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.

Charla Truesdale | Founding President of Warrior Spirit Project and Certified Warrior Yoga Teacher

I was born and raised in Texas, and I am one of “those” who loves my home state and all that it represents. Being raised here came with an expectation to be respectful, diligent, friendly, resourceful, helpful, courteous, faithful, and humbly independent. In my early years, my parents often told me, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”, and that became my mantra throughout my youth and beyond. I witnessed examples of these lived values every day in my own family, and in those other faithful Texans around me. My father was the one who always stopped to help a stranger on the side of the road, offer his skilled assistance to a neighbor, or rescue an animal in distress. All of that experience shaped the way I view the world and those around me. Read more>>

Oonam Patel | Building Designer & Founder at the URBAN LOOP STUDIO | TEDx speaker

I lived in a motel room from 3rd grade until I graduated high school, and shared an apartment with 3 other roommates in college. I have always had a small space that I had to share with others. In other words, I never had a beautiful space of my own to live in. The motel room was a dark 3-star motel room with a black tinted window, the most uncomfortable bed and a window A/C unit that was also used as a storage room. Living with roommates wasn’t the best, cleanest or nicest environment, but definitely a step up from the motel room. I suspect designing beautiful and functional spaces can help impact your health and well-being since your environment has the power to influence your mood. Read more>>

Rachel Olson | Owner and Baker

I am originally from Chicago and we have been in Dallas for 7 years. My background is in hotel/restaurant management. I have a passion for people. As a child I used to play restaurant in my basement and have always wanted to have my own restaurant. A successful home bakery is a great start! I have worked in the service industry since I was 15 years old. My background has taught me a lot about customer service, people skills, health code compliance, as well as the back side of the industry such as financials and supply costs. I have been blessed to have learned these skills and was able to implement them immediately as my business grew instead of learning them. Read more>>

Mirchelle Louis | CEO, Cancer Support Community North Texas

I was born in Cape Town, South Africa, the youngest of 4 girls. My parents provided a loving, solid, no nonsense home environment and encouraged me and my sisters to believe that we could accomplish anything if we were persistent and worked hard. They encouraged me to do well at school, to think for myself and to be curious. Read more>>

Francisco Diaz | Home Stager

I am originally from Mexico City, Mexico. I was brought to the United States when I was just three years old, but thanks to the diligence of my parents I have been fortunate enough to have retained and built upon the rich heritage of both of my home countries. I have always been a dreamer, and as the child of immigrant parents, pursuing the American Dream has been in my DNA from day 1. It was never a discussion about IF I was going to start my own business, but WHEN. My pursuit of interior design and staging started at an early age, moving the furniture in my family home around when my parents would go out of town so that they would be surprised by the new configuration upon their return. Casa Bella is the realization of that original experimentation with design! Read more>>