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.

Jessica Seawell | Dance Educator, Adjudicator & Choreographer

I’m an Atlanta native and was raised with a strong foundation of family, faith and perseverance. I truly believe carrying those lessons with me has allowed me to develop my career into something larger than I ever imagined. I began my dance training at the early age of five. The moment I took my first Ballet/Tap combo class, I knew dance was something special. After class, I would come home to set up my pink ballet barre, put on my tutu and teach. Read more>>

Sydney Jordan | Paralegal & Notary

I am originally an Arkansas native from Little Rock to be specific. I joined the U.S. Navy at the age of 17 in 2012 and left for training shortly after. Fast-forward four years later, I find myself as a Paralegal/Notary for the Navy Commander in San Diego. Throughout my Paralegal and Notary training, I became increasingly interested in Wills and Living Trusts especially after my grandfather passed away in 2016. There was a lot of bickering and disagreements about his estate because he did not have a Living Trust. Read more>>

Erika Gamble | Lead Vocalist of The Vibes

Inspired by legendary artists like Etta James, Chaka Kahn and Aretha Franklin, Gamble has always kept a positive attitude and has never taken ‘no’ as a final answer. The Goddess strives for greatness, pushing herself beyond thinkable limits, and always keeps in the back of her mind that with great struggle, she will gain great success in uncommon hours. Born Erika Danielle Gamble in Chicago, IL at Northwestern Hospital on January 14th, 1991, changed everyone’s energy. “She just screamed so loud everyone had to cover their ears”, as Gamble’s Mother would recant the day Gamble touched this Earth. Read more>>

La’Don Batiste | Artist/Songwriter: La’Don

I was born in Louisiana and spent my earlier years growing up in California/houston! I didn’t find a steady home until I moved to Cartersville, GA were I was eventually raised. Experiencing so many cultures at young age has helped cultivate the true person I am today. Being a open minded individual has done me no harm I’m able to easily connect with or be somewhat relatable to those least expected just from my sporadic upbringing. It was rough back then nowadays I’m forever grateful for having those memories that still play a big part in my career today. Being stagnant for too long is never a good thing for me. Personally i’m at my best when life is “on the go” I find true comfort in starting from scratch even in my songwriting process. Read more>>

Esther Nicole Cunningham | Self published author and entrepreneur

I am from Atlanta, Ga born and raised. I grew up in a religious household where education was a top priority. I didn’t spend summers like most kids, able to hang out with friends. My summers consisted of either being at my grandmothers or being dropped off at a library with an assignment. My dad was not only a pastor (yes I was a PK KID) but also a civil rights activist in the community. He would have me read and do research papers on topics mainly focused on black history, African culture or biblical narratives. I was then given the task to present my findings in report form in front of my family like I would have to do in a school setting. Read more>>

Sammie Saxon | Photographer

I grew up poor in a small country town of Talbot County in Georgia. Needless to say, there wasn’t much to do, but thankfully I was surrounded by artists. My mom was an illustrator and hair and makeup artist, my uncle a folk artist, and my grandfather was a master barber who worked out of the barbershop he built by hand on my family property. Through this, I learned how to use art as a form of escapism. My mom encouraged it, and without knowing introduced me to photography when she brought home a point and shoot camera. Read more>>

Jaia | Singer/ Songwriter/ Host

I am a native of Atlanta, Georgia, by way of Southwest Atlanta. My background in music dates back a few generations and all the way up to both of my parents. I grew up singing in the church starting at the age of three. Both my parents are musicians and singers and were once apart of a live band where my mom was lead singer and my dad was the bassist and music director. I was constantly surrounded by music. Read more>>

Talecia Wade | Owner of TruLi Cosmetics

I am from Athens, Ga I come from a big family and everyone has always expressed to me that I can do whatever I dream to do in life. It may be hard but if it’s for me it will happen Read more>>

Tiffani Dash | Entrepreneur

Born and raised in a small rural town in ga.Growing up in a single parent household as the youngest had its pros & cons.You definitely gain independency skills at an early age.My mother worked long hours majority weekdays some weekends. So some tasks i had to take on quickly such as small items to cook,making sure all homework complete as well as in the bed on time because when she arrived i would be asleep. Read more>>