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Inspiring Stories from Del Mar, Encinitas & Carlsbad

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 the rising stars from Del Mar, Encinitas & Carlsbad below.

Brianna Gillin

A resolute Jersey girl whom graduated with a degree in Psychology at Montclair State University decided to move to sunny San Diego to see what the West Coast had to offer. It was there where my passion for hospitality led me to La Valencia Hotel, Beaumont’s Eatery, & Craft and Commerce where I gained experience and a strong network of fellow operators & friends. Read more>>

Robyn Benincasa

The Project Athena Foundation is a 501c3 non profit that helps Survivors of medical or traumatic setbacks live an adventurous dream as part of their recovery. Every year, we hold 5 endurance adventures for Survivors (and the Fundaising Gods and Goddesses who support their training and adventure) who want to make their big COMEBACK and become the very best of what they are today. Read more>>

Bodhi Smith

In June of 2011, I was going through a difficult transition time in my life and photography sort of found me, saved me, gave me a focus, literally. I took off on a trip to visit remote sections of California with a camera, a cooler, and my dog, I needed to be alone, soul searching sort of trip. Read more>>

Ronald Carlson

After receiving my BA & MA from San Diego State University I was hired to start a jewelry program at newly built Crafts Center at the University of California, San Diego. I inherited the Directorship a few years later and spent 38 years building the most comprehensive crafts program on the west coast. read more>>

DJ INSP!RE

I have always been into music. When I was about 5 years old, my grandpa bought me my first guitar. Throughout school, I learned how to play different instruments (violin, trumpet, trombone, percussion etc.) Then in 2013 I was working at a little hole in the wall cell phone shop in Pacific Beach and that is where I discovered deejaying for the first time. Read more>>

Taryn Kent Jenkinson

I’ve always had a camera with me from the time I was in Jr high school through college documenting my life and friends. It wasn’t until later in my life I realized I could make a career out of my hobby. I went to college for graphic design, which entailed a few film classes & I fell in love with the darkroom. Read more>>

Luciana Hanley

From the time I was a little girl entrepreneurship was in me. Anything I could get my hands on I was out there selling! I would spend days preparing for lemonade stands. My best friends and I would take a big piece of wood and use that as our table on the back of my dads Gators and cover the wood with a gingham table cloth, fresh cut flowers and everything we had prepared. Read more>>

Jenni Prisk

I founded Prisk Communication in 1990 to provide public speaking and communication skills to the San Diego community. I taught evening classes at UCSD Extension that helped to create my corporate market. Read more>>

Nikki Hess

My company essentially started when a friend invited me over for a “wine and art” night. She was really good at calligraphy and I wanted to learn. She handed me a pen with a nib and a jar of ink and said “your downstrokes are heavy and your up strokes are light”. Read more>>

Phil Fischman

A spiritual experience in my life led to the discovery of my love for crystals and minerals found in the earth. They have been my inspiration and companions for the past 57 years, leading me to a career in fine jewelry with Zales Corporation where I studied Gemology, Jewelry design and business management – and a Commodities License, where I researched and invested in Precious Metals markets. Read more>>

Patricia Villanueva

I began my career in the mortgage industry in 1988 with Citizens National Mortgage, one of the largest mortgage lenders in Southern California at the time. By 1995 I began serving my clientele at a much higher level by providing real estate and mortgage financing services. Read more>>

Jesse Van Leeuwen

My story starts with a pregnancy test. The kind taken “just to be sure”. I remember thinking how unlikely it was that I might be pregnant— I was annoyed with myself for even taking the test, “I just wasted money— no I just peed on money”. Read more>>

Bill Thomas

While I waited until the winter of my life to start this project there is no doubt I would have waited too long, had it not been for you my family and friends. The first time I visited the Portland Light head Light in Maine, in 2012 in 1996, a chord was struck. Read more>>

Danielle Dietz-LiVolsi

The inception of NuttZo began in April 2002 when I met our first son, Gregory (then 3-1⁄2 years old), who we adopted and was extremely vitamin deficient. Greg was a very picky eater who did not like any sort of texture or food that required chewing like animal protein. Read more>>

Katie Gaines

During college, I taught myself how to use graphic design software (like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop) and started designing event flyers and newsletters for friends at school. Through word-of-mouth, I picked up small projects for local businesses (designing logos, business cards and marketing collateral). Read more>>

Helena Gibson

My business started out of a need for my mother, as she was struggling with thinning hair and their were no solutions in our town that solved her concerns in a natural realistic way. This lit a fire in me as I starting thinking if my mom is unhappy with her hair then, other women must be struggling with this too. Read more>>

Suzanne Balestri

After graduating San Diego State University in Marketing with a minor in Advertising, I moved to San Francisco and began working in the Ad Agency world. I ended up on the business end being the liason between the Clients and the “Creatives”. Read more>>

Benn Mendelsohn

When Sam (my brother) and I started, we knew we wanted to create a lifestyle business that would both inspire and challenge us. We were raised in a meditation and yoga-focused family and felt at home with the practices of meditation and Eastern culture. Read more>>

Arch Fuston

In 2006, my wife, Christy, and our two dogs packed up our lives in the Midwest to fulfill a dream with the move to San Diego. A dream job was awaiting me, along with the SoCal lifestyle I’d longed for since childhood. We’d never been more excited about change. Read more>>

Staci Miller

I’ve spent time in some amazing kitchens, including testing recipes for The LA Times, being a station instructor at a culinary school, private chef for some awesome families, catering chef/cook for some of southern (and northern) California’s best catering companies, and rotated through quite a few of the kitchens feeding Googlers. Read more>>

Julia Hillier

I started with a love for succulents, as I shared my succulent designs with friends I got more and more requests for my succulent wreaths and to teach workshops on wreath making. I realized I had the start of a business. Now I have a small, home based business making succulent wreaths, arrangements and succulent wedding florals. Read more>>

Alexa Machado

This is a very personal story, but I want to be open with you and hopefully inspire you to pursue what you love in life. I found photography five years ago during my senior year of high school. I had been bullied for being the typical “nerd”, but I had two friends who were photographers and they asked me to model for their portfolio. Read more>>

Kristin Mack Deuber

As a journalism major at The Ohio State University, I learned early on the impact an effective story can have on an organization’s reputation – and what can go wrong when companies aren’t transparent. In my mid-twenties I joined a public relations firm in Columbus, Ohio as an assistant account executive. Read more>>

Dana Mafale

I was a Flight Attendant for many years and everywhere I went, people told me about thing and places to check out. No matter where you are people are proud of their hometown. I originally auditioned for Oprah for her network, I didn’t get a spot but I received over 57000 votes and realized I needed to make this show happen. Read more>>

Courtney Scowby

10 years ago I was working for an advertising and design company on the East Coast. I have loved drawing and creating my whole life and was so excited to have that as a career. A friend was getting married and I designed her wedding invitations and I was hooked. Read more>>

Dick Ditore

I have always been involved in creative things, starting with working with my Professional Photographer father, in community theater and always wanting to hand make things. After a long stint in electrical contracting, and lighting other people’s art, I ended up with shoulder surgery. Read more>>

Natalie Lucci

My photography journey has really just been a journey of self-discovery. I was lucky enough to grow up in Northern California with a very supportive family. After high school, I started taking action steps to get clear about the vision I had for my life. Read more>>

Jackie Mazur

I jumped into my career as a Financial Advisor right after graduation in 2003. At the time, I had no idea how different firms operated or what I wanted my business to look like. I quickly learned that not all firms were created equal. Read more>>

Katie Zupan-Lehman

My background is in healthcare and psychology. I received my master’s degree in Nursing/Nurse Practitioner and bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. For the past 17 years I have been in the pharmaceutical, biotech and genomic space, which allowed me to see intimately how our environment and lifestyle affect our health. Read more>>

Lisa Kivel

I started my career in 1990 after graduating from the University of Arizona. I graduated with a triple major in Real Estate/Finance, Spanish and Communications. I decided to follow my heart and moved to Los Angeles. Read more>>

Fawn Christiansen

I think I officially fell in love with photography when traveling through Europe in my 20’s. I began shooting not only the places I went but the PEOPLE everywhere I went. I wanted to capture the feeling of a place and I felt that photographs of the locals living their lives were so emotional and told a story. Read more>>

James Hellems

Yoga Paws started as a mother, daughter duo about 15 years ago. My wife (Jamie) was a film student at the University of Arizona and her mom (Gail) was a yoga instructor. Gail wanted to make a yoga video and also show off some Navajo Weavings that her and her husband were collectors of and also sold. Read more>>

 

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