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.

Ashley Dotson | Young Adult Author of Finding Justus Series

I am from Kingsville- South Texas, actually. I always felt like a big fish in a small pond, and left as soon as I could manage. I come from a long line of teachers, and am a teacher myself. I was always told I could do anything, be anything. But some where along the trip to independence, adulthood, and motherhood, I lost that idea of making my own dreams come true and just focused on getting by. When I began writing my first manuscript, I was hesitant to tell my family. I was worried what they would think of this endeavor, I had, like so many other adults, lost the child-like idea that anything is possible. I didn’t have to be one thing or another- I could be anything I set my mind to. So at the age of 30, I set my mind to completing my first novel, The Beacon. My mother, father, and husband were with me for every key stroke and completed chapter. I am who I am today because I have their unwavering support and optimism. Read more>>

Dr. Joslin Mar-Dai | Vegan Chef & Restaurant Owner

Growing up in Shreveport, Louisiana has had a major impact on Vegans on the Run in a number of ways. In the South, sitting at my Grandmother’s feet as she shelled purple hull peas or helping her stir roux for gumbo for hours, developed my deep love for food. As I transitioned to a vegan lifestyle 8 years ago, I was missing much of the flavor I grew up eating. It was during that time that I began to develop many of the recipes that we use in the restaurant today. Knowing that we are in Louisiana with a high rate of obesity, it has impacted the way that we have decided to present our vegan dishes. We prefer to create vegan comfort foods, as they seem to be more palatable to our customer, as well as, paying homage to those years of sitting in my Grandmother’s kitchen and learning how to cook as a child. Read more>>

Jamie Perrin | Dance Studio Owner/Teacher/Choreographer

I grew up in Missouri and I come from a musical family. My mother played flute and saxophone, my brother was a drummer, and my father is world renowned jazz music educator, Jim Widner. My parents owned a music store that was next door to a dance studio. I would go to the store with my parents sometimes and I would ask to go watch the dance classes. I was 2 years old, and I was hooked! I started taking classes and here I am 40 years later still dancing. With my dad being in the entertainment industry I grew up understanding the life of not working 5 days a week 9-5. Being exposed to concerts, rehearsals, traveling, weekend gigs, starting work at 7:00pm, that was a “normal” life for me. Watching the dedication my dad had for his career and teaching really shaped how I approached dance and teaching. He sets his standards high and he doesn’t settle for mediocre. I have learned to do the same from my students. Having a mom that is so supportive of his career and how she understands the craziness of being in the music industry, really showed me you can have a wonderful career and family life at the same time. Read more>>

Layane and Max Maximiliano | Woodworkers

We are originally from Brazil, and have been in Texas for the past 11 years. We first started when I was looking for this specific console for our house, and we just couldn’t find it. With an interior design degree, and with Max’s experience flipping houses and doing construction, we decided to build it ourselves. From there, we never stopped!. Read more>>

Mihee Nahm | Painter

I grew up in Jeonju, South Korea until the age of 16 before moving to the United States. Owing to my parents effort, I had a normal, quiet childhood. When I was in kindergarten, we moved into a neighborhood where many kids of similar ages would get together after school to play. Amongst a slew of childhood memories from that time period, I would like to recount a few that stand out. What I enjoyed the most about playing house as a kid was cooking various un-edible foods and drinks. I remember searching for small, white gravel to grind with a brick in a circular motion until it became fine dust like ‘Misugaru’ (Korean nutty drink which wasn’t allowed in the house on account of its sugar content). I kept the dust in a glass jar only to neglect them a few days later when I created a newer, better recipe. Read more>>

Stephani Marshall-Ross | Marketing Strategist, Business Builder & Consultant

I was born and raised in Carrollton Texas. Initially, Carrollton was not exactly the most diverse place but as I got older the demographics changed quite a bit and Carrollton became more of a melting pot. I was born into a family of business-minded and entrepreneurial-spirited individuals. From an early age, I saw my mother running her own business and I thought that it was the coolest thing to be able to see someone use their God are God-given talents and turn that into income. Eventually, my parents joined forces and started their own business together which is a Taekwondo studio. Martial arts is something that we have done as a family for over 20 years. I learned the art of discipline; hard work, perseverance, integrity, honor, as well as grace, and remaining calm under pressure. Teaching taught me how to adapt quickly to different environments and how to be malleable in my delivery. Read more>>

Taylor Sackson | Singer Songwriter

I’ve floated around the US honestly my entire life, which I love and is probably the root of my need for touring and seeing the world. I was born in Hancock, MI which is a tiny town as north in the country as you can get. My family uprooted from there to Minneapolis MN, where my love of music totally began. My dad took me to “Concerts in the Park” every weekend where everyone gathered to see any genre you can fathom. I couldn’t be taken away from the front of the stage- one Leonard Skynard’s guitarist held me at said concert, when I ran away from my dad to get up front and on stage at the age of two. I was attention seeking from day one I suppose! I brought my love of music to Arizona with me, where I learned to be in a band and write my own songs. I met so many friends that I still collaborate with today. Currently, I’m all on my own in Los Angeles, CA. Read more>>

CeKendria Walker | Chef/Certified Health Coach

I’m from Dallas TX, raised in Atlanta GA. As the only girl to a single Mother, I was pulled in the Kitchen by age 8. My mother would go through the process of feeding me and my siblings times 2. Leftovers were a must die to her being a Full time Worker, student and mom. Looking back I loved being in the kitchen with her & learning new meals. My father is a Chef as well & owns a couple of restaurants in Ny. This duo I was born from provided me the willingness to do anything I put my mind to. Read more>>

Daziah Green | Ceo and President of United Soles

I am from Canton, Ohio. Canton is a city that not a lot of people travel to and majority of the people don’t make it out. Some have dreams but very few choose to chase after them because there isn’t many examples to look up to, and never seen it happen. It’s tough to think beyond the things you have experienced or think about the future because you just want to make it through to the next day, we live to survive and see another day. The city is high in poverty rates and top 10 in crimes in the nation, just to paint a picture. So seeing this, experiencing this, and almost getting sucked in it motivated me to not be in this same place when I got older. I never followed a crowd, and always walked my own path. Sports kept me focused and helped me build some key characteristics I live by today like unity, strength, discipline, determination. Read more>>

Tracey Phillips-Odom | Child Care Owner

I am originally from Waco, Tx, but I moved here to Dallas, Tx after high school to continue my education. My background and upbringing has been impacted by a number of things. To name a few, I will start with my amazing mother. Experiencing her raise eight children showed me how to be loving and caring, handle fear, be strong, never give up, fight for your dreams, etc. She instilled in me to always put God first. Next, I would go to work with my mother sometimes at an early learning center and I would watch her interact with children and her interactions grew on me. She just loved children. Another is, we would always play school whenever my cousins would come over. I would always be the teacher. Then one day, I found myself working on my first job as a preschool teacher. And it all started from there. Read more>>

Dr. Priscylla Bento | Policy Manager with the Office of Equity and Inclusion at the City of Dallas

My parents are immigrants from Brazil and I am a first generation American. My parents grew up under the Brazilian military dictatorship and fully understood what it means to live in a country without basic human rights. Therefore, my background as a first generation American has shaped every facet of who I am and contributes to why I believe in the American dream. For the first half of my childhood in the 1990s, I grew up in Pleasant Grove in Dallas, Texas as my father was the Pastor of the Hispanic congregation at Pleasant Grove First Baptist Church. The reality of living in Pleasant Grove was stark with a meth house next door and a human trafficking house down the street. At that time the inner city wars were still going on and I would often come across kids my age being “jumped in” to either the bloods or the crips by fourth or fifth grade. By 2002, my family had moved to Rockwall, Texas as my parents pursued a better environment and education for my sister and I. Read more>>

Sophia Stewart Adams | Owner of So So Good Cooking LLC

I was originally born in Toledo, Ohio. At age 2 my family moved to Anchorage, Alaska and I lived there until I turned 18. Being the oldest girl of six siblings living in the household I gained the responsibility to help cook. Within that time frame, I found my love for cooking. Growing up positive feedback and constructive criticism from family/friends help build my confidence within my craft. This made me want to push forward. My upbringing impacts who I am today in so many different ways. From learning the value of consistency, making responsible choices, and staying focus on what you want. Read more>>

Shantell Jones | Business Owner & TrampoleanSlim Fitness Coach

I’m originally from Detroit Michigan, my family move to Alabama when I was a young girl. I was a “tomboy” growing up and loved being in team sports, I feel like being involved in team sports,along with joining the military after high school had a profound impact who I am today, of course with my family support system as well. Read more>>

Crystal Boyd | Owner of Peacez of Sweetness, LLC

I’m a country girl from Center, TX, about three hours east of Dallas, and I currently live in Lancaster, TX. I actually have a background in baking, with my Grandmother Irene. She had me at Her side in the kitchen when She prepped and baked desserts. My Grandmother “Mu” taught me how to make cakes from scratch, ONLY! No boxes or mixes EVER! She taught me so thoroughly that our family could no longer tell which of us baked which desserts. I’m so grateful for Her; and to this day, some of our family STILL won’t believe I was the baker, but I know the TRUTH! Lol! The funny thing is, we never made cheesecakes, which is another reason why I was glad to invest in the baking classes I took. Read more>>

Barbara Hoover | Owner | Baker

I was born and raised in Bakersfield, CA. My mom was a single mom and we didn’t have a lot growing up, but I remember my mom getting all dressed up everyday to go to work. She would cook our meals and do the best she could to raise us four girls. I was the youngest at the time and I think it truly impacted me and her work ethic always stuck with me. We couldn’t afford a lot and so when my mom would bake, man, it was always exciting. I would watch her from the time she would pull the butter out of the fridge to make chocolate chip cookies to mixing all the ingredients with our old hand mixer to putting them on the cookie sheet, and of course, my favorite part, when she would open the oven and the smell of the freshly baked cookies would fill up our apartment. And no matter what was going on or how hard things were for us at the time, when those cookies came out of the oven and their scent filled the air, I knew that everything would be okay. Read more>>

Papi AQ | Latino Artist

Born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico. Migrated to Toronto, Canada in early 2000s. My mother and father were both very musically inclined i grew up seeing my father perform covers and songs he wrote. From early age being around a lot of positive and supportive energy. A little rough around the edges being a first generation immigrant into a foreign country. Regardless of the language barrier, and the obstacles put in our way, we always pushed for something better. The grind and multicultural environment had a hand in shaping my sound. Read more>>