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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.

Tiffany Vakilian

I went to a writer’s group run by A Word With You Press in 2013. Before the summer was over, I was an intern. Now, I freelance edit while keeping light tabs on the back office operations. When our fearless leader and CEO, Thornton Sully, decided to relocate from Oceanside, he left a reliable team of loveable misfits, artists, and industry folk to carry on the virtual fun and frolick that culminates in the A Word With You Press website. Read more>>

Douglas Smith

We have hurdles and roadblocks daily, however it’s all how you perceive them that matters we’ve found. You can either see them as negative and something that hurts your business, or see them as opportunities to learn and help you excel further. Read more>>

Jet Rhys

Jet Rhys Salon was founded in 1992 by Jet and Rhys two former Vidal Sassoon hair specialists from New York. They have more than 25 years of experience working and teaching in Vidal Sassoon academies and salons and are best known for their hip and modern approach to beauty and fashion. Read more>>

Erin Beadle

I always say… make sure to leave any job in good standing, maintain positive working relationships and always be building your network. I was offered this opportunity because of that principle. My first real job out of college was a Sales & Catering Coordinator at Tower23 Hotel in Pacific Beach. Read more>>

Bryan Pate, Brent Teal

We got the idea for the ElliptiGO really out of necessity. Bryan had been a runner all of his life, but, in 2005, he lost the ability to run for fitness because of hip and knee injuries. Basically, a lifetime of contact sports and endurance athletics had caught up with him and, by the age of 32, he was forced to engage in low-impact exercise. Read more>>

Joe O’Donnell

I joined Urban Plates as the Chief Operating Officer back in July of 2015. The restaurant industry has been my home for more than 32 years, and prior to joining the UP team I spent 18 years in leadership roles with Ruth’s Chris Steak House, including Vice President of Operations for the Western U.S. Read more>>

Amy Armenti

I started volunteering with The Rescue House in 2008 after my husband and I adopted two cats from the group. They were an abandoned and bonded pair named Katie & Kelly. They were siblings and had been up for adoption for over a year. Read more>>

Cheyenne Arnold

After six years doing social media for a corporate surf brand (and one year commuting from Encinitas to Costa Mesa!), I decided to set out on my own and freelance. I wanted more creative control and freedom — I guess just more creativity in my life in general. Read more>>

Jocelyn Taitingfong-Camarillo

My name Jocelyn Taitingfong-Camarillo, and I am a photographer currently based in Oceanside, CA. I specialize in documentary style photography, and dedicate my work to intimate weddings, vow renewals, with a minor in portraiture. Read more>>

Jenny Scholl

I was living in beautiful Manhattan Beach in an ocean view apartment, steps from the strand, working with my best friends making great money as the top salesperson on the West Coast for the AdTech company I had helped grow from 40 employees to 400, moving from our headquarters in Raleigh. Read more>>

Alexis Stoniea

I have always had a passion for photography. Growing up in San Diego (Poway) my high school had a great photography program that really covered all the basics of photography from using your camera (aperture, shutter speed, ISO, composition, etc.) to developing the film in a darkroom. Read more>>

David Garduno

Seedheads is a collaboration of North County reggae lovers, comprised of David Garduno (Drums), Mauricio Garduno (Keyboard, Saxophone), Max Zeledon (Bass), Kavon Mondegari (Guitar, Vocals), and Kevin Pulido (Vocals, Guitar). Read more>>

Stephanie Zito

After my kids were born, I became even more aware of what I products I was using on them from sunscreen to bath products. I was concerned about some of the ingredients that are actually unsafe for us and looking for better solutions. Read more>>

Eric Pfeiffer

I had plateaued! I was stuck. And worst of all, I had no clue what to do. The harder I pushed, the more exhausted I became. I knew leadership would be hard, but no one had prepared me for my greatest challenge I would face as a leader – ME. Read more>>

Amber H. Dickens

I always had a knack for putting things together. I always loved making things “pretty”. I would walk into a new space and instantly redesign it in my head or see a piece of art and try to figure out how I could put my own spin on it. Read more>>

Brandie Kekoa

Behind every amazing brand is an equally awe-inspiring leader, visionary, and creative spirit. Be Kekoa(™) is no exception, with owner and CEO Brandie Kekoa at the helm. Today, we’are lifting the veil behind the brand, and telling the story of Be Kekoa’s fearless female leader – Brandie Kekoa. Read more>>

Jess Gumkowski

YogiTriathlete was born in an instant as I held Triangle pose in the bedroom of our first home in Boulder, Colorado. It was in this moment, over a decade ago, that I realized I was the only triathlete I knew at that time who practiced yoga. Read more>>

Matthew Odgers

I am a San Diego native and grew up in Ramona where I had a bit of the fairytale childhood. After High-school I decided to pack up and move to Indiana where I graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Political Science. Read more>>

Kent Oberlin

I have always been involved in audio + video throughout my professional career in different forms. I started out as a recording engineer at POP Sound in Santa Monica where I mixed sound for TV and radio commercial broadcast. Read more>>

Jamie Segal

Growing up the oldest of four, with my younger siblings being triplets (yup!) shaped me into who I am and why I chose the career that I did. All of the typical characteristics that come with being the first born were turbocharged and intensified with having three younger siblings all at once. Read more>>

Laura Sylvester

I’ve been a dog person my entire life, but my yellow Lab Buddy was that once in a lifetime dog. He got me through some significant life changes: new towns, new jobs and a divorce. And he was there when I later married Rick on a hilltop in Northern California, Buddy stretched out happily beneath us as we said our vows. Read more>>

Adi Ramon, Noel Brady

The emergence of the company came after they shared a bottle with their favorite yoga teacher Noel Brady, after a hot yoga class; The adventurous hearted yogi was so impressed he immediately wanted to help bring the Kombucha out to the community. The three of us decided to team up and embarked on the next level. Read more>>

Anna Tarabrina

My story starts in Russia where I was born in a small town in the south called Elista. I’ve had a happy childhood and lived in my birth city until I finished high school, after which I moved to another bigger southern Russian city to go to college to study journalism. Read more>>

Letha Sandison, Courtney Mars

Courtney and Letha had both been living abroad, Courtney in Bali and Letha in Africa. They returned to Encinitas at about the same time and were each looking for their next project. They met at a New Moon Gathering and quickly discovered a shared passion for travel, community, health and wellness and creating beautiful spaces. Read more>>

Farheen Umar

After my MBA from University of San Diego I was faced with the option to either pursue a corporate career or venture on a less predictable but more passion driven path. I had always held a fascination for the visual medium but after studying marketing in college. Read more>>

Shirley Innecken

I am the daughter of immigrants from Costa Rica. My parents arrived in the US in the sixties – first my father, and then my mother and sister. I was born in Mission Hills and raised in Clairemont. My family life was challenging for many reasons, and I was both an outspoken and insecure child. Read more>>

Susan Melnikow

Open a birth center at the age of 64… are you crazy??? While, yes… when you have fully found your passionate calling (which often takes 60 years) and you are tired of participating in a paradigm that no longer fits your belief system! Read more>>

Esther Shokair

I first got started with florals in 2009 because a friend had asked me to help her with her wedding. Then a year later, I got married and found the process of trying to find floral designers who had organic aesthetic nearly impossible! So I did the florals for my own wedding and vowed to help my friends in their wedding floral process. Read more>>

Nate Goodman

When I was nine and our family was setting out for a vacation, a drunk driver struck our car. My parents were nearly killed, but by chance I was spared, sitting in just the right spot in the back seat. As my parents spent the year recovering, I did what I could to support them, cleaning up around the house and getting groceries. Read more>>

Labrum Wealth Management

Jason has been helping individuals, families and businesses with financial planning, portfolio management and business retirement plans since 1998 and holds a bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University. Read more>>

Sandra Ary

I was raised in big community style house in a nice suburb of Los Angeles, called Arcadia. I was raised in a large-community style living, as I come from a big Catholic Family (my father is the last of 17 children), I was taught from a young age to share and contribute to my community as this was an important value to us all. Read more>>

Dinesh Padiyar

When I came to the US from England in 1986, President Reagan had started a government-funded research program they called “Reagans Star Wars” program to create the next generation of laser and optics-based technology. One of the projects i worked on was “Head-up-Displays” (HUDs) for use in aircraft because pilots could not bend their neck to look down at the console. Read more>>

Travis Parker

With 30+ years of experience, Travis Parker has styled everyone from top musicians and actresses, to action sports stars and even former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.  All turning to Parker for his ability to create a timeless, complimentary, yet modern looks thanks to his revolutionary hair cutting principles and comprehensive understanding of color. Read more>>

Carlos Cuellar

Prior to Admcw, I was a SGT in the United States Marine Corps serving the Commanding officer of MAG 39 HQ’s as a fiscal chief. After serving 5 years I decided it was time for change. After completing my marketing degree at Park University I was presented the opportunity to work for my father in-law (Bulent Unsal) and help manage his business. Read more>>


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