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.

Felix Garcia | Chef

I’m originally from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico but spent many years in Austin and Mexico City which I consider my home away from home. I think growing up in Mexico made me the humble and outgoing person I am, working and making my own path is something that’s taught to you since you’re very little. Read more>>

Marc Antonio Rios | Filmmaker & Visual Effects Artist

Growing up wasn’t easy, I was raised by a hard-working single mother who struggled just so we could have a better life, we didn’t have much money most of the time but we made the most of it. I was born in San Antonio, Texas but spent most of my life in the beautiful country of Von Ormy. For me and my mother, movies were an escape from reality, I became interested. The first time I was exposed to movies was around the age of 3, I was quickly exposed to classic horror movies such as Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Killer Klowns from Outer Space, it was the norm. My mother showed me the making of and behind the scenes of almost every movie we watched to understand the fundamentals and passion that goes into these projects, a reason why I didn’t get scared of fictional movie monsters. As the years went by my “dream job” was pretty much not figured out quite yet. Read more>>

Tiffany Lindsey | Child & Adolescent Coach

My name is Tiffany Lindsey and I am from Houston, Texas. I’ve been working children in various capacities for over a decade. I have worked at preschools, public and charter schools, along with being an ABA Therapist, working with children that have Autism. I love working with children and I’ve been on a mission to help any child I work with or come in contact with. Read more>>

Karina Flores, MFA | Writer & Technical Director in Broadcasting

I am native to the Rio Grande Valley, more specifically McAllen, Texas— a town located along the border of Mexico. My upbringing was enriched with Mexican culture. Being Mexican myself, I understand the importance of storytelling. From the classic folklore to familial histories passed down through generations, these stories helped to shape my identity and worldview. As such, I feel that I translate that into my writing. Many of the characters in my current WIP (work in progress) are Latin@, for a couple of reasons: I feel that is important to represent my culture in my works— these characters are an extension of who I am. And I want to show that these characters can exist and thrive well within the current body of literature that’s out there. Along with storytelling, growing up in the Valley instilled in me the value of keeping a tight-knit community. And that is something that I’ve found through writing, a community. Read more>>

Christa Elyce | Owner & Photographer

I grew up pretty much all over the globe. My father was in the military and this allowed me to live in so many parts of the world as well as visit so many countries. With so many memories that we’ve made as we tried new foods, attended cultural events, visit many ancient ruins, and learned different languages – my family casually took photos to commemorate these times in our lives. We didn’t have a lot of money growing up so it usually was a cheap camera that my mother had picked up a local 2nd hand shop. As I got older, I participated in all the extra curricular activities I could in high school. When my family moved to a NATO base located in Mons, Belgium, I was lucky enough to be apart of the Yearbook committee as a photographer. We started in film photography and not only a year later digital photography became a thing. It was a new and intimidating at the time so I continued in film photography and scan my many photos of my yearbook photo assignments. Years later I would make the transition to DSLR cameras but I also have a special place in my heart for film photography. Read more>>

Emily Rebollar | Artist and Creator, and Small Business Owner.

I’m from Houston, born and raised. During my childhood I was never able to stay in one spot, my mom was a single mom of 5, and with that came a lot of instability and constantly moving around. My mom always had to juggle multiple jobs at a time, all while taking care of us, she showed me what it means to never give up, and that I could literally do anything. She was always my inspiration when I felt like giving up. Read more>>

Lloyd Lindley | Licensed Insurance Agent & Executive Director of Nonprofit

LAMP Services has to founders: Lloyd Lindley Jr. and Clarence Patrick Francis. Both founders are born and raised in Houston, TX. We grew up in the same neighborhood and share the same birthday which is St. Patrick’s Day. Our upbringing was similar with always wanting to give back through volunteering or any philanthropic means. This lead to us forming a nonprofit organization to give back and leave a lineage for the youth. LAMP Services 501(c)3 is a nonprofit organization focusing on youth mentoring and development for the underserved communities in Houston. LAMP is an acronym for Living a Meaningful Purpose. LAMP Services 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization was founded in 2019 and is headquartered in Houston, Texas. LAMP Services’ objective is to educate the youth through financial literacy, physical fitness, mental health awareness, and philanthropy. The goal is to empower young people and educate them with life skills that they can use for the rest of their lives. Read more>>

Tricia Eaton | Photographer

I grew up in Victoria, TX. It’s a relatively small town a couple hours down the road from Houston. Growing up, I would always complain about how small and boring Victoria was. In reality, it offered me so much more than I realized at the time. I started dancing as many young kids do and my mom allowed me to audition for The Nutcracker. I was hooked, from then on, I spent my days focused on my ballet training. I was eventually accepted into Victoria Ballet Theatre and I had many great years in the company from junior high through high school. I had a group of friends within the company and it was amazing. From there I went on to study dance into college. Having that opportunity taught me so many things. I learned that I had an amazing support network, starting with my parents, also in my teachers and friends. I also learned self discipline and how to balance school and other activities. Read more>>

Sam Hickey | owner, Creekstone Outdoor Living

I grew up in Hondo, TX, a small town of 7000 people west of San Antonio. We lived on the family farm there but we also farmed my grandfathers land in eastern Colorado. Growing up on a family farm required us to help out and work at a early age. At the time, I certainly didn’t like it but as I have grown older I look back on it fondly due to the work ethic it instilled in me that has carried me thru my career. It also instilled in me the desire to be self employed. Farmers are, in my opinion, the hardest working entrepreneurs due to the nature of their business. Read more>>