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.

Deborah Zara Kobylt | Journalist, Writer, TV Host

I’m originally from New Jersey, and was born into a loving, colorful family of characters. As a young person, I was deeply curious about the people around me, their different personalities, and what formed them into who they were. I would even observe the cigarettes they smoked and matched that to their personalities. We lived in a suburb outside of NYC where my dad worked, and my mom would take me into the city to visit museums and go to theater. I was fascinated by the many choices of what to do, the different people. Read more>>

Lorie Charles | Crochet Designer

My family is from Haiti, but I was born and raised here in the U.S. I lived in Brooklyn during my elementary years and my family moved shortly after to a different part of NYC. My people have suffered extensively. We still do. We’ve been exploited, bruised and beaten. Despite this, I find inspiration in their resilience and grit. We don’t give up, we fight for what we want. I live by this. I remember this any time I come across a challenge. I remind myself of my parents’ hard work, and the work of my ancestors. I might bend, but I won’t break. Read more>>

Dani Foster | Wellness Coach & Podcast Host

I was born in Jamaica and migrated to the US as a child. Seeing my parents leave everything behind to provide a better life for my siblings and I has always my greatest inspiration. I have no excuses. My parents busted their asses and sacrificed so much for me to have more opportunities and a better life. The least I can do is make the absolute most of it. Read more>>