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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.

Rosalie Silva

My Journey with hair started in 2008, at the time I was fresh out of high school working at Starbucks Coffee in my small hometown of Barstow Ca, (yes that stops on your way to Vegas, people do live there LOL !) I expressed my wants and desires to my manager at the time that I wanted to do hair but also work part-time. I never forget her response “ you will never make any money in that, you should become a manager here instead”. Since a little girl, I loved the idea of getting dressed like a movie star. I used to play with my grandmother’s Flora’s clothes and wear her jewelry, with her 1950s dresses, heels & make-up. Then as I grew older and so did my grandma, I would come over just to spend time with her to curl her hair, paint her fingernails, (Red or Pink those were her favorite colors) & do her make-up for the day. These are memories I’ll never forget. So being very young & being told I won’t make any money doing hair, I listened to my current manager and I stayed with Starbucks with 11 years, I moved up the ladder and became a store manager for 6 years. Read more>>

Branko Kral

I grew up in Slovakia in a family of an engineer with a manufacturing company and a university professor with a couple non-profits. They and the grand parents and the sister loved on me big time, groomed me, and gave me ambitions. I graduated from high school in both Presov, Slovakia, and Vancouver, BC, got my economics undergrad in Prague, my business masters in Bergen, Norway, and Grenoble, France. The locations were usually decided by proximity of mountains and mountain sports, which is what I still use as a top three criterium for where I live. I love languages and systems, so while helping with a startup during college, I got interested in online marketing as a way to use language at scale. Over time, we built a global team of twelve, an SEO and analytics company. We help turn websites into business machines, everybody lives somewhere on Earth and exactly where they want to live, we work for knowledge companies with a positive social impact. Read more>>

Santiago Fileta

Rogue Van Company began exactly as it is named, marketing and rugged branding aside, we were total and complete rogues. With no plan or ultimate goal in sight, I flew to Brooklyn, New York, to camp out at my cousin’s apartment, scouring the internet for vans all over the New England area. In the following weeks, I crisscrossed the Northeast buying any and all Sprinter vans I could get my hands on; from the Bronx to Philly. In the end I managed to scoop 5 in total, none with license plates, all of them being constantly shifted and moved around New York City to avoid getting towed or ticketed. My cousin, a NYC public defender, demanded that I keep her card with me at all times, stating that if I managed to pull this off and not get arrested, it would be a miracle. I made a Facebook post asking if any of my friends wanted to fly out to the east coast for a road trip and to my surprise, many of my friends were willing to drop everything and caravan with me; they all flew out, we drove, we explored, we came together and the rest is history. Read more>>

Helen Plehn

I am Helen Ye Plehn, an intuitive mixed media painter, certified crystal healer, third-generation Fengshui master, and spiritual teacher based in Huntington Beach, California. I was born and raised in Guangzhou, China. From an early age, I learned to appreciate a lifestyle of art, beauty, and nature. My father was a traditional Chinese painter and calligrapher. Orchid was my father’s favorite flower. My family used to go to the Guangzhou Orchid Garden every Saturday to taste the fragrant orchid tea. I still remembered I was mesmerized by the tea ceremonies. On Sundays, we would climb up the Baiyun Mountain. My father would sketch the mountain scenery while I play and swim in the mountain spring lakes. I would talk to the trees, wise elders, and read all things mystics. Living in a contemplative mindset, forest bathing, and sensing all the energy around me become a second nature to me; especially when seeing and hearing my father and grandmother talk about Fengshui readings for people’s homes. Read more>>

Rachel Alexandria

I was an admin assistant for a few years, but feeling dissatisfied with my life. After wrestling with that awareness, I spent a long time in a sort of meditation about what I wanted to actually do with my life. And I realized the truth that I wanted to help people live better lives and see the truth about who they really are. So I went back to grad school and became a psychotherapist. And I did that for about eight years before I really saw that I needed to make some adjustments in how I work, and how I could support people. I wanted to get out of the medical model, and really fully incorporate my spiritual understandings and support. There’s a lot that I have learned about metaphysics, like how we interact with the world and what we believe and how that shapes what we experience. So I let go of my license and shifted to what I call being a Soul Medic and Guide. Read more>>

Maria Munter

I grew up admiring flowers and creating offerings to Mother Mary at our local Catholic Church in the Philippines. My siblings and I immigrated in California in 1993. Our Filipino culture love to have family events and parties and it was in one of those parties that I became intrigued with floral design. I was amazed on how a flower centerpiece or design can add to an event. Not knowing how to start, I took home individual flowers from Trader Joes and thought myself how to put together different textures, colors and movements. I practiced a lot, and took those arrangements to my then full time work and slowly gained clients. With some positive push and encouragements from friends and family I officially started Flowers by lovely Lily, July of 2017. Some of my first clients were friends referrals, providing flowers to BOMA based in San Diego to The Costume Guild Award in L.A. I specialize in providing full service floral services, from small elopement in La Jolla to large scale wedding in Malibu. Read more>>

Zachary Archuleta

Well Done Building and Design is a general contractor company that specializes in custom home additions and new builds. With over 10 years of experience, we have built out an entire in house team, from our designers to our architects/engineers, we are a one stop shop. We have been featured on HGTV, Houzz, Architectural Digest and many others through our social media platforms. Read more>>

Byron Jones

OAKLA was born out of both passion and necessity. Like many folks, 2020 was a challenging year for me. I found myself laid off from my career and uncertain about what the future held. One thing I knew for sure is I wanted to take my future into my own hands! So in August of 2020, I decided to take my love of candles and style and curate my own collection of all natural luxury scents for people to enjoy. After being in business for a year now, it’s still super fulfilling to see the all of the positive reactions to the products that I create. From fresh ‘n clean, to herbal & botanical, to warm & woody; OAKLA has something for everyone. Read more>>

Jagger and Kristi

We met working together and became a couple. We both worked separately in radio and decided we might like to do a show together. In 1996 we did just that at then Star 100.7 doing the afternoon show there. In 2002 we were took a morning show position at then My 94.1, moving to Magic 92.5 in 2005! We have been doing mornings at Magic ever since. We love our Magic listeners and sense of community we have here at Magic. Read more>>

Sharon Hong

I am Sharon Hong, a San Diego based husband & wife wedding photography duo with my husband James. We are Humble Grounds Photography! I have always been the person who loved to take photos of everything. Ever since I can remember, I started using the disposable film cameras in elementary school, upgraded to digital cameras in middle school, then to phone cameras. And once I graduated from college, James gifted me with my first DSLR camera. We both have since upgraded to using our mirrorless cameras which we love! I started photography as a hobby, realized I wasn’t great at it, and so I thought it probably could never be a full time real career for me. I also would ask other hobby photographers if they thought it would be possible to make a living capturing photos people would love, and they said nope. So I just kept taking photos to document my own memories and for fun with my friends. Read more>>

Toby Batley

I started ballet at 14 years old and after 3 years in a vocational ballet boarding school in the north of England I was accepted to the Royal Ballet School in London. After 3 years of training in London and a year of semi professional work in Cannes, in the south of France, I joined Northern Ballet back in the UK. At Northern Ballet I rose through the ranks to become a Principal Dancer and during that time I met my wife Martha Leebolt. Martha grew up in San Diego and trained at Southern California Ballet (then known as Black Mountain Dance). When we retired from professional dance in 2017 we decided to return to Martha’s home town and we took over the direction of the studio she trained at as a child. Since then we have grown the studio in terms of students and its physical size (we just added a 4th studio) and expanded the organizations outreach to include programs for adults with special needs, dance workshops for school children, free tickets to performances for title 1 schools amongst and in the last year a virtual field trip for school kids that reached over 300,000 students!. Read more>>

Noah Hernandez

I first got into car detailing over the summer of 2021. Going into my senior year of high school, I was looking for potential jobs that interested me. Being filled with the burning passion for entrepreneurship, the idea of selling my time for minimum wage – just didn’t sit right with me. I needed to create something in my life, a project, something I could visibly measure. As my walk with the Lord continued to grow more intimate, I trusted him with my life, asking “Lord, what do you want me to do for work?” At this point, the seed of car detailing had been planted in my heart. I find it really interesting that I had a seemingly overnight obsession with car detailing because frankly I never grew up around cars. Up until when this is being written, I have yet to change a tire or even change my own oil. Granted, I don’t have my own car yet, that’s definitely something I’m going to learn before I move out. Read more>>

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