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Inspiring Stories from the OC

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 area’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 OC’s rising stars below.

Marisol Garcia

Marisol is a mother of 2 boys… She’s a birth and postpartum doula and the owner of Together In Birth, a company focused on educating and empowering women and couples to achieve the birth they desire. Her company provides prenatal education classes, workshops, services and guidance throughout the pregnancy and postpartum journey. Read more>>

Peter Kurzhals

My association with horses dates back to my boyhood when my family rented a room in the castle of a small town in Austria. As part of the rental agreement, I had to exercise and care for several horses, so I used to ride them in the meadows surrounding the castle and too often take them swimming in the nearby river. Read more>>

Frances Tang

A few years ago, I founded a pop up date night company. This evolved into an event and wedding planning business and gave me a really great springboard for learning the ins and outs of weddings. Then one day, I saw a friend’s low light photography work – a style I had never seen before. Read more>>

Cathy Kay

In college, I was studying to be a Marine Biologist. Not too bright considering I lived in Phoenix. To be more practical I switched my major to accounting. For the first 20 years of my career, I worked for CPA firms. I tired of the long hours during tax seasons and went into private industry. Read more>>

Steve Bray

Been in the restaurant industry over 40 years since I was a kid . Always liked working in this field. Have done everything from washing dishes, prepping, bussing, waiting, bartender & Managing. Was seeing all my hard work running a restaurant going to another person so decided to open up my own restaurant. Read more>>

Michelle S. Donaghy

I live in Orange County with my husband of 18 years, my two girls, ages 13 and 9 and our three large dogs. My formal education is in psychology and social work, specializing in families and children. At that time, I didn’t know that a sleep coach existed nor what was an essential oil. Read more>>

Niki Wilkinson

I am a lover of all things creative. I began making wall hangings as a hobby and fell in love with being able to bless a person’s space with something beautiful and unique. I now sell on the side through custom orders or through my own unique creations. I am a Christ-follower and find inspiration and creativity all around me through the beauty of nature. Read more>>

Pamela Vandergrift

Well, we started out based on the location demand. The area Really needed something like this type of store. We offer a Service where people can recycle their clothing and save money. We have a very large demographic from teens to women in their 60s and even 70s. Read more>>

CJ Bornhagen and Jeff Edge

We have a deep love and appreciation for food and a deep craving for sweets that can be hard to quench! We decided to take our appreciation for good cookies and see what could be done to make them meet our sweet tooth requirements. Read more>>

Robert Morita

I started with Boxfli about a month before the first store opened. They found me working a regular boring retail job and hooked me with the intrigue and excitement of opening up a brand new store, a brand new idea. The pitch was crystal clear in my head: A re-imagining of the standard shipping store. Read more>>

Brian Peterson

Faces of Santa Ana started quite oppositely than one might think. It began two and a half years ago. I just moved to Santa Ana, and found myself in my downtown apartment, night after night, reading a book called Love Does. The book is about unconditional love and what it means to sacrifice one’s life for others. Read more>>

Katrine Eyer

Weldco Inc. is a manufacturer of truck bodies used to deliver glass. Established in 1946, the company started out as a welding shop until the original owner began making glass racks for trucks in 1949. Since then, Weldco has shifted its focus to specialize in glass racks and has prospered as a premier supplier to the glass installation industry. Read more>>

David Trotter

At 17 years old, I found myself kneeling on the cold concrete floor of a Texas convention center. Surrounded my thousands of other teenagers, we were committing ourselves to “go into all the world” to share God’s love. It was in January of 1991 that I had this profound sense that I would make a significant, positive impact on the globe. Read more>>

Monique Salas

My story started when I was a child… I always knew I wanted something to call my own. As teen single mother I had to grow up very quickly. I had to work so hard to provide for my daughter. I learned what it was like to have a good work ethic from those experiences. Read more>>

Adam Sedlack

Sedlack has over 20 years in the fitness industry holding positions of increasing responsibility including front desk, sales, Assistant GM, District Manager, Divisional Sales VP, and now President of UFC GYM. He started at Family Fitness in 1994 then worked for 24 Hour Fitness, which acquired Family Fitness in 1995. Read more>>

Dr. Angela Caraza

I was born in LA county, raised in the Inland Empire, and now living in the OC, which is so far my fave. When I’m close to the ocean, everything feels right, so I planted my roots in Costa Mesa. Growing up with certain battles, I now feel strong and empowered, and that I can overcome absolutely anything. Read more>>

Mike Baldwin

At 16 years old, I got a job as a “short order” cook at what was then known as a Coffee Shop. Continued at a succession of cooking jobs until at 20 years old became a franchisee of the Sambo’s pancake house chain. Left them when I discovered that I was not suited to corporate style employment. Read more>>

Dennis Rhee

We feel the real start to our story begins in a studio apartment in Los Angeles. From humble beginnings, we often skipped breakfast. Chef Boyardee and the occasional Hot Pockets were our guilty luxury. It was Mom, Dad, and us brothers and we made the best of it. Read more>>

Lauren Dinh

I got my first DSLR back in 2007 when I was heading out to explore Europe for the first time. I fell in love with photography immediately but it wasn’t until a few years later did I start doing it professionally as a side job. Initially, I was only interested in styled shoots with models where I get to bring out my creativity and do whatever I wanted. Read more>>

Katie Allen

I grew up in Long Beach, CA, a place where beaches are covered with things like plastic bottles, bags, wrappers, and straws – all mostly single-use “disposable” items. For years, I’ve watched polluted water flow beneath the bridge at the end of the San Gabriel River, a channel that drains a 713 square mile watershed in Southern California. Read more>>

Katie and Christopher Moore

ABC Hopes, All Because Christopher HOPES (Hands Offering People Empowerment in Society), came from a passion of being involved with my younger brother, Christopher. He is 25 years old and diagnosed with Down syndrome. His joy and thrill for life is an experience that needs to be shared with others. Read more>>

Kelly Wirkus

I graduated beauty school 17yrs ago. I always knew that I wanted to do hair since I was a child. I have very curly and unruly hair. I always was so mesmerized my peoples long straight silky hair. That was probably the beginning to loving the craft of hairstyling. Fast forward to now, my dreams of doing hair had become true. Read more>>

Alyssa Goldin

I have been an interior designer for the past 14 years. I have always loved design and luxurious things. From as long as I can remember I have been designing the interiors of every home I either rented or owned. Also, I have designed a Pilates Studio and staged homes. Read more>>

Melody Milhouse and Stephanie St. John-Mountain

In 2005, Stephanie and I started working together in a salon in Redlands. We just clicked and got along really good. Over the next 10 years or so, we would relocate to a few different salons trying to find the perfect place. But every time we would relocate, we would go together. Read more>>

Lauren Jacobs and Chelsea Croce

We both started out as independent/solo doulas. Our individual journeys to doula work are unique with Lauren starting as a Prenatal Yoga Instructor and delving into doula work at the encouragement of her mentor and Chelsea being inspired to become a professional doula while trying to conceive her first child. Read more>>

Bruce Sargeant and Steve Maylish

Bruce, with two other founders, started one of the first contract engineering companies, Ocean Scientific in the diagnostic space in 1980. The company was very successful and the three founders sold about 6 years later. Bruce went on to be a serial entrepreneur providing engineering services in various industries. Read more>>

Lisa Vitta

I always felt drawn to yoga, meditation & metaphysics since I was very young. Once I turned 40 I really dove into finding my true self and created my first Sacred Space in my home for Meditation. Several years later I found myself living in LA and looking for meditation and stumbled On Golden Bridge Yoga which offered Kundalini Yoga & Meditation. Read more>>

Willie Carroll

My passion for fitness began four years ago when I embarked on my own journey to get fit before turning 50 after seeing Hugh Jackman on the cover of a fitness magazine. As with most people, frustration set in. I was working my butt off and still seeing no results. Read more>>

Ahmed Ahad

Which started as a hobby way back in the day turned into a full blown business in 2008. I was so passionate about photography that I would offer to shoot friends entire weddings for free. I didn’t know my own abilities as a photographer but others appreciated me so much that word of mouth had me fully booked every single weekend for months in advance. Read more>>

Jennifer and Linda Harris

Jenn has been an animal lover her entire life. From the time she was very young, she has owned dogs, cats, ducks, chickens, horses, goats, and everything in between. One of her first jobs was at an animal boarding and daycare facility, at which she quickly excelled. Read more>>

Cristina Espiritu

I have always been interested in food, and the culture and history behind it. I grew up in the Philippines, where gathering around the kitchen table and eating a meal together is a way to foster connection and communication between family and friends. Cannabis cuisine fascinates me because it is creative and new, and it really is the “wild west” of modern cuisine. Read more>>

Heidi Mesbah

It started 12 years ago, I found myself discontent with my 9 to 5 job working for a manufacturer selling products and traveling and selling more products that I didn’t feel people needed. I was not making a difference in people’s lives. Read more>>

Amanda Cagle

My path to birth work is fairly unique, as I don’t have children of my own. I spend my days (and nights) supporting families about to experience labor, birth, & raising a baby, but haven’t done those things myself. Alternatively, my story began with work at a homeless shelter specifically geared toward housing, educating, & supporting pregnant women and the babies they birthed. Read more>>

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