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.

Stephen Kalinich | spoken word artist poet performer painter.

I am inspired by Art stillness and poetry.I enjoy helping others.and also helping myself.I like to be grounded in reality but sometimes i take a challenge and seek the unknown.I try to be a blessing to others with my art.Originally it was about me but through my Art i have learned to want to do good in the world and live my highest feelings. Read more>>

Boogie Fre$h | Artist

I’m inspired by my potential and what I believe in. I believe I’m only getting better and still perfecting my craft. Me knowing where I will & can be inspires me to keep going and working harder. Read more>>

Julia Henning | Actor, Entrepreneur & Life Counselor

I am inspired by inspiration. This response often garners a bit of an eye roll, but hear me out. On the deepest level, I am inspired by the human condition, or rather, the objective observation of being a human being. In most cases, inspiration is thought of in relation to a singular moment or a tangible experience. I am more interested in the notion that inspiration exists at all. As human beings, we are gifted with the experience of being alive. Breathing. Sensing. Emoting. These elements of human life enable us to have these moments and experiences. As a student of philosophy, the performing arts, and psychology, my entire life’s work centers on the human condition. I am fascinated with the concept of being alive in all forms; the suffering, the celebrating, the questioning, the ecstasy of ‘being’. So when I think about what inspires me, I think about inspiration as a consciously unconscious force. Inspiration is precarious and unidentifiable energy that has the power to manifest material and spiritual change. Read more>>

Lauren & Pamela Bragg & Abbott-Mouchou | Co-Founders of The Feng Shui Collective and Mother/Daughter Duo.

Feng shui is about understanding the silent dialogue between nature and man that is whispered through the cosmic breath known as chi, or life force energy. Thousands of years ago, the natural science and art of feng shui began with the simple observation that if you change your surroundings, you change your life. Translated from Chinese, feng means wind and shui means water. When the wind, or your intention (what you cannot see) is combined with water, or matter (what you can see), positive change occurs. And so, feng shui is not just about creating beautiful spaces, it’s about accomplishing your goals and becoming the architect of change in your life. Peoples’ surroundings not only reflect them but just as importantly, affect them. Our goal is to bring harmony into homes and spaces by clearing clutter, inviting healthy energy and balancing the Five Elements (fire, water, metal, earth, wood). Our clients experience the magic of feng shui, and the result is a comfortable, safe and beautiful space. Read more>>

Gabriella Oloye | Actor, Producer and Nurse Practitioner

Inspiration seems to blossom from thin air sometimes. I’ll be driving on the highway and there will be something about the way the warmth of the sun is dancing on my skin that makes me want to hum, the hum turns into a freestyle and the freestyle brings out a string of words like “35 and dry” which then turns into the title of the musical sketch I pitch to my improv classmates. More consistent sources of inspiration come from witnessing black women living their best lives, music, stillness, symmetry, wild dreams, bad days, personal trauma, competition, the chemistry that sparks when I’m with my friends, acts of kindness, sunsets and the characters that I meet in my day to day life. Read more>>

Mark Licari | Artist

Guitar feedback effects, outer space, rocketry, and the depths of the sea are constantly inspiring, but inspiration is slippery. When you find it and squeeze too hard it slips away. Inspiration is also potentially everywhere but at the same time nowhere, so I’m always looking for it. I find myself constantly researching the subjects of science, nature, ecology, growth, and impermanence. Ideas for artworks pop up during these investigations. Although sometimes the best inspiration is to turn up the music and just start slinging the paint around. The process of experimenting with materials is also a source of inspiration in itself. Read more>>

TAY | artist, producer, songwriter

I am inspired by my past, present, and future. The music I write is usually about something I have already experienced or watched someone close to me experience, my relationships with those in my life currently or previously, and the vast unknown that is the years ahead. Inspiration can come from anywhere and anytime. Whenever I have an idea that hits me or go through something that I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about I almost instantly write it down or voice note. The gears in my brain are constantly processing, so if you see someone humming a melody into their phone while walking down the street, it’s probably me. Read more>>

Jun Lin | Graphic Designer

I grew up with a lot of manga and anime; today, storytelling through that medium still moves me. People who draw are super inspiring—illustrators, comic and manga artists, etc. Whether the work is figurative or abstract, artists are constantly creating new methods of expression; as a graphic designer I find that really exciting. Read more>>

Skylar Schock | Actor & Producer

As tropey as it sounds, I am constantly inspired by artists who are vulnerable for the sake of the craft. I’m specifically inspired by actress/storytellers like Phoebe Waller Bridge, Issa Rae, Lena Dunham, Michaela Coel, who were all were brave enough to bare authentic truths from their own personal stories. Their fearless commitment to uniquely telling their stories in turn makes space for others to do the same, and ultimately proves that there is no shortage of demand for good content. I think a lot of times we believe this industry is a competition, but really, we all want to watch something new, something familiar but with a specific point of view, and the best way to do that is to tell a story only you can tell. Read more>>

Halie Nicola | Jewelry Designer, Actor, Singer, Dancer

What I am inspired by does not come in a tangible form but more so an act of doing something. I have always been the kind of person who feeds off of the energy around me, even before “good energy and vibes” were a cool, mainstream thing. I am lit up by the process and outcome of creating joy for myself and the people around me. So to sum it all up, joy inspires me. Read more>>

Stephanie Gevone Heckert | Choreographer, Dancer, Instructor

I am most inspired by people, especially the strength and resilience of women, and conversation. Sometimes a single word will spark an idea. I recently started creating a new work that was inspired by a guided meditation focused on embodying the qualities of who and what we are inspired by. It asked for the listener to envision someone that inspires them, what they are wearing, how they walk and talk, their energy and then integrate those qualities in their own being. I held an image in my mind’s eye and became aware that the characteristics that exist in this person I admire, live inside me as well. I think I’m inspired by connecting with people because of its ability to awaken my own sense of self. By connecting, communicating, and sharing with others, we become acutely aware of our own human experience. Read more>>

Dr. Toby Mayer | Facial Feminization Surgeon

I was inspired to help the Transgender community through my work in Facial Feminization when I saw what an impact this made in their lives. It brings me great joy and personal satisfaction to see my patients living their life to the fullest and feeling comfortable in their own skin. I am inspired every day by the stories of my patients and I love seeing them thrive after having surgery. Facial Feminization changes peoples lives for the better and I am honored to be a part of their journey. Read more>>

Bianca Argimon | Artist

I think what inspires me the most is everything we’ve inherited from past cultures, Medieval, Chinese, Oceanic, Roman … Whenever I enter a museum I’m more drawn to what is past than to what is new, as I think that there is much to be learnt from our ancestors: as regards to shape, color, composition, aesthetics in general . I’m also inspired by cinema (Teshigahara, C.T. Dreyer, O.Welles, Visconti, S.Lumet, P.Greenaway, Kubrick, to name a few ). Then theatre and dance as I feel movements and stage sets are like a painting composition and helps anyones eye find its path towards beauty; the more you train it, the better. And last but not least, literature is very inspiring to me, as reading has always brought a sense of renewal in my ideas. Read more>>

Annie Griffith and Sari Anna Thomas N/A | Annie Griffith: Co-Founder & Executive Director at Down For Dance ; Sari Anna Thomas: Co-Founder & Artistic Director at Down For Dance

some I don’t know. One of the groups of people I’m most inspired by are our Down For Dance (DFD) instructors. We have 4 incredibly gifted and talented women who teach our classes with such heart and passion every single week. It is truly a gift to witness their level of love and commitment to our program. I have a brother with Down syndrome, so I’ve always been closely connected to the DS community and that is what brings me to this work. I don’t know that I would be connected to the Down syndrome community or doing this type of work if I didn’t have that close personal relationship to individuals with disabilities. Our instructors have the biggest hearts, are so passionate about what they do, and they all do this because they love to do it, which I find so beautiful as a sibling of someone with a disability. People like that are so rare and have such a gift and I’m blessed that get to work alongside all 4 of them. Read more>>

Elijah Taylor | Creative Director

My main inspiration is life itself, Everything from movies , religion, architecture etc. inspires me to create some of my best art. Read more>>

Callie Lions | Green Beauty Influencer and CEO of The Green Beauty Mom Organic Skincare for Babies and Mom

Over the years I have been inspired by three very key people in my life my mentor Daisaku Ikeda, Anita Roddick the founder of The Body Shop and my current mentor in the business Lorraine Dallmeier CEO of Formula Botanica. Of course my mother and grandmother were the first to introduce me to beauty at a very young age because of their natural love for it. However it wasn’t untill I hit my 20’s and was introduced to Soka Gakkai Nichren Buddhism that I was able to really form my own vision and opinion of what part of the industry that I wanted to contribute to and even further create value in. Read more>>

Denna Thomsen | Dancer, Choreographer, Artist

I am inspired by the human condition. As an artist, it is my responsibility to share my life experience to the audience without fear of being judged. Read more>>

Vanessa Every-Burns | Comedy Writer

As a comedy writer, I’m inspired by smart and funny women like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Phoebe Waller, the list goes on, but I must say that my peers inspire me the most. The talented friends in my writer group who encourage, support, and share their work with me. These are the people who will eventually hire me, if I don’t hire them first. I think It’s so important that we help build each other up in an industry that be really cut-throat. Read more>>

Clarissa Lambert | Fitness enthusiasts and nursing school student

I am inspired by the beauty of life itself every day. We get to wake up every day and have so much to be thankful for and we have so many things we get to enjoy. I amazed myself sometimes how we are gifted with able bodies that allow us to workout and give off so much energy to those around us. Read more>>

Crystal Porter-Bazemore | Actor & Producer, Author & Writer

I’m inspired by humanity. People inspire me. Our tenacity, determination, will; our ability to love and have compassion; our diversity, varied interests and connectedness to our planet and one another. There is a real story that lives inside each of us. A choice we have made that has pushed us forward. Expanded us beyond what we thought we were capable of achieving or being. A love or self-love that has re-created or re-energized our souls. As a woman and artist, I’m interested in those stories. Inspired by those people. And I believe those people, are all of us. Read more>>

Rhea Solanki | Production Designer

Growing up an only child I was always left to my own devices and so I quickly found way to entertain myself. My most favorite pastime was reading. I’m a complete bookworm! This love for reading grew into a love for storytelling and an appreciation for how powerful storytelling is. Stories have the power to transcend time, culture, and age. They can transport you to different worlds, have you live different lives and last with you forever. No matter the medium, wether a book, a film or just orally told, stories can have lasting impact. I constantly find myself inspired by stories and the power of storytelling! I believe in how storytelling can really shift narratives, inspire people and create change. Read more>>

Dakota Hodge | Songwriter/Producer/Artist

I’m inspired by feelings and emotions. Usually when I’m starting a song I think back on situations in my past and I try to implement those feelings and emotions in to whatever song I’m working on. I feel like we live in this culture where having emotions is this taboo type of thing. If I can do anything with my career, I just want to normalize having feelings. Wether you’re happy, sad, or angry… You should feel comfortable and allowed to express yourself! I just want to make people feel like they can let themselves go when they listen to my. Read more>>

Justin Albers | Concept Artist

I feel like I look for and take inspiration from a few different sources – there are paintings, films, games and other works of art that I have always liked and admired, even as a kid, and will go back and look at those things that got me fired up in the first place. I also get inspired by new art and ideas I see coming out into the world – I definitely get energized by ingenuity and creativity I see not not only in the entertainment world but the nature and science and fashion worlds too, so many things I feel like I would have never come up with myself and am glad to have seen these things. I also look to the people around me as well for inspiration – whether it be their stories, ideas, or work/life ethics – I draw a lot from them!. Read more>>

Vitalijs Osipenko | Producer, Screenwriter & Multimedia Artist

The culture. The best thing about our planet to me, the most magical thing is our collective culture and how it evolves. There are so many beautiful, driven people out there who strive to impact the way we think and strive to enrich our culture. I think that’s wonderful. As human beings, we all want to leave some kind of legacy or a trace behind us. It’s in our DNA, it’s organic and natural. Having a desire to make our world a more beautiful place culturally is both unbelievably grounding and noble. So I am inspired by every and any attempt to contribute to our culture. I am inspired by the loudest vocalist in the room who is trying to create a new sound. I am inspired by a simple software engineer quietly sitting in a poorly lit room creating Apps of tomorrow. I am inspired by people like that. People who I have the honor and privilege to call my colleagues and peers. Read more>>

Silvie Zamora | actor, writer, voice actor, podcaster

I’ve always admired people who work creatively within the parameters and around the obstacles. But the pandemic has really raised this admiration to a full-blown sense of inspired awe. Can’t teach in a classroom? We’ll use Zoom. Can’t have live theatre? We’ll write and adapt stories that can be shot in individual actors’ homes and then stream them. This is being light and adaptive. It’s a zen way to continue on your path. And do some obstacles and rules need to be pulled down? Of course, but the ability to start where you are, then adapt and change in order to keep going is massively inspiring to me. Read more>>

Josh Gibert | Comedian/writer

I’m inspired by excellence: attention to detail, originality, and a bold perspective. Lately, series like Atlanta, Fleabag and Ramy, stand-up specials like Jerrod Carmichael’s 8 and albums like My Dark Beautiful Twisted Fantasy challenge me to work 10x harder on my craft. Absorbing great art in all forms reminds me that standards of excellence still exist, not everything is subjective. Undeniable is undeniable. Read more>>

Bonita Smith | CEO Holistic & Wellness Expert

All of life inspires me! Especially being able to assist others with living their best life, healthy, happy and whole. Read more>>

Macc McCray | Artist, Producer

I’m inspired by almost anything. It just depends on what I come up with from what I see. For me, it could be anything from a song idea, to a beat for someone else or even a possible clothing idea. I get most of my inspiration from my peers though. Especially some of my friends that have become a little more popular in the world. They keep me going, to want to achieve more. Seeing their growth inspires me alot. I have plenty of friends in music and clothing. Most of time time we’re all so busy working, promoting, etc., that we don’t really get to talk. When I run into them at events or if we speak on social media, I always make sure I let them know they help keep me motivated or inspired something I came up with. Youre friends deserve just as much credit for influence as the celebs do. Read more>>

S. Michelle Blackwell | Creative Producer & Entrepreneur

This is both a complicated and simple question to answer. Complicated because there are so many people, places and things that have and are constantly inspiring me that it’s hard to choose just one. But simply put I am inspired by the drive I have to succeed and be better than I was the day before. So I guess you can say I’m inspired by everything in general and specifically, MY own strength to take those things which inspire me and use them for my success. I aspire to inspire people some day. Read more>>

Negar Shariatmadari | Energy Practitioner &Meditation/Mindfulness Facilitator.

I am inspired by the notion of authentically being an agent of change. As we all move forward in our lives, our roles in bettering humanity look different. I love the idea that everyone plays a different part in how they can elevate the collective consciousness through their individual and authentic expression and gifts. I also revel in the understanding that this can be down while experiencing joy, abundance, connection, and fulfillment. We, as individuals (as well as a collective) do not have to be martyrs for any cause. There was a quote I recall (though I cannot find it on Google at the moment) that says something like, “…the world no longer needs martyrs, it needs teachers…” I love that! It’ definitely inspires me. Read more>>

Jamal Matthews | Booku DeBonaire (stage name) Artist/Entertainer/Bartender/Chef to be/Stylist/Model

Honestly I get inspirations from all directions of life. If I’m angry I dress that way, I make music that way, I play on my emotions to create rather than project that energy towards any individuals. I’m inspired by every day life as this is what I have to live through so why not use it to my benefit rather than towards my destruction. There is beauty in the world that needs to be portrayed and there’s also ugly, either can be interpreted as art depending on the audience. Read more>>