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.

Kisha Edwards-Gandsy | Co-founder & CEO

I was born in rural, Pelzer, SC where our family lived within walking distance to the homes of aunts, uncles, and my grandmother. From gardening, cooking, and church fellowship, I was raised to consider the needs of others, to have a strong appreciation for nature, and to be resourceful. I learned from a young age that a strong village was essential to family success. Read more>>

Jackie Schoemaker Holmes, PhD | Sociologist & Empowerment Specialist

I’m from a small town in Ontario Canada. I wasn’t like other girls and I’ve always been proud of that. Not being like other girls had its downsides as well but I can now look back at all the ways I didn’t fit as expressions of my true nature. I think being smart, outspoken, high-achieving, and ambitious has always been a blessing a curse. Read more>>

Justine Green | Award-Winning Author & Doctor of Education

I was born in New York and moved down to Boca Raton when I was about 8 years old, but my story starts at birth. I was born with atresia and microtia. Microtia is a condition where the outer ear does not develop properly and atresia is the absence of the ear canal, leaving me deaf in my left ear. Read more>>

Bri Lauren | Entrepreneur / Business Owner

I am from Jamaica born and raised! Big up! I do strongly believe that it’s in our DNA to sell and make something out of nothing we are one of the most creative and unique people. However on a more personal level majority of my family are entrepreneurs so I grew up seeing my mother bake to sell around major holidays later opening her boutique my grandfather having multiple businesses. Read more>>