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.

Joseph Grover | Hairstylist & Salon Owner

I was surrounded by a lot of creative, artistic people when I was a kid. I grew up in a big, lively family, raised by a single mother who was beautiful, and compassionate, and seemed to crack the code for improving whatever she touched. She worked with a group of artist activists who collaborated with local merchants and city officials to bring art, music, and culture to undeserved communities like ours. With their talents and their commitment, they made remarkable changes in the way our community looked, and what it offered families, and children in particular. Read more>>

Yelena Filipchuk and Serge Beaulieu | Artists and Designers

Serge and I met living in the Bay Area in 2008. We had both been attending the Burning Man Arts Festival for many years when we decided to work on a project together. Both of us have individual art practices, with Serge’s background being in industrial design and mine in ecological arts. But we are both fascinated by the intersection of science and art—the patterns that appear in nature, particle physics… Math, to us, seems to have a resonant quality that the eye and the heart respond to. Read more>>

Armine Iknadossian | Poet and Writing Instructor

In high school, my junior year was the first time I started battling depression, even though at the time I didn’t know what to call it. During that time, I found myself writing down my feelings, keeping track of the days I felt like destroying the world and myself and other days when I was feeling less volatile. I tried keeping track of those days, tried to count the number of days I was OK versus the number of days I felt like crap. This self-reflection turned to writing down everything that bothered me, every dark and unstable thought that came through my psyche and reflected the world around me back to myself. Read more>>

Betsy Yates | Jeweler

When it comes down it it, I’m a Maker. I always have been, even if I didn’t always realize it. But about 10 years ago, I learned to live by this important, basic truth: Creative expression is absolutely fundamental to my wellbeing. It’s a core need. When I slip into a powerful creative flow, all the best stuff ignites— that initial challenge of materials, an excitement for the craft, my passion for excellence, and (if all goes well) a sense of accomplishment. Finding a “Flow” feels like my work is being channeled from the unknown, disconnected from time and the world around me. And it really feeds my soul like nothing else can. Read more>>

Zhaohong Zhu | Film Composer & Artist

I love to express myself through the art, and watching listening creative projects by others, It help me open mine eyes, stimulates mine imagination and be thankful. The moment and feeling of being hit by the stuff you never heard and saw before, just like open a new world to me every time, I enjoy every moment of that. And as return, I also want to create mine imaginative things to inspire others. Read more>>

Boyvillain + Jan | Creatives

We just want to make shit. We’re just one of the many beautiful forms of queer expression out there. Garment design has been something that has stuck with both of us. It excites us and has just created beautiful experiences. Arts and creative aspirations are so vast and we like the idea of transformation and becoming whatever we feel called to. And we want to continue creating things and making this our legacy. Read more>>