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.

Natalie Clark | Singer/Songwriter

when I took the leap and moved to America to pursue my dream of music. I grew up surrounded by music as my mum, dad and two big brothers are all very musical, and have such a love for all kinds of music. There was always music playing, whether it be Jazz, Motown, The Carpenters or even Abba! Music always filled our home and definitely fuelled my love and passion for it!. Read more>>

Diana La | Founder of Andie Bear

I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon but my parents are immigrants from Vietnam. My parents left their country, so my brother and I could have a better life and have better opportunities to be successful in life. My parents came to America after the journey of risking their lives as “boat people” and when they arrived, they literally had the clothes on their back and had to start over. I grew up as an Asian American, who was guided by Asian values and believing that hard work pays off and to treat others with kindness. Even though we weren’t wealthy growing up, my parents made sure that we had everything we needed and they often gave back to the community and even taking in other Vietnamese immigrants in our home. Watching my parents work hard, giving back and pursuing higher education, while raising my brother and I — I also wanted to live my life like they did. Read more>>

Vaughn Dabney | Builder of the Tiny Home Truck and Founder of Unoma Haus (Van Conversion Company)

One of the foundations for starting my van conversion company as well as living in my tiny home truck is for “representation”. I am the founder of the first black owned van conversion but I also live inside of a delivery truck that I converted. I am adding my story to the narrative. I am an example for my community of black and brown people to explore an alternative method of living. People have asked me why I even mention being a “black man” doing the van life thing, instead of just being a “man” doing this. Simply put, I ask the question, “How does one attain new heights without first observing a precedent set by one of their peers?” It’s an extremely hard thing to do, especially when a system has been put in place to maintain complacency among a population. I’m here to disrupt everything we know; to create another option of freedom. Nomadic living affords two very powerful things: control over time and finances. The ability to harness both of these assets is a powerful thing and if I can convince just one person from my community to try it, I’ve succeeded. Read more>>

Adam Turney | Singer, Performer & Yoga Teacher

I feel like risk taking is so important even if it may come from a place of fear. I think it’s important to acknowledge that fear and learn to work through it if it’s something you are truly passionate about accomplishing. This can mean taking baby steps towards a goal instead of just harping on the end result. For me, pursuing a career as a performer has been a risk in itself! This career definitely comes with uncertainty and the unknown, but many times the unforeseen has led me to opportunities that would’ve normally not existed. Read more>>

Inbal Kaizer Assa | Artist & Curator

‏If you would ask me that question a year ago I would tell you my “work” IS “life” and that sometimes eating and sleeping feels to me as “A Job”.
‏But I definitely see now how this relationship can be so amorphous. For me, the big change came along five months ago when I become a mom, As a career focused individual, with the excitement of being pregnant came also fear losing myself and all the hard work I have done and my job, my dream job. I was scared to lose the gaining momentum I had following a successful exhibition I took part in. All of my works were sold out and the phone kept ringing when I found out I have a baby inside me, and that was scary. While being pregnant, I kept being productive, even over productive. Every “easy” month was covering for “the next month” that I imagined to be harder. I was scared I wouldn’t be able to paint, move and carry things. But this month actually never came and I found myself packing paintings that are so much larger than me even a week before labor. Read more>>

Gina Skye | Mindset Expert, Unshakable Optimist, Life Shifter, Trainer of Hypnotherapy & NLP, Sound Healer, Breathwork Teacher & Intuitive Healer

We all have had trauma to a certain degree that prevents us from living the life we deserve. This can cause fears, disempowering beliefs and feelings of not being good enough. These identities limit us from having healthy relationships, confidence and stepping into our most powerful self. This would naturally ripple into the community and the world. The more healing we experience, the more impact we can all make in our families, work place, communities and the world. I provide powerful tools and techniques that dig deep and tap into the subconscious mind, body and soul to truly effect change. This allows my clients to rewire themselves for success in all major areas of life. Read more>>

Dizziablo | Artist

I absolutely think without risks, you will not survive in this world. You wouldn’t elevate, you wouldn’t overcome anything but just staying in the same position until your body decays and your spirit is just roaming the skies like the others. Taking risks can sustain you to attain any obstacle you truly desire. It’s dead simple. Whatever you desire, let your intentions lead you to the challenges that make you uncomfortable. To maneuver in the “unknown.” For me, as a young adult… risks are going to be super common. But by not having any fear in my body, I’d take any task head on to know that I’ve experienced it. It could be minor nor major yet that’s what makes it a risk. A gamble to see if you’re willing to prevail or be defeated by the nature of life. Read more>>

Christopher Johnson | Writer-Film Director

Filmic storytelling is what I relate to most and has been the focus of my career. The stories we tell and the films we create as a society seem to be both a reflection and projection of our collective, mirroring the themes, joys, and tensions of the day, and have a great impact on the way we move through our lives. In terms of the ‘social impact’ my most recent story, the documentary/feature film hybrid Journey to Royal: A WWII Rescue Mission, may have on the community or the world isn’t something I could or would be presumptuous enough to posit outright. It’s a film that tells the story of my great uncle, Royal Stratton, a WWII rescue pilot with the 4th Emergency Rescue Squadron, who leads a mission to save the lives of nine downed airmen adrift in perilous waters of a war-torn South Pacific. The film revolves around themes of self-sacrifice in the service of saving lives and intersects with pivotal turning points of the war. The veterans in the story have only their wits, skill, and fortitude upon which to rely in order to survive. Read more>>