grandpa and Dad. All 3 of these men never worked for anyone except their own companies. To say their experiences informed my own entrepreneurial spirit would be an understatement. After 24 years working for two banks, and at the age of 44, I realized it was time for me to go out on my own, completely. I always felt compelled to explore my own entrepreneurial passions. Read more>>

Marne Moore | Mom and Business Owner

I grew up in the Cardiff/Encinitas area of Southern California. A stunningly beautiful, little beach town. I worked in a frozen yogurt store as a teenager during the frozen yogurt boom of the 1980’s and that ignited my love for frozen yogurt. Fast forward a couple decades, I became a mom and was looking for a fun business that my daughter could eventually help me with. I wanted the business to be kid-friendly, casual, fit our beach lifestyle and could also have a component of giving back to our community. In 2016, Fro Yo By The Sea was born, utilizing an image of my daughter surfing as our logo, I purchased a Sprinter type van and started the year long conversion process. As a food truck, we can serve everywhere from the beach to corporate events and we have been able to continue operating through the Covid-19 pandemic as we are the ultimate, curbside service. Read more>>

Erlends Zieminch | Business Owner/Ballet Instructor

As a child I was an extremely shy young boy who would hide in a corner during family gatherings. My parents believed that group dance classes would improve my character and so at the age of four I was introduced to Ballet. Later on I was accepted at the ” Riga Choreography School” and became a professional ballet dancer. I never looked back! Those years shaped my life. Ballet taught me how to persevere and never give up no matter what challenges I need to face. It taught me that there is always a way to improve, perfection does not exist, but we can strive to be the best we can be. It taught me commitment and self discipline. It taught me how to understand and work with my weaknesses and my strengths: good performances are the best gift, but when something goes wrong on stage, it can be the best lesson; you literally need to get up and keep going! I live my life with grit thanks to what i learned in the ballet school at a young age. Read more>>