Through our work we have had the good fortune of seeing firsthand how success comes in every shape, size, color, faith, and orientation. More importantly we’ve learned that success is often the result of people embracing their unique backgrounds and so we’ve asked the community to tell us about their background and how it has impacted where they are today.

Laura Girone | Actress & Singer / Musical Theatre Performer and Vocal Coach

This question is always tricky for me. I was born in Como, Italy, and right after my first year of life my parents started moving around the country for work and I’ve always traveled since I was an infant. I would say that I’m from Terni, a small city near Rome. I lived most of my life there but I don’t really feel my roots belonging to a specific place. This made a huge impact in my current life where I’m still traveling, a lot, but without feeling that deep connection with home and my heritage. Read more>>

Tahera Rene Christy | Founder & Creative Director Amour Propre®

I’m originally from Oakland, California. I am an 80s baby and was brought up in an urban setting where I had to fend for myself often and figure things out quickly for my own survival. This created my desire to seek opportunities to work for myself and make a difference within my community. This was a huge advantage for me in my adulthood because I learn to work hard early in life. Much of my business practices today stem from seeing unfulfilled needs in my community. I create solutions to everyday problems that are far more universal than my neighborhood. I now have a global outlook of relatability that encourages my customers to remain loyal to my brand. Read more>>

Sandrine Rose Abessera | Art Director, Sandrine Rose

Sandrine is from Paris France. Paris is a very beautiful city full of culture and life. A place like no other. The history, the art, and museums, the buildings, food and fashion – that environment has molded her in to the person she is today coupled with growing up in a very loving and supportive family. With a mother who stayed at home and was always there for her siblings and Sandrine and a father that worked hard as a successful entrepreneur. Read more>>

Ceitci Demirkova | Author, Speaker, Founder & CEO “Changing a Generation”

I am originally from Bulgaria. Grew up under communism till I was 16 years of age. At 19 I had the opportunity to come to the United States. I arrive with a $100 and 100 words that I knew in English. It was the start of my biggest faith journey – starting with nothing, in a completely new nation and culture, relying solely on my faith in Christ and His promises. Read more>>

Brianna Michelle | Nonprofit Founder, Voices Beyond Assault & Model/Actress

I am from the Pacific Northwest, Seattle, WA. My Mother traveled there with my father from the midwest. He later became an absent part of my life. I was raised by a single, beautiful and intentional Mother who did the best she could with what she had. I was able to truly evolve by seeing the struggles that life can bring but witnessing the efforts of handwork, dedication and unconditional love. Read more>>

Priscilla Agyeman | Mental Health Activist & Digital Content Creator

I’m from Princeton, NJ and I’m first generation American. My parents are from Ghana, and I definitely think being the product of two people who had to sacrifice so much to provide for me humbles me and fills me with gratitude. I think immigrants are so incredibly resilient and hopeful, and their strength always inspires me to never give up. Read more>>

Reggie Smith | Director of Special needs adults and day programs.

I grew up in Gary, Indiana, just outside of Chicago, Illinois. My hometown is known for its steel industry. I grew up in a gritty and hardworking town. The city had over 350,000 residents and six major high schools at one point in time. Our town was characterized by a strong sense of community centered around the steel mills. Family values included hard work, hustle, and a never-say-die attitude. As kids, we learned from the environment we grew up in and adopted it into our own lives. Even today, we still believe that if you can live and survive in Gary In, you can survive anywhere. Read more>>