Where you grew up and your background can often have surprising effects on our lives and careers. We’ve asked folks from the community to tell us about how their background has affected them.

Brandon Concepcion | Photographer, Story Teller

I’m originally from the Island of Guam. It’s part of a chain of small islands in the Marianas Trench, which is considered to be a United States territory. Growing up my grandparents always emphasized that family and respect for people are some of the most important attributes for a person and as a Chamorro (a Guam native). It’s something that I’ve always carried with me and have tried to uphold in my personal and professional lives. Creating a family like connection with my clients, so much so that they feel comfortable and relaxed during our sessions is important to me and it helps me honor my culture. Read more>>

Alissa Alfaro | Special Education Teacher & Photographer

Growing up and living in Cedar Hill for 15+ years, I lived in a very diverse environment. I experienced multiple cultures and customs in my neighborhood, school, and church. Specifically, when I was in 5th grade Hurricane Katrina happened early on that school year. Cedar Hill was a relocation city, so I quickly learned and interacted with people from the greater New Orleans area. Because of my experiences in a minority-majority environment, I quickly learned to adapt, gain knowledge, and empathetic emotions for cultures and experiences different than mine. My family often took in individuals and families who were in need; Read more>>

Emil Cole | Photographer & Digital Content Producer

My name is Emil L. Cole owner of EMILCOLESTUDIOS photography and digital media. I am originally from Jackson Mississippi and I started doing photography about 10 years ago. I started shooting in highschool as the yearbook photographer. People would always ask me to take photos of them and after a couple of cameras as gifts, one of my friends decided to pay me to take photos for her boutique and magazine. From there EmilColeStudios was born. Since then Ive dabbled in every type of photography but because of my unique beginning I always gravitated towards Fashion and Editorial photography. Read more>>

Carlos Davila | FhitPro, DIO, Professor

I was born in Puerto Rico but came to NY at a very early age and grew up in the Bronx during the 80’s (not a fun time lol). But it was this experience and dealing with poverty, normalized violence, and the general apathy and learned helplessness that these social milieus can create that fostered my desire to get out of that space. This eventually lead to my becoming the first person in my family to get a graduate degree and has pushed me to start my own small business. Read more>>