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The Change-Makers: stories that inspire

The heart of our mission is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our communities. In the recent weeks, we’ve had the privilege to connect with some incredible artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with the incredible group below. Check out our favorite stories from across the Voyage family.

Eugene Parkhimovich and Anna Lukashova

E&A DANCE STUDIO was founded by Eugene Parkhimovich and Anna Lukashova in 2019 and opened doors of first physical location in 2021. It’s 2,600 Sq. Ft facility that beautifully designed with modern touches and a warm and welcoming atmosphere. E&A Dance Ballroom Studio embraces excellence both in and out of the ballroom. As a team, we are deeply committed to collaboration, integrity and professionalism, and believe it is an honor to teach and guide our students throughout their dance journeys. We aim to: Empower our students by allowing them to feel and experience full self-acceptance while developing their unique physical and spiritual strengths through dance. Read more>>

Laura Day

With Laura Day Photography! My story started with a $300 camera and honestly a very sad time in my life. We had recently lost our daughter, Charlotte Grace when I was six months pregnant and photography is what saved me. Having this artistic outlet really put beauty into my soul when I needed it the most and it has turned into my career. To be able to capture beautiful images of love and light was a big part of my healing process. I feel that the photos I create are very powerful! I hope that one day when the little girl getting her first birthday photos sees these images again on her 18th birthday, she realizes how much she is loved. Or they bring you back to your wedding day and you can still taste the cake and champagne! Life is beautiful and I love capturing the moments that make it so very beautiful! Read more>>

Joseph Sipp

I started my home staging company at 16 years old while still in high school. I started to grow a team, and suddenly my company was the world’s largest home staging company and the nations number 1 company. Now being at the age of 21, I have decided to sell my company and pursue my real estate passion! Read more>>

Arisa Kusumi Sullivan

Howey Mansion Music Series was founded in October of 2018 by classical soprano Arisa Kusumi Sullivan. Over the course of her 25 years career in chamber music and concert singing, traveling around the world, working at the best music festivals, meeting brilliant musicians, and performing with them in palaces and intimate venues, Arisa began mulling over the idea of one day creating her own chamber music series where she could invite the musicians she had met on her journey and continue sharing beautiful music in beautiful settings. When she saw pictures on social media of the renovation work her friend Brad Cowherd and his brother Clay were doing to the historic Howey Mansion, it piqued her interest, and she set out to find out whether the mansion had a grand hall like many of the palaces she had performed in with fabulous acoustics for classical music. After seeing the mansion and speaking with Brad who agreed to have a series at the mansion, she saw that this was a match made in heaven and the sign she needed to begin her nonprofit music series. Read more>>

Elijah Tilus

I always knew I wanted to start a business somewhere in my life, but at first I had no idea what type of business or where to start. It was when I found a clothing brand named Kingsplay Apparel, and I saw how young the CEO of the brand was it really sparked my imagination. The brand inspired me to start my own clothing brand and go from there, now I knew coming in this isn’t something I can blow up overnight! I learned that very quickly which I’m glad I did because it also taught me that this is a marathon. Today the business is on the uprise and I am forever grateful, creating this business has not only taught me a new mindset but has also given me a new outlook on how life can be lived. Read more>>

Melissa Wenhold

I developed the concept of Earth Girl after hosting a Baby Sprinkle for my best friend. We wanted to have an at-home spa day for her, but when I started looking at the ingredients of the spa products in stores, I was alarmed. I decided to create my own spa recipes for her Sprinkle, and they were such a hit I started developing Earth Girl. Read more>>

Kristin Bigalke

Growing up, I always wanted to be a writer. As a bookworm, putting a pen to paper came naturally to me, so I decided to pursue a career in journalism. After working for a local paper for two years, I set my sights on New York and found myself gaining experience at a national music PR firm and a healthcare marketing agency, both in Manhattan. Following, I relocated back to Florida, where I wrote for a local music magazine and worked as an independent publicist. I found myself being pulled into the world of marketing, and after two years working for retired FBI agents at a small firm, I accepted a position as the marketing director for an education and healthcare-based company in Jacksonville. With an accumulation of experience in every aspect of digital marketing, local businesses began approaching me for help with social media and campaign strategy. As more clients began signing on, Meerkat Media Group was born and has since expanded into a boutique digital marketing agency with a strong team and amazing clients. Read more>>

Kristal Cunningham

Hi! I am Kristal Cunningham, Founder of Bold Kulture Beauty, mother of two handsome young men, natural hair advisor, and pharmacist who loves living life boldly. I first discovered my love for all things natural hair several years ago when I began my natural hair journey. Met with frustration, confusion, and overwhelm, I knew there had to be a better way to navigate managing my natural hair. Fueled by my passion for beautiful natural hair, I began Bold Kulture Beauty after noticing a lack of access to quality products that met my kinky hair needs. Now it’s my mission to empower Black women to feel beautiful, be confident, and fall in love with their natural curls. Read more>>

Tyler Petty

During the pandemic, I was bored and feeling creative, so I finally decided to buckle down and start the store of my dreams. I’ve always been a sucker for theme parks and horror and realized no one was doing it the way I liked it. Read more>>

Alexandra Cortez

I’m the owner of A. Cortez Massage. I started my business during the most recent difficult time we faced as a country which is when covid happened. I had lost my job and was on lockdown and did not know exactly what I was going to do or how I would provide for my daughter and me. It just so happened my personal trainer and friend Arthur White, owner of Kingdom Fitness suggested we work together and offered me the opportunity to rent the back room of the gym. With a lot of faith and taking a chance on myself, I decided to give it a shot. I honestly do not think I would be in the position I am in today if it was not for everything that happened during 2020 or that conversation on the gym floor. I’ve been a single mom for most of my adult life and have learned to rely on myself, my faith, and a lot of hard work. Read more>>

Ria Beckford

Growing up in the Bronx, New York I didn’t see a lot of business owners that looked like me. Most of the places I frequently visited were owned by people that were not where I was from nor did they grow up there. It is a rather daunting thought when you think about it because inspiration was not readily available to me. What I saw was poverty and most people living check to check to make ends meet. Including my family. My mom was a raising two daughters as a single mom and trying to give us the best education and opportunities possible. Yes, my father was involved but he did not live with us as my mom and dad divorced when I was too young to even remember. I attended catholic schools my entire educational career until college. First St Mary Star of the Sea located on City Island Bronx NY, graduating from there and then attending Cardinal Spellman High School. Read more>>

Ria Sandhu and Sarina Shah

Although our journey as friends started 14 years ago at birth, our journey in business started in 2020 during a time when we were all facing the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. In a time of uncertainty (and not being able to leave the house much), we began experimenting with various baked goods such as cookies, brownies, and cupcakes. We would bake together virtually from our own homes and show each other what we made. Once we finally were able to come together, our moms suggested that we merge the flavors and recipes that we had each been creating. They let us regularly bake for family occasions such as birthdays and other gatherings. Although we were happy with what we were baking, we decided to challenge ourselves to think bigger. We shared this vision with our parents. Read more>>

Rebecca Fischer

In 2012, while a junior in college I got a second job working for Peterbrooke Chocolatier at one of their franchised locations. It is a Jacksonville based company that has stores sporadically throughout Florida, but mostly in Jacksonville. I quickly found my passion and when my first job closed, I started working more hours and learning all that I could about running a small business. I was getting my Bachelor’s in International Business and a minor in Geography, which I thought was a good combination with the chocolate industry. Chocolate is a lot like coffee or wine where its regions, blends, and creation is all unique. I loved helping people find tasty gifts for other people or even just a satisfying snack for themselves. After I graduated college in 2014, I tried working the corporate life for a few months, but chocolate kept calling me back. Read more>>

James Stinson

I used to go to a weekly Trivia Show as a trivia player with my friends. One night the host mentioned they were leaving and moving to Washington state and asked if one of us regulars would like to take over being the host. So I tried out and got the job. About after a year, I realize that people we coming to see me as the host, not just drink and play trivia. So I started my company back in Feb 2014, Puzzles Entertainment, LLC. I’ve grown from one show to 10 shows a week with four hosts plus me. All over the Orlando area. Read more>>

Rosalyn Castile

I serve as the Head Cheer Coach – Varsity and Competition at Leesburg High School. I have held this position for the last five years. I am most proud of how far the program has progressed. The road had been tough yet so rewarding. Transforming a program is not easy and does not happen overnight. We set the expectation high and our girls meet them. I have an amazing amount of support from parents, faculty and administrators. We also have tremendous support from the Leesburg community in terms of sponsorships and donations. My Assistant Coach has the same philosophy as I do so we are able to work well together. I coach to motivate the girls to reach their full potential. Cheerleading is a tough sport and to see LHS Cheer recognized is phenomenal. We have qualified for the State Cheer Championship the last three years. Our girls work hard…most are two sports athletes so they manage their time well. Read more>>

Danielle Korte

I grew up always helping my mom in the kitchen- she is a talented baker and cake decorator and taught me a lot! After my daughter was born in 2018, I transitioned to a vegan lifestyle. I was drawn to veganism because it resonated with my compassion towards animals and my interest in health and fitness (I am also a personal trainer!). Having always used baking as a creative outlet and form of stress relief, I found myself researching a lot on how to successfully make vegan baked goods without them tasting “vegan”. So I spent countless hours in the kitchen working on and perfecting different recipes and practicing my cake decorating skills. And once I got to a point where I developed really good recipes, I found myself wanting to share them. So I created A Harmless Bite as a way to connect with the Orlando vegan community and share my delicious baked goods! Read more>>

Ron Catterson

I started working in The Villages for an optometrist and saw the need for a high-end optical. My wife, Donna saw an article in AARP magazine about people over 50 starting their own business. We contacted SCORE for an advisor and from there, we created a business plan, worked up a budget and talked to several banks for an SBA loan. Clear View Optix opened their doors on August 15, 2017 and is a small boutique optical with very dramatic, distinctive eyewear. We build relationships with our customers. We have a part-time optometrist that performs comprehensive eye exams. CVO is all about providing the best customer experience, we are second to none. Read more>>

Amy O’Malley

I’ve been in love with the imagination and creating my entire life. After my first go at college, I was performing and teaching dance and received a theater scholarship to return to school. I ended up with a degree in Political Science with a minor in Russian Studies from the University of Houston. However, I didn’t end up using it. I was creating funky art pieces for around my house in Galveston, Texas and someone suggested I start selling my pieces. Before I knew it, I was doing art shows and pop-up markets with my fun and functional art under the name Amy’s Attic. After a few years, my amazing husband Jeff and I moved from Galveston to Naples, Florida. I continued doing art shows and markets but felt a bit rudderless in my pursuit. Read more>>

Mariana Flindt

Being Health, Fitness, Nutrition and overall Wellness was always my passion. I decided to start my career in 2016. I enrolled in IIN and I became Certified as A Holistic and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach with a Specialization in Gut Health. Two years later (2018), I studied to become a Personal and Fitness Trainer and also a Nutritionist Coach through ISSA. Read more>>

Stephanie Rudison

I was born and raised in North Louisiana. At a young age, if anyone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would quickly tell them I wanted to be an independent woman. Years later, who knew that my representation of an independent woman meant that I would not only be an Educator but an Entrepreneur. I defied many odds, having my firstborn before graduating high school and later obtaining multiple degrees in the fields of Education and Administration. Over the last 16 years, I have served as an educator working with early learners and students with disabilities. I enjoyed what I was doing but also desired to tap into my love for fashion. It wasn’t until two years ago that I started moving forward with feeding my passion for fashion; establishing a plan to launch a women’s online boutique. The road was far from easy, but I knew I had what it takes with grit and most importantly purpose. Read more>>

Good Vibes Lounge

Good Vibes Lounge is owned by a group of 4 friends who met while in the military. One owner is still active duty military while the 3 other owners are veterans. After 16 years of friendship, group trips, family trips (we have 5 kids between us) and fun times, we decided to open our own upscale lounge. We realized that Saint Cloud area is growing rapidly but did not have an upscale lounge where people can unwind, have a good time whether it be date night or friends night out to have some drinks and celebrate Read more>>

Maria Júlia Veneziani Lage

My name is Maju Veneziani, creator of the Let’s Travel the World. I live in São José dos Campos, São Paulo, Brazil. I’m graduated in Publicity and Advertising and I’m getting a major in Traveling Management. I have started this major with the intent of understanding more about the world of traveling and tourism, and so, bring more content to this project of mine. My passions in life include photography, meeting new people and stories, and traveling. My biggest dream is to travel around the world! Let’s Travel the World was born from my huge passion and desire to unravel the world, that first started on my first international trip to the Walt Disney World, in 2013. Since I couldn’t travel all the time, I started to learn more about different destinations, mainly about the history of these locations. From that, I realized that gathering information in just one place, like the history, possible routes, curiosities and tips, would be a great way to introduce people to these destinations and help them on their trip, or that also want to know more about the world. Read more>>

Aura Lynn-Rouse

My story begins August 13th 1972. I was born in Garberville California to free spirited, hippie parents. My Dad was a playboy. My mom left him when I was 2 y/o. My Mom was an army brat and we moved so many places. I can remember as soon as I would make new friends off we went. I call Jersey home because my Grandparents were there and we always went back. I did a lot of my schooling there. My Mom was a great provider. She always made it happen. If we had a one bedroom, I would get the room and she would make a room out of the dining room. I remember, “dumpster diving” for furniture, Goodwill shopping, and yard sales. We always had what we needed. My Grandparents would spoil me, I remember shopping with Rosie, and it was difficult to find clothes in my teen years since I was overweight. She would spend all day at the mall with me. My Grandfather was like the only Dad I knew. He would keep me over the summer. I would have lunch with him and the boys, shop, golf, and whatever needed to be done around the house. We did lots of swimming, gardening, and fun. Read more>>

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