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.

Miranda Williams | Writer & Editor

I grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico–the hottest place on earth–and moved to Phoenix–somehow hotter than the hottest place on earth-when I was sixteen. I was born to a family of mechanics and engineers so I have often wondered where my love for writing came from. It has been concluded that my grandmother was the primary perpetrator. I used to spend the night at her house a lot; this was very strategic of us because when all of my other siblings and cousins left, she would drive me to Goodwill and let me pick out all the books I wanted. We’d return with a teetering stack of dilapidated fantasy paperbacks and dust-riddled classics. Read more>>

Justin McKay | Designer, Decorator, Organizer & Artist

I love to tell this story because I absolutely get a kick out of seeing how obvious it is that I am who I am today. I grew up with a single mother and most of the time it was just her and I. And we moved a LOT. We were renters and didn’t have much money. It happens. Like many in similar situations (or even not), we loved going to look at model homes on the weekends together. We would walk through and pretend this was the house we were going to move into next and discuss: where we would place furniture, which room would belong to who, what we would have done differently or change and how we would make it OUR home. And each time we actually moved, we kind of did the same. It was always a new, fresh canvas in which to play with and I absolutely loved this “hobby” as it was something we did together, shared an excitement for and I became better and better at. Read more>>

Lorena Figueroa | Teacher & Social Media Influencer

I am from El Paso, Texas. I am the daughter of immigrant parents who came to the United States from Juarez, Mexico, to give their children a better life. I did not have much growing up, but I had all the love and support I needed. My parents had minimal schooling, so at a very young age, they instilled in me the importance of graduating and furthering my education. I must admit school was challenging for me as a child because of the language barrier, and I knew I had to work harder than my classmates to accomplish my learning goals. Luckily I had older siblings who were able to help me with homework and answer my questions. Growing up, I was always mindful of the sacrifices my parents made, and to this day, I do not take anything for granted. Read more>>