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Rising Stars of Downtown & Little Italy

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 Downtown & Little Italy below.

Vera Ross

I created my personal training and health coaching business in order to help others create happier, healthier lives through fitness and nutrition. A former collegiate runner, I am on a mission to share my passion for health and fitness with those who are looking to make lasting and meaningful lifestyle changes. With a holistic approach to coaching, I lead clients through personalized workout sessions and provide guidance on daily routines, meals, clean eating, and all the elements of a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. My background in Psychology and Masters of Public Health Promotion degrees enables me to work with clients towards creating lasting behavior change in the areas of health and well-being. My goal is to ensure that each client walks away with a solid foundation and results that they know how to maintain on their own. Read more>>

Danny Michael

I have been fortunate to call San Diego my hometown since I was 4 years old. I grew up in La Mesa and have fond memories of spending weekends at the beach, fishing at Ocean Beach Pier and hanging out at Parkway Bowl (for you generation Xers) as a child. I grew up working in my parent’s small retail business while going to school. After graduating from Grossmont High School, I attended UC Riverside where I obtained a bachelor’s degree in business administration and shortly thereafter, began my career as a financial advisor. I was interested in learning how to make my money work for me and also help others do the same. I worked for a number of brokerage firms, private banks and smaller investment management firms throughout my career.  Read more>>

Jared Gustafson

Our company story started in August 2013 when Deanne joined me on a business trip to Bend, Oregon. I was working at a TV network and Deanne was a news journalist, while I was working, Deanne was able to visit friends she knew in Bend, everywhere she went, she’d see Kombucha on draft in healthy eateries and coffee shops. Deanne had been drinking kombucha in bottles for a number of years but had never seen it on tap in Southern California. Deanne told me what she’d seen around town and introduced me to kombucha on this trip. She sparked the business idea by saying, “I’ve never seen kombucha on tap in Southern California.” I’d wanted to start a business that involved my active, healthy lifestyle. The more Deanne told me about kombucha the more I knew this business was a great idea. Read more>>

Mei Slogar

I’ve pretty much always had a deep interest in other people and their stories, so much so that I became a professional listener, earning a doctorate in clinical psychology in 2018. I’m guessing people could pick up on that vibe, as even people I didn’t know frequently approached me in coffee shops and other random places to tell me their story. My interest in photography began when I inherited my first camera as a five-year-old, an old Kodak 110. However, it wasn’t until college that I made the connection between photography and storytelling. In my junior year, I traveled to Southeast Asia for six months to conduct research and visit family and used photography as a way to share my experiences and stay connected with people stateside. By this time, I’d acquired a somewhat more sophisticated digital camera. Read more>>

Robin Brailsford

I recently realized that my story is one about studios. I can chart my growth and life as a series of singular studios across the United States. Skipping Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and New Mexico… my first most excellent studio in California was at Brown Field Airport on the US/Mexican border. Shaman/man Larry Dumlao convinced me that I could transform the ruin of a WWI Officers’ Mess Hall, into the best studio in America… and so I did – with Larry as an always inspiring and mysterious neighbor, and Pete Evaristo and Anna Cabo as later, fellow Brown Field colleagues. That lasted for 13 exotic years, until our landlord, the city, evicted the artists and Mexicans, and Anna convinced me I was too old not to be owning real estate. Together we found 80 +/- acres on Planet Dulzura, and with the help of my partner, Wick Alexander’s friend Cliff Keller, I was able to buy 1/3 of it and we were able to build a magnificent studio designed by Jim Brown and Steve Florman. Read more>>

Hazel Ann Rosete

Hashibami wasn’t planned at all. Everything started when my job cut some hours due to the pandemic. This situation gave me a lot of time to do some things at home. As I am scrolling through my social media account, I saw posts from my friends in the Philippines about baked sushi. An idea came to me and I tried to make my own version of it and so I did. (For those of you who are not familiar with baked sushi, it is essentially deconstructed sushi baked in a casserole and is eaten by scooping up a serving and wrapping it with nori sheets. It’s pretty much like DIY sushi in a tray.) I let my husband taste the bake sushi I made and he liked it as much as I do. So, as our usual routine, we took a picture of it and posted it on our Instagram and Facebook story without any motives of selling. After a while, a friend of him asked if we are selling it and if so, she wanted to buy one. I smiled and told my husband that since we are not selling it I will just make one for her. Gladly she liked it and also posted a picture on her Instagram story. Read more>>

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