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.

Phillip Hodge III | Actor & Model

“From The Suburbs of Atlanta, Born & Raised, on the Playground is where I spent most of my days”. I’m playing, I was born & Raised in Powder Springs, Georgia. A Big Contributor to who I am, is my upbringing & my Parents. At a Young Age, My Parents instilled Discipline & that crafted me into the Hardworking Individual I am today. I’m always grateful of how I was brought up. My parents were hard on me to accomplish the mission & put in the work in everything I do, everything I strived too do. That Mentality carried over to Athletics & now into The Entertainment Business. Read more>>

Ranika Smith | Serial Entrepreneur

I’m from a small town in N.C. by the name of Farmville. Growing up we didn’t always have a lot, and I was basically raised off of love my family was BIG on that. Everyone in the town knew each other and was family to each other. My background has impacted me to want to be able to beat the odds. It has shown me your are more than where you are from and definitely keeps me humble. So it’s pushed me to want to be more than the circumstances I come from. Read more>>

Smilez Leone | Music Artist, Songwriter & Entrepreneur

I’m from a small city in NC named Elizabeth City. I grew up around music all my life. My family is musically on both my mother and fathers side of the family. I guess that played a big part in my upbringing. Music was therapeutic to me. Read more>>

Miguel Juarez | Guitarist and Songwriter

I am Miguel Juarez, and I am a successful guitarist, songwriter, and business owner because of my consistent failures. I was born in Los Angeles to two highly extroverted Filipino parents who were both studying abroad to get their respective Master’s degree’s in Marketing. They moved back to the Philippines when I was a year old, and I grew up in Metro Manila. I was sent to some of the most academically acclaimed and progressive schools in the country, but was extremely shy, introverted, and failed to achieve anything noteworthy. I was 10 years old when my parents separated and my father bought me guitar. Read more>>

Christina “Yatta Rose” Deer | Author

I’m a Chicago Native. Growing up I didn’t have the perfect life, but I made the best of it. From being adopted to more traumatic experience as a child, I had to find ways to escape. I would sit and journal until my fingers cramped. In my journal I would create stories, songs, and even a little poetry writing to escape the world I lived in. As a kid my voice was stolen so, I had to find my voice again. I found my voice through creative writing. Instead of the trauma story I lived, I turned my story into an adventure and made it to what I wanted it to be. Read more>>