There are so many factors that affect how our lives turn out, but one of the most interesting is how our backgrounds give us unique strengths and perspectives that affect who we are as adults. We asked rising stars from the community to tell us about their background and upbringing and how they feel it’s impacted who they are today.

Roberto Racy | Architect & Interior Designer

Nar Design Studio was founded by the Brazilian architects and designers Nicholas Jemciugovas and Roberto Racy. By having two graduations and working internationally for over 10 years we have an extensive background on conceptual and innovative design. We are very passionate about incorporating technology into a functional and minimalist approach. This is part of our essence and it is also what makes our projects unique. Read more>>

Lafe James | Creative Director / Designer / Entrepreneur

Physically, I’m from Naples, Florida. Mentally, I come from a place of encouragement, expressive freedom, and a hard work ethic. Looking back, I believe one of the pivotal moments in my early life was being enrolled in the gifted program in elementary school. That program pulled me out of standardized school, challenged my mindset, and nurtured my creativity. That process has not stopped since. Read more>>

Augustine Turner | business owner and mentor

I was born in Cleveland, Ohio. I was raised in the foster care system due to me being taking away from my family at a young age. Growing up living in these homes, not only did I experience poverty, neglect, and a shortage of mentorship, there were days where I had to make a way to feed myself. Having to provide for myself at a young age, as a teen mother, my goal was that I wanted love and a stable family. I wanted to make sure that my life and my daughters life would be better than what was presented to me and I didn’t become a statistic like the ones around me. All of those things has impacted who I am today because I am a chef and my goal for creating my brand was to bring families together thru love, laughter & good food. Also, I wanted to create mentorship for other people (women especially) 4 things I never got to experience growing up. Read more>>

Bre Statuto | Social Media Creator & Small Business Owner

I’m from a very small rural town outside of Gettysburg, PA. Like, literally the middle of nowhere. It’s a place filled with a lot of cornfields and football lovers, and some of the most hard-working, wonderful people you’ll ever meet. Both sides of my family have been in the area for generations and I’m one of few that decided to leave to pursue a career you can’t really have in a remote location. My parents are two of the hardest working teachers and they instilled a “give it your all” attitude in me from a really young age. So I was raised to give 100% no matter what I was doing – whether it’s in sports, earning a 4.0 GPA in college, or striving to be the best Analyst or Associate in my class as a full-time investment banker. I attribute my drive for success entirely to my surroundings growing up and the determination that both of my parents have and encouraged me to endeavor to have as well. Read more>>

Danica Simpkins | Business Owner & Jam Specialist

I was born in Miami the morning after Hurricane Andrew. I was raised by a mother who taught me to never give up when things get tough. I grew up in a family with many female entrepreneurs. My grandmother was a real estate broker and owned her own agency. My godmother (aunt) owns a business that has received multiple awards from contractors as well as from the governor of Florida as a female-owned business. My mother in law owns a business that helps the mentally and physically challenged. My father has his own company which has been operating for nearly 30 years. I remember going to his office when I was young. Being around so many entrepreneurs as a young person I knew I always wanted to have my own business one day. Read more>>