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.

Samantha Quintana | Food Blogger and Recipe Creator

I was born and raised in Miami by two immigrant parents from very different backgrounds. My mother is Chinese and was born in Jamaica while my father is from Cuba. As you can imagine, being raised under these different cultural influences was interesting to say the least. Both sides of my family were very involved in my upbringing and wanted to me to grow up knowing their cultures and traditions. We mainly bonded through food. Read more>>

Jay Williford | Financial coach, mentor, entrepreneur, investor

I am from the inner city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and come from very humble beginnings. As children, my siblings and I didn’t always get what we wanted but had what we needed. Growing up with both parents in the same household taught me values, responsibility and stability. I didn’t always make the best decisions as a young adult, but I learned from my mistakes. Read more>>

Fanny Hanono | Leader of the GFX Team

I come from a family of immigrants—my grandparents immigrated to Cuba from Eastern Europe. My parents left Cuba in 1961 to come to the United States, so I am a first-generation American. The home I grew up in significantly impacted my view of this country. I learned to appreciate and love America, and to share my good fortune with others. I was taught the importance of charity through its influence on my everyday life. My father had a saying, which I still agree with to this day and have inculcated in my own children, that goes, “The more you give, the more you get back.” Read more>>