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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.

Chloe Grant

When I was around twelve years old, I was gifted my first camera. I became incredibly fascinated with capturing moments with the people I love. Savoring a moment from my perspective allows me to go back to that place and time and remember all the emotions. I kept this passion as I entered high school and took portraits for friends, leading my high school’s yearbook team as Photographer and Editor. Seeing how quickly I, and my close friends, have grown up created an urgency to capture the everyday moments that pass us by all too quickly. Read more>>

Dr. Aileen Treto Cabrera

Luxe M.D. Aesthetics is a female physician-owned medical practice that offers aesthetic & wellness services. Dr. Treto Cabrera is a quadruple board-certified physician who has been practicing medicine for 10+ years. After graduating from medical school, she completed a 3-year Family Medicine residency where she served as chief resident. Following her time in residency, Dr. Treto Cabrera continued to expand her skills by completing a 1-year Women’s Health/Obstetric Fellowship. Currently, she is 1 of only 40 total Family Medicine physicians who is board-certified in Family Medicine Obstetrics with surgical qualifications in the entire United States. Read more>>

Migdalia Leon De Monsalve

My name is: Migdalia Leon De Monsalve, I am Venezuelan and I have already turned 5 years since I left everything in my country Venezuela, since August 28, 2017, I am here in the United States specifically in Orlando Kissimmee, getting here has been too challenging, from the language as any custom that is totally different from my country of origin, my beginnings here were very hard, However, I have always had faith and I have been focused on the positive, I began to work on things that I had never done since in my country I am a professional and I had a career, with a sad heart for having left my family (parents, siblings, etc.) in the same way I continued to set goals to continue taking my 2 children forward in union with my husband. Read more>>

Kiara Gonzalez

I am a young 21-year-old mom of two beautiful children. With that being said, having a stable job is kinda difficult to work around my schedule with the kids, and unfortunately, childcare is not a financial option. So, I always loved decorating and helping people plan birthdays and parties, so I thought why not do it and make a business out of it. The inspiration all really started around my son’s 1st birthday when I started to DIY a lot of stuff and rent items off of people when in reality, I could’ve made it myself and rented it out and made my money’s worth and always be able to use it for my kids’ birthdays or any special celebration I have! Read more>>

Yoneek Scott

My Mom often tells me the story of how long I have been in love with hair. In fact, when I was about seven years old, I would eat beans only because she said my hair would grow long. At 16 years old, my favorite hairstylist told me, “You’ve got a knack for this hair thing.” Then in my late twenties, my favorite hairstylist saw me transition from a perm (or relaxed hair) to caring for and styling my own naturally curly hair. He would often say, “You got this natural hair thing down, girl; where did you learn that?” Read more>>

Waleska Lopez

Hi my name is Waleska I am a mother of 3 kids , I started my health journey in January 2020 the reason was due to me having a Mini Stroke and Mini heart attack, I had a friend who told me I should try the Herbalife Products because I tried every diet you can name nothing was working for me so I gave it a shot and following the meal plan through in 10 days I was down 10lbs I was like oh wow I finally found something that works 2 1/2 being consistent I balanced my gastric issues High blood pressure issues and Heart issue with the proper nutrition and of course movement meaning working out I started walking that’s it and till this day that is my nonnegotiable, I fell in love with the products and I went to the business side which was the best decision I had ever made I get to do what I love to do stay healthy help others get healthy and help the make extra income for them and their family the community is amazing so supportive most of all is the relationship I have with my clients is all about them and if I can do it so can you conquer your Goals don’t stop and take care of you is okay Read more>>

Erika Brown-Schumann

During graduate school at a Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, I worked as an intern at Cashman & Associates and discovered my passion for event planning and digital marketing. I tried my hand at it by planning my own wedding, which in turn lead to creating diaper cakes and designing other events for friends and family. After the birth of my son, I had a strong desire to maintain my individuality while embracing my new role of mother. That’s when Savvy Sexy Momma began. I started a Pinterest, and before long, I have over 202K followers! Primarily people were interested in my home organization and event planning pins. I also tried out vlogging on YouTube. Read more>>

Kasey Darlene

I have always had a love for dance since a very young age. When I was little, even living in chilly Michigan for a time, I would dance around in leotards and tutus and dream of The Nutcracker ballet. I trained in ballet for many years and worked very hard at refining my ballet technique. I would go home after dance classes and long rehearsals and do Pilates to take my technique to the next level. Upon graduating high school, I was offered a position with three professional dance companies in the Dallas, Texas, area where I lived at the time. Read more>>

Blockhead Moto

Blockhead Moto has a pretty simple beginning. I always say it started with “a GoPro on a motorcycle helmet.” It actually didn’t start with the intention of making YouTube videos, launching a brand, or having our own custom motorcycle shop. I put a GoPro on my helmet for insurance, just in case something happened in traffic while riding. We all know Orlando traffic isn’t the best, and riding a motorcycle in it can be a risky endeavor, especially where I learned to ride, which was a block away from Universal Studios. Read more>>

Jessie Weissman

The story of Alex. As told by his wife, Jessie. A long time ago, in a land far away… (2013, Parkland, FL)… there was a boy who looked at his plain white video game controller and thought to himself: “This doesn’t represent ME.” He looked around his room (which was covered in Captain America posters and action figures) and realized he could create a controller that was personalized to him. He wanted his controller to stand for more than just playing games. It stood for his love of all geek culture. It also stood for truth, justice, and the American way…cause ya know…Captain America. Read more>>

Mahogany Sinclair

Covid was just beginning, and at the time, I was working at Tijuana Flats; during this time, my manager barely put me on the schedule. I started looking for ways to make money at home, and I discovered the idea of small businesses. I chose cosmetics, specifically lipgloss. I chose lip gloss because I love lip gloss and who doesn’t love lip gloss. I did extensive research on carrier oils, fatty oils, organic item, etc. I wanted to create something healthy and beneficial for the lips. During the time of researching pros and cons of lip gloss ingredients, I learned the cheap lip glosses in beauty supply stores and major companies use harmful ingredients that don’t benefit customers at all. Read more>>

Jose E. Figueroa Jr.

OFOM is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded by Milagros M. Garcia, Chaplain/Minister. Prior to its inception, Millie always had an interest in, a love for, and a desire to help the homeless/less fortunate (our brothers/sisters in transition, if you will), so it was only a matter of time before God would birth this ministry through her. Millie has always been known for working diligently in several different church outreach ministries and volunteering in several different organizations who offered similar services. Read more>>

Miledys Felix

At the age of 6, I was enrolled in a small performing arts school; there, I was able to learn and gain interest in the field of acting, modeling, and commercials. I continued pursuing that interest till I moved to Florida at the age of 13. Then I took a small break since I didn’t know of any agencies in the area. At the age of 17, I got the privilege to participate in my first national pageant, where I got the honor to represent my Puerto Rican community at state level in Arizona. I didn’t win the crown, but I made it into the top 10 finalist. Read more>>

Isalba Luz Suarez Leal

In October 2018, when I graduated as a professional chef in Venezuela, my sister with Down syndrome was turning 50 years old, and as a birthday present asked me to make “tequeños” (cheese fingers) her, I made them for her, and since then people started ordering them and recommending me to their friends and family. Afterwards, I decided to create my business and named it “Delisalbas” along the way; I started creating different types of gourmet “tequeños” (cheese fingers) and “pastelitos.” In 2020 I came to the US to visit my daughter who was an international college student in Orlando, where I continued with my business but this time with limitations on space, time, and equipment. Read more>>

Amber Valois

I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, until I was about sixteen/seventeen my family moved to Florida because my mother wanted to be closer to Disney World. I’ve always been drawn to creative things – for the longest time, I wanted to be a film director, but I never really pursued the ambition of it. When I was in second grade, my teacher Mrs. Kennon really encouraged everyone in the class to write, that was the hallmark of her class studies, and after reading my work, she’d say I could be a writer one day. Read more>>

Daniel Barrios

I was born in Venezuela and around when I was 12 years old, I moved to Puerto Rico. From there, I decided to join the U.S. Marine Corps and served for six and a half years. After that point, I wanted to have more control of my life while still being able to help other and make a living. That’s when I decided to join the real estate world. I has so many aspects that it’s impossible to get bored or know everything. Every day I learn something from a colleague, a client, or one of my investors. It’s breathtaking when you get to help fulfill other people’s dreams and how much I can impact in a community with just flipping a property. Read more>>

Mengi Jacobs

I grew up in a small village in Russia (Southern Siberia) called Cherbi. It’s in the Republuc of Tuva (not many people have heard of it). A life-long friend of mine eventually opened a beauty salon in our capital city of Kyzyl, and she became a master at many services. I was inspired by her work and attention to detail. I moved to the US in 2015, married my husband the next year (and brought my teenage daughter shortly after), and I worked many different unsatisfying jobs over the next couple of years. We eventually discussed my interests, and I decided to enroll in North Hills Beauty Academy to pursue my career. Read more>>

Carlos Otero

I grew up in Puerto Rico in a small town to the center of the Island called Cidra, where I live pretty much all my life before I move out of the Island to Doha, Qatar at the age of 24 looking for better opportunities to advance in my career as a Chef. I grew up in a middle-class family my mother was a Pharmaceutical for GlaxoSmithKline and my dad is a retired State Attorney in Puerto Rico and with my older brother which is currently a Major in the Active Army. From young my parents instilled values in us of honesty, respect, integrity, kindness, and to help others with less also, with their example they taught us to study and work hard which to this day are the values that I live day by day. Read more>>

Vishant Dave

In 2007 while working for a large Insurance Company, a co-worker introduced me to the book “The Alchemist” and recommended I read it. I took her up on the recommendation and read the book. I did not know that it would completely change the direction of my life and inspire me to pursue personal training as a career. I began training clients part-time in 2007 until 2017 while still working full-time at my insurance job. In 2017 I resigned and pursued personal training full time, and it was going wonderfully until February of 2021, when life served up a curve ball. Read more>>

Christian Andersen

Red Lion Media is a small business that builds websites for small businesses. We know more than most what it takes to run a small business and all the hats owners wear. Dealing with websites is one of the most challenging aspects of it all. It is so important to any business, brick and mortar or virtual, to have a well-constructed and designed website experience that performs well on mobile. The cost for a professional site is also a huge hurdle. What separates Red Lion Media is that we choose to work with the various website builders like Wix to build out sites, so at the end of the day, as an owner, you can feel comfortable updating the site yourself and no longer have to rely on an expensive and busy web developer to constantly update and maintain your WordPress site.  Read more>>

Jenny Koppenhaver

My father told me I could do anything, and so I did. I have worked hard my whole life to take ideas and bring them to life. I am an independent contractor and own Jenny Koppenhaver Travel. I am partnered with Magical Vacation Planner which is a company I feel very passionate about. I am a team leader and travel consultant specializing in designing events and group travel for leadership consultants and entrepreneurs. I work remotely but am constantly traveling to learn new brands. I commute to Florida from Baltimore every month, and I network and help groups create their next fantastic event to support growth mindset, team building, and leadership skills. I currently am apartment hunting. Read more>>

Gabrielle Starkes

When I was six years old, I used to see my mom make skin care products for adults. It inspired me to make skin care products for kids. But, I wanted to make soaps with fun colors and fragrances and that were kind for the environment. The next generation of kids are the ones who will lead in taking care of the only place we live. So, we need to teach them to understand the importance of caring for our earth to reduce pollutants in our water and toxins in our soil. The products they use can help with our mission. Read more>>

Juliana Uribbe Aguiar

I started my journey on social media when I was 14, with a couple YouTube videos, with no intentions of actually making a career out of that. Social media was always a big part of my life, and I was always motivated to create content online. It wasn’t until I was 16 that I started taking my Instagram a bit more seriously and grew my account to 10k followers. When I was 18, I started working as a full-time streamer, and that only made me more involved with social media and interested in making that my full-time job. When I was 19, I started posting more on my TikTok account, and it wasn’t until I was 20 that I truly focused on my TikTok and Instagram. Read more>>

Jazmine N. Hodgson

In 2018, I created The Serving Girl Company to provide staff training and development to restaurants. At the time, I was working as a server at H&F Burger in Ponce City Market, and although I loved working in the hospitality and restaurant industry, I knew I wanted to do more. On my days off, I started checking out different restaurants in the city, and I quickly fell in love with the food scene. I religiously went to brunch, taking pictures and connecting with other foodies through social media. In 2019, I transitioned from blogging to managing social media, marketing, and a hosting events for a fine dining French restaurant in West Midtown called AIX & Tin Tin. Read more>>

Ashley Hall

My deep love and appreciation for the Equestrian life began before I can remember. Growing up on a farm on Maryland’s Eastern Shore gave me an understanding of horses, as I learned firsthand from my mother, who was a professional Equestrienne. Over the course of a lifetime being surrounded by horses, traveling, and providing professional Interior Design, I have been able to curate my personal sense of style and design. In its essence, Equestrienne Décor represents a lifestyle influenced by all things equestrian and a belief that personal style can be easily enriched with design elements that are approachable, elegant, and luxurious. Read more>>

Beverly Holloway

My name is Beverly Holloway, and I am the CEO of Bodyworks by Design. I have been a massage therapist for over 8 years and currently specialize in Postoperative (PostOp) Care and Medical Massage. I originally got into massage to help provide my husband, who was morbidly obese at time. He was experiencing issues with his mobility and through massage, we were able to get him back mobile without pain. My passion for caring for others evolved into a business that provides services in many stage of life, from pregnancy to post-surgery to medical and so much more. Read more>>

IvyStarr Photography

Hello, we are Ivy, Evana, and Nadia! We are a South Asian, women-owned photography business located in the Orlando area. Our journey began back in 2018 by taking pictures for friends and family, which now has bloomed into IvyStarrPhotography. Ivy started capturing special moments back in 2010 as a hobby and has been sharpening those skills to a professional level since then. Evana incorporates her modeling and marketing experience into our shoots and our business. Nadia shows her creative passion for digital media through editing our photos, creating media, and using her public relations background. Read more>>

Veronica Figueroa

Veronica Figueroa, born in New York City, raised in Puerto Rico, moved to Mississippi in 2015, and now in Orlando, Florida. After studying Medical Billing, I started working in 2007 at an Insurance Company as a Financial Analyst for 7 years; here is where I started looking for something else, something that can get me confidence and flexibility. I started looking for something where I can be more in contact with people, and I decided to get in sales, I have been in multiple multilevel business where each one of them were experiences but not what I was expecting. Read more>>

Ryan Blakemore

I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago as the fifth of seven kids. My mom made me start piano lessons at age 11 despite my interest in percussion (mostly beatboxing). I began playing hymns in church at age 13 and went to Clearwater Christian College to study music. During my time at CCC, I started to take my relationship with God seriously, and it Christianity became my faith and not just my family’s faith. My professor recommended that I audition for graduate school, and I wound up at FSU to study piano pedagogy. Read more>>

Isabel Santiago

I’m Isabel. I came am originally from Pennsylvania the Lehigh valley to be exact. I moved to Florida in 2017 with my husband. We have had two kids since coming to Florida, and so we have had to change our lifestyle. My husband is a trucker which leave me to be a full-time stay-at-home mom. Doing so, I started to blog our adventures throughout Florida and show that traveling with kids can be done. That a mom can and will accomplish what we need to. I am also a huge Disney adult and share all of Disney tips and tricks on travel blogs. We love to share our real-life experiences and let families know we are perfect; we are a MagicalM3ss. Read more>>

Liz Cardona

Five years ago, after my youngest daughter, Saige was born, I created a little crystal jewelry business. I didn’t know much about crystals but had always been drawn to them ever since I was a child. I started looking up ones I thought were pretty and figuring out what they meant and from there expanded into more and more. Eventually, I expanded my business into what it is today, selling crystals, jewelry, and candles. I’ve always had a strong support system when it came to my dreams and passions. I have a law of attraction mindset. Read more>>

Sedric Louissaint

I was looking for new ideas to generate additional income. – Saw a sponsored ad from this gentleman bragging how he drives exotic and luxury cars for free and makes money off of them. – He was renting them out on Turo. – I figured why not? Let me give it a shot. – Started with 2 cars in January 2022. A BMW i8 and C7 Corvette Stingray – Turo was slow, and they charged fees that ate into my bottom line. – I found I was renting through my personal network more often 98% of the time with minimal downtime. – Here we are entering Sept, which is my bday btw 09/01/94, and I have scaled the business to 12 cars. Read more>>

Ashley Kinney

Hello! My name is Ashley, and I am 29 years old. I am married to my best friend of 3 years, and we have two amazing little boys! Before I started college, I was told by many people the amount of college debt they were in and how long it would take them to pay off debt. That sounded like a nightmare, so at a young age (whatever the legal age limit to work is), I started working. I was working at least two jobs, and at times I was working 4 jobs just to pay my way through college and stay out of debt. I remember when I would wake up around 5 am to go to work in the morning nannying 3 children, drop them off at school then go to my day job as a receptionist. Read more>>

Natalie Casey

I literally turned around, and it was right there. While sitting on the lawn across from the admin building trying to decide what I want to switch my major to, I turned around, and there it was, The college of Design, Construction, and Planning. Of course, I didn’t know that at the time; I just thought, oh, what a cool building and starting exploring the atrium and stairs in the center of the college. When I finally got to the end of my journey, I was the sign for the building and decided to look up the program, and by the end of the night, I decided to change my major to Interior Design. Read more>>

Will Brown

I’ve always had a special place in my heart for video production. Even at 10 years old, I would experiment with cool camera angles when playing basketball. The concept of recording something to watch back later had always made me curious. I always thought about how I can capture the best moments of life so they can live on. At 13 years old, I started volunteering on a broadcast video production team. Even walking into the control room gave me chills. I knew that’s what I wanted to do with my life. Read more>>

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