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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, Enallicinitas & Carlsbad below.

Ami Markowitz

I’ve done several things in life, but once I got into real estate, I realized it my calling. After a significant downturn in the economy that affected my previous business, I had to look for a job to support my family. Unfortunately, when I couldn’t find one after searching for a long time, I decided to get my real estate license. It’s something that has interested me for a long time and I felt that I could be good at it. When no one is hiring, you can pretty much always get a commission job as an independent contractor. Today, after several years in the business, I feel that I have established myself as an experienced Realtor in the community and someone that people can be proud to refer to. It is a very difficult business and extremely competitive, but I absolutely love what I do. Read more>>

Scott Dickerhoof

My career started in the early 1990’s working for my uncle, who was a custom remodel general contractor in the Monterey- Carmel By The Sea area of California. We worked on building custom cottage style homes and other remodeling projects in the area. I then moved to Palo Alto, CA where I worked as a project manager for a general contractor specializing in custom high-end remodels. Soon after, I got my California state general contractors license and met my wife, Michelle, on a blind date gone good. In early 2001 we moved to Seattle, WA were married that summer. I quickly got my general contractor’s license in the state of Washington and business took off in the great northwest. We had enough rainy days and in 2013 decided to sell our home, pack up our two kids Nathan and Grace and head south to move back to sunny California to be closer to family. Our final destination was San Diego, where I was fortunate enough to have an existing client from Seattle who decided to move to La Jolla almost at the same time, where we could instantly pick up our business almost immediately. Read more>>

Cristi Walker

If you ask co-founders Michael and Cristi Walker how the Happy Heart Haven got here, they’ll tell you it was a lifetime in the making. Cristi was born with a congenital heart defect called Pulmonary Atresia. She was essentially born with only half of her heart. To improve the conditions of her heart function, she had four open-heart surgeries and a pacemaker implanted. At every hospital stay, Cristi was sure to have a cow stuffed animal in her bed with her – they were always her favorite! At one point, she even had over 100 cows in her collection! Fast forward a few years and Michael and Cristi met each other and fell in love! In 2015 they got married with BIG dreams, although none of them included over 30 animals… Then, in 2017 Cristi found out she would need a Pulmonary Valve Replacement due to onset issues with her heart condition. Going into surgery, there was a 50/50 chance Cristi would get either a pig or cow valve. As luck would have it, life came full circle and Cristi got a cow valve (melody valve!). Read more>>

Noah Hernandez

The story from where I first started on my current path started late last year. Up until this point, I was like any other 15-year-old kid. I played football, rugby, and funny enough, I had finally gotten a girlfriend too. On top of that, I was even good in school. I thought I was finally getting my life together and everything was going well for me. I was happy, but God had bigger plans for me. On October 5th, 2019, the plans God had for my life literally hit me in the face. I ran into a tree playing rugby with my dad. I’ll spare you the details, but this trauma completely changed my life. Three days later, after going home sick from school, I went to urgent care. After explaining everything that had happened just a few days prior to the doctor and described the symptoms I was having, she diagnosed me. She said that I was suffering from a Traumatic brain injury (TBI) or a concussion. She told me the only thing I could do to make it better was to get plenty of rest, water and limit my screen time. She also told me before my mom and I left that there’s no way to predict how long these kinds of things will take to heal. Read more>>

Morgan Wam

Christmas morning early 2000’s – A new set of $125 Dunlop golf clubs sat under the tree awaiting their first swing. An ecstatic 10-year-old boy had no idea these poorly made, beginner level pieces of metal were the start of something great. Fast forward a few years to high school – JV Golf team. Why was I playing golf? Those Dunlop’s did not get great use over the past few years. Yes, they made it out onto Oaks North golf course in San Diego a few dozen times; had a fair share of damage from hitting out of concrete drainage ditches, were rarely cleaned and definitely did not have anything less than a double bogey to their record. Time advanced, I grew older. Golf stayed where it always was in my heart – somewhere between visiting out-of-state cousins and going to the county fair. You get the reference… golf was “… fun” and a decent once-per-month hobby, but nothing I imagined as a “job,” passion or obsession. Once the sports and hobbies of my younger years outgrew me, a new pastime was waiting – a game where 80-year-olds beat 18-year-olds, where degeneracy meets sweater vests. Read more>>

Robyn Carlson

In 1981 I was hired by Union Home Loans as an investment secretary assisting with the sales of Deeds of Trusts generated by the lending division. We were required to have a CA Real Estate License and a CA Notary Public Commission for which the company paid for classes and tests. In 1982 I obtained employment with Mission Hills Mortgage as a loan processor. I was asked to notarize loan documents only occasionally as needed. I renewed my license and commission as required every four years. In 1998 my daughter was born and I became a self-employed contract processor, eventually working out of my home. In 2006 the real estate market was in chaos and in 2010, I decided to stop loan processing and opened Carlson Mobile Notary, which is prospering TODAY. Read more>>

Bruna Barbieri

I am an Architect and Interior Designer with nearly 16 years of experience in the design and construction industry. I am specialized in the Sustainability Certifications, Project Design, as well as implementing PMBOK project management strategies. I owned an Interior Design Studio Rio de Janeiro where I had an opportunity to explore different areas (residential, commercial and institutional) locally and internationally, after five years I decided it was time for new challenges and bigger projects, so I went to work for one of the top five International Management Company, where I managed Five-star hotels, Museums, Build to suit projects and others. My sustainability specialization gave me the opportunity to manage LEED and Energy Efficiency Procel certifications of Award Winning Projects, that leaded me to be a speaker at the Greenbuilding Brasil International Conference & Expo. Sustainability has always been my passion even before I became a LEED GA and graduated from her MBA in Sustainable Building. Read more>>

Estee Gubbay

I feel very lucky to have become a luxury travel advisor and owner of Luxurist Travel Agency. During the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent travel bans, I published an Amazon #1 bestselling book, “Your Travel Bucket List: The Ultimate Guide to Enriching Your Life with Great Adventures and Unforgettable Memories”. My background as a self-development workshop planner, retreat planner and mastermind group facilitator made me uniquely qualified to work with my clients on their dream travel plans, where we discover new travel ideas and brainstorm trips that match everyone’s desires and interests. My first travel business was in college; planning, selling and chaperoning spring break and summer trips. During my 20’s, I traveled through Europe on a shoestring budget. While my husband and I raised our daughters, I was able to work from home on my own business as a group retreat planner and facilitator. I would run many events from my home in Rancho Santa Fe, where I designed my backyard as a retreat and workshop space. Read more>>

Natura De Pinto

When I entered college in 2015, I met my best friend, Sydney O’Leary. It was clear from the start that Sydney and I had so much in common. We both received music scholarships to study classical voice, lived in the same dorm building, and most importantly: purchased our clothes at thrift shops. Filled with rigorous coursework and late-night rehearsals, our college schedules were demanding and hectic. To escape the pressure and just have some fun, we developed a Saturday morning “tradition”. Sydney and I would wake up early in the morning, hop on rapid transit for a little over an hour, and before we knew it – we were scouring dozens of thrift shops throughout San Francisco. Read more>>

Trey Boal

I started roller skating in high school after realizing I was unhappy and needed another type of activity where I can be in a supportive community and progress as an individual both physically and emotionally. What peaked my interest originally were Moxi Skate Team videos on YouTube that popped up on my feed early on when the Moxi brand was becoming popular. I always watched their videos, along with videos from PlanetRollerSkate, a Youtube tutorial and skate lifestyle channel, and was amazed to see rollerskaters dance and even do flips, grinds, slides, and various tricks at skateparks. At first, it was inspiring to see strong women taking on the parks with a sport that seemingly declined in popularity but quickly influenced me to start my own skate journey. Read more>>

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