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Inspiring Stories from the Valley

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 Valley’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 the Valley’s rising stars below.

Asgeir Bollason

I got started with this idea of guiding people through my home country of Iceland many years ago and I thought it would be great to offer tours that would give my travelers insight into what it is to live there, taste the great food and meet the locals. As a working photographer I wanted to offer my knowledge to any that wanted to improve their photography skills while traveling in Iceland. Read more>>

Mike Valentino

I had the idea for the company in early 2007. The reasons will take too long to write out. Long story short, I got some really bad advice from an employer and it set me back a few years (and about $100,000.00). When I finally took a step back and planned my career, I saw the need to help actors create content. Read more>>

Rochelle Wall

Delightful! was created in 2008 in my home kitchen, and now boasts a private home studio in the beautiful country hamlet of Green Valley, minutes north of Santa Clarita Valley serving LA and Ventura Counties. I am happily available for destination weddings! Read more>>

Chris Wampler

I started playing with artificial intelligence while I was studying computer science at UC Berkeley. I created a chat bot called Vixen Love that was largely a party trick… I didn’t go to the coolest parties. A few years after I graduated, I found myself working at a live chat company and I pitched the idea of using my artificial intelligence engine. Read more>>

Adi Wolstein Gabay

There’s nothing too exciting about it, really. I worked at a company that started as a start-up that evolved into a pretty big company that does social media for clients all over the country. I became the Vice President of that company, eventually and I was basically overlooking everything – but mostly the “VIP department” where I had to manage all kinds of clients’ social media pages. Read more>>

Dana Stangel

In 2006, I started a reptile rescue. I was teaching in East LA, and students were bringing me sick iguanas. I did my best with them, and eventually it became a small non-profit. We took in mainly exotic reptiles that people were unable to care for, brought them back to health and adopted them out to people who knew what they were in for. Read more>>

Larry Grossman

I began my art career at age fifteen in the mid 1960’s airbrushing T-shirts at the two Teenage Fairs (Hollywood Palladium and Pacific Ocean Park), and at local Hot Rod shows, occasionally working for the legendary car customizer George Barris. In 1967 I moved to Berkeley to attend CCAC Art School, graduating in 1971 with a major in film and Photography. Read more>>

Pilar Alessandra

I started as a script reader at Amblin and DreamWorks and discovered that I loved teaching when I taught story analysis at UCLA Extension. When I was pregnant with my first daughter I decided to jump into starting my own writer’s studio, “On the Page,” to teach classes in screenwriting and TV writing. Read more>>

Allison Cohen

I have memories from as early as ten years old, lying in bed, imagining what types of clients I would work with because I always knew that I would become a psychotherapist. I had no real understanding of the job except to say that I knew I would be helping people work out their struggles. Read more>>

Jodi Shilling

When I was a little girl, I had an extreme case of shyness. I would rarely speak and felt very insecure, so much so that I was placed in classrooms with extra support for students like me when I started school. Read more>>

Josh Abramson

Many people don’t know that I was a high school dropout that grew up in a single parent home. My mother relied on government assistance to provide us with the basic necessities like food on the table and clothes on our back. Because of this, we had to move a lot growing up which forced my sister and I to attend multiple schools. Read more>>

James Shwe

I immigrated from Burma in 1984. I completed a six-year degree in mechanical engineering in Burma. I also had about seven years of working experience. I started as an entry level drafter for the firm that I currently own. I was allowed to do more responsible work than people in the same pay scale because I can do more due to my higher level of education and experience.  Read more>>

Troy Padgett

I am a second-generation RV Dealer. My father, Roy Padgett, owned Young’s RV Center for 1988 – 2005 before selling it and retiring. He set a great example for me on how to run a business successfully. My partner, Bruce McGovern, and I opened All Valley RV Center in April of 2005 with six trailers on our lot and four employees. Read more>>

Shant Sahakian

I was born in Los Angeles and I am a lifelong resident of Glendale. I was attracted to the arts and computers from a young age and I started learning the basics of design and coding while I was a student at Columbus Elementary School. Read more>>

Christopher Alcerro

I’ve spent most of my life as an artist. Drawing cartoons as a kid was my favorite pastime. little did I know how much of an impact my art would have on my adult life. I knew being an artist is all I ever wanted to be. I work with Acrylics, charcoal pencils and even digital drawings. Read more>>

Master Shervin Ilbeig

I started Martial Arts at the age of 12. I never thought I would be a CEO of an Elite Martial Arts school. I received my black belt in 1994! Then in 2003 I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology. I had a choice in 2004 to start my career in IT field or Teach Martial Arts, I picked my passion and here we are with over 210 students and in a state of the art facility that’s over 4,500 sq. ft. Read more>>

Shabeer Sinnalebbe and Kamen Petrov

Kamen and I (Shabeer) have been working together for almost ten years involved in software development. Kamen our CTO, owns a development company that is specialized into delivering high quality software solutions. Read more>>

Dominic Barbar

Dominic, CEO of Barbar, Inc., was a former hairstylist. He started in Montreal, eventually moving to LA where he worked in Beverly Hills at top salons Juan Juan and Giuseppe Franco. With his entrepreneurial spirit and education in electrical engineering, Dominic wanted to develop his own brand name of professional hair tools. Read more>>

Jessica Estrada and Kyle Frazier

I shared a work space with a barber and would constantly hear his clients, primarily affluent men of color, complain that they could not find grooming products that were made for their specific skin and hair types. After doing a lot of research in the retail environment, I found that although most retail stores had grooming products, they were NOT marketed nor were there healthier alternatives made for that demographic. Read more>>

Gina Michelle

I started my real estate career right out of college when I was 22. At first, I started investing in rental property out of state. You see, I never pictured myself as a real estate agent! I had an image in my mind of “Sally” your neighborhood realtor on the calendar in people’s kitchens and I did not want to be ‘that’ neighborhood realtor! Read more>>

Mitch Silberman

Mitch grew up as a successful child actor in the 1970’s, appearing in commercials and movies as well as episodes of Bewitched, Gunsmoke, The F.B.I., and the Mod Squad. However, due to the lack of a strategic wealth plan, his childhood earnings were not invested. As a result, what was once a sizable bank account dissipated. Read more>>

Jessica Bancroft

During my first year in college, I worked at a bakery on Larchmont which is where I first developed a passion for food. During my 20’s I studied and obtained a certification in aromatherapy. I felt a strong connection between food and nature. Read more>>

Robert Maltbie and Alicia Velgos

Robert  is a Managing Director of Millennium Asset Management and holds a controlling interest in the General Partnership. Robert began his career as an investment adviser with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter in 1988 and later joined Spear Financial in 1992 where he created and managed its equity research department. Read more>>

Rebecca Michael

Using my background in content writing and marketing, I decided to delve into the world of online writing to diversify my income possibilities. I had done freelance writing off and on for many years but pursued it full-time starting in 2014. Read more>>

Ashlee Levitch

Working in the beauty industry, I found that the talents of the artists were not only inspiring but found they went far beyond what we experienced in the salon, in their chair. Hair and nail artists enter competitions, create avant-garde designs and participate in photoshoots pushing their level of creativity. I wanted to promote that. Read more>>

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