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.

Rodolfo Delgado Botello | Entrepreneur & CEO of Replay Listings

I’m a proud Mexican- born and raised in the city of Monterrey. Growing up in Mexico, my family always raised my determination through words of encouragement. Still, today, whenever I FaceTime my Mom and share a challenge I’m going through, she always responds: “Tú siempre puedes (You always can.)” Naturally, it has become one of my favorite phrases- I’ve been hearing it for over 34 years! It’s incredible to recognize the power that words can have when they’re coming from someone you love- I strongly encourage you to remember that the next time you speak with someone or form new connections. Read more>>

Laura Turner Seydel | Chair, Captain Planet Foundation

Tell us about your background and your inspiration for working on environmental causes? I was born in Macon, raised in Atlanta, and attended college at Oglethorpe University. I would say that my father, Ted Turner, who is the real-life Captain Planet, had the biggest influence on me. Dad has spent his adult life trying to protect our life support system – our air, water, soil, climate, and biodiversity. In the 1980s, he started sounding the alarm about the top existential threats: loss of biodiversity, climate change, and the threat of nuclear weapons. Read more>>

Niyh Love | Beauty & Makeup Artistry

I was born and raised in Columbus, OH. As a child growing up I realized I was a very quick learner and willing to take on any task given. At the age of 14 years old I strongly developed a passion for hair. I love doing hair because it shows my creativity and fashion. The area I grew up in didn’t have much diversity. I remember being one of a few minorities in my neighborhood and throughout all my schooling. I realized my life could be enriched by developing relationships and friendships with people who I normally wouldn’t have had the chance to interact with. Read more>>

Mikhail Tot | Filmmaker

Well, my background is little bit different from an average “filmmaker”. I was born and raised in Russia. My family was poor, and let me tell you. Being poor in Russia is pretty dang bad. Example: for a long time we had to use an outhouse for “doing the business”. My grandma lived her whole life without ever having a telephone in her house. I was not a huge fan of that. Read more>>

Dr. Yvonne Briggs | Occupational Therapist and Founder of Start Now Success

I consider myself Nigerian born to my Nigerian parents in the growing town of Huntsville, Alabama. Growing up in a Nigerian household, you had no choice but to be successful. My parents instilled greatness in me and my sibling growing up. Education in our household was priority. My parents wanted to make sure that when we left the household that we were prepared to survive the real world on our own. I can say my parent’s encouragement to become someone great pushed me and motivated me to become who I am today. Read more>>

Chris Waymon | Manager for Artist, Business and Production

I’m born and raise in College Park, Ga. Atlanta has impacted the music industry for over 20 years. I went to Tri-Cities High School where I truly developed a love for music. I was the drum major and I played 4 different instruments. While in high school I created a group with my childhood friends where I was able to get us a record deal with Outkast and Stankonia Records. Also a lot of people in the industry I grew up with before they made it in the music industry so I was able to move with and connect with a lot of people in the music industry. Read more>>

Sheldon McAfee | Successful Serial Social Entrepreneur and Creative Writer

I was born in Chicago. Raised in Mobile, Alabama, and grew up in Chicago. I like describing my background like this because it certainly has impacted me and how I see myself in the world. Being raised in Mobile, AL, in an area we affectionately called “the Bottom.” While the area is located lower in the city, close to the dock, it was also a poor community, but I would have never known it. I was surrounded by so many loved ones I would have thought I was one of the wealthiest kids in the city. Read more>>

Ella aka Elz A James Andre | Educator & Wellness Enthusiast

I was raised in New York City. Harlem to be exact. It was called Sugar Hill when I was growing up. My family is from the Island of Dominica in the Caribbean. A small island between Guadeloupe and Martinique. My background helped shape me into the woman that I am today. My parents believed in education and working hard. I think that I heard about those two topics the most as I grew up. That is what motivated me into becoming a lifelong learner and pursuing my Ed. S. degree. I am glad that I achieved that goal, and I am hoping that it will assist me in growing my brand of Hairellacarte wellness. I believe in the more you know, the better off you will be. Therefore, I am continuously reading and researching for the best avenues of overall wellness, which includes, mental, physical and spiritual. Read more>>

J’Quain and Shemesha Broadwater | Stylist/Barber / Owner of əˈstabliSH

Together we are MEQUE ‘S Mesha and Que. This year together for 5 years married for 3 Shemesha- I’m from a small town in Alabama called Atmore. I grew up in a house hold of 11. With 9 kids and 2 adult. 5bdrm/2bth home with lots of love but keeping up with the latest trends and fashion was not a priority. Food ,water, lights and manners and respect . We would do each other’s hair as we started to get older and set our rooms up like the salons to do our own hair and nails . And I’ve been doing it ever since . Read more>>