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Inspiring Stories from Pasadena

The heart of our mission at VoyageLA 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 LA’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 Pasadena’s rising stars below.

Lois Frankel

I’ve learned over the years that our lives aren’t linear and that if we focus too much on a life “plan” then we miss what’s on the periphery that could far exceed what’s in the plan. From the time I was a teenager, I knew I wanted to be a psychotherapist. So, I got a Bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s degree in Counseling and a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology. Along the way, I worked as a residence hall director and in human resources for a big ten oil company to pay for that education. When I finally opened my private practice, I thought I had achieved my dream. There was one little problem. After about a year, I realized I wasn’t well-suited to be a therapist! I missed the opportunity to collaborate with others and to introduce and bring new ideas to fruition. Then something happened that changed my life. I received a call from a woman who asked me to “coach” someone in her company. This was 1988 and business coaching was in its infancy. Read more>>

Maybel Kyin

I’ve always had a passion for all things dessert. I enjoyed baking them as much as I enjoyed eating them. Anyone that knows me knows I love and appreciate food, especially desserts. But pursuing my career as a Doctor in Physical Therapy along with part-time jobs, teaching and research in addition to training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has kept me busy these past few years. Until 2020 happened. For a short moment, life slowed down a little. Like everyone else at the peak of the pandemic, I found more time to experiment in the kitchen. One weekend, I decided to sell cookies to fundraise towards Black Lives Matter. Then, I made my first layered cake for Mother’s Day. I had such a positive response from family and friends that I decided to turn this into a business. In August of 2020, I launched my menu and I did not expect the response I got. Fun fact- I decorated three cakes before I sold my first one. I’m a self-taught baker and cake decorator. Read more>>

Alina Deng

I was born in Guilin, a southern small town in China that is famous for its unique natural scenery and local customs. Guilin has become a valuable symbol of China through the quintessential photograph of an old man with a cormorant fishing on the Li River. China has been developing rapidly since the 90s, but Guilin city has continued to remain the same, with no plans of industrialization. Since I was young, I have always liked drawing and making little zines. The color and shape of Guilin’s mountains and rivers enlightened my aesthetics; nature and local culture are rooted in my creation conceptions. As many Chinese families have around the time a child is able to enter college, I was met with an internal struggle between my parents, who wanted me to have a stable career in the field of engineering, and myself, who wanted to major in art. I eventually chose to pursue urban planning, which surprisingly gave me a lot of insight into design. For example, I got to understand how the local community affects and is affected by design decisions. Read more>>

Shounuck Patel

I am a double board-certified Sports Medicine and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation physician and the founder of The Patel Center for Functional Regeneration. We are a top non-surgical sports and spine specialty practice located in the heart of Pasadena and Arcadia. I am also a published author, medical illustrator, and speaker, and I travel regularly to teach at conferences around the world. As a globally recognized educator, I have had the honor to train fellow physicians and medical school students on my advanced techniques. My passion for anatomy was initially sparked by my background in art. My mother was an art teacher who wanted me to focus on still life, but my vivid imagination drew me to the dynamic and exaggerated proportions of comic books. It was interestingly through the imagery and mythos of superheroes that I was ingrained with the drive to help others. Ultimately this drive, coupled with my inclination towards musculoskeletal anatomy, led me to become a physician specializing in non-surgical sports and spine medicine. Read more>>

Rita Liu

I grew up in Beijing, China. The big city gave me an idea of what I like; but I always wanted to go abroad, see the world, and soak myself into a mixed cultural melting pot. I went to the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA to major in Illustration. At that time, I was not sure if I wanted to be an illustrator in the future, but I know I’ve always been leaning towards visuals. I was lucky during the first two years in school with strictly foundation courses, drawing, printmaking, and design. Each of these courses was incredibly hands-on, without any computer application. It was my first course in design in which we painted color swatches with gauche and trained our eyes by intuitively identifying hue, saturation, lightness, and darkness. Paper cutouts were used to create abstract compositions to resemble nouns and adjectives–resulting in a wide variety of art coming from a classroom full of people with different creative backgrounds. Read more>>

Amy Kan

Before becoming an executive coach and leadership consultant, I had a long career in marketing, working in non-profit, airlines, and for nearly eleven years, in digital video distribution. In addition to working across industries, I experienced different corporate cultures in both the US and UK – those of large global corporations, small privately-owned companies and start-ups both here. In 2015, I was laid off from the company that I had been with for more than ten years. After more than 20-years in marketing, I was uncertain what to do next. While it was a difficult time in my life, I recognized for the first time that my next step was not pre-ordained, and I didn’t have to continue doing what I’d been doing. After a great deal of soul searching, I opened myself up to new possibilities. I devoted time to “figuring it out” by looking at what truly fulfilled me, the parts of my career that I consistently enjoyed and identifying what I was no longer interested in doing. Read more>>

Justin Anthony Long

Growing up, I was quiet. Like pin drop quiet. Scared of my own shadow quiet. For a while, the most noise I made came out of my alto saxophone. I fell in love with the story that music could tell. When I was ten years old and saw the musical “Annie,” I realized I could make so much more noise with my big gigantic mouth. In my teenage Paramus, NJ years, I fell in love with acting and singing. Many nights involved me closing my bedroom door so I could sing along to VHS tapes of “Pippin” or “Into the Woods” which I’m sure my brothers found annoying. I’m a middle child with two brothers and extremely supportive parents. My family has always encouraged me to pursue my dreams and for that, I’m incredibly grateful. While studying theatre and acting at university, I began writing comedy and performing improv at various clubs throughout NYC like the Gotham, Stand-Up NY, Broadway Comedy Club, and more. To me, inventing on the spot is all at once terrifying and exhilarating. Read more>>

Jade Alexis

Ever since I was a kid, I enjoyed singing and music. I’m general and I have always loved the way music makes me feel and I want other people to feel that way about my music. I had a brief intermission through middle and high doing All-Star Cheer and starting my own businesses but I’ve always been in music programs or chorus at school. I do it all, I sing, I rap, I dance, and I love to create anything I put together will always leave my fans in amazement. Everything will always be better than the next. So far, creating my first two videos has been my favorite! I love creating a concept and that concept coming to life! I love every last bit of it. Read more>>

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