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.

Demira Devoil | Nonprofit Founder & CEO

I grew up in a small town in Bastrop, Louisiana. It’s mostly rural and there are a lot of areas that are low income neighborhoods. I grew up in a low income area and that impacted me in many ways throughout my life. I was motivated to pursue higher education, and seek out a career IT that allowed me to be of assistance to others who grew up just like me. Hopeful Arms Foundation is my nonprofit that I founded to reach out to single mothers and those affected by homelessness to stop the cycle of poverty within their own family. Growing up in poverty was a key motivator in my life, to want more in life to help all that I come across. Read more>>

Victoria E. Henderson Poole | Author & Radio Host

I was born in New York City, NY. We lived in the projects in the Bronx until I was 13. We then moved into a house in St. Albans, loacted in Queens, NY. I went to a parochial school which was a part of our religion from elementary to high school. This upbringing impacted my life in so many ways. I was surrounded by people who loved me at school and at church. We were our own family and friends and I am still friends with many of them today. The sense of community and love for others was fostered in a city known for crime and drugs. I did see all that, but my parents made sure my siblings and I stayed busy and away from trouble. I moved to North Carolina when I was 23 but still call NYC my home since I have many friends and family members still there. Watching my parents sacrifice to get us a house and move us out of the projects made me appreciate them so much. I saw firsthand what taking care of your family really meant. Read more>>

Aqua Jones | Graphic Designer & Plus-size Influencer

I am from Whitewright, Tx. A small town that most people have never even heard of. I was raised by my grandparents who raised me on a lot of love and I carried that with me. No matter what I’ve gone through in life I’ve always loved people and treated them as such. Everyone who knows me knows I’m a loving, warm person. Read more>>