Through our work we have had the good fortune of seeing firsthand how success comes in every shape, size, color, faith, and orientation. More importantly we’ve learned that success is often the result of people embracing their unique backgrounds and so we’ve asked the community to tell us about their background and how it has impacted where they are today.

The Massie Twins | Film Critics

We’re from a small northern Arizona city originally, which made it an easy choice to spend the last two decades moving around the Phoenix metropolitan area. This, of course, is also where’t there’s a greater opportunity for networking and jobs. It also helps that it’s relatively close to Hollywood. As for our eventual profession, our father had a passion for movies and would watch one almost every night of the week. When we were young, we’d generally only watch the action-packed films – the ones that starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Steven Seagal, Bruce Willis, Harrison Ford, and many others. But the older we got, the more we tended to stick around to see the movies he preferred: black-and-white classics from the 30’s and 40’s. Over time, the blow-’em-up spectacle pictures grew less interesting, until we also favored movies that have stood the test of time – from Westerns to musicals to the Universal Monsters series to silent films. Read more>>

Lisette Carlos | Photographer

I was born in southern California, but raised here in Peoria, Arizona. Growing up, we traveled at least once a year to Zacatecas, Mexico to visit my dad’s family. All throughout my youth, my father carried a Pentax film camera. He carried memories for me of my youth and just great memories for our family to live through. So, growing up I really enjoyed looking at these film photographs that captured the adventures my dad went on and I felt like I really wanted to do the same. I wanted to travel and capture my adventures and moments so it could continue on through my family and friends. I feel with that lifestyle, I grew up wanting to achieve goals like traveling the world. Capturing moments and adventures that made me happy. Read more>>

Jean Marie Clarke | Fashion Designer

I was born in Calcutta, India to British/Indian parents so I actually have Indian blood in me mixed in with my British blood. My family came to America when I was three years old however I feel a strong connection to India as I was raised as an Anglo – Indian. So my mother Philomena cooked only Indian food at home, and our home was furnished with treasures that my parents brought with us from India. I grew up hearing stories about India and especially a lot about Mother Teresa, as her first home for the poor was right around the corner from our home in Calcutta. I started Pax Philomena with the goal to honour my mother Philomena and also to give back. When we came to America it was not easy so I know what it means to struggle in life and I am so happy that thru Pax Philomena with our donations to Mother Teresa’s Sisters of Charity here in Phoenix. Read more>>

Robert Fathauer | Small Business Owner, Math Hobbiest, Artist & Designer

I’m from Decatur, Illinois originally. My dad grew up on a farm outside Decatur, but he became an engineer and started several small businesses in his career. Seeing him run a business and create products may have planted the bug in me that eventually led to my starting my own business. His interest in electronic also exposed me to personal computers at an early age, initially an Apple II when I was in high school, around 1976/7. Read more>>

Cheryl Dunn

I am Phoenix Arizona born and raised. I loved hanging out with my grandmother, Roberta Henry as a kid granted she was in block watch groups and talked to local political figures. She loved talking to people here in our local community no matter which one it is or what their background is. They had such unique and amazing stories to tell. I guess you can say my curiosity and appreciation for anything local came from my grandmother. As a local artist or business owner no matter where you are from, you have so much to give. Do not let anyone stop you! Read more>>

Douglas Fredrikson | Architect

I grew up in Atlanta and attended Georgia Tech for Undergraduate school in Architecture in the 70’s. It was a time when Atlanta was booming and also the first awareness of the energy crisis that still captures our attention. I started to focus on design of buildings and environments that were more responsive to the use of energy. This led me to moving to Phoenix in 1976 and pursuing a Masters Degree in Solar architecture at Arizona State University. I really became aware of the fact that architecture in it’s purest form is a response to local and natural climate and why building in certain geographic locations look like they do. To this day i as part of my initial process of design i look at the factors that exist and will shape the design of the buildings i do as a responsive element to the elements encountered. Read more>>

Dave Newman | Artist

I was born in Long Beach CA and then we lived about 1/2 mile from Disneyland in Anaheim ,CA I believe living in Southern CA was a big influence with the theme parks Disneyland , Knotts’ Berry Farm & Marineland to name a few, and the motels with their colorful neon signs( which still leaves a big impression on me) Everything in CA seemed so important to me and felt like the world revolved around CA Also the car culture and the beaches were very important to me at the time. Seeing all these things back then are what I still use in my art today. I did not become an artist until the age of 32 so I was kind of a late bloomer and self taught. I wanted to become an artist so badly that I visited museums, read art books about artists past and present and experimented a lot and still do. Read more>>

Phillip Payne | Artist & Entrepreneur

I was raised in Sedona until I was 9 at which age my family and I moved to the Navajo Reservation. My Father was an artist, pilot, and entrepreneur and so he was able to support us while living there. My parents also took me with them when they traveled and so I got to see a lot of the world growing up as well. It was a really great childhood and I was exposed to a lot of different cultures. It definitely impacted my choices heavily. My Dad was a professional artist with a deep love of history so our travels definitely had a art / history focus to them. I developed my own appreciation for the way art comments on and connects us with other people and stories. That is definitely the goal behind Anticus. We really want to enrich peoples lives with masterfully created Fine Art, Literature, and even Jewelry. And help them find pieces that connect their tastes and stories with their own friends and family. Read more>>

Dee Astell | Convention and Event Coordinator

When organizing an event like a convention, you have to sign a contract with your chosen venue. One of the biggest things I noticed during this year when so many conventions cancelled due to Covid concerns, was that the general public seemed unaware that you couldn’t just cancel an event without working out a satisfactory conclusion with the venue, that involved a mutual decision to either cancel without penalty or to pay a monetary fee, sometimes a token amount, sometimes a very large amount, which can make or break a convention budget, especially smaller conventions. Read more>>

Adama Pfaff | Director of Desert Tails Shelter

Just how hard raising funds for this “Cause” would be. We thought going into this industry that the emotions of the business, sick dogs, abuse and long term stays and the dogs we couldn’t help would be that hardest parts. Although those thing are all super emotional and very difficult no matter how long we do this. We have found that coming across funds month after month to support our $5,000.00 (rent, electric, trash, insurance, supplies and transports)”Cause” was harder. We call it a “Cause” and not a business or industry because there is no money being made on these dogs. Our type of industry is a begging one, one that truly takes community support. The thought of us closing or the stress of us not being able to helping more dogs is very real when it gets down to how much money is in the account. Read more>>

Ben Bowman | Beverage Maker & Foodie

The amount of chemicals in 90% of all the beverages that are out there. They are considered safe and you should be fine to have one every once and a while. However, people getting 32oz cups of the “diet redcan” everyday are increasing their risk for pretty much everything. Read more>>