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.

Jordan Madison | Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist

I was born in Atlanta, GA, but raised in Brooklyn, NY for the majority of my life. My parents were students at Spelman and Morehouse at the time of my birth, so my grandparents played an integral role in raising me. Though my parents never married, seeing how the two sides of my family came together to make me the number one priority, was a huge example of how family is the foundation. For many therapists, their negative childhood experiences have led them to become the person they needed when they were younger. I was fortunate to not have that experience. Instead, an episode of Grey’s Anatomy is what led me to want to be a therapist. I remember seeing the main character in a therapy session, and her therapist helped her have an “aha moment” and I knew that’s what I wanted to do. Read more>>

Jana Dufresne | Owner & Coach

Well, I was born in Chattanooga, TN, but moved to Birmingham, AL at a very young age and lived there until I was 10. It was then that my family moved to the suburbs of Atlanta and I’ve pretty much been here ever since. I’m the youngest of three children in the family and I definitely believe my birth order plays a huge roll in who I am today. When you’re the youngest in the dynamic I was raised in, you spend a lot of time observing everyone else who is older than you. It’s like there’s a drive to want to act older, be just as athletic, or better than your older siblings. Plus, they’ve gone through it so you get to take note on what works and what doesn’t. Haha. Read more>>

DeAnthony Miller | Baker

I am from Lithonia, Georgia. I grew up in a very religious household. God was and still is the number 1 priority. We stayed at church. School events, friends, homework, even sleep had to wait until we were back home. And today I grateful for it. That experience as a kid taught me so many valuable things. It taught me to feed what’s important, and let the rest of it fall in line. It taught me how to be kind and gentle in all relationships. It taught me to go above and beyond the standard set before me. These are all things I’ve adopted and put into my life as an adult. I use these practices in my business, and on the jobs I’ve had. And for this reason, I’ve been blessed beyond measure. Read more>>

Chop God | Producer, DJ & Artist

My love for music is where it all started… It mostly comes from my older brother. He always had a deep music collection. We were army kids so moving around a lot gave us a wide variety of music cultures. That greatly influenced my music taste and gave me a head start on learning about music. We would eventually make Stone Mountain, Ga our home in the mid ’90s. Fast Forward to the early 2000’s when the internet took over the music industry. This was my time. The internet started to birth independent acts that would simply make their own music and put it out to the internet themselves. The biggest example of that at the time was Soulja Boy in 2006. He produced is his music on FL Studio so I decided to give it a try. Read more>>

Ainsley Jacobs | Motorsports Marketing & Automotive Industry Expert

I originally grew up in New York, just outside of the City, and learned the value of hard work at an early age. My family didn’t have much, and I started working after school when I was just 12 years old so that I could earn my own money. I remember helping with the monthly bills and budgeting, and knew that if I wanted to avoid struggling financially the rest of my life, that it would take a solid mindset and relentless determination. I continued to work all through high school and college, paying my way to make it happen. After graduating, I worked two full-time jobs and a part-time job for five years so that I could pay off my $100,000+ student loan debt. That hardcore hustle became “normal” for me, and, now that I’m debt-free, I keep up that same pace and drive with my businesses – it’s a tactic that has served me very well and helped get me to where I am today! Read more>>

Candice Cooper-Lovett | Marriage and Family Therapist, Sex Therapist & Certified Life Coach

I am from Buffalo, NY and I grew up primarily on the east side. I had very humble beginnings which shaped how I am today. I grew up in a community where there was violence, and drugs. My parents and grandparents taught me the importance of education and getting good grades. It was also important for me to learn about how far I could go in life and accomplishing my goals just by staying focused and disciplined. I consider myself as very humble, sometimes to a fault. I’ve had to learn how to work hard to get the things that I wanted and needed and never took for granted the things that I’ve received and obtained in my life. I am also a hard worker and anything I put my mind to I ensure that I follow through and finish. This was especially true when I started my business. I knew that I wanted to make an impact through mental health. I am also kind of “rough around the edges” which makes me relatable to my clients. Read more>>