Where you grew up and your background can often have surprising effects on our lives and careers. We’ve asked folks from the community to tell us about how their background has affected them.

Phillip Simpler | Alaskan Artist

I’m from a tiny town in the interior of Alaska called North Pole. It’s a pretty unique place. The weather extremes range from -60 in the winter to 100 in the summer. And because of it’s northern latitude we get a few hours of sun in the winter to nearly 24 hours of sun in the summer. It probably goes without saying that this keeps the population pretty low. It can be a very isolating and remote place to live and especially to grow up in. Read more>>

LaCriscia Fowlkes | Epigenetic Transformation and Intimacy Coach

I was fortunate to grow up in a rural town in Virginia. The joy of experiencing four seasons plays into how I think of planning activities of my business. I believe growing up around flower gardens, as well as fruit trees and bushes plays into my interest in herbalism now. I love going to the beach, but walking through fresh-cut grass is my grounding sweet spot. Read more>>

Lex Miller | Entrepreneur & Yoga Teacher

I’m from the Antelope Valley, a desert outside of LA. I grew up poor, with a ton of siblings and not so good parents. I’ve had to work since I was 15 years old, I took care of my siblings, basically raised a couple of them. I’ve always had to rely on myself, I didn’t have the option of being a kid or a teen just having fun. I’ve always had some sort of responsibility. Read more>>

Lauren Toney | Radiation Therapist & Podcaster

I am from Plantation, Florida.. the suburbs. I was primarily raised by my grandmother. My background and upbringing impacted me tremendously because I knew early on what I didn’t want to be. My life experiences pushed me to keep going to accomplish my goals. My upbringing made me have no choice, but to be successful. Read more>>

Dolly Hope | Entrepreneur

My name is Dolly Hope, I was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. I have 8 siblings and was raised in a Caribbean household. My parents were strict! They have instilled values in me that I have taken with me into adulthood. I currently instill these values into my own child to this very day. While our upbringing definitely doesn’t determine our fate, it can have a significant impact. I didn’t grow up wealthy and I wasn’t born with a silver spoon but somehow, someway my mom always made things happen. Read more>>

Jose Garzón | Chef

I was born in the coast of Ecuador. I was there until age 18. My childhood and my heritage have a HUGE influence on my current menus. GARZON LATINX STREET FOOD’s concept is based in drinking food and snacks from Latin America. Food I grew up eating in the streets of my country and in my travels as a touring musician for over 10 years. Everything I learned in the music business I also apply to my businesses now. For me, it’s been a long and beautiful process and it’s all connected. Read more>>

Kristi Data | Wellbeing Coach and Entrepreneur

I am from Middletown, NY and raised in a middle class blue collar family. My Mom was a school teacher for over 20 years, and my Dad was an insurance sales professional for almost 30 years. Both of my parents had side hustles at some point in there career. Mom did real estate and Dad had a handyman business. My Dad was first generation Polish and his family had their own businesses and also worked in the hospitality industry. He had a very strong work ethic and service oriented attitude to help others. I would say my upbringing developed the work ethic that I have today, and the importance of being of service to others. Read more>>

Sanique Olkuch | Calligrapher, Nurse Practitioner & Real Estate Investor

I grew up in a small, rural town in Jamaica and was raised by my grandmother. She is she was a single mom who raised 6 daughters and she was such a hard worker. Even though she was a single mom she made sure that all her kids and grandkids had whatever it is that they needed to succeed. She wore many hats she was mom, dad, grandfather and grandmother but she was also a dressmaker, farmer, handyperson, painter and just about everything else she needed to be for her family. Read more>>

Laura Arévalo | Teacher & Sales Woman

I am from the beautiful country that is Colombia. As a culture, we are known for being extremely hard working people, we empathize with each other but like to enjoy life as well (as a country we’ve been through a lot!) It’s given us the thickest of skin but also the biggest of hearts. That’s why it’s important for me to represent my roots, it’s my way of showcasing to the world the essence of Colombia; one of both a joyous spirit and a relentless hustle. Read more>>

Shahini Fakhourie | Fashion Designer

I was born in Delaware to a Jamaican-American mother and a Jamaican father who is Rastafarian. My family always nurtured creativity growing up where there was no shortage of music, cousins and food. My grandmother made all of her own clothes and she taught me to sew when I was young which sparked my interest in design before fully realizing what that even meant. Growing up with the values and cultures I was surrounded with, nurtured me and made me who I am today. Read more>>