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.

Stephanie Mathena | Photographer

In the 2000’s, I was growing up in a rural town in Kentucky. In middle school, I started filming short films, horror movie spoofs, and music videos with an old Sony handheld camera. Everything I filmed was put on VHS tape, that’s how much technology has changed in 2 decades. In high school, I was in a media/journalism class and became the “anchor” on our morning news team. My senior year, I decided to put my movie making skills to a new test and film a documentary of a volunteer trip I was taking to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit. It really cemented for me that I wanted to pursue documentary film or journalism in some way. To tell people’s stories that were getting overlooked. Read more>>

Leila Qari | Founder and Executive Director, Denver Cat Company and Denver Cat Rescue

I am originally from Pakistan, grew up in Saudi Arabia, and moved to the States at the age of 21. Women from my background often don’t have the sort of career opportunities and freedom to pursue their passions that women in the West do. I always knew I wanted to live a career-oriented life, so I moved here with the purpose of finding meaningful work. Initially, simply surviving as an immigrant doing any jobs that were available took all my energy and focus. Once I had found my feet, I went to law school, graduated at the top of my class, and landed what I thought was my dream job in complex commercial litigation. Read more>>

Mona Eye-yoob | Singer/Songwriter/Musician

I am originally from Lebanon in the Middle East. Being born and raised in this geographical area gave me exposure to interact with cultures and people from different places around the world, especially that we speak three languages back there (Arabic, English, and French). These factors made it so much easier for me to blend with other cultures and helped reduce the “cultural shock” everyone talk about when moving to the United States. The fact that I was born and raised in Lebanon, we had to learn about different countries’ history and cultures. Read more>>