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.

Erin Bernhardt | Filmmaker, Yogi, Mama

I am Southern. That’s a complex word and an even more complex identity to have. It’s full of hospitality but also hatred. It’s beautiful for some while being terrorizing to others. It spurred me to write this letter: On Saturday August 12, 2017 the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville made racism personal to me. The following Monday I walked into work at Points of Light, went straight to my boss’s office and told her I had to quit. I felt a deep conviction to make a film about the opposite of hate. Prior to that hot August weekend I thought I knew a lot about white supremacy and racism. I was raised by a bleeding-heart hippy mom who taught me about our hometown hero, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Read more>>

Arantza Pena Popo | Comic Artist & Illustrator

I was born in Colombia, South America and raised in Stone Mountain, GA for about 15 years. I grew up in an immigrant household, so I think there has always been an aspirational quality of doing better than my parents. In a more personal sense, however, I was always kind of a shy and passive kid who grew up in a social and cultural environment, where emotions and mental illness were stigmatized or never really truly discussed. This silent childhood, along with the burdens of stigma, pushed me to pursue comics, since they helped me tackle more complex or taboo issues in a succinct and simple manner. Read more>>

Leslie Cox | Freelance Writer & Photographer

I am from a small town in Florida with a population of 13,000. Growing up in the South, and in the Christian tradition, meant rejecting the LBGTQ community. This message came with a bone-deep pain that impacted countless individuals myself included. At one time, I was even the voice within my church saying, that being LBGTQ meant that a person was living in sin. It’s really no surprise that I suppressed my own sexuality. For 25 years, I tried to force myself into the person my community expected from me. I became a youth leader, I kept a prayer journal for my future husband, and I prayed that I would be a good wife one day. All the while, I was lost and hurt, but couldn’t understand why. My perspective began to change in college. Read more>>

Kennington Groff | Intellectual Property and Entertainment Attorney

I am from Johns Creek, GA. I grew up always playing outside and constantly playing sports every season with my friends. My parents were very involved in all of my after-school activities and I have had a very close relationship with them and my best friends who I met when I was young. My parents did not allow us to watch tv during the week, so my sister and I always got creative and found ways to entertain ourselves. My parents are both in sales and always encouraged my sister and I to get a job when we were young. When I was 11, one of my best friends and I started a gift-wrapping business during the holidays. We named it the Jolly Elves. We created flyers and went around the neighborhood handing them out to everyone. This business lasted for several years until I got my license and got a job in customer service. Read more>>

Brigitta Hoeferle | Grandmaster in three powerful methodolgies, business owner of 2 educational facilities

I was born and raised in Germany, by two German parents, in a 600 people village outside of Stuttgart, surrounded by gorgeous vineyards. When I was about 5 years old, I saw an ad on our little TV, showing little children, covered with flies, with bloated bellies sitting on pure dirt, with no future in sight. I cried, my heart was heavy, I wanted to help. I told my parents that I need to help these children and my father said: “You’re a tool for humanity, keep showing up with your love and kindness” and my mother said: “You can do whatever you put your mind to.” None of them told me how to do what I was about to do: gather all my friends in the village, get each to pack up their toys they no longer need and create a yard sale in front of the “backing house” in the center of the village. We were determined to make money that we can donate as a group. Read more>>

Christina Miller | Executive Protector & Artist

I was born in Columbia, SC. however, I moved to South Korea when I was 2 years old. I lived there for about 11 years with my two older sisters and my parents who were missionaries and taught at an International Christian School. I am so thankful to have been raised in a loving home and diverse culture. My upbringing has had a major impact on who I am today. I am able to explore various career fields and interests while having the support of my family. Read more>>

Ciatta-mae Stubblefield | Educator and Creative Entrepreneur

My name is Ciatta-Mae Stubblefield and I’m a proud Craft Savvy Market founder from Liberia, West Africa. We have a saying from back home in Liberia that says “It’s in the blood” when referring to to the thread that connects members of the same family. My culture is “in the blood” and impacts everything I do as a creative and maker. As a creative @lappastories, I’ve written three stageplays and all my stories have a Liberian character. As a maker, I craft Ankara covered journals and create cards inspired by West African designs and motifs. My culture shows up in my writing, my crafts, my style, my food and my music. Craft Savvy Market gives me an opportunity to collaborate with my fellow West African sisters who are founders and affords me a chance to share my West African mindset which celebrates working in a community. No matter what I do or what I create, West Africa will always show up – it’s in the blood. Read more>>

Ashleigh Hughes | Co-Founder and Co-Creator of REB3L ™

Many women share a common thread… We are unselfishly giving, doing and pleasing. Why? To make the people we love feel important, to meet their needs. But, what if making everyone else a priority makes you forget who you are and what you need? What YOU were called to do? What if you are able to show up for yourself AND everyone else? Is that even possible? This is exactly where I was and these are the questions I asked myself… In 2009, I, like so many other women who are moms of small children found myself asking, “Did I shower today?” “Did I brush my teeth, eat?”.  I certainly wasn’t taking care of myself or my health.  Mental or physical. My body looked different after babies, of course.  I wasn’t proud of it, but I also wasn’t motivated to change it. There were so many other things to do, so many other people to worry about. Read more>>