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South Bay’s Hidden Gems

Every day we have a choice. We can support an up and coming podcaster, try a new family-run restaurant, join a boutique gym started by a local fitness champ or we could keep giving away our money to the handful of giants who already control so much of our commerce. Our daily decisions impact the kind world we live in; if we want a world where small businesses are growing and artists and creatives are thriving then we should support them with our time, money and attention. We’re proud to highlight inspiring creatives and entrepreneurs each week in Hidden Gems series.  Check out some of South Bay’s gems below.

Eric Gonzalez

I’ve been drawing since before I can remember. I always knew I was going to pursue a career as an artist, that is if my dreams of becoming a professional basketball player or a rock star didn’t work out. I loved to paint and I loved animation but mostly, I loved storytelling, which was a huge part of both. After spending every day in high school drawing in the margins of my homework, I went to college at Cal State Fullerton. Read more>>

Cyndi Holt

Some might call me an (invisible) chronic illness warrior. All I know for sure is that I must battle severe pain 24/7/365, due to a neurological disorder, triggered by an accident more than 20 years ago. Still without any cure, I am overwhelmed with medication regimen and researching each new remedy. Since I continue to be disabled and unable to work, I have severely limited options on my government fixed income. Read more>>

Justin Johnson

I started out doing videos for some buddies in high school, once I graduated I gradually started honing the craft, I later went to the Art Institute of Santa Monica where I learned the art of storytelling at least in the film format aspect. Using the tools that I gained up until this point, I went on to work for Russell Simmon’s All Def Digital where I met some wonderful people (Damien “Boomer”, Denzel “Deazy”, and Travis) that helped me immensely create the short film “Bread Hunt”. Read more>>

Zhe Scott

When I was in 4th grade, I decided that I wanted to be an attorney. After graduating from Long Beach Polytechnic High School, I went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where I fell in love with technology and grew my passion for music. After working as a Web Applications developer for Raytheon right after graduation, I decided to pursue my Masters in Public Policy. After I finished my Master’s degree, I started working in the private sector again. Read more>>

Michelle Glogovac

In 2018, I left an 18 years career in corporate aviation on a journey to discover what my passion and purpose was in the business world. My ultimate goal was to work for myself, travel less for business and be home with my young children. A girlfriend of mine added me into a Facebook group in which the life & business coach who was running it was just launching a podcast. This was in September 2018 and I didn’t even know how to listen to a podcast on my phone. Read more>>

Sophia Buesing

I got furloughed from my job at the end of March. I felt like the rug was pulled from beneath me. I have always loved listening to podcasts and wanted to create my own. With all my free time, I decided there is no better time than right now to start my podcast. It is called The Shit Show Of My Twenties. In the past eleven weeks, I have spoken with over sixty people from all over the world. I wanted to create a space to share inspiring stories. Read more>>

Cassie Anderson, Demari Weathers and Bobby Alexander

Our mom is an entrepreneur. She has worked for Fortune 500 companies & small businesses in the past making pretty decent money. We witnessed her stressed out and tired of being apart of someone else’s success. 2017 She decided, “if I’m going to wake up everyday and commit myself to anyone’s success, it would be my own”. Fast forward to 2019 – Was the start of our commitment to ourselves at the ages of 12 & 8. Read more>>

Vanessa Moore

I worked as an employee for AT&T for 32 years. The managers were given an early retirement offer or wait to see if you will get laid-off. I accepted the early retirement offer. After taking six months off to do nothing, I searched out entrepreneurial opportunities. I looked at property management franchises, Shaved Ice franchises and the UPS Store. Instead of a UPS store, I decided to open an Independent Mailbox Store. Read more>>

Raoul Benassaya

Raoul Benassaya was born and raised in a small city in central France called Clermont-Ferrand. Due to financial issues, he had to quit school at the age of 14 and work with his mother making draperies, tapestries, and other upholstered items. He then worked as an apprentice to an upholsterer and was soon able to move to Paris to open up his own workshop. In 1984, he decided to pursue his lifelong dream of coming to America and moved to Los Angeles. Read more>>

Adrienne Cooper

Bodywork has been something I’ve always been interested in. After years of being a group fitness instructor at several gyms in NYC, I decided to go back to school to get my degree in Health Sciences to become a massage therapist. After I finished school, I was still hungry to learn more, a year-and-a-half later, I became a certified lymphedema therapist and pre and post-natal therapist. After practicing in New York for a few years, I moved to Los Angeles to focus on therapeutic bodywork on a full-time basis in an in-home or corporate setting. Read more>>

Geisha Opera Singer Madam SEN

I was born Hiroshima, Japan. It is a very small town surrounded by the Seto Inland Sea which is very quiet and peaceful ocean. I came to Los Angeles about 17 years ago. I went to ESL School to study English. After that, I attended to the college to start my music program and education. I always like music but I never thought that I become a singer in the time. One day, The movie that I watched made my life completely changed. Read more>>

Dane Morck

I was born and raised in Palos Verdes, a small coastal community in the South Bay of LA. As a kid, I would spend the majority of my time playing a variety of sports; ultimately leading to year long schedules consisting of travel baseball and pop warner football. I would spend any free time away from athletics usually drawing, reading comic books, or discovering old movies; taking in any form of pop culture as often as I could. Read more>>

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