Where you grew up and your background can often have surprising  effects on our lives and careers.  We’ve asked folks from the community to tell us about how their background has affected them.

Jan Downey | Cultural Anthropologist & Artist

I was a lucky girl to be born in Chicago and have a dad who was happy to take me almost every Sunday to one or another of the fabulous museums in the area. I preferred the Field Museum of Natural History; he preferred the Science and Industry Museum. Once in a while we veered off our usual path to attend the planetarium or the aquarium. All of these Sunday adventures informed me about how big the world was. Big, and infinitely varied! Above all, I learned the benefits of being curious and asking questions. As I got older, I yearned for firsthand knowledge of the vastness of the natural and cultural world that I glimpsed in those institutions. Eventually, I actualized my love of discovery, travel, curiosity, and desire to see all of humanity’s variations by becoming a cultural anthropologist. Read more>>

Daniel Oromaner, MBA, CCHt | Clinical Hypnotherapist & Life Coach

I was born, raised, and attended school in New York City. As a Baby Boomer, I got used to crowded classrooms and competition for everything. My high school graduating class included 1,000 students, and competition even for summer jobs was intense. Fortunately, my parents encouraged hard work, and wanted me and my brother to (at least) graduate college, and possibly get graduate degrees–which we did. Neither my mother nor my father was able to accomplish their own educational dreams. My mother went to work right after high school, to help put her younger brother through college and dental school. My father wasn’t even that lucky. Since his father died when my dad was only nine, my father started working full time very young–and had to drop out of high school to support the family. Read more>>

Terrel Alexander I | Entrepreneur

I am from Milwaukee Wisconsin. Growing up in Milwaukee, The Mil as we call it, provided a great sense of culture and togetherness. At one point Milwaukee was known for it’s strong entrepreneurial presents. My father being one of them. He worked for a prominent factory in Milwaukee and invested his earnings into two night clubs, named Godfather’s and Jazz City. Read more>>

Dr. Torsten Stein DC | Chiropractor

I am originally from Berlin, Germany. West Berlin that is. For anyone who doesn’t know, there was a wall built around my city. And even though I was on the right side of the wall, the free side, I saw it every single day. In Germany I missed schooling that encouraged me to start my own business. That’s why I was so intrigued in doing just that: starting my own chiropractic office with my awesome wife Claudia who basically runs my office. Read more>>

Kema Charles | Non Profit Founder & Executive Director

I was born in Chicago IL, and lived there until I was 16. My family moved to Florida (my mom’s home state) my Jr. year of High School. Growing up in Bellwood IL my parents kept us busy and involved in our community. My sisters and I were Girl Scouts. I played Volleyball and Basketball. I also started working my first job at 13. My parents taught my sisters and I the importance of community and just being good people. They are 100% the reason my focus is on community, diversity and being kind to people. Read more>>