Through our work we have had the good fortune of seeing firsthand how success comes in every shape, size, color, faith, and orientation. More importantly we’ve learned that success is often the result of people embracing their unique backgrounds and so we’ve asked the community to tell us about their background and how it has impacted where they are today.

Gail Macklin | Friend, Mother, or OG,

I was born in Berkeley California in the 70’s, so you already know I’m into all that love and peace sh!t! Grew up in Sierra Vista, Arizona. AZ BABY!! But learned about life and how to hustle in GA! No cap, I jumped into a dudes pick up truck at a liquor store! I was just trying to hustle enough money for my probation payment. Already on the no f@cks given tip…I asked the first man that gave me that VIBE, “DO YOU WANT TO BUY SOME WEED FROM ME?” He turned into my boyfriend around the third home delivery. Read more>>

Justice Wilson | Resin Artist/Photographer/Nonprofit Director

I’m from Oakland, California. A lot of people say if you can make it out of Oakland you can make it anywhere. While I may have been raised in tough neighborhoods, my mother made sure I didn’t see tough circumstances. I was very well taken care of, some may even say spoiled, until she went to prison when I was 14 years old. I entered the foster care system and slowly began a path of destruction. Lucky for me, I was smart enough to turn my life around right after my 18th birthday. I became a mother almost 2 years later and haven’t looked back. I live to leave my children a legacy they can be proud of. Read more>>

Yvette Jefferson | Beauty Spa Owner

I’m From Tampa Florida, But Raised In Alabama. My Upbringing Differently Had Huge Impact On Where I Am Today And The Success Have Today, Growing Up Middle , Working Parents, Seeing Cousins Live In The Projects Differently Is My Reason Of Making Everything I Touch Or Do Successful. Read more>>

Essence Collins | Educator & Creative

I’m from a small town called Wilson, NC and it has made me EVERTYTHING I am today. Growing up the majority of my family grew up, worked, started families and stayed in Wilson. It’s a cute town to work and live with so many creative people. Black creatives have a strong presence where I’m from, so it made me want to be apart of the elite. Everyone knows everyone or knows of your “people” when they see you in the grocery store. I knew I wasn’t going to live there forever, but I love going back to visit and be with family. Read more>>

Kiérra Farley | Young Entrepreneur and Makeup Artist

I am from the westside of Atlanta, Georgia. I grew up with my mom and great-grandparents. My great-grandfather was an entrepreneur owning lounges and restaurants. My mother was a student and worked a full-time job. My great-grandmother was the matriarch of the family, making sure everything ran smoothly. I believe that I am who I am because they all nurtured me and shared their life stories with me from a young age. I always believed that I could achieve anything because of them. I believe that caring for others is most important. Because the westside is considered the inner city, there is a huge issue with drugs. I’ve dealt with this first hand due to my grandparents helping a drug addict recover without asking for anything in return. This made me realize that I should be willing to help anyone and to do so with a genuine heart. Read more>>