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.

Jessica Sarkisian | Airline Captain and Photographer

I was born in Boston, MA, raised in MA and New Hampshire. My parents were avid travelers and we went on some pretty big adventures when I was a child. The biggest and most memorable was a trip across the country for 2 months, hitting all the National Parks. Dad always took photos and mom is very artistic, so I guess I followed his steps in the photography side and my mom’s steps on the artistic side. My parents were always leaving on big trips when we were young. Peru, Asian, Armenia, Greece, Russia, to name a few, I think my love of aviation came from watching Top Gun and wishing to fly an F-14. Read more>>

Sean McCoy | Filmmaker and Photographer

I’m a Director of Photography based out of Washington D.C. Growing up, I was an actor in the area working professionally with local theatre and production companies on anything from Shakespeare to Fallout 3. My life has been ingrained in storytelling for as long as I can remember. As a little boy, I spent hours roaming my neighborhood fighting zombies and skeletons and monsters with sticks pretending I was Link from the Legend of Zelda. Read more>>

Jessi Fowler | Fashion Influencer and Mom

I’m from a small farming town in eastern Colorado. I am the oldest of 4 siblings. Growing up I was always taught to work hard, be independent, and strive for greatness. I think being the oldest, a lot was expected of me. I was given a lot of responsibility. All of that helped me in who I am today. I have always strived to do great. I can take on a lot at once and love hosting and being around people. I am very organized, with 5 kids I have to be! I am also very outgoing and love to talk to people. Read more>>

Heather Ormsby | Writer and Photographer

I was born in Fort Collins and raised in Denver, and I’m a fourth generation Coloradoan. My mother, aunts and uncles and grandparents have told me stories all my life about living here. Being from Colorado seeps into much of my writing and photography. I’ve traveled to many countries, but I love hiking through my home state and taking pictures. I have two mystery series, the Rowan O’Donnell Mysteries and PI Rye Gannon Mysteries, that I’m writing and both of them take place in Colorado. Also, much of my short fiction happens in the west. Read more>>

Javier Flores | Artist, Educator, and Activist.

I am from Denver, Colorado, I was raised in Brighton, a suburb of Denver to immigrant parents from Mexico. This greatly impacts the human and artist who I am today. My mom has a work ethic unparalleled and I feel like this is why I engage art the way I do, where I am constantly creating, researching, or teaching art. I try to do my best at all times in all endeavors. Read more>>

Maricela Martinez | Baker, cake designer, cake decorator

I was born in California, but raised in Meoqui, Chihuahua Mx. When I was little my mom used to make our birthday cakes! I remember sitting next to her just to watch the process (my first memory was when I was around 5 years old) . Of course, the decoration was my favorite. I worked in schools for 10 ten years and initiated making cakes as a side job (11 years ago). I found out that cakes could be more versatile and I could combine many things that I really enjoy such as baking and modeling! Read more>>