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.

Chelsea Haggerty | Cookie Baker & Artist

I was born in Miami Shores but was raised in a small town called Southwest Ranches, about 45 minutes outside of Miami. My dad is a retired Miami Beach Firefighter and my mom is an Art Teacher. Both of my parents are creative and artistic – it runs in my genes. I found my creative outlet in decorative cookies. I’m self-taught and love to be in the kitchen, trying new designs and techniques. My parents always encouraged creative expression and freedom, so I don’t hold strong to many rules in the kitchen (except for keeping my recipe tight and secure!). My parents also put a huge emphasis on family, and now being a mom to a 10 year-old, there’s nothing I love more than having my daughter in the kitchen with me and helping her find her creative freedom, too. Read more>>

Lea Williamson | Qigong/Tai Chi Leader & Author

Apparently Floridians exude a particular essence because for years when I introduce myself as a Space Coast, Florida native the response is, “I can see that. You have that Florida vibe.” I like to think it’s a vibe of relaxation and openness to playing in the outdoors. Before big houses became the norm in Florida, the small house lifestyle was typical because most of one’s time was spent outside enjoying the plentiful outdoor activities that can be enjoyed year-round here. Read more>>

Fred Gordon | Poet & Author

I am originally from White House, Jamaica. I moved to the US when I was five years old. Being raised by a single mother, I saw mom’s struggle to make a better life for my sister and me. This has always propelled me to try the best that I can and follow my passions. I never wanted to waste the opportunity she gave me. The reason I am here is that she wanted better for me. So, I took that drive and threw it into everything I do, whether it be my work or family. Today when I write, I write from a place of truth and transparency hoping that with me sharing my story or ideas or thoughts, that I can help motivate someone else to do the same. Read more>>

Richard Yasmine | interior architect and product designer

I’m Lebanese interior architect and product designer… inspired of my city, life, emotions, and social matters, but also focusing on internal chaos combined with a certain innate sensitivity, extreme and provocative or even not expected by others but always minimal, bold, and straightforward without disguising or hiding true reality.Well I remember since I was actually so young, my paternal family were in the industry of couture, therefore I was so attracted by shapes, colors, fabrics and materials.. Besides the interior of the family house was filled with multiple objects and furniture from the 20thies, some art deco pieces and vintage ones… Read more>>

Stephanie Edwards | Founder + Designer at Jubilee Trading Co.

I grew up on a farm in rural TN and my dad made sure that I EARNED every penny in my bank account. Conveniently there was plenty of work to go around. I’m not gonna lie, I hated the hard work, but the part that I did appreciate was that I put myself through college, paying my own way with zero debt. I didn’t make a fortune by any means, but it was enough. I could see my hard work directly improve my life, and I was hooked. Read more>>

Edwin Husser | Entrepreneur Beauty Tech

I am originally from Germany. Since 2014 I am predominantly residing in the US (mainly in Miami). But in the first two years I have stayed in New York City providing IT cyber security consulting to one of the major global banks on Wall Street. I go back and forth between my second home in Berlin/Germany and my current prime residency in Miami. This ongoing back and forth between Berlin/Europe and Miami/Florida gives me a lot of inspirations and additional perspectives I very much appreciate and enjoy. Read more>>

Yamila Rollan Escalona | Non Profit Founder

I an a bonafide Miamian through and through; born and raised. I am a first generation Cuban American and thank my family for taking great risks to immigrant to the US during the 1980 Mariel boat lift. My upbringing was very much rooted in not forgetting were we come from. I didn’t speak English fully until maybe 1st grade (despite being born in the US). My father, grandparents, uncles and aunts carried nostalgias of times past then even through today. Read more>>

Argenta Flowers Analia & Mara | Florists.

We are Analia and Mara, originally from Argentina. We both being living outside our country for more than 20 years. We meet here in Miami. We instantly became friends and then partners .All these years, we have being exposed to different cultures( from South America, Europe, Asia) and today we reflect all that mix of creative in our designs. Read more>>