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Inspiring Stories from La Jolla & UTC

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 La Jolla & UTC below.

Fred Benedetti

I started playing the guitar when I was eight years old. My father played the guitar, although not professionally and was self-taught. He had a tremendous ear for music and his favorite guitarist was classical guitarist Andres Segovia. So I grew up in a household where I heard records of Segovia and my Dad playing the pieces from the records that he could transcribe by ear. Read more>>

Louisa Yu

I’ve always considered myself to be a creative. Growing up, I did a little of everything. Drawing, calligraphy, crafts, even sewing. I noticed that I always had my own way of doing things. If there was a sketch required, I skipped it. I didn’t follow calligraphy stroke patterns. I didn’t like planning or structure, I just wanted to start something and run with it. Read more>>

Jake Twomey

What sets my business apart from others is that I do it for the love of the process. I genuinely enjoy building businesses, helping people earn a living, creating value for customers, and nurturing relationships. The community that we create is the most satisfying part. Read more>>

Spyro Kemble

There is a saying, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” So that night I went home and for the first time in my life, I truly listened to someone other than my father. Soon after, I passed my real estate exam and quit personal training cold turkey to pursue my career in real estate. Read more>>

Gabrielle Fox

Art was my passion! I picked up a camera in college and I remember thinking how great it would be to do this for a living. I enrolled in photography classes and got a job 2nd shooting weddings. I also worked at a local photo lab. Then, in 2006, I opened my own photography business… I’ve loved my job ever since! Read more>>

Amala Raj Swenson

I always say I grew up “design adjacent” as my family has been in the remodeling industry for years on the material supply end (they are natural stone suppliers). During college, I worked part-time at my parent’s shop helping interior designers find their perfect stone slabs. Read more>>

Pramiti Bhargava

BlueGrape started seven years back when I and my partner Akhil were flipping homes at San Diego. I had to quit a marketing leadership role at Yahoo! and joined BlueGrape. While one of our early flips sat on the market for six months, it was a miracle for us to see the home get four offers once staged. Read more>>

Kevin Mashayekan, and Lori Sepkowski

We started making kombucha at home and soon realized that our scientific experience directly translated to kombucha brewing. Fast forward a couple more years and we were making kombucha at home that was much better than anything we could buy locally. Starting our own kombucha brewery was an easy decision from there. Read more>>

Stephen Oropallo a.k.a. DJ Steve

I guess being a DJ started way back in Amsterdam, NY in JR high school when music and radio totally influenced my life. Not to show my age but I always had my portable 8track player booming wherever I went and loved listening to Rock-n-roll on the radio. I cut grass, shoveled snow and delivered newspapers all year and saved for my own AM/FM, 8track, cassette, and record playing stereo with pull out speakers. Read more>>

Teejay Zeigler

I started off following the lifestyle of my adopted family, and because I was adopted from Vietnam at seven months old, it was all I really knew how to be anyway. We were close-knit, conservative, and Pentecostal Christian. I grew up heavily involved with the church, and at one point was a Sunday school teacher. This was a very sheltered life. I don’t think I knew who the Black Eye’d Peas were until I was probably in junior high if that gives any indication. Read more>>


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