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Inspiring Stories from West LA

The heart of our mission at VoyageLA is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In recent weeks we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of West 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 West LA’s rising stars below.

Mary Beth Ferrante

I’m Mary Beth Ferrante, mom to 2 girls under three and the Founder of Live.Work.Lead. a consulting and coaching company working with organizations to better support moms in the workplace. Read more>>

Ryan Nolan

I have been a hip hop fan since I can remember. When my obsession got too much to bare, I decided being a fan wasn’t sufficient and I decided to get into the game. I bought myself turntables, moved to California and got started as a DJ. Read more>>

Shaden Abboushi

I started out working as an assistant in entertainment, honestly because I loved live music and wanted to see if I could turn that into a career. I would recommend a couple years right out of college as an assistant, its incredible training. Read more>>

Gwen Dittmar

I know exactly how my clients feel when they come to me because I was where they find themselves. I was a deep, introspective, empathic, attuned child. I was born to be a healer but followed a safer path in corporate life. Read more>>

Dr. Natiya Guin

I was a fitness and beauty photographer for nearly twenty years when I realized that I was as inspired by the gorgeous editorial photos I took of my models as I was by their health journey to get to our photo shoot day. Read more>>

Rachel Butler-Green

Originally form the Bay Area, I was born in a single family home in Richmond, California. My mother instilled a strong foundation in God, self love, and love for others. Like all kids, I had a dream, which was to be to be a singer and a dancer. Read more>>

Hayley Kassel

I guess it really started when I was going to Columbia College Chicago for Film Editing and Directing. I started doing makeup for my own films, and people caught on. Soon I was getting asked to do makeup for other students projects, and I started to realize how much fun I was having doing the makeup on set more so than making the films themselves. Read more>>

Carmen Thomas-Paris

My trajectory of becoming a doula started when i went through the journey of becoming a mother to my two children. Living in Los Angeles and being an actress when i did a guest star episode on ER giving birth i realized that i would rather be with Real Mama’s giving birth then doing it on TV! Read more>>

Susie Singer Carter

So, how did I get started and how did I get to where I am today? Hmmm, if you asked 5-year-old Susie what she wanted to be when she grew up, she would have said, “Everything! Duh! Dancer, singer, writer, actress, princess, athlete, chef, photographer, director, fashionista, a mommy,…..”, just to name a few. Read more>>



I’ve always liked to sing but didn’t find the confidence to start pursuing music until 5 years ago, when I was at a turning point in my life. I was unhappy and needed to find self love and live from a place not based in fear. So I started to practice guitar everyday and push myself out of my comfort zone by playing music for my friends and since then I’ve been building and growing my movement. Read more>>

Lisa Nissanoff

ME! Bath®, ME SPA’s parent company, was founded by my husband Benjamin and me in 2002. We began by selling our debut product Bath Ice Cream® in local farmers’ markets in the San Francisco Bay area. We quickly created a cult following of celebrities, and prestigious hotels & spas that remains to this day. Read more>>

Jake Palas, Alison Sanborn, Sid Palas

When we made a one-off custom picture book featuring Jake’s 5 & 3-year-old daughters, we saw the girls engage with storytelling in a completely unique way. We started work on LifeStory, a concept that can feature any kid in their own personal adventure. Read more>>

Nicole Lexi Davis

Music is my greatest passion and it didn’t take me long to discover what a joy it is to share that gift with others. I began teaching guitar and piano lessons to elementary school students in 2010 as a part of a small company that sent music teachers to student homes and this gave me practice developing my own lesson plans. Read more>>

BeNeca Griffin

It’s funny when I think about the journey of my career and where I am today, I realize I’ve really been on two career tracks over the past 25 years that have now merged into one. I am a Branding Specialist, Professional Speaker, Author, Producer & CEO of a Branding Firm that works with Fortune 100/500 companies, Small Businesses, Entrepreneurs, Executives, Professionals and young adults. Read more>>

Michael Edwin

In 2010 my wife bought me a gym membership. I immediately asked if I could return it. I had avoided physical exercise for the better part of my adult life and wasn’t about to start at that point. She said I had a week to make up my mind and I should at least go give it a try. Read more>>

Leah Harper Marsh

I founded Fit Girl Club in 2015 as a way to find friends that liked to work out! I owned a Pilates studio in Long Beach and Fred Segal Yoga in Santa Monica; finding a friend in Manhattan Beach was my initial goal, but I didn’t feel comfortable posting for a workout buddy on my regular Facebook page, so I started a Facebook group. Read more>>

Cristie Norman

On the surface, yes, I’m doing a lot; I became a certified sommelier at the age of 21, I went from 5’2″ and 200 pounds to a bikini athlete, and am an instagram wine influencer. I produce Youtube videos, I have my own line of Somm Apparel, I run two large tasting groups for Los Angeles Somms and try to study in my down time for my next Somm exam. Read more>>

Gabrielle de Coster

I have been dabbling with healthy ingredients since an autoimmune diagnosis at age 12, but the catalyst for MONTA was a dorm room and an ankle boot. Days into my first year of undergrad, I sustained an ankle injury on a run. That injury took away my expectations of hiking and exploring the outdoors. Read more>>

Heather Antoine

I was 7 when I told my parents I wanted to be a lawyer. I’m not even sure where the inspiration came from, but the running joke is that I essentially raised myself after that. I was always extremely focused and determined, which lead to my passing the bar and becoming an attorney at 24. Read more>>

Hooman Fakki

As a serial entrepreneur in the healthcare industry, I had just my 3rd company, Neurolink Diagnostics in 2004 to the principals at Healthcare Partners. With the momentum of success, I set my sights on building a solution for “population health”, before this was a recognizable term. Read more>>

Cyrus Hadavi

After coming out of graduate school, I started working as a Research scientist at Siemens R&D labs in Princeton, NJ. My research area had to do with application of AI technology to hard manufacturing problems such as planning and scheduling of production environments, inventory planning and supply chains. Read more>>

Beatrice Fischel-Bock

It was junior year of college at George Washington University and my two original co-founders and I went abroad for six months. Our friends were moving into their first apartments and asking us for help finding furniture. Read more>>

Les Alfred

I first started my blog in 2014 in an attempt to document my own personal journey to finding balance when it comes to fitness and nutrition. After two years of sharing recipes and workouts, I started hearing from readers for help coming up with balanced workout plans they can stick to. Read more>>

Aloni Ford

I manage professional athletes and I’m a TV producer however, I recently started a Women’s Empowerment Movement called The Yacht Girls book club. My mission is to bring women together over intellectual conversations in fun adventurous settings. Read more>>

Chris Ouk

I arrived in the United States as a refugee of war when my family fled the Khmer Rouge in 1979. We could have gone to many other countries, but my dad chose America.  He knew about Elvis and he liked it that it was a big place. Read more>>

Fiona Rene

After many years of working internationally, FIONA RENE moved from London to LA via Texas. Fiona takes pride in her abilities in Authentic character creation, interconnectivity and applying her work to all mediums. Read more>>

Kit Rich

I was 22 years old waitressing at a high-end restaurant. I was grateful to be able to pay my bills but I didn’t have any life direction and I was going through (what I now know) was a depression. Because of the depression I put on some weight from drinking too much and eating too much. Read more>>

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