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Rising Stars of Balboa Park-Hillcrest

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 inspiring stories from Balboa Park & Hillcrest below.

Ron Bocian

I was a longtime New Orleans resident who found San Diego the best place to live outside of New Orleans after the disastrous Hurricane Katrina. The one element I missed beyond measure was the brass band scene in New Orleans which drove me to find ways of assembling and contributing to a now robust brass band scene in San Diego. As of September ‘21 I’m a founding member and often the spark for 3 brass bands. The acclaimed multi award winning Euphoria Brass Band was the original in 2011. Later in 2016/17 the Chunky Hustle Brass Band formed, with the extra time and burning desire to play during the pandemic another stellar outfit the Big Tree Brass Band was formed. The name coming from an enormous Morton Bay Fig tree in Balboa Park which we used as a performance venue throughout the lockdowns bringing much needed music and celebration of life through these difficult times. As one of our audience members said “a much needed Public Health Service” …of course easily social distanced performances in open air were extremely well received!. Read more>>

Elle Bourcier

My story starts here in San Diego. Being born and raised in such a beautiful town has played a major part in my “why”. I’ve done everything from retail, multiple positions in the IT field, various positions of the food/restaurant industry, and now Entrepreneurism with a purpose! While the idea to create and grow my company She’s Nuts began with a dream about cashew butter, I have my eye set on several ventures, (including a book!), in hopes to give back to the city that helped shape me. More specifically, abuse survivors and would-be entrepreneurs who need help getting to the next step. Read more>>

 

Audrey Herrington

I have been connected with my sense of smell since I was a sweet little human, running around the kitchen with the fennel spice jar. Something like fate brought me to Aroma Workshop, a custom perfume boutique, during my time living in Chicago, and from there I couldn’t get enough. Apparently, everyone else felt the same way as I was followed down the street several times by people needing to know what perfume I was wearing, which of course was a personal creation of mine. The range and depth of perfume and aromatic extractions from the flowers and plants living around us is an art form that is modern day magic. Through working with a mentor, devouring books and information about perfume, plus working 1:1 with people to create their own personalized essence I became transfixed with the alchemy of perfume making. Years into being a perfumer, I uncovered an ancient Egyptian book describing planetary connections with musical notes, crystals, and namely the plant kingdom. Read more>>

Pam Scamardo

I took an unconventional jump into real estate. I graduated school with a Masters in Aerospace Engineering, and worked as an aeronautical engineer at Lockheed Martin, Boeing and United Technologies for over 10 years. As an engineer, I was making good money and steadily climbing the corporate ladder. However, despite the comfortable compensation and technically challenging work, in the back of my mind I desired to have more control over my future, both from a financial point of view and also from an influence perspective. I had seen peers spend 30+ years saving a nest egg for retirement, and hold off on retirement plans with the trepidation that they didn’t quite have enough to leave. In my mind, there had to be a better way. So I started researching ways to generate passive income. Eventually, I came across “Commercial Real Estate for Dummies” and the topic of investing in apartment complexes resonated with me. When I found out that one of the authors of this book (also a former engineer) offered mentoring/coaching services, I was thrilled and jumped on the opportunity to learn from an expert. The rest you can say is history! I closed on my first deal in 2011, retired from engineering in 2013, and started The C.R.E.A.T.E. Wealth Network in 2020. C.R.E.A.T. Read more>>

Koji Kuninaga

I had my dream to come to US when I became 17. My nation Rock Band contest had ended at final local stage. I immediately needed to find something else to pursuit rather than becoming rock star in Japan. So, instead of me going to college, I decided to go to beauty school. It’s because that’s immigrant like me did to live in US back in the day. “Sushi chef” or “Hair Stylist”. At the same time, I worked for four different part time jobs, tried to save money as much as possible. By the time I saved enough money to come to US, I was already age 37. I had one daughter with my wife from San Diego. It looked too late to start new. My career as a beautician had been already 17 years in Japan. But I started as an assistant surrounded by stylists in their 2os. I thought that give me some time to gain my English conversation skill. They’ve already well established in this industry. I worked so hard to make my ends meet. Six months later I became a top stylist in the salon. 7 years later, I could open my first salon in US BB meme hair salon in 2013. One time a fashion model came in and I gave her a haircut. I was invited to style her hair after I made her thin hair full with my hair cut. Read more>>

Mustafa Fermawi

When I was very young I was very shy and kept to myself a lot. I found an outlet to express myself within video games! as I got older I really wanted to understand how they did what they did and be the best at all of them! well, one thing came true and I learned how they did what they did. Haha. video games were more than a game to me. they were a community that most people, still to this day, do not understand the power that resides within it! I was at peter piper pizza knowing that I would not be getting the new n64. out of nowhere I get handed a massive box and low and behold it was the console!! moments later everyone attending the party started to hand me smaller boxes and they had gotten me all the games possible! it was history after that!! videos games for me became a very important part of my life very very fast! I was so intrigued by how I could make a little man jump around and do what I want and how the internals of the console worked!. Read more>>

Danika Pramik-Holdaway

I first moved to San Diego in 2006 to continue my career as a professional dancer. While dancing, I taught ballet classes in the evenings to supplement my income, and the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet was the first school I taught at. I instantly fell in love with Balboa Park and the uniqueness of SDCYB, and felt that I had found a second home. When I first arrived at SDCYB, the school was going through some turnover, and I found myself being offered more and more opportunities to both teach and choreograph when certain leadership positions were vacant. In 2007 I was offered the chance to choreograph “Cinderella,” a brand-new ballet for the school. I put my heart and soul into every last detail, and the show was very well-received. Little by little, I was given more leadership opportunities within the program, and by 2009 I was offered the Artistic Director’s position, which I was happy to accept. This worked well with my personal life as well, as I was now married, ready to “retire” from dancing professionally, and planning to start a family. Read more>>

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