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East San Diego’s Rising Stars

The heart of our mission at the SD Voyager is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In the recent weeks, we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of the San Diego’s finest artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with our city’s incredibly deep talent pool. Check out inspiring stories from East San Diego below.

Charles Walker

The Temecula Valley Entrepreneur’s Exchange (TVE2) was founded six years ago to serve as a regional hub for business resources and a key foundation for a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem in Southwest Riverside County. Read more>>

Leah Sadowski

My entrepreneurial story began in late 2008. I was a casualty of ‘the crash’ or the Global Financial Crisis. Only a few years out of college, I was working at a media buying firm when layoffs and department shut downs started happening daily, I knew my days were numbered. Read more>>

Jae Hopkins

Homestay Services International was founded in 1982 by a retired lady living near San Diego State University. She rented a room to an international student…and enjoyed it so much that she began to
think of business possibilties. Read more>>

Ken Soto

Like many designers I started my career freelancing for a bunch of design agencies, then being asked to come on full time. I started just before computers were being introduced into these agencies, and in fact introduced the first Mac to the agency I worked at. Read more>>

Jenna Joseph

My journey into photography first began when I didn’t get my top choice for guitar as a high school elective and was placed in a photo class instead. I never knew how much I’d fall in love with it, but an opportunity came to shadow a wedding photographer during that time. Read more>>

Kristina Mirolyants

“It is better to have dreamed a thousand dreams that never were than never to have dreamed at all,” said Alexander Pushkin, the great Russian author and poet. I have always been a dreamer ever since I can remember. I was born in a small town in Ukraine. Read more>>

Raquel Mittman

Our family run printing company has been in business for the past 32 years. With the advent of desktop publishing in the mid 80’s, we were able to provide design and printing services to our small community in Ramona. Read more>>

Anna Belaya

It was a very long journey. I grew up in a small town where people no nothing about opera, obviously I didn’t hear about it myself, but I always like acting on stage and singing just about anything. I remember two times I was recipient of Laureate in the Ukrainian Competition-Festival “Ukrainian Talents” in the category Art of Acting. Read more>>

Rochelle Drumm, Dee Dee Nicolai, Jason Drumm, Heather Drumm

Yes, it is another story of a family business starting in a home kitchen with an idea. (We know, right!?) But ours is quite inspiring: Our Mom is the creator behind chipz Happen. For nearly 20 years she spent many pleasurable hours in her kitchen making chipz for family & friends. Read more>>

Kristen Guerra

Firetail Design started as a hobby and a love for making and wearing costumes to events. Friends and family found out that I could sew, through the event photos I was posting and I started doing alterations on the side, to earn some extra bread money. Read more>>

Anthony Hutchings

I grew up in a motorcycle club environment, this lead me to making many wrong choices in my life. I spent 15 years in a California State Prison due to these decisions. When I war released I started talking to young men in high schools about life choices. Read more>>

Becky Lang

My grandmother Opal taught me to make jelly the first year I was married in 1976. We had very little money for holiday gifts to give at our large extended family gatherings and I wanted to make use of the pomegranates in the back yard. Read more>>

Ariana Velazquez

I graduated from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising with a degree in Visual Communications in Los Angeles. I moved back to San Diego and began working with small businesses doing social media marketing and content creation. I decided it was a great way to build a portfolio that would lend itself to my ultimate goal of creative direction. Read more>>

Evan Weinberg

It’s been a wild ride! What’s not to love about food, drink and design? My passion for creation has been with me for as long as I can remember. I’ve always loved to build things and be part of something exciting and new. Read more>>

Sharronda Allen

Since the time I can remember I have always wanted to be a teacher. I would set up “school time” for my brother and sister and whoever else I can get my hands on. I had so much fun playing the teacher and the idea that I was helping them. Read more>>

Liz Kington

When I first moved to San Diego, I was looking for ways to get out and meet people. While on Facebook one day, I saw a post from Dogs on Deployment looking for volunteers to help with an upcoming event. When it came time for the event, I met the Social Media Director, Andrea, and the CEO and Founder, Alisa and was hooked. Read more>>

Mickey Harrison

My first profession was A Nurse Practitioner. I Did 6 years as a volunteer in Mission hospitals in Indo China from 1963 first in Viet Nam during the war, next to Thailand and last in Malaysia. In Malaysia not only did I volunteer in a Franciscan Nun Mission hospital but I split my time with Care-Medico)Dr.Tom Dooley’s Group). Read more>>

Mark Oestreicher

I was a church youth pastor for many years, but moved to San Diego in 1998 to lead an organization called Youth Specialties (which during my time became a division of HarperCollins Publishers). In 2009 that organization was sold, and I lost my job. Read more>>

Jane Glickman, MIchelle Leone

Our company was founded by Aleita Downer more than 30 years ago. When Aleita’s son applied to CCI for a service dog for the disabled, and was put on a five year wait list, she was sure she could train a dog for him, one that could open his doors and turn on the lights and perform all the usual tasks. Read more>>

Wendy Kwasny

When I was about five, I was diagnosed with ADHD. Instead of opting to put me on medication my astute mother noted that I would hyper focus on creating art and she placed me in private art lessons. Ever since, painting and creating has been my passion. Read more>>


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