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.

Aimee V Justice | Female impersonator/ trans drag queen

I am from Lake Havasu Arizona where growing up in a small town made me appreciate the smaller things in life. Such as family time, gatherings with friends and gave me such a drive to find the bigger city and make it mine. Growing up in a small allowed me to have a appreciation for everything including time, meaning living a slower pace taught me a lot about thinking before doing and thinking before speaking which the thinking before speaking at 36 I am still working on. Read more>>

Tonjaya Baird | Entrepreneur

I was born in the small town of Topeka, Kansas, but raised in Kansas City, Missouri. I grew up in a single parent household, so things were not always easy to say the least. I watched my mother work extremely hard, and make unbelievable sacrifices to ensure my younger sister and I had everything we needed. She has always inspired me to work hard, be brave and to go after every dream that comes to my mind. Most importantly though, she instilled resilience into me as a young girl, by being the best role model I could have ever asked for. All in all, my mother is my rock and definitely is the reason I am who I am today. Read more>>

Jenna Pulotu | Business Owner & Mother

I was born and raised here in Mesa AZ. Both of my parents are extremely hard working which I think rubbed off on me. My dad is a police officer and works construction on the side, and my mom worked in higher education and she also had her own successful jewelry business that she did on the side. it’s funny looking back now to all of those years my mom made me help her at different markets, and boutiques selling her jewelry because I absolutely hated it haha but now I’m so glad she would make me sit and work her booth. I always new I wanted to work for myself in some way and it took a lot of trial and error trying to figure out how I can use my creativity in a way that I can also help support my little family. But I thinking having two creative and supportive parents definitely helped influence me into keep trying to figure out what that was. Read more>>

Kylee Kauffman | Influencer

Being raised in the small town of Fountain Hills, AZ; it was definitely a struggle to find outlets for creativity and self expression. I dove into creative outlets as often as they presented themselves (i.e. theater, drawing, photography). This small town upbringing also resulted in having a small circle of friends and a really great relationship with my parents and brothers. All of which supported my efforts to explore more creative avenues I felt I was lacking. Makeup, (particularly abstract/artistic) eye makeup, was what I immediately gravitated towards. With a slight background in photography, I started posting on the newest app/platform at the time, Instagram. Read more>>