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.

John Rowe-Stokes | Mental Health Therapist and Adventure Photographer

When I was growing up I was fascinated with adventure. My grandfather, a Merchant Marine, used to awe me with his stories of circumnavigating the globe, playing baseball with penguins in the arctic, and all of the characters he would meet in his travels across the globe. These are some of my earliest memories leading to daydreams about what types of adventures I might create. Read more>>

Mary Spinelli | Apothecarius

Having been raised by parents who were very label-conscious with regard to ingredients, I was taught to always read my labels. And I was guided to always purchase products that had the cleanest, most natural ingredients possible. Money was tight in my early childhood, so we practiced sustainability out of necessity more than anything else. My mother could find 100 uses for an egg carton! These tenets are the foundation of my very being, and they are naturally the foundation of Hyssop Beauty Apothecary. Read more>>

Michelle Davenport | Owner of The Woodhouse Day Spa (Centennial and Boulder locations in Colorado)

I am from a suburb of Chicago and moved out to Colorado in 2010. I like to say I am a “jack of all trades” as I went to art school for graphic design, worked in the hospitality industry for multiple years, started a landscaping company and taught yoga before I ended up where I am at. All of these stepping stones (plus I had many more jobs when growing up!) taught me something imperative about life and working with people; whether that being our clientele or our employees. Read more>>

Alayne (Lee) Reid | Art Therapy Major

I think my upbringing made me an incredibly independent person, maybe even to a toxic extent. I was born in Jamaica, however mostly raised in Florida. My immediate family has always been fairly small, and the distaste my family members had for each other was apparent from a young age. Not many people in my family are that close, and my parents had a messy divorce as soon as I was able to have conscious thoughts for myself and retain memories. Read more>>

Don Evans | Pro angler

I grew up poor and had next to nothing ! One day I caught a fish and it changed my life And led me to pursue professional fishing! You can say fishing changes my life ! Read more>>

Mercedes Williams | Photographer

Wow! Let’s talk about it.. I was born in California, and moved to Arizona and Colorado in my early years. We jumped around all three of those states until my freshman year when my family & I were able to settle down in Colorado. The reason for all the moving was because my father was being extradited from state to state for non-violent crimes. It was hard on my mom, and she became addicted to opioids. (She is now three years sober! WOOHOO!) Read more>>

Kass Kremer | Co-founder, Sasquatch Expedition Campers

Growing up my time was split between Idaho and Montana. My first exposure to entrepreneurship was in college at Montana State University where I took a class on the subject and did really well, and upon graduation I felt someday I would start my own company. This dream was put on hold after I got my first job out of college for a manufacturing company that went out of business two years down the road. Witnessing the challenges the owner of the company went through delayed my desire to start a business, allowing me to gain 15 years of professional experience. Read more>>

Justin Guerra | Photographer

I was born in raised in a small town in northern New Jersey. I spent a lot of my early life sandwiched between the major cities of New York and Philadelphia. Hearing about places that didn’t look like the suburbs seemed entirely foreign to me but the more I read about them the more I wanted to seek them out. After college I joined the United States Peace Corps and served in a remote area of Eastern Mongolia. The experience was eye opening and life changing to say the least. I brought with me a little digital point and shoot to record my time there but seldom used it. Read more>>

Jantzen Peake | Fine Artist, Established Art Educator, Curator of the Peake Gallery, Muralist.

I am from the sandy polluted beaches of Southern California. I have survived strangulation at birth by my mothers umbilical cord in the city of Hermosa Beach California. Dove into the fluidity of water less than a year old, swimming, floating at the early age of five. Setting the sails of the driving force to be the best artist in my genre was seeded during the years of middle school. It didn’t take me long to realize I was not like most normal kids. I was pulled from normal public classes as if I was a contagious virus. Read more>>

Tiara Jacobo | Personal trainer & mother

I come from a family of five siblings where we lived paycheck to paycheck with a less than ideal upbringing from our guardians and adults in our life. I promised myself I would break those cycles. I feel like it was more difficult for me to be able to gain that self-confidence to step out of my comfort zone and take risks to break the cycles, but alas I am finally here breaking through! Read more>>