Even if you are from the same neighborhood as someone else, you might still be coming from different places. Where you are from is a complicated question and it elicits complicated, but interesting and thought-provoking responses. We’ve shared some of those responses below.

Jodi Swank | Farmer

I was born in Brooklyn, East New York in 1964. My mother Irene was in textiles and my father Lou was a kosher butcher. My sister Karen was 12 years my senior and my brother Howard was 8 years older then me. When I was 8 years old, my family moved from East New York to Canarsie, a residential neighborhood in the Southeastern portion of Brooklyn. I remember having to walk to public elementary school in 5 th and 6th grades, 20 minutes each way. Having to do the same for middle school (junior high school and high school) . I graduated Canarsie HS in 1982. I went to college for one year in Sheepshead Bay Brooklyn, Kingsborough Community College. Here I majored in Travel and Tourism. During the summer of 1983, my parents suggested I get a summer job, or go back to school. Read more>>

Meena Matocha | Visual Artist

Growing up in suburban central Texas in the 1970s, we were one of a few Indian immigrant families in our neighborhood. I had an amazingly happy childhood, but there was always that feeling of not completely fitting in. When I was seven years old, I had an art teacher who gave a portrait drawing demonstration one day in class. He chose me to model for the drawing, and after sitting for about 15 minutes while the rest of the class watched, he showed us the finished drawing. It was a perfect likeness of me in this beautiful drawing, and my seven-year-old self was in awe. I couldn’t really articulate it at the time, but looking back on it now, I felt seen and known in a way I hadn’t before. When I saw that drawing, I knew I wanted to be an artist. I want people to feel those same feelings of acceptance, of being known and seen through my work. Read more>>

Jacquetta (Jay) West | Motivational Speaker, Author, Crown Corrector & Podcast Host

My name is jay West, I was born and raised in Miami, Florida, where I currently reside. I am in such an awesome place in my life, I am elated to share with you my experiences. In my early childhood I witnessed Domestic Violence with a close relative. I associated love with physical pain and the cycle I observed of the “make-up to break-up”. In early adulthood I mirrored that behaviour and believed that my spouse had to batter me to show his love. I was so wrong! Nevertheless, I repeated this cycle more than a few times. I never questioned God because I thought it was OK. Again, I was so wrong! After seeking therapy and understanding that any kind of abuse is wrong, I finally realized that I was worth loving in a better way. Read more>>

Kristin Johnson | Licensed Esthetician & Certified Lash Artist

I was born in the Bahamas and coming from a Caribbean household I’ve always been taught to never settle. Growing up as an only girl I’ve always felt immense pressure to succeed, to be the best at everything I do. I truly appreciate that my parents bought me up with this mindset because it pushes me as a business owner. Knowing that my future is solely in my hands, motivates me!! Read more>>

Kelley Higney | Founder & CEO

I grew up in San Diego, California. My background and upbringing have influenced who I am today. It provided me with strong female entrepreneurial role models who taught me that when you have a problem, seek out a solution. With determination and hardwork, anything is possible. I am a third-generation female entrepreneur. As early as I can remember, my mother’s business was part of my daily life. I was answering the phones for my mom, Ellen McAlister’s business, as soon as I could talk. As a child, when my mom’s international clients were in town, they would stay at our house. We would also travel to Las Vegas for trade shows once a month. After completing school, I worked with my mother in my family’s international export and distribution business, A.C. Kerman, for 15 years. Read more>>

MaiYap | Palette Knife Artist & Art Instructor

While living in the United States most of my adult life, studying, raising a family, and launching my art career, part of my heart has remained in Panama. This connection defines who I am and has had a profound influence in my work. I was born in Panama to Chinese parents and spent the first 8 years of my life in the little town of Aguadulce. This was an old, quaint sleepy Spanish town on the Pacific side of the country, some 3 hours away from Panama City. My parents had the largest general store in town. The ground floor was my father’s domain: hardware, bicycles, washing machines and even a tiny supermarket. On the second floor to the right was my mother’s part of the store where she sold clothing, shoes, and all home related items. On the left side of the second floor was our home. Read more>>

Dina Capehart | Small Business Owner

I’m originally from Toronto, Canada, a city full of culture, style, food and fashion. I remember as far back at the age of 2, going through my mother’s closets, trying on her hats and perusing her jewelry boxes trying on all her clip earrings. My interest continued into my college years where I studied Apparel Management. I always wanted to own a store, a special and unique place that customers will get excited to shop in. I always loved fashion and considered myself to be fashion forward, making the seen in downtown Toronto in the 70’s/80’s dressed funky but chic. After relocating to FL, I worked in the art world then subsequently got married and had a child that thankfully, I was able to raise full time. My next door neighbor happened to be an antique dealer and introduced me to the world of all things vintage. I was hooked. Read more>>

Sharon Berebichez | Visual Artist

Im from Mexico City. I come from a family of European immigrants that got out from Europe to escape the Second World War. I always felt that Mexico was my home, my city, I loved growing up there, the food, the people, the culture and history but most important, I loved the Art, the arts and crafts and all the beautiful things Mexicans are capable of creating. I remember my parents taking me and my sisters to this park on Sundays to see all this amazing artists exhibiting their art and trying to sell their creations, going to Coyoacán looking to all the different colonial houses with their bright colors and stone pavement. Visiting Frida Kahlo’s home. Traveling to Oaxaca, Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, Chiapas, etc… each place with their different culture and different colors and textures. Read more>>