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.

Amanda Verbeck | Master Printer & Publisher

I was born and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri, so it made sense to build upon those roots when I opened Pele Prints in 2006. I grew up with a single mom who started her own business when I was a little girl. I was at work with her as much as I was at home. She taught me almost everything I know about business. Having her as a role model, it just seemed natural to start my own business as well. And now today, she helps me at work. Read more>>

Thaddaeus Arvie | Multimedia Craftsman & Artist

I am originally from a tiny little village in Louisiana called Chataignier. It had one store that closed at 8pm and only had stop signs, no traffic lights. The nearest shopping mall was an hour away in Lafayette, LA. My view everyday growing up was farm land filled with rice, potatoes, cows, and/or crawfish. I only graduated with a total of 60 people in my high school class. I always felt like my dreams were too big for the place where I grew up. I never saw any type of representation of what an artist can be there. So having that desire but no guidance definitely took me down a more strenuous path than most. I didn’t take my first art class until I went to college. Although I did acquired a Bachelors of Fine Arts from Grambling State University, I still feel like for most of my career it has been trial and error. I feel like I started so far behind my peers in the same profession as me who had more exposure to art growing up. Read more>>

ImposterBoys | Houston Band

Jazz – Born and raised in HTX, submerged in music since I was a kid has made me think and hold music firstly in most of my decisions in life. I believe life can be quick so you should do what you want while you can. Made a lot of stories with this value. Rox – I was born in HTX. There’s no one musical in my family except for a couple of cousins, but my family always loved music. That was an easy segue into getting more into music, creating it, and seeking it out in town./// I believe in being as honest as you can w/ the art you create. Even if it’s super cryptic, being honest in that sense is important. Hey – I was born and raised in Silver Spring, Maryland. I moved to Houston, Texas when I was 15 years old. Growing up, I was always surrounded by music. Whether it was what my parents were listening to or what my older cousin would listen to – music has always had a big impact in my life. There was always a song that could describe how I was feeling even when I couldn’t. Read more>>

Amber G | HR Professional by Day and Aspiring Influencer by Night

I lived in Houston for a few years as a young child but grew up in Katy. Growing up in the suburbs was a fun and exciting experience where I met some of my best friends that I am still friends with today. Growing up in a city where not many people looked like you also came with its challenges. My parents always taught me to be myself no matter what others thought which helped me tremendously and is a value I still hold today. Instead of trying to “fit in” with people I hung out with as a child I always stayed true to myself. Being true to yourself is what has got me to where I am today. If I feel unhappy about a situation I always speak up when appropriate to let people know how I feel which has gotten me far in life as well as my career. If you do not like something, it is up to you to change it. Read more>>

Pedro Llanes | Musician

I’m from the Southwest side of Houston Texas and I am a Guatemalan and Puerto Rican descent, where I was surrounded to see the ups and downs in the Latino community especially within my family. And that gives me the motivation today to keep striving because I know I come from a bloodline of hard workers who sacrifices everyday. Read more>>