Starting a business is a commitment and requires dedication, resources and sacrifice. We asked some of the rising stars in our community how they thought through the idea of starting their own businesses.

Norma and Gaston Galella | Co-founders of Duoma Atelier

Since Gaston and I met we knew we could accomplish great things together. We both had big dreams and our skillsets complimented each other from the very beginning. We were a great team! Fast forward to a couple of years ago, when we decided it was time to join forces, the real question was. What is stopping us to venture into something together? We had each been honing our individual professional careers for quite some time and we felt the stars were finally aligning. Gaston had gone from skillful carpenter, to successfully running his own millwork installation company, to obtaining his construction management degree and GC license. Meanwhile, I had mastered my career in Interior design as a licensed professional in some of the most prestigious global design firms. Read more>>

Bruce Turkel | Author of “Is That All There Is?”

The first time, I was working at an advertising agency and was young and unexperienced enough to mistakenly believe that I was capable of running the business by myself. It was what my father called “the confidence of ignorance.” Things worked out quite fine, but not without a lot of hard work and very stressful decisions. Every time since then has been well-thought out and based on a well-researched consumer or customer need. Read more>>

Courtney Brooks | Yoga Instructor & Studio Owner

When I first opened my studio in 2017, I was fueled by a desire to share yoga with the people in my community. After practicing for nearly a decade, yoga had completely transformed my life and I thought if it could do so much for me, others could probably benefit from it as well. Depending on how you look at it, my youth and inexperience were a blessing. I was only 23, fresh out of college, with no idea how to run a business and extremely naive, but I never felt afraid or doubtful that it would be successful. I figured if you put 100% of your heart and soul into it, Read more>>

Mary Jane and Allen Guerra | Wedding Officiants and Ceremony Designers

Our business started with our own wedding, back in 2016. We met and decided to get married the same year, a whirlwind decision that marked our lives in such a positive way. We talked about dates and decided we wanted to be husband and wife by the holidays, so we set the date for November 2016. We chose to have a very intimate wedding with our families and closest friends present, so the ceremony part had to be decided. We both have different belief systems, but we still wanted a hint of spirituality to celebrate our love with our families. A dear friend of ours is a notary, Read more>>

Succession Marketing | Digital Marketing Experts

Independence and creative control. At one point, we felt like we hit the ceiling at our place of employment and realized that climbing the corporate ladder can only provide a limited amount of personal satisfaction and growth. We wanted to control our destinies and spend our time building something special that we truly believed in. Read more>>

Andrew Whitfield | Creative Director/Designer/Stylist

I decided to create my own business because growing up I fell in love with the many different avenues of being a creative entrepreneur; from photography, event planning, marketing, design, and of course fashion to name a few. I figured the best way to get all my ideas out would be to create a business where I can freely express myself and the vision I had through these creations under one name/brand. Read more>>

Sophronia McKenzie | Creator & Founder of visuEats

Back in 2018, I was at happy hour with one of my best friends. We decided to try a new restaurant and I was super annoyed at the fact that I couldn’t see any pictures or videos of the menu items. I kept fussing that I cannot understand why in this digital era, restaurants do not use multimedia menus. She looked at me straight in the face and said, “Well you work with technology, so why don’t you build that type of menu yourself?” At that point, a light bulb went off in my head, and I decided to start a new company and developed a photo menu app, which I now call visuEats. Read more>>

Kemesha Graham | Chef, Wedding & Event Planner

I always knew that I wanted to work for myself (be an entrepreneur). I wanted to have a family and be there for them and have a schedule that I could control. I have a passion for food and service and knew that I wanted to share this with others by being a chef and cooking meals that were memorable. Read more>>

Wen-kuni Ceant | CEO and Co-Founder of Politicking

The thought process behind starting my own business was the realization that there was a hole in the market. In 2016, with the election of President Trump, my co-founder and I came to the realize that while most voting constituents were familiar with the information at the top of their ballot–they had little to no information about the issues on the bottom of their ballot. Unfortunately, the people towards the bottom of the ballot consisted of folks like mayors, superintendents and city councilmen/women… Read more>>

Nichole Ruiz | Student and Climate Activist

I started my climate nonprofit The Five Dollar Project because I was scared. I had grown up learning about how climate change would impact my future and was frustrated that our public officials weren’t taking the crisis serious. Growing up in Miami, it has been obvious to see the way climate change and human activity is killing our ecosystems, even within the last ten years. Hurricanes and heat waves are getting stronger every year, disproportionately impacting marginalized Miami communities. The Biscayne Bay dead zone has grown and is killing endangered species that are key to a balanced ecosystem. Read more>>

Sabrina Romero | Hypnotherapist & Meditation Practitioner

I decided to start my own business because I saw another hypnotherapist that I admire greatly help people who came in with emotional and psychosomatic issues and after their sessions they left with so much clarity and awareness about who they are and what they need to do to move forward in the most empowering way. I realized at that moment that is exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to help people see their own power and to have clarity and true awareness on what they needed to do to take the next step to help them level up on their current life path. Read more>>

Brittany Perry | Hairpreneur, Actress, & Singer

Honestly, being a business owner wasn’t a part of the plan until maybe 10 years ago. When I was younger, the only thing I talked about was being a singer, actress, and ballerina. I didn’t know anything about owning a business or what an entrepreneur was. It wasn’t something that was talked about or heard of. It was always, “go to college, get a degree, or get a good job with benefits”. After working several retail jobs and having to answer to supervisors, it was then that I realized that I wanted to be the person who calls the shots. My love and passion for performing arts is what led me to start my company StandOut School of the Arts in 2020. Read more>>

Laura Reiss | Founder, President and Chief Kindness Officer Kindness Matters 365 Foundation

I started the Kindness Matters 365 Foundation because I believe that all children should live in a world filled with gratitude, compassion, and kindness. A world where kids and teens have emotional well-being; where they feel supported and accepted; where they develop the skills to cope with challenges and to achieve their full potential. I had three young daughters and noticed something was missing in their formal education – there was a need to guide kids in their discovery of how to best take care of themselves, each other, and our world. Read more>>

Richardo Jackson | Founder & President

That’s simple – my mom. The End. She spent her life in dedication to others and helping people regardless of who they are or where they are from. Growing up, she would invite people to live with us, so much so that people would often ask how big was our family or how many cousin or uncles and aunties we had. However, to us, everyone was family. My mom passed away two years ago and I started this organization in honor of her, hence the name Campbell Health Solutions, which was started about a year ago.. Campbell was her maidan name. Read more>>