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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.

Korin Peltier

It all started about two years ago when I was watching Bride Wars hahah. I realized at that moment that I’m really good at organization and scheduling and I love to plan things. I love to plan things 24 hours in advance, days in advance, weeks in advance, I just like to plan things in general. I like schedules and I’m a very on time person. I researched some online event planning programs and I chose QC Event School. I loved the program and I learned so much! I’ve done birthday parties, weddings, you name it. Read more>>

Ashliegh Brokken

I have been in love with photography ever since I was a child. The moment my mom would put a camera in my hands it was if the whole world truly came alive. Anything I was sad about or angry over just seemed to vanish. As I got older I started shadowing other professionals and working with them. I started as just an assistant (Fixing lighting, running errands, holding the fan, etc.) I Then moved into second shooting. From there on I pretty much just took off with it. The passion was pouring threw my blood like I was born with it installed in my body. I knew from the moment I could hold a camera, this was it! Read more>>

Brittaney Carpenter

I would say it all started when I was 17 years old and booked my first wedding where I did makeup, even though I really had no clue at the time that it would lead me here today. All my life I was very interested in makeup, I had fun applying it on all my friends and family members but never really thought of it as a career always just something fun that I enjoyed. What I always thought I wanted was to be in the fashion industry, so after I graduated high school I started college at FIDM (The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising) in San Francisco and then transferred down to Los Angeles a year later to graduate down here. Read more>>

Ester Nguyen

My interest in photography really started developing when I decided to join the school newspaper back in 2004. It was my best two years of high school, from the moment I clicked to the moment I printed the images. Being able to seeing how my images came to life on camera and then paper really gave me an honest joy. Now let’s fast forward 10 years. I know 10 years… Life wasn’t easy for me in which it became hard to follow my photography journey. Well, in 2016 I told my husband how much I truly missed it and how I was ready to get back to what I am truly passionate about. Read more>>

Steffi Harges

Born and raised in Germany, I started my event planning business in 2004. Back then I was mostly focused in artist management, tour management and large scale event productions. I moved to Los Angeles, CA in 2011 and have since refined my expertise to focus mostly on wedding and event coordination. After my move from Germany to the US, it was difficult at first to start this business in a new city and new country. Learning about the traditions and customs in the US was challenging but also exciting. Now after all these years I look back and think that this process may just have made me a better professional which stands out from others in this industry. Read more>>

Jeff Beyer

In the late 90’s, I became a business manager for an independent record label, Alias Records. During that time, I became fascinated with technology, and computer usage was starting to become more mainstream, I spent my evenings getting trained in computer building and network engineering. I built the first e-commerce site for Alias Records which immediately resulted in sales. At that point, I knew that this was the career path I wanted to take. In 2000, I launched a web development company, Big Rig Media, which specialized in website design, graphic design and network support. Read more>>

George Goldberg

After practicing law in SoCal for many years, I was able to sell my practice about 9 years ago. I thought I’d retire, but I got bored in about 10 minutes. In looking for a new business venture to immerse myself in I stumbled into this rather new concept of text message marketing along with a loyalty rewards program. I was intrigued and, after doing considerable due diligence, took the plunge and created LA Text Savings. While commercial texting had not quite ‘arrived’ in 2010 I saw the potential and persevered. Read more>>

Todd Maidy

My wife and I started our business as a way to provide quality furniture at well below retail pricing. My wife had a design background we started our business with the idea of not just being a furniture store but a location where we could provide design help and give a more one on one experience to our customers. Being able to turn people’s houses into a home that each person could feel happy about coming home to was our goal. We’ve been in business for over 10 years and still going strong. Read more>>

O’Ryan Barron

The last 7 years I’ve been working as a DJ/MC & Coordinator creating my business and working for large Wedding & Event Entertainment companies. More than just a job, I’ve always connected to music. It creates the atmosphere which in turn makes the party! As a kid, I would make mix tapes for friend’s parties, be the first on the dance floor, played in bands and never got out of the car until the song was over! I can’t really pinpoint where it all started. I was always a DJ! Well before I was making a living out of it. I owe a lot to my mother who had a wide range of interest in music. Read more>>

Trenton Foster

I love filmmaking! It first started as a hobby when I was a teenager, especially with making my own stop-motion animation films with LEGO bricks. For over nine months, I labored on a seven-minute LEGO Star Wars brickfilm, moving each character bit by bit to create action and story. After I graduated high school, I started looking for part-time work to support me while I focused on my full-time ministry and part-time college. A couple in my area heard about my situation and hired me to teach their after-school program Tinker Tank, teaching elementary students about mechanical engineering and robotics with specialized LEGO kits. Read more>>

Sam Khan

In 2004, a group of people including doctors, home health owners, hospice owners, and computer programmers had an idea to provide web-based business management software for medical professionals. They saw that home health nurses were most likely to benefit from this type of software as they were out in the field and having to carry around or reference paper-charts seemed like a burdensome problem that technology could solve, So they did! The road has been relatively smooth. Read more>>

Renee Talor

Spiritual Botox actually came to me while I was Meditating one morning. The idea was to help share this amazing shift I had in my life with other women, primarily those who were feeling lost while raising their children and juggling marriage and life. For me this shift was ten years in the making, yet through consistent Meditation and discovering my passion, I was able to capture this glow of youth in how I felt and looked. Hence the name “Spiritual Botox.” My energy level and physical capabilities at 45 were on par with those in their 20’s, and my physical appearance started to match. Read more>>

Elisa Kotin

I am an Event Planner, a World Traveler, and Writer. I have explored 80+ countries across all 7 continents. Travel is my passion and Event Planning is my career. I am incredibly fortunate to love both. My first 2 month backpacking trip through Europe fueled my curiosity and quickly branched out to Africa and Asia. Sharing my passion as a World Traveler is incredibly important to me. I want to inspire others to fulfill their travel dreams. Living with Wanderlust is awesome, but truly fulfilling when you get up and go! Read more>>

Scott Crawley

After teaching at a few well known film schools in the LA area, I started to feel guilty about how much the students were paying for tuition in order to get a degree that isn’t really necessary for success in the entertainment industry. I myself have been paying back over $700/month in student loans for almost a decade now, so I decided to carve out my own “greatest hits” program, and open an affordable film school bootcamp that doesn’t waste any time or money. Read more>>

Madison Madden

I knew I was a healer when I was 6 years old. I experienced healing power that resides in the hands, and I inherently knew that our disconnection with our true nature is what led to pain and disease. I lost touch with that part of myself as I went through school and tried to fit myself into western culture’s “normal” – individualistic, success-driven, and fear-ridden. When I was 19 years old, I stunned myself when I looked down at my collage of pharmaceutical drugs I was taking everyday. Each one seemed to lead to side effect that required a new medication. Yet, I kept feeling sicker and sicker. Read more>>

Thomas Fico

I started working in the entertainment industry in 1995. Prior to starting Reel Deal Demos, I worked for Marvel Entertainment and Walt Disney Feature Animation. At Disney, my first position was in recruiting, which is where I learned how to review artistic demo reels and get an understanding of what the studios were looking for. My second position at Disney was as an Audio and Video Technician. This position gave me the technical background and skills needed to be proficient in many areas of video production. Read more>>

Mary Leste and Shelley Chilton

My business partner Shelley and I worked together in Granada Hills Hospital 1993 before the big Northridge earthquake. After that we became close and started our business together. We do Home care and Hospice care. We are a one stop shop for the needs of people in a crisis. We love to help people and want them to make decisions for their care and plan for end of life even if the end is not near. It is much easier to talk about before than later, we know it is a difficult subject for many people. Read more>>

Shawn Daei

I started my career working for one of the top entertainment management CPA firms in Southern California. Few years later I joined the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a Revenue Agent where I received extensive training in tax law, IRS procedures, and inner workings of the organization. While with the Service, I had an opportunity to work on variety of tax issues ranging from individuals with less complex problems to multi-tiered international partnerships involving millions of dollars. While with the IRS, I gained valuable experience working alongside auditors from various divisions including SB/SE, LB&I, Special Enforcement Program, Appeals, Area Counsel, and Criminal Investigation Division (CID). Read more>>

Sheila Ann Cotto

Since I was a child, I love decorating our own home moving things around our house. My father said I will become an Interior Designer. Until I became one, since then & till now I love what I do it is like an accomplishment & my happiness to feel & see my client appreciated & happy in my work. I am born & raised in Philippines, graduated year 2001 and received Bachelor Degree in Interior Design. I worked in different parts of Asia, Seoul, Korea & Thailand. I moved here in United States in year 2004 to pursue my career. Started our business year 2015 specializing in Kitchen & Bath. Read more>>

Miguel Balan

I became interested in photography when I bought my first camera. A 35 mm film camera. I began taking pictures of nature, family, and landscapes. I took classes at a community college to improve my technique. My professor encouraged me to continue in the field of photography. Around that time I sought employment with an old acquaintance who owned a photography studio. He hired me as a trial photographer. I assisted him in events where he was the main photographer. Events included weddings, Quinceañeras and family portraits. Observing his style helped me develop my own style of portraiture. Eventually I was sent to events on my own. Read more>>

Mike Stowell and Sarah Cook

In the early 1980’s, a small furniture business was established by the Stowell family in the picturesque town of Northwich, England. The family focused on restoring and selling antique furniture and stripping and refurbishing many timeless pieces. Within a short period of time, the business expanded to include manufacturing reclaimed pine furniture made from old timber taken from both roof joists and floors of the Lancashire Mills. After relocating to Los Angeles more than 25 years ago, the youngest son Mike, has continued to successfully produce reclaimed pine furniture. Although the location has changed, the initial concept remains the same. Read more>>

Sonia Alvarado

Born in Santiago, Chile, my big journey began when my parents took a leap of faith and moved our family to Los Angeles in search of that mystical “American Dream”. My two sisters and I were very young, I was in third grade. I remember my one concern, which I voiced to my parents; “How can I go to school when I can’t speak English?” We were “like fish out of water” at first, but within six months we learned English well enough to make friends and begin to feel at home. Read more>>

Eddie Glenn

We established our company in Valencia CA in 2004 when we were in our early 20’s and no bank would give us a loan since we didn’t have much collateral, So we sold our dirt bikes and trucks to build capital to start the business. Vendors saw our potential and we opened direct with every Manufacture which was a key element in our ability to provide great prices while providing great service. We stayed small for the first few years to build up momentum for our future plan of having a large showroom on Ventura Blvd. In 2013, we made the move to Tarzana. Our business grew by leaps and bounds over the last 5 years, We worked hard and went from “the kids that wouldn’t make it in our industry” to one of the top selling showrooms in California with no slowing in sight. Read more>>

Nick Kese

I have been producing music since the age of 18. Graduated from Musicians Institute in Hollywood in 2011. Started Luval Ent. to bring artists of all mediums together through an independent, grassroots network. Have toured multiple times throughout the country including having our own showcase in Austin, TX for SXSW 2016. We host shows monthly in Los Angeles and throughout SoCal, in which our residency shows double as charity clothing and food drives. We were able to reach the level we are at today because of the communities support and their willingness to be involved. Read more>>

Noesh Hordagoda

Valley Montessori Preschool is a family owned business operated by The Hordagoda Family in Canoga Park, CA. Established in 2011, Valley Montessori Preschool has been serving the San Fernando Valley (Canoga Park, Calabasas, Woodland Hills, West Hills) by providing a challenging, innovative and educational program since 2011. Choosing a quality pre-educational center is often the first investment parents make in their children’s education. Our saying at Valley Montessori is “Their Future, Our Passion”, and we strive to achieve the best possible future for your child. Read more>>

Daryl Goldes

Scoil Rince Daryl Rose Irish Dance was started after I retired from 13 years of competitive Irish dancing. My first class was opened in a local elementary school’s after school program. My first class had 7 students. I put out advertising in the community through shows and flyers. In the three years that we have been in operation, we have become a staple at many community events within the Conejo Valley. We have put many dancers through competitions and other performance opportunities. Read more>>

Jody Springborn

BunnyLuv Rabbit Resource Center is a 501(c)(3) no-kill rabbit shelter. Since 1996 BunnyLuv has focused in educating new and current pet owners on how to create a meaningful relationship with their pet bunny. We do this by providing information free of charge and providing a safe haven for neglected domestic rabbits. We also provide boarding, grooming and bonding services. We work with LA Animal Services, and have taken many rabbits from their system – injured, sick, unweaned babies, as well as healthy ones on their euthanasia list. Read more>>

Brad Klimovitch

North Valley Anger Management Consultants started as a part time business venture to help educate people about assertive communication skills, identifying anger triggers, relationship management skills, emotional intelligence monitoring, and stress management identification and relaxation techniques. Our agency expanded into the field of domestic violence batterers intervention education, serving court referred and self referred clients identify challenges with their intimate partner relationships. Read more>>

Jenifer Felan

I was raised in Southern California most of my life and became an entrepreneur at the very young age of 7. My baby sis and I used to paint rocks and sell them for coins to take to the video arcade and beautifully package books and toys to “lease out” to the local neighborhood kids. You could say that I was born a dreamer and a visionary always creating ways to make things look pretty and add value to someone else’s life and in return would make a few bucks. Life got tough when I became a teenage mama and I had no idea what to do with a weight gain of 60 lbs. on my tiny frame as a healthy lifestyle was not something I was accustomed to. Read more>>

Raz H.

Well I am in the web design and development industry since 1999. I was working for business websites, which back then look far different then these days. In 2009 Small Biz Web Design Studio was created with an intention for self-employment for myself but also, I wanted to provide something different than the same type of web design styling everybody seems to have had those days. I think the Small Biz Web Design Studio achieved exactly what we set out to do. Better looking, better performing and most important better converting website. If your website does not make you money, it is costing you money. It is as simple as that. Read more>>

Sylvia Brooks

Music has always been a big part of my life. Born and raised in Miami, Florida, I came to music as a birthright. My father, pianist/arranger Don Ippolito, was a first-call player who performed with such giants as Stan Getz, Buddy Rich, Peggy Lee, Sarah Vaughan and Dizzy Gillespie. My mother, Johanna Dordick, was a conservatory-trained opera singer, who also dazzled audiences singing pop tunes and standards at East Coast night clubs and resorts (she went on to found Los Angeles Opera Theater in 1978). While I absorbed this fabulously rich musical heritage, my initial calling to the stage took the form of acting, and I trained at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco under the great director Allen Fletcher. Read more>>

Mario Washington

In 2008, I began to think about where I was at that point in my life (multiple jobs, ailing father) when the thought of going back to school to re-educate myself. In the process of my education I learned much about the field of multimedia and front-end web design. As my completion date moved closer I remember a friend from Sacramento asked me to design a logo for his company. Utilizing what I’ve learned to design his logo, the thought of opening a graphic design business became more inevitable. Once I completed my studies a longtime friend John and I discussed going into business together under the name Digilogo Multimedia Group, LLC. Read more>>

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