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.

Patryce Coleman | Photographer

I was born and raised in 3rd ward Houston Texas. A neighborhood where people always had a negative outlook on. I knew I wanted to make a change when I decided to go to Jack Yates High School. I didn’t know anything about The School of Communications I just stumbled in the photography class and said this is it. My photography teacher Mr. Carrington made us see 3rd ward as a tourist. We took pictures of the neighborhood and saw MY Neighborhood as more than your typical black neighborhood. I saw beauty within the lens. Now I cater to my community in photography. Even when I have clients from other states I show them 3rd ward and how beautiful your pictures can be in this neighborhood. Honestly, I don’t know what I would have done if I wouldn’t have been in photography in high school. Read more>>

Amani Williams | CEO and Creative Director for Different Breed MVMNT

I am originally from New Jersey, currently reside in Kentucky. As an athlete growing up, I was able to capture what it means to grind. I got to see how everyone who came before me grinded to eventually achieve their goal to be successful. I remember staying in the gym for about 4-5 hours just to perfect my shot or a specific move. Those late nights and long hours motivated me to hustle making me the person I am today. This ideal has transitioned into my business trying to push my message that if you stay true to yourself you’ll be the vest version of yourself, which ultimately separates you from the rest (DIFFERENT BREED) Read more>>

Christiana Vojvodic | Owner – Care Package Queens

I grew up in Houston, near the Galleria and went to Lee High School. I became a single mom when I was still in high school and my parents really pushed me to continue my education and get a college degree. I graduated from the University of Houston with a Teaching degree specializing in early childhood eduction. The experience of being a mom, going to school and working at the same time forced me to grow up quickly and instilled a strong work ethic in me that survives to this day. As a young single mother, I always felt the pressure to excel at whatever task I was facing. I wanted to be an example for my children and show that with education and hard work they could achieve whatever they wanted. Read more>>

Z-Wells | Artist, Songwriter & Producer

I was born in Alexandria, Louisiana and all of my family is from the same city. When I was three, my family and I moved to Houston, Texas. My Louisiana roots undeniably bleed through in my music because of my distinct accent and my love for some drums. Growing up in Texas influenced my sound a ton because a lot of the Hip Hop artist from the state such as Big Moe or Z Ro utilized their singing voice so well that it directly influenced me just from hearing it on the radio. For the first half of my childhood I lived in Missouri City, where I was surrounded by African American kids who shared similar interest with me. Read more>>

Ann Henderson | Teacher

I grew up in LaMarque, Texas in a very tight knit community. When I was about 14 years old my mom got me a job cleaning houses every Sunday for an older couple with a severely disabled daughter. I soon realized the job was more than just vacuuming & dusting. I would quickly do my chores & spend the last hour with Lisa, cutting coupons, listening to music or reading. I don’t remember the name of her disability but I do remember she was unable to walk, I would pick her up in my arms, place her in the wheelchair & bring her to her bedroom every Sunday evening so that she could be placed in an oxygen tank to sleep for the night.. I also remember cutting her fingernails, brushing her hair & putting makeup on her. I didn’t realize at the ripe young age of 14, but my mom, Esther Ann Moon was laying the foundation for my future passion of working with the Special Needs Community. Read more>>

Mayank Istwal | Inventor of Ayurvedic spice blends , Food Historian, Adventure lover & Executive Chef at Musaafer Houston

I am from Dehradun ,India and coming from the carter’s family i always had that energy and passion for cooking , interacting with ingredients and adapting the versatile cooking techniques. The upbringing was always around food , farm , flora and fauna (4 F of my life). How the four F works:- It’s always about to know the base of food the first “F”, it just not about how good you cook and what great techniques you possess. To be cooking great food draws its bases from one of the most important ‘F” called farm. If you understand how to go sustainable and grow and rare animals at the farm it will in turn empower your cooking. The Farm is connected with the flora and fauna the critical two “F” of my life, as to understand the mother nature. All these four F’s have contributed in my success to create some award winning dishes that draws inspiration from my journey and memories ,the time spent in the wild and farm. Read more>>

Lindsay Camp | Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Owner of Austin Teen Therapy

As a sixth generation Texan, I grew up in the Texas Hill Country, where people work really hard. Growing up, I watched my parents create businesses. I loved the flexibility, autonomy, and creativity it gave them – and honestly, the control over their own work experience. I also saw how much work it was so I don’t think I was glamorizing it either. It looked like hard work that paid off. Looking beyond my parents, I saw my extended family forging paths for themselves as well. My family tree is full of folks working for themselves and creating fruitful businesses. I have been digging around in my genealogy recently and I’ve discovered I have relatives who had successful businesses as women in the 1600s. These are the shoulders on which I stand. And… Read more>>