A big part of making decisions is determining what our actions and choices have been inspired by. So we asked decision makers from the community to tell us about what they are inspired by.

Daniel Monti | Architect

My love of architecture and the way that buildings shape spaces started when I was quite young. I had the benefit of living and traveling in a very diverse set of countries – 7 countries across Europe, the Americas, Southeast Asia and Western Asia before I was 18 – so I was exposed to food, culture, architecture, fashion and art as a child. The introduction I gained as a child to what others might think of as “different” seemed ordinary to me. As a kid you only know what you experience, so moving all of the time, seeing different people and eating unusual food all seemed normal, but in retrospect I think it set the stage for what I am inspired by today, which translates most directly to my architecture practice. While I’ve continued to travel in my later years, I find that every time I go to a new place, eat a new type of food, watch people of a different cultural background interact, I pay attention and almost study what’s happening. Read more>>

Betsy Flores | Designer

I am forever inspired by nature and celestial bodies. Our planet is such a fountain of inspiration, I am influenced both by its endless forms but also by our relationship with Nature. Design for me is a reflection of Nature and my work is always created with a sense of honoring its beauty and our connection to it. I design through a lens of creating with nature instead of against it. Fashion is inherently unsustainable. As designers we have an opportunity to make a difference in our society by creating in a way that preserves our environment and influences a new era of creation and consumption. I think sometimes we get wrapped up in our lives and forget we’re a part of a bigger eco-system, and beyond that, we’re a tiny cell in a beautiful universe full of stars and galaxies. Read more>>

Leonardo Bravo | Artist, Educator, Curator

I think that throughout my artistic and education projects, including my social engagement platform Big City Forum, I’ve been deeply invested in fostering ecosystems for creativity and social justice that begin to weave a sense of collective agency and critical thinking towards our understanding of a shared commons and public space. I believe that it is critical to work from a place of interdependence rather than an ego based approach, one that pushes forth a co-designing perspective that relies on the knowledges and cultural capital that already exist in a group. My mission and inspiration has been to support vibrant and resilient perspectives from creatives of all backgrounds and provide a platform that brings forth social change. Even before the radical changes that have occurred during this year of the pandemic. Read more>>

Eytan Ribner | Singer Songwriter

Bob Dylan was answering a question about his gravelly voice and said “What’s important about the voice is that the listener believes that you’re telling the truth.” So I get inspired by little nuggets of ‘truth’ wherever I can find them. Sometimes it’s something I hear or see, or even something that appears to me in a dream. For example, a lady friend of mine said she needed a handy-man who could fix her refrigerator and if he was cute, maybe help her in the bedroom too. I blurted out that she needed a part-time man. That nugget, if you will, inspired me to write a song entitled “Part Time Man” which can be heard on my second album When I’m Singing The Blues. The song isn’t about a handy-man, but I created a world where the concept of a part time man could make sense. I had a dream one night that I was sliding into second base. Read more>>

Anand Devarajan | Architect

I’m always inspired by creativity, particularly by other in other disciplines. When I’m stuck in any way, I always go back to art and sculpture–from antiquity to the contemporary. It never ceases to humble me how others have solved a certain visual or conceptual problems; particularly, after you study it, you see the thoughtfulness depth and complexity in the solution. It makes me say to myself ” I wish I would have thought of that!” and that gives me a surge of energy to approach our work with new focus. More recently, I find inspiration where I see parallels in our work with other disciplines. That can range from listening to music and hearing a composition which is doing audibly what we are trying to do spatially. Or before COVID hit, going to one of my favorite Japanese restaurants where you can see how master chef Shunji crafted the omakase in such a way that take into, the availability of ingredients, layering of flavors, sequence of courses, and even the outside weather. Read more>>

Ayanna Listenbee | Handbag + Accessories Designer

I am inspired by so many things! If I had to name two things that inspire me I would say nature + travel. Nature is one of the things I am most inspired by. The colors of leaves, the sound of a grassy field blowing in the wind, the many colors of a sunset or sunrise. All of these things are inspiring to me because they give me a feeling. I then take that feeling and use it to guide my designs. Travel is another big inspiration for me. I have a constant case of wanderlust and am always looking to change my surroundings. I love to visit new places, see how people dress, what they are eating, what their habits and customs are, that is inspiring to me as well, because it often gives me ideas of ways to do things differently. Photo. Read more>>

Dana Claudat | Feng Shui Master & Founder of the Feng Shui School of Intention

I’m incredibly inspired by infinite possibilities. II watch videos and hear stories all day of amazing breakthroughs, people triumphing, innovating, amazing things happening that seemed impossible but were more than possible! Since I’ve been teaching my Feng Shui Method in The School of Intention which is the only Feng Shui Method of it’s kind that’s grounded in Infinite Possibility (rather than fear, superstition and strict rules) I’ve seen so many people break through personal barriers, shatter glass ceilings., do what they’ve never dreamed could be real and… most importantly… trust in themselves and love their lives in a bigger way than ever. Because possibilities are endless, there’s no end to the joy, motivation and anticipation of amazing things that are ahead. And, the more I lean into the possibilities, the more I’ve found ways to be of service to others which is the most rewarding part of all the things I do. Read more>>

Chad Ackerman | Writer & Musician

People that speak truth, musicians that don’t do “covers”, sea and space exploration, kids (youth) that care about climate change, and atheists in politics. Read more>>

Nancy Baron | Visual Artist

I’m inspired by the beauty and/or mystery in the deceptively simple things all around us, and the many ways that artists experience and interpret them. We can easily miss the wonder if we’re always lost in our thoughts. Being introspective is a must for an artist but looking outward nourishes and sparks the senses. Read more>>