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.

Mary Pacheco | Portrait Photographer

I am the daughter and granddaughter of artists and grew up in a rich art community in Pueblo, Colorado. Pueblo is nicknamed “The Gateway to the Southwest”. If you’ve spent any time here you’d see how Pueblo green chiles, excellent local Mexican food that is only found in this Southern part of Colorado, and an incredible art and music scene make up the culture here. When I was a little girl I would go to local Art shows at galleries with my parents and attend some of my dad’s art classes and wear one of my best dresses and model for some of his painting classes at the Arts Center. Read more>>

Andrew Kalemba | Operating Partner and Head Brewer

I grew up in Northwest Indiana, very close to Chicago. Went to Indiana University Bloomington and received a degree in Policy Analysis. Shortly after graduation I relocated to Austin, TX. Seemed like a good starting point with some new opportunities not really having a plan. After a little while started working in consulting, specifically Sales Process and Customer Relationship Management. While living in Austin, I started to experiment with brewing and other hobbys and I became obsessed with it. But being an open, creative collaborative city, I discovered how to define personal sucess and go after something (in a calculated fashion). Then I also used much of my experience in the consulting world to build business plans and set out on opening our business Read more>>

Sarah Mills-Bailey | Artist

I’m a native New Orleanian. That says it all! Tourists tend to associate New Orleans with hedonism, but the true unfettered experience there is creativity. From early childhood I was soaking in the street performances and art installed on the Jackson Square iron fence in the French Quarter, while eating beignets and feeding pigeons. My initial lofty goals in life were to be a ballerina and to play the violin, inspired by the hats laid on the sidewalk for collecting tips. The unexpected was everywhere, from tutu man running in the yearly marathon to Ruthie the Duck Lady meandering through the Quarter with her duck following behind, and of course Mardi Gras with its costumes and dancing in the streets! Read more>>

Shira S | Food and Product Reviewer

When we started Very Honest Reviews, we really just thought about sharing our passion of trying different types of foods and products and sharing them with the world. We wanted to have a page where people can look at our honest reviews on different things and get inspiration on what to buy for themselves from our page. We do not have a strict budget, but we try to review a variety of different products that range in prices. We spend wisely and balance out how much we spend per week. Read more>>

Carla Gomez | CEO & Founder, CasaLuxe

I was born and raised in Fairfax, VA by parents from the Dominican Republic. My dad has always been hard-working, making trips from DR to NYC for months at a time to work. After marrying, my parents moved to the United States where his grind continued. I grew up knowing I had a fearless dad, willing to put hours of work in now to build a successful future. In the early 2000s, he opened his auto repair business which has now scaled 20 years later to include custom paint work and vinyl wraps. However, he didn’t stop there. Read more>>

Mike Ireton | Tattoo Artist

I’m originally from Pennsylvania. Where I grew up didn’t directly effect where I am today, but, I was recognized as an artist at a young age which propelled me forward to pursue an art focused future. Being an artist, without traditional schooling I had to find a medium I could work with that provided a career, which brought me to tattooing. Very few people wanted to give me an opportunity to get into the tattoo industry so I did so on my own. Read more>>