Through our work we have had the good fortune of seeing firsthand how success comes in every shape, size, color, faith, and orientation. More importantly we’ve learned that success is often the result of people embracing their unique backgrounds and so we’ve asked the community to tell us about their background and how it has impacted where they are today.

Officially Simone | Music Artist

I am from a small city called desoto , tx ! It’s a very family oriented community. I had a great upbringing being blessed to have both of my parents in my life . They have pushed me and supported me every step of the way . My parents weren’t too strict on me but they did push and encourage me to be very active as a young girl . I was in so many sports Lol and eventually I got into dance as well . I always knew I had a gift to sing but I never thought I’d be able to sing the way I do today lol ! I was always busy as a young child . I’d be coming from dance practice heading to track practice so I’ve always had a intense schedule even as a child . I would be in dance and track almost everyday while singing and starting my music career . I feel like the way I was brought up was to work consistently and to always keep myself going . I believe this has helped tremendously with who I’ve become. Read more>>

Kate Whidden | Nonprofit Leader

I was born and raised in Hampden, Maine, the youngest of four children. I grew up in a home where homemade yeast rolls and pies were delicious, and thriftiness was a virtue. Mom and us kids went to church on Sundays, but dad got a pass from it, choosing to spend time in his side gig of tuning pianos. My dad was a carpenter and maintenance man at a hospital in Bangor, and my mom did a variety of jobs once us kids were old enough for her to even think about working outside the home. She started out as a hotel maid and eventually become manager of a small 15-unit motel. When I was in high school, we both worked at the same pizza shop and had a blast together! Honestly, mom would have been thrilled if I’d kept that job for decades and always stayed close to home. But having witnessed my parents constant financial struggles, and all the challenges associated with that, I was very motivated to try and carve out a different reality. Read more>>

MvkeyyJ | Hip-Hop Artist

I’m originally from California, but now I reside in Dallas, TX. I think having both that west coast upbringing mixed with the urbanicity of Dallas has allowed me to tap into a unique sound and brand that just can’t be found in anyone else. I’m a very driven and determined person, but I also understand how to enjoy the moment and cherish every little success. Read more>>

Igxtelle Mbah Acha | Immigrant Inclusion Strategist, Attorney and Founder of The Immigrant Mom, Inc

I am from Cameroon, a beautiful country in Central Africa. I left home when I just turned 20, travelling thousand miles away from home, away from my siblings, my parents, my friends, everything I was familiar with to a new country-South Korea. The reason for my journey was strong but not strong enough to absolve the homesickness I felt on a daily. Something about leaving your comfort zone teaches you Bravery. I always said, that staying in South Korea for three years gave me the resilience to stay anywhere else in the world. Like every phase in life, moving to America had its own set of challenges that were different and ones I had not anticipated. After taking the bar exam, and sworn in as a lawyer in New York, I was introduced to the Corporate culture which was significantly different from the culture engrained in me. This was going to be a challenge like none other I had ever faced. Read more>>

Olivia Ebrotié | Solo Traveling in a Pandemic

I’m from The Ivory Coast, a west African country where I spent my teenage years, as well as childhood life. After graduating from high school, I decided to study in Texas with the help of my parents where I’m studying philosophy. Due to the recent global pandemic and my inability to visit my parents back home, I decided to start my journey as a female solo traveler in this crisis. I feel like my journey as a solo traveler started when I felt my home country and traveled alone to the United States without knowing the language which was extremely challenging at first. As the first born and only girl in my family, I was always encouraged to follow my dreams and accomplish everything I wanted. I’m grateful to my parents that never let anyone tell me that I wasn’t capable of anything because of my gender. Therefore, traveling in the United States is a way for me to not only learn how to step outside my comfort zone but also give me the time to focus my upcoming projects. Today, I’m free and happy to choose my own route and explore as much as possible and help other people who are trying to do the same. Read more>>

Jennifer Profet | Owner- Lov Elle Hair Care

I was born in Houston TX and raised in the city if New Orleans LA. At a young age I developed a great appreciation for natural hair, and most importantly, the care of hair in its natural state. For over 11 years I’ve immersed my self in the education of how to properly care for natural hair through research of ingredients, and healthy natural hair care practices. In 2014 I began formulating my own hair products and in May of 2020 Lov Elle Hair Care was born. Lov Elle Hair Care offers affordable, all natural, and organic natural hair care products. These products are proven to actually benefit natural hair with each and every use. The ingredients used in all of Lov Elle products were formulated to moisturize, strengthen, restore, and grow your natural hair. Whether you are using Lov Elle’s hair growth oil, hot oil treatment, hair growth butter, or herbal hair tea rinse, you’re feeding your natural hair an abundance of nutrients through quality ingredients that will benefit your strands. By the summer of 2021 we will be expanding our natural hair care line by adding a moisturizing shampoo, restorative conditioner, and a nourishing leave-in conditioner. Read more>>

Judith Menzl | Climbing Arborist & Cottage Baker

I am from Germany. I was born and raised there until I was twelve years old, then my family moved to the States–to Tucson, Arizona, At first, I was very unhappy with this move. I missed my family, friends, neighbors, my personal freedom and what I deemed “normal temperatures”. I felt stuck at home, not only because, as a twelve-year-old I couldn’t walk or take a bus anywhere by myself, but also the extreme heat kept me inside with the a/c. Soon, I also found that the bread culture that had accompanied me throughout my life in Germany (it was part of breakfast, lunch and dinner daily), was non-existent here. We went from one bakery to the next hoping to find good bread. At one point we even bought a bread machine. All to no avail. For a while, we gave up the search, we ate less bread and if we did, it was store-bought and we accepted the lower quality. Read more>>