VoyagePhoenix – Phoenix The best of Phoenix, Everyday! Wed, 14 Apr 2021 04:00:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Community Member Spotlights Mon, 12 Apr 2021 00:44:34 +0000 It’s more important to understand someone than to judge them. We think the first step to understanding someone is asking them the fundamental questions about who they are and how they became the person they are today. Understanding and empathy are essential building blocks for a better, more compassionate world. We’re incredibly fortunate to be […]

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It’s more important to understand someone than to judge them. We think the first step to understanding someone is asking them the fundamental questions about who they are and how they became the person they are today. Understanding and empathy are essential building blocks for a better, more compassionate world. We’re incredibly fortunate to be able to ask these questions each week through our interview series. Below you’ll find interviews from our community members and content partners – the folks who’ve been heavily involved with us, collaborating with us on content, sponsoring our mission and spreading the word about the work we do.

Carmello Salazar | Artist & Entrepreneur

Ayy wassup if you just checking me out I’ma local artist/entrepreneur I go by Pima, karmello Drip or Pima3055. I write music roll up and am building an entertainment brand which is working to come out with clothing, products and services that I eventually want to expand into the marijuana business. Such as cultivating since it started with a pro cannabis intentions. Read more>>

Iysha Wedderburn | State Board Licensed Esthetician

My Name is Iysha Wedderburn Owner and founder of Sparkle N Shine Skincare Back in 2013 I was an aspiring Makeup Artist and worked in Corporate America I felt that there was something bigger in my passion that I needed to be doing So I went to Aesthetics school to become a licensed esthetician. Read more>>

Brittany Spriet | Owner Art Macabre

My name is Brittany and I am a bone artist and taxidermist. I work both out of my home and at a commercial taxidermy shop. My goal is to bring beauty and a second life to the dead. Read more>>

Carlos Vazquez | Tattoo Artist

Hello, my name is Carlos Vazquez, I’m a tattoo artist originally from phoenix and I work in Scottsdale. I’m 24 years of age and have been tattooing now for 9 years. I branched out on my own around 6 months ago after having worked in a tattoo shop for 4 years. I specialize in large scale black and grey realism but I still enjoy tattooing small designs. Read more>>

Stephanie Riel | Founder & Owner, RielDeal Marketing

I am a brand strategist, marketing consultant and the founder and owner of RielDeal Marketing. Since starting RielDeal Marketing as a side hustle in college, I have spent more than a decade supporting everyone from small businesses to Fortune 10 companies in the e-commerce, health and wellness, technology, real estate, fitness, beauty, and retail industries to achieve growth. Our RielDeal Marketing team offer complete marketing support – from brand messaging and web design to social media, automation and campaign management. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my husband, at the beach, or with our two dogs – Hops a rescue and Teddy the Schnoodle. Read more>>

Caitlin Strempel | Digital Strategy Expert & CEO of Rising Ranks Digital

I am the founder and CEO of Rising Ranks Digital, an SEO and digital strategy agency based here in Phoenix, Arizona! I launched my business shortly after one of the most devastating times of my life when had to unexpectedly take our 2-month old son to the hospital for a heart procedure (he is happy and healthy now!). It made me realize that I was letting the small fears in life hold me back and that I was no longer available for playing small. Read more>>

Andrea Beaulieu | Speaking and Authentic Leadership Coach and Trainer; Positive Intelligence® Coach; Speaker, Singer/Songwriter

Greetings! I am Andrea Beaulieu, a speech, authentic leadership, and Positive Intelligence® coach, consultant and speaker/trainer serving executives, entrepreneurs, professional service providers, mission-driven leaders, artists and dreamers. I work with professional, growth-minded individuals and teams who are ready to be all in and have fun while discovering and learning to express their authentic voice through fearless speaking, heartfelt communication, and the creative discovery of new opportunities that give rise to genuine meaning, purpose and clear-minded action! Read more>>

Craig Thornton | Visual Artist

I am Craig Thornton, an independent visual artist living and working in Mesa, Arizona. I specialize in dark and surreal fantasy drawings. Read more>>

Jonathan Ham | Vacation Rental Brand

Hey, I’m Jonathan. I’m a Husband, Dad to 2 little princesses, internet entrepreneur, small business owner, retired collegiate gymnast, fitness enthusiast, craft beer lover, and mountain bike junkie! I live in the greater Los Angeles area but love to relax and unwind while visiting family and lounging poolside in Scottsdale! My goal is to provide you with the exact experience I would expect for a great week away. Read more>>

Megan Befort | Filmmaker + Photographer

Hi! I’m Megan. I’m the filmmaker, photographer and fellow parent at Magpie Love Photography. I create stress free films and photos that capture real life for awesome families. What does that mean? Well, you won’t find me posing families in flowing dresses in the desert or at the top of a mountain. I believe capturing families in the place they call home is the most authentic, genuine and FUN way for families to tell their stories for generations to come. Read more>>

Lauren Mcdowell | Makeup & Astrology

Hey world I am Lauren McDowell I am an Artist and Mystic I have been professionally doing makeup for 15+ years in all types of creative fields I created my business with the transformative aspect of before and after photos and how powerful the art of makeup can transform a client’s self-esteem just by morphing them into a better version of themselves. I also added to my creative business of makeup and art my psychic gifts of astrology & tarot I have always had the gift or reading people, places, and things and now I have combined the 2 for wedding parties, bachelorette parties, birthday parties etc… You can get glam and have a reading Which is all about self-love and self-improvement and truly getting to know yourself inside and out and going towards your destiny! Read more>>

Jacki Cohen | Glass Artist

Originally, I started as an admirer of glass art. I would purchase glass art on vacations, at art fairs, and galleries. I have always been fairly artistic and started taking art classes to explore my talent, classes in watercolors, drawing, etc and nothing felt quite right. I discovered a not for credit stained class through a local community college and registered for the class. I learned how to cut the glass, how to use the tools and fell in love with handling the medium. The stained-glass end product felt too restrictive for my personal taste. The studio offered a fused glass class. Read more>>

Cody Newport | Tour Manager

My name is Cody Newport. I am a lover of all things travel related and the overall experiences one picks up while exploring new regions. I love immersing myself in nature and showing others the land I hold so dear to my heart. I will share insight into my tourism business located in Scottsdale, AZ and my experiences in the tourism industry. Read more>>

Andrew Mark | Tattoo Artist

My name is Andrew Mark also known as Drew and I’m a professional tattoo artist. Read more>>

Emmett Graham | Artist

I am a realism painter, based in Glendale, Arizona in the United States. I do cultural research and explore different places, gaining my inspiration by combining what I see and research. My aim is to capture an image that invokes an emotion and expresses duality through the medium of oil paint with brushes and rags. Read more>>

Christopher Hernandez | Twitch Streamer

I am an artist that uses twitch to show off more “behind the scenes” to my artwork. I also enjoy playing video games live to my audience. I play a variety of games ranging from major titles, to crowd funded indie games. I enjoy entertaining others, it has been a passion of mine ever since i was a kid, and plan on entertaining so much more in the coming future. Read more>>

Elizabeth Ayodele | Writer and Filmmaker

I’ve been making narrative films for some years now. First began with short films and now I’m making feature length ones. My first long-form movie Orange Sky Grace was completed in 2018 and won awards at US and international festivals including Davis-Greater Bay area International Film Festival where it received Special Award for Outstanding Script Writing, Nevada International Film Festival, where it received the Gold Reel Award, Utah Film Festival and Awards and Toronto International Nollywood Film Festival where it placed Semi-finalist and Finalist respectively. Read more>>

Nino Daniel | Choreographer + Actor + Lyricist

Hi, y’all! I’m Nino Daniel, resident funny man-dancer-actor-rapper! My family & I moved to the United States back in summer of 1995 for a better chance at life and greater opportunity. Over the years, I kept up with school, garnered two college degrees and graduated triple honors. After college, I got into doing some choreography work for local artists, movie directors and competitions. I’m really enjoying it all! I love making people laugh which caused a mega surge of followers on TikTok. Now, I’m here doing what I love with all of my blessings! Read more>>

Aimee Blake | Founder – Sugar Sugar

Hi! My name is Aimee Blake. I founded Sugar Sugar in 2012. Read more>>

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Phoenix’s Most Inspiring Stories Wed, 07 Apr 2021 04:00:55 +0000 Every neighborhood from Phoenix to Scottsdale to Tempe has its own vibe, style, culture and history, but what consistently amazes us is not what differentiates the various neighborhoods but rather what they all have in common. We’ve been blown away by how many creative and talented people call the Greater Phoenix area home. Check out some […]

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Every neighborhood from Phoenix to Scottsdale to Tempe has its own vibe, style, culture and history, but what consistently amazes us is not what differentiates the various neighborhoods but rather what they all have in common. We’ve been blown away by how many creative and talented people call the Greater Phoenix area home. Check out some of the inspiring stories we’ve discovered throughout Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe and the surrounding areas.

Casa Grande








San Tan Valley





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Introverted Entrepreneur Success Stories: Episode 1 Mon, 22 Mar 2021 07:58:30 +0000 We are thrilled to present Introverted Entrepreneur Success Stories, a show we’ve launched with sales and marketing expert Aleasha Bahr. Aleasha helps solopreneurs and sales teams double their sales by helping them see how the sales process can be honest, helpful and authentic. Learn more and connect with Aleasha here:

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We are thrilled to present Introverted Entrepreneur Success Stories, a show we’ve launched with sales and marketing expert Aleasha Bahr. Aleasha helps solopreneurs and sales teams double their sales by helping them see how the sales process can be honest, helpful and authentic.

Learn more and connect with Aleasha here:

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Virtual Art Show with Fine Art Painter Leah Kiser Mon, 01 Mar 2021 20:44:24 +0000 We’re so pumped about our conversation with Leah Kiser. Leah is Painter and is also a content partner. Content partners help Voyage in so many ways from spreading the word about the work that we do, sponsoring our mission and collaborating with us on content like this. Check out our conversation with Leah below. Hi […]

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We’re so pumped about our conversation with Leah Kiser. Leah is Painter and is also a content partner. Content partners help Voyage in so many ways from spreading the word about the work that we do, sponsoring our mission and collaborating with us on content like this. Check out our conversation with Leah below.

Hi Leah, so great to have you join us again. For folks who might have missed our earlier conversations, can you please take a minute to briefly introduce yourself?
My name is Leah Kiser, and I am a fine art painter based in Casa Grande, Arizona. I paint silly whimsical paintings in a realistic style with Oil on Canvas. I love details, colors, textures, and ideas that make me laugh out loud!

How have things changed for you and your business with the pandemic?

I’ve had to do a lot of things differently! I’ve made my website a more welcoming place for people to visit my work virtually, and on Friday, March 5th, I’m doing my first ever Live Virtual Art Show from my website entitled “Just For Fun.” It features 5 of my latest paintings.  It’s cool, because anyone can attend – even people who live far away, and they can do it from the comfort of their own home.

Prior to the pandemic I brought my work to art fairs and festivals in Arizona and California. They have all been postponed month after month.  I also had my first Solo Art Show in Painting scheduled for January and then March, and then that was canceled too.  I really miss seeing everyone in person, but hopefully I’ll see you at the Live Q&A portion of the Virtual Art Show on March 5th.

What artwork have you produced over the past year?
Without any shows, I spent the past year focusing on completing work of the highest quality I could muster – which I always strive to do, but in this case, I had some advice from a friend, and that advice moved my work in a new direction. My friend Duffy Sheridan is a world renown realist painter who lives in a neighboring town. He gave me some tips on how to prepare my canvases, what brushes to use, how to thin my paints, and encouragement to stretch my abilities. Just seeing his work and learning about the time and focus that the he puts into it, and the success that he has had- it is inspiring to me -it makes me want to see what I can do if I really push myself. I maintained the silly subject matter, because that is an important part of my motivation to paint.  Even with the move toward realism, the humor is still there. It feels a little like a dry comedy – like you wouldn’t even notice it was funny if you didn’t take the time to look or think about it. I like the way that feels. I hope others enjoy it too.

How has your work evolved?

My work has evolved a lot. I’ve always loved to draw from life, but in college around 2005 I moved in a nonrepresentational sculpture direction. Even then, playfulness was important in my work. After college, I gravitated back to drawing. I explored color with colored pencils and eventually decided to try painting because I wanted to make larger colorful illustrations. When I first started painting at the end of 2014, I decided I wanted to try making large scale realistic paintings that felt like they could be in a children’s story book. I thought it would be fun to make them life-sized like you could step into them. At the time, I was fixated on these dinosaur toys that my daughter dressed up in barbie tutus. The concept made me laugh for multiple reasons, and they were really fun to draw and paint. Eventually, I moved on to other animals. I went to an illustration conference around 2017, and had an art director offer some tips about pushing my work to look more like illustration. That was a fun direction to explore, but details and realism kept calling me back. I continue to find new avenues to explore that satisfy my needs at the time. As I mentioned, I’ve been on a realism kick lately, but I may revisit illustration again in the future.

Where can people see it? is my website. You can also sign up to attend my virtual art show “Just for Fun” by clicking on the “events” tab. Subscribe to the mailing list to get the most up to date information on events and new work. I’ve created a welcoming email sequence that includes stories about the paintings, my history, promotions, and artist spotlights about other artists I think people will want to see.  Browse the shop to see available original paintings, prints, greeting cards, and I recently added T-shirts, phone cases, and travel mugs. Find works in progress on Instagram @artifactfineart & Facebook @artifactfa

What will your virtual art show entail?
After 12pm on March 5th, viewers can go to to watch a five minute video that takes viewers on a close up tour of the five featured paintings. The video includes upbeat music and recordings of excerpts from my artist statement. In addition to the video, viewers can read the story of each painting in the product description for all five of the original paintings.  The featured original paintings will become available for sale on my website along with prints, greeting cards, and other merchandize.  At 7pm, there will be a live Q &A session via Zoom where I will also present a coupon for $10 off T-Shirts. Even if you can’t make it to the opening for the show, come check out what is new at on or after March 5th – all of the new paintings will be there, plus all the old ones, waiting to make you smile!

How can people attend your virtual show, “Just for Fun” on March, 5th at 7pm?
They will need to sign up to receive an email with the Zoom Web Conference details. Go to Click on the “Events” tab from the main menu Select “Virtual Art Show Sign Up” Select “Get Your Invitation” Add your email to the form, and the email will be sent to you with the zoom details. There is no cost for this event. Mark your calendar for March 5th at 7pm Arizona Time, and a few minutes before the event, use the login details from the email to access the show.

It was so great to reconnect. One last question – how can our readers connect with you, learn more or support you?
Get your free invitation to the “Just For Fun” Virtual Art Show at Subscribe to the email mailing list at On -I just started offering monthly $14 off t-shirt coupons for $5/month subscribers – there are only 25 spaces available. Follow my work on Instagram: artifactfineart and facebook: artifactfa

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Photos by Leah Kiser and Charlene Rule

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Heart to Heart with Whitley: Episode 1 Mon, 01 Feb 2021 22:37:12 +0000 We are so thrilled to present Heart to Heart with Whitley, a high-energy talk show hosted by the brilliant and empowering Whitley Porter. On this episode Whitley interviews actress and dancer Natali Micciche.    

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Volunteering at the Waste Management Phoenix Open Thu, 28 Jan 2021 00:01:48 +0000 Phoenix Panhellenic volunteers annually donate their time to work at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in order to earn money to provide scholarships for Arizona undergraduate, graduate and continuing education collegiate women.  We raise critical money for scholarships for women. Every shift completed will earn a donation to Phoenix Panhellenic. Since 1975, Thunderbird Charities has generously […]

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Phoenix Panhellenic volunteers annually donate their time to work at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in order to earn money to provide scholarships for Arizona undergraduate, graduate and continuing education collegiate women.  We raise critical money for scholarships for women. Every shift completed will earn a donation to Phoenix Panhellenic. Since 1975, Thunderbird Charities has generously donated over $900,000 to Phoenix Panhellenic Association for its volunteer support at the PGA TOUR’s most fan friendly golf tournament.

I am so excited to be heading into my fifth year of volunteering at the Waste Management Phoenix Open with the Phoenix Panhellenic Association. The reason this is my favorite way to give back to our Arizona community is that the volunteer opportunities are so much fun!  You get to work with a great group of people from all ages and so much money is raised for female scholarship opportunities.

My first and second year of volunteering I worked in the concession stands making tacos and margaritas for all the golf fans. It was so much fun interacting with fans from all over the world and hearing which golf players they came to see. Plus, I learned what a walking taco is…imagine all the taco fixings inside of a bag of Doritos – it’s amazing!

The past two years I have been a walking ambassador for the Waste Management Phoenix Open which means my duty is to take all of the volunteers to their work stations. It’s a lot of walking and you have to know the course like the back of your hand. It’s such an inspiration to hear from all the volunteers on what brought them out today and how many years they have been volunteering at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Some of the past scholarship recipients come and volunteers and it’s amazing to hear how much of an impact these dollars made for their education and career!

This year with the Covid-19 pandemic things will be a bit different, but I am still signed up to help out – even if it’s at a smaller scale. The money that is raised makes a huge impact on young women in our community and I’m so honored I get to be apart of making that happen!

If you would like to get involved or learn more about the Phoenix Panhellenic organization please visit: or connect via Facebook at

Chelsea Lauridsen

Scottsdale, AZ

Instagram – @Lax.Chelsea

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Perspective & Advice for Those Facing Insurmountable Odds Tue, 10 Mar 2020 01:00:33 +0000 Throughout our journey with Voyage, the one thing we have learned over and over is that hidden within every challenge is a blessing or opportunity. It’s up to us to determine whether a challenge we face will be a step back or the catalyst for a step forward. We had the honor of connecting with […]

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Throughout our journey with Voyage, the one thing we have learned over and over is that hidden within every challenge is a blessing or opportunity. It’s up to us to determine whether a challenge we face will be a step back or the catalyst for a step forward.

We had the honor of connecting with some of the city’s brightest leaders and role models and we asked them our question of the month: What is the best advice you have for someone who feels like they are facing insurmountable odds.

Below, you’ll find their advice and links and other info so you can learn more about them, their work and how to connect with them. We’ll be interviewing many of these amazing individuals in the coming weeks, stay tuned.

Sara Snyder | MBA grad turned SAHM of 3 littles, working from wifi sharing my love for non-toxic, anti-aging beauty products

My advice is two-fold:
1) Find someone you can relate to, who has walked the walk, has achieved what you are looking to do and connect with them. Meet them for coffee, lunch, a glass of wine, etc. I have found having a mentor in all aspects of life is only beneficial. Before moving to Phoenix to pursue an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management, I worked at Tiffany & Co. in NYC doing PR/marketing. I was fortunate enough to have some fantastic mentors that helped me grow, learn and develop skills I didn’t know I had! Sometimes other people see your talent before you can see it in yourself so surround yourself with people who inspire you to be more.

2) Break up your BIG goal into smaller ones. Write out your plan, what you are going to achieve in X amount of time. And then give yourself small goals to hit along the way. It’s less daunting to look at things in smaller pieces. Then you can celebrate the small wins along the way! Rome wasn’t built in a day…consistency and tenacity are key.

Instagram: @saradsnyder

Courtney Holley & Lauren Klesser | Food Lovers

We like to remember it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Yes, it’s good to have goals, but sometimes those goals may take you in a different direction that isn’t the path you intended on. When life obstacles begin to accumulate and you feel as if you’re not good enough or you don’t know enough, it’s good to take a step back, refocus and recognize that you are good enough and you’re the only thing holding yourself from succeeding. Remind yourself to enjoy the journey, the small accomplishments that lead to bigger wins, and the food that you ate along the way!

Instagram: @sicksnacksaz
Facebook: @Sick-Snacks-AZ

Monique Rachelle  | Blogger and Recipe Developer

When the odds feel insurmountable take a deep breath and approach the situation one step or small task at a time. Remember what you are trying to achieve and stay positive. It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we approach a situation with positivity and a can do attitude. An extra large matcha latte may also put a little pep in your step to get the job done!

Instagram: @feeninforgreens
Facebook: @feeninforgreens
Twitter: @feeninforgreens

Raylee Steward | Holistic Nutrition Practitioner and Holistic Social Media influencer

Let me preface my answer by a short explanation of what has changed in my life within the last 3 years. My longtime boyfriend joined the Marine Corps and I decided to train for a bikini competition which let to an onset of an eating disorder and body dysmorphia. I decided to quit my current schooling and enroll in a Holistic Nutrition Program to leach myself and others to heal from diet mentality. I changed my whole life to minimalism. Me and my boyfriend got engaged and I only saw him 15 days (out of 367) during the engagement and as soon as we got married, two days later he was deployed for around 7 months. Oh yeah, and I just turned 20.

While kids my age are getting drunk and hanging out with friends. I am creating whole food recipes to share with my followers on Instagram and supporting a Marine long distance. The truth is, I have learned a lot. I have learned to be grateful for everything, even when it feels like there is nothing to be grateful for. I have learned that true friends (and being a true friend) is not about showing up when it’s convenient, but when it’s not. I have learned to not sweat the small stuff and to be mindful about the things you do stress over. However, I don’t think those are the most important lessons. To me, the most important lesson I have learned isn’t a lesson at all, it is a way to apply the lesson.

The most important part of my journey and what I have learned the most has been having an established morning and nightly routine. I usually wake up around 5 am and take 30 minutes- 2 hours to wake up. I do yoga, transcendental meditation, I journal and read, I sip slow on my ginger tea and I have a portion of the morning without my phone. At night I work out, dance in my underwear, take a shower in cold water, moisturize, turn off my phone, read and bullet journal. When I feel alone, sad, unmotivated, depressed, or anxious the thing that keeps me going is that I can’t wait to wake up and have the morning to myself. Having a morning routine has made me happier and more productive and having a nightly routine has made me mentally stable and healthier as I combat all the changes. The days I don’t have my morning or nightly routine I feel scatterbrained, foggy and I tend to focus on all the things that are tough or that are negative. When you start your day with gratitude and being completely present, it easier to carry that energy through the rest of the day. Although I have learned a lot, I don’t think I would have been able to apply the lessons and feel as confident and as happy as I am right now if I didn’t have a morning and nightly routine.

Instagram: @_radiant_ray_
YouTube: Radiant Ray

Danielle O’Connell | realtor | project manager | *cool* mom

Trust. My experience is that it all boils down to trusting yourself. Whether facing a career change, financial decision, or relationship challenge, your biggest asset and resource is yourself. Figuring out how to show up for yourself authentically takes intention and commitment, but once you navigate that piece, you hold the answers to your universe. The greatest gift I’ve ever known is a mentorship (and subsequent life experiences) that led me back to myself. I always had all the answers I ever needed, I was just looking outside towards work, relationships, success. We each have the ability to be the biggest and brightest creator we’ve ever known.

Instagram: @danielleoconnellaz
Facebook: @daniellesuzanneoconnell

Byron Cline | Furniture Designer

The best advise I have for someone who is facing insurmountable odds would be to just keep working. Don’t give in to paralysis from over analysis. Doing something is better than nothing. Start by tackling small objectives – completing several small tasks will lead to completing important milestones – a few completed milestones will get you to where you want to be.


Krissie Young | Interior Designer and GoGo (Grandma to Cruz, age 2)

I’ve learned the only way to climb a mountain is one step at a time. It’s overwhelming to face a huge challenge if you try to tackle it all at once. Just do the first wise thing, then the next wise thing, and keep at it. How do you know what the wise thing is? Seek advice from those who have climbed that mountain before you.

Instagram: @krissieyoungdesign
Pinterest: @krissiebe

Shawn Stone CSCS, TPI, FMS, K-VEST | Sports Fitness Trainer

Photo credit – Pine Canyon Country Club Photo Caption – Digging deep in the hips today. Sliding in your swing? Tight hips could be a reason. Foam Rolling is a great way to loosen them up.

Start somewhere! Get the ball rolling and don’t wait for someone else to give you the go ahead.

Instagram: @FoundationFitness

Summar Lababidi | Artist

Just keep working on things, and push to get your work out there. Whatever it may be, Music/Painting/Creating. Fliers, Stickers, Contact shops and venues and don’t be afraid. It’s all needed exercise, people are just people. The more you work on things the more your mind will do the work for you. Progression is hard to see but every step teaches you and moves you closer.

Instagram: @summarlababidi
Facebook: @summarlababidiart

Katlyn Bailey | Stay at home mom & Content creator

When facing challenging circumstances, my best advice for someone would be to have a positive mentality and encircle yourself with encouraging people. Sounds cliche, I know, but having a positive attitude really does help. Slow down and understand that some aspects in life take time to accomplish, so just begin with minor steps to get to the ultimate goal you’re striving to achieve.

Instagram: @katlynleebailey

Dakota Morgan | Actor | Comic and Film Writer | Podcaster | Effects artist

The best thing to do is surround yourself with people who you support and support you but also be sure to take a break and relax with those people to collect your thoughts. Breaks are important for creativity and health.

Instagram: @dakota_morgan97
Twitter: @dakotamorgan3

Michael Robinson and Jennifer Rellora | founders and owners of Steep Tea Company

Photo credit: @alexgharfeh

Facing insurmountable odds in inevitable in all aspects of life, especially in business. Our advice to those dealing with challenging obstacles is to face matters head on and take action without fear. Spending time doubting or worrying takes away from the focus of moving onward. Remember that all steps forward are steps in the right direction even if the results may not be seen immediately. Taking it day by day makes even the most difficult tasks doable. Being consistent in your craft and flexible to the unexpected also allows great possibilities to fall into your lap. Be patient with the process and fall in love with the journey.

Facebook: @steepteacompany
Instagram: @steepteacompany

Kathy Rehling | Realtor at North&Co.

Photo Cred – Andrea Larson

My advice for someone who feels like you are facing insurmountable odds is to start by reflecting on why you feel they are insurmountable. You may have to shift your mindset so that you are 100% certain you are not going to fail. Once that is set in place, you can pretty much do anything!

Next, make a plan and stick to it. Break your plan into small pieces and just do it! It’s important to be consistent yet flexible. Be sure to celebrate your successes and learn from your stumbles. Having a sense of humor and a little humility will help along the way.

Finally, make sure you have defined what defeating the odds means to you. Your authenticity will shine through when you have met those goals and can honestly say “I beat the odds!”

Instagram: @Kathy.Rehling

Abby Ahyong | outdoor enthusiast | Filipino American, and future Family Medicine physician

The most important lesson I’ve learned in my life journey so far is that we are all on our own unique, individual path. Sometimes we try to plan and organize our life based on what we hope, but it does not always happen they way we envision. It’s important to remain steadfast, persevere through the obstacles, and continue towards your goal. Try not to focus on the setbacks but rather learn from the challenges and use them to motivate and propel you forward. Lean on others for support, especially your friends and family. Sometimes it may mean taking a step back to reflect or changing directions, but you are capable of anything you set your mind and heart on.

Instagram: @trvlinga

Matthew Bernier | Chief Smile Maker at Flashbulb Memories Photo Booth | Flashbulb Memories Photo Booth | Arizona’s OG Glam Booth

Don’t discredit the value you have to offer. Charge what you believe you’re worth and find ways to communicate that worth to your clients.

Facebook: @FlashBulbMemoriesPhotobooth
Instagram: @fbmphotobooth

Krystle Messano | Owner & Head Baker of Funshine Bakery, Allergy Friendly Sweet Treats

I feel like whether personally or professionally we have all been in a situation where there is seemingly no light at the end of the tunnel. Good or bad odds, every challenge can be used as some form of learning experience. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone and if you are facing insurmountable odds, I would encourage you not to give up.

Long odds were meant to be achieved, so ask yourself why can’t you be the one to rewrite history.

The best advice I have received about overcoming an impossible challenge is to take it one day at a time. While at times that is something much easier said than done. You can only control your own behavior and focusing on the things that are within your control in that moment in that day is the best way to keep pushing through. Some days will be good, and some will be awful but if you are passionate and keep making movements towards your goals then one day you will get there.

Facebook: @FunshineBakery
Instagram: @funshine_bakery

Kim Pinzini  | Owner | Manager | Trainer at Jabz Boxing North Scottsdale, at Pinnacle Peak

Set your goals to beat those odds.  Make a plan (reachable actions), take those actions, and never quit.  The word “Can’t” should not be in your vocabulary.  It doesn’t exist at Jabz Boxing.  There is always a way if you have the will and never give up.  You may fail horribly, but with each failure, you will learn a lesson and get that much closer to your goals.


Caitlyn Boardman | Hiker | Fitness Enthusiast

The best advice I have for someone who feels like they are facing insurmountable odds is to keep pushing forward no matter how hard it is. It may feel like you can’t get through whatever it is, but you’ve got to keep fighting because you don’t want to give up and wake up in a few years and wonder if your life would’ve been different if you would’ve tried harder or not given up at the moment. Life is hard and you will have days where it feels like nothing is possible but there are also going to be days that are so beautiful, you’ll forget all about those tough days and remember that’s why you keep fighting.

Instagram- @caitlynbayybee
Facebook- Caitlyn Boardman

Leander Begay | Artist

“Slow growth is fast growth, go at your own speed, your race is with no one but yourself  and chip away at the odds stacked against you at your own pace.”

Facebook: @dpskateboards
Instagram: @deadpawnskateboards

Tyler Morian and Kyle Narducci | Co-Founders of Motion Tactic

We’ve found it helpful to break something up into pieces and to create a roadmap for where you want to be over time. When facing insurmountable odds, nothing is solved overnight so it’s important to reduce your anxiety level by creating goals and tasks whether that be monthly, quarterly, or annually to get where you want to be. We practice this at Motion Tactic through a set of metrics that help guide us towards our growth objectives.


Jenn Neal | Intuitive Coach & Shadow Work Practitioner

I would start by asking them some questions, and I would encourage them to take a little journey through their shadows and beliefs.

In my experience, so many of us subscribe to many limiting beliefs throughout our life without even realizing it. These beliefs can be handed down along the family line, picked up from society, or may have been created based off bad or traumatic experiences.

What if those beliefs could be re-created? What if we could clear out the stored emotions, make some space for ourselves, and what if things became easier? What if in doing that, we start to see potential and opportunity, instead of limits and road blocks? What more could we create if we made sure to look at obstacles at all angles, rather than from a limited view point, and we instead start asking what else is possible?

What if we had the empowerment to create new beliefs, to manifest some new opportunity or assistance, and the thing that seemed impossible days ago, suddenly became fluid and easy to overcome?
I have witnessed so many amazing and miraculous shifts begin to take place once someone starts going through their shadow work, their beliefs, and their emotional healing.

That feeling of “this is impossible” used to be very prevalent in my own life, but once I went through my own healing journey, I began to see more potential, opportunity, and magic all the time.

Facebook: @TheWaywardWitchCo
Instagram: @waywardwitchcompany

Édgar Angel Campos | Owner of VintageNewSkool

The most important lesson we’ve learned throughout this journey is to not give up on your goals/dreams. The reason why we say this is because we have come a long way within the last 2 years of starting Vintage New Skool. We wouldn’t be where we are now if we had given up. There were plenty of times when we felt as if we had failed. But things take time and success doesn’t happen over night. Along the way we’ve established great friendships and networked with others who share the same passion in the vintage/sneaker culture.

With that being said we encourage anyone who has a dream to go out and chase it. The only limitations are the ones you place upon yourself.

Instagram: @p/B8g8Wo1l_2A

Alexander Catedral | Videographer | Photographer | Hip Hop Artist

The most important lesson I have learned in my journey is not to forget what is most important. In my pursuit of dreams, art, passions, and goals it is easy to forget why I do it. People are what is most important to me. I have the belief that it is people over art, because people are the substance of art. While pursuing my dreams and passions, I never want to be too busy for the people that matter to me. Those are the people that help fuel me and fuel my art. I have learned not to despise or forget where I come from, but embrace it. When I protect my heart, I protect my art. There is a delicate balance and constant tension between allowing people to inspire my art vs. people defining my art. Finding that balance is important. Learning to allow people to inspire my art, but realizing it’s me who defines it has been huge in my personal journey.

Instagram: @alexandercatedral or @justaplanekid
Facebook: @Catedralography

Orlando Espino | Health Educator & Portrait/Street Photographer

That’s a tough question. I guess I would look at my experience and life and see what has worked for me.

I was a biology teacher for a few years and as a biologist I know that part of dealing with pressure, anxiety, etc. is physical. So as simple as it sounds, part of what helps is to take a deep breath and simply try your best against those odds. As humans there is only so much we can do and there are things out of our control. Often, feelings of anxiousness, being overwhelmed, and stress cloud our thinking and judgment but once we take a deep breath and break it down into what I can control and what I cannot control, then what once felt insurmountable feels manageable. Once we can understand that, on an individual level, there are certain things we cannot control, then we can take a step back, look at what things are in our control and focus doing those things to the best of our abilities.

On a personal level, I’m honestly still learning and doing some inner work on how I can best deal with problems that seem insurmountable or when a situation or goal just seems out of reach. Just trying to find ways to develop my personal resilience and growth. As I look at some of the toughest moments in my life, like my mom passing away when I was 8 years old, I think I leaned heavily on loved ones that I trusted to talk things through and just a lot of self reflection and introspection. Losing my mom was one of the first times where I felt like I was facing something that I could not get over. I was devastated and didn’t know how to process my mother’s death at that age and honestly I’m still healing from that traumatic event. My life could have taken a turn for the worst. I could have lashed out and channeled my anger by making bad choices to try and cope with my mother’s death. Or I could use my mother’s passing as motivation to make her proud by trying to make a positive impact in this world. To leave it in a better place then when I entered it–which is what I chose to do. My mother’s passing was out of my control and I felt like I could not move on, but I’ve been able to do the work of moving on by sharing my thoughts and feelings with loved ones and taking the time to dig deep in myself. So the advice I would give that works for me is to don’t be afraid to ask your loved ones for help or just a caring ear to listen to you and to take the time for focused self-reflection and introspection.

On a societal level, I’ve definitely felt like I’ve faced insurmountable odds. Growing up in a working class Mexican immigrant in America comes with obstacles.. At this point, we understand that in America your zip code and your race/ethnicity are factors that play a major role in predicting your life outcomes. When my family and I moved from Gallup, New Mexico to Phoenix during middle school, we were starting from scratch. From an economic standpoint, finding economic stability was hard and that meant both parents working a lot (sometimes multiple jobs at once); it meant constantly moving and living paycheck to paycheck.

From an education standpoint, the odds were against me. During my training as a teacher, I remember learning that only 6% of Latinos who come from low-income neighborhoods graduate college. I remember this vividly because I thought, “ I am one of the 6% that made it out.” Initially, I felt proud of myself, but, over the years, I’ve come to find that statistic disturbing and heartbreaking. It means the system is rigged. It’s not set up in a fair way. And what I’ve decided to do to overcome those odds that seem insurmountable is to try to be an active participant in society by voting and dedicating my work and my art to addressing these social injustices. Ultimately, just disregard the things in your life that are out of your control and focus on giving your all to the things in your life that are manageable.


Christopher Burgus | Local Adventurer & Entrepreneur

Anything that stands in your way, you have the power to overcome. Life may be getting you down, a broken relationship, maybe even a broken home, a case of bad health or even a terrible job situation. To be honest, it’s all in the frame of mind. You can sit and dwell on the obstacles life brings or you and rise up against adversity and live life to the fullest. The choice is yours!

Instagram: @alurgus_602

Ashley Moran | aesthetic blogger

I have always found that when I am facing something I can’t seem to get through I try my hardest to surround myself with positivity.

Having a good outlook, being optimistic and having people who believe in your soul will take you much farther than dwelling on the stress of a situation.

Self care is something that I’ve had to learn how to do. Yoga, therapy, etc. these things help me stay calm and focused on myself and have a more positive outlook on life itself.

I wouldn’t be where I am today without a support system and keeping the people in my life who help me learn to be the best version of myself. Also taking every good day and every bad day, to ask myself “what lesson did I learn today,” instead of “why did this happen?

Instagram: @ashleysaesthetics_

Theresa Green | portrait photographer

When someone feels like they are against all the odds, I would encourage
them not to give up. Start making a plan, consult experts, read books,
and take the challenge one step at a time.


Instagram: @theresagreenphotography




Christopher Blank | Visual Artist

Isaiah Romero (Instagram – @Isaiah__ Romero)

Nothing in this world comes with ease.However, if you have the motivation and focus you can achieve every goal you set for yourself. Always remember life is not a movie, its a simulation. ✪


Instagram: @Cuteboyychris


The post Perspective & Advice for Those Facing Insurmountable Odds appeared first on VoyagePhoenix - Phoenix.

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What’s the Most Important Lesson You’ve Learned Along Your Journey? Sun, 01 Mar 2020 01:00:35 +0000 Every twist in our story, challenge we face, and obstacle we overcome is an important part of our story.  These difficulties make us stronger and wiser and prepare us for what’s ahead.  As we grow and succeed we may imagine that soon the challenges will fade away, but in our conversations with business owners, artists, […]

The post What’s the Most Important Lesson You’ve Learned Along Your Journey? appeared first on VoyagePhoenix - Phoenix.

Every twist in our story, challenge we face, and obstacle we overcome is an important part of our story.  These difficulties make us stronger and wiser and prepare us for what’s ahead.  As we grow and succeed we may imagine that soon the challenges will fade away, but in our conversations with business owners, artists, creatives, academics, and others we have learned that the most common experience is that challenges never go away – instead they get more complex as we grow and succeed.  Our ability to to thrive therefore depends heavily on our ability to learn from our experiences and so we are asking some of the city’s best and brightest: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?

Bree Fillion | Professional Thrifter and Part Time Clothing Reseller

The most important lesson I’ve learned is to stay true to yourself and your brand. At the beginning of my journey, I got so caught up mimicking the actions of other resellers. I sourced the same clothing brands, thinking I would have the same success. Not only did this not move the needle forward in my business, it also didn’t excite and energize me. I learned over time that this isn’t someone else’s business, it’s my own. If I wanted to find success and my voice within the community, I had to do it on my own terms. Now, I source and sell pieces that fit into my own personal brand and style, not someone else’s.

Layla Ray | Moto athlete  | Fitness Coach

It only takes one person to believe in you to achieve success.  Commit everyday even on the days you want to give up.
Youtube: 801 moto chic

Benjamin Irons | Sound Healing Artist

Maria Lopez

The most important lesson I’ve learned on my journey so far is that just because something doesn’t work out the way you planned does not mean that you failed. Chances are something better is being created for you. Be patient, stay the course.

Stephanie Kelly | Blogger and Recruiter

I think the most important lesson I’ve learned – and this applies to both my personal and professional life – is that not everyone is going to like you, and that’s GREAT! I used to think it was just something you’d have to accept when you’re in any sort of public work, but I’ve come to realize that not being everyone’s cup of tea just makes the connections you have more meaningful. I believe this applies whether you’re making friends, nailing that job interview, or posting content you’re proud of.


Bentley Siimone | Boutique Owner and Content Creator

The most important lesson, we must all take heed to, is to protect our hearts. When it comes to success the rent is due daily. No matter how much you’ve attained a particular lifestyle, your heart and your thrive will always be on the front line. The passion in your heart is what molds your craft. Always love yourself enough to accomplish being you. Allow passion to lead and love will follow. Many blessings to you all. Thank you for having me.



Nikoleta Krstic | Programmer

Having friends is nice but what ever you do wrong in your life your family will always have your back, not your friends.


Van Thu Nguyen aka Van Revival | Brand Strategist | Biohacker, & Chief Visionary Officer

Dorothee Brand

The most important lesson I’ve learned in my journey so far is how vital it is to cultivate resilience and if along the road you come across trauma, create an environment that promotes post-traumatic growth and if you have PTSD learn how to manage it to foster high performance in the workplace, for yourself and your employees.

In business, there will be failures. It is whether or not you end up failing forward or leading your business to absolute failure. It’s easy to let things outside of work, such as personal issues that can hinder your ability to make great decisions or distract you from your business. According to the National Council of Behavioral Health, 70% of adults in the United States have experienced trauma at least once and over 90% of public behavioral health clients. Your ability to manage extreme stress will impact your overall happiness, health, and how well you show up for your stakeholders.

One of the best ways you can prepare yourself and mitigate the risk of failure is to develop resilience. In 2019, AZ Business Magazine ranks Arizona as the fifth-best state to launch a startup with a business survival rate of 49.10%.

Resiliency is our ability to adapt and recover from stressors. Resilient people find ways to turn adversity into opportunities to grow from rather than dwell on mistakes so they can move forward.

It is made of five pillars: self-awareness, positive relationships, self-care, mindfulness & purpose.

There is a toughness in resilient people. They can handle the reality of loss, success, heartbreak, failure, and challenges like a warrior. They can focus on solving problems and will rise in the face adversity rather than break. Whatever their pursuit may be, they give their full attention and nothing less. They are committed to achieving goals, but flexible enough to adapt when things don’t go according to plan. In the midst of hardship, my cousin, a businessman, said to me, “adapt or perish.” A part of H.G. Wells’ quote. My commitment to reinvention is what gave rise to my personal brand Van Revival. Reinvention is a survival skill to help you adapt to change. It’s a commitment I made to myself, to growth and development, so I can continue to build a better version of myself and really push the boundaries to see how far I can go.

The traits of emotionally resilient people are extremely useful in business.

They maintain a positive outlook even when times are tough.

They have the desire to achieve solid goals.

They take responsibility.

They prioritize well.

They are happy for others’ success and tend to surround themselves with people more successful than themselves. Inspired from within and inspiring others.

They are goal-oriented and competitive with themselves.

They are visionaries.

They maintain healthy relationships.

They are grateful and understand success is a privilege.

They don’t view themselves as victims and focus on what they have control over and on things that make the most impact.

If you’ve experienced trauma, in order to not just “survive” but thrive, learning how to facilitate healing and get to post-traumatic growth is vital to removing emotional blocks that are in the way of your success. Untreated PTSD can put someone in analysis paralysis, which in the long run will lead to the death of your business. Something I previously experienced.

Some great ways to build resilience

1. Practice cognitive restructuring to respond well to negative situations.

2. Get quality sleep, eat foods that help you function at your best, and functional movement exercises. That way your body can cope better during stressful times and help you make better choices.

3. Build self-love and self-confidence

4. Choose to respond in a calm logical manner to crises.
5. Learn how to set and achieve goals that align with your values

6. Be flexible. Expect the unexpected

Some ways to facilitate post-traumatic growth

1. SMART (Stress Management and Resiliency Training) or MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction)

2. Reality Therapy

3. Accelerated Resolution therapy

4. Body-Mind Psychotherapy
LinkedIn: @VanRevival

Carlos Vazquez | Tattoo and pencil artist

So far in my tattoo/life journey, I’ve learned to be patient. I’m 23 now and I started tattooing when I was 15, so roughly 8 years later I’m now seeing the fruits of my labor blossom. I can only speak from my personal experience of wanting my craft to be the highest quality, whether it were my drawings or tattoos but in the beginning it seemed that the things I was trying to accomplish were almost impossible. I wanted clients, recognition, and to be successful in a field that required having skill in not only art and tattooing but in communication as well. All were skills that take a lot of time in acquiring. Luckily, I had lots of positive individuals cross my path and give me the little pushes and words of encouragement I needed to keep moving forward. I pat myself on the back every once in a while to thank myself for not giving up on my journey despite the moments of hardship I went through because “life” does happen and it doesn’t care how passionate you are about your craft or where you are in life. Not to veer off too much but another very Important lesson Ive learned is not to compare myself or my career to anyone else’s. We are now living in a time where social media tends to set the standards on what is socially acceptable, which can sometimes have an impact on how you view yourself. I’ve learned to remember that not one person is the same, we all learn and grow at different paces, whether it be in life or the craft you’re pursuing. And that is perfectly okay. Everyone makes mistakes but most people don’t post those things on social media so DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP. Just keep moving forward.


Dr. Vernet A. Joseph – Productivity Strategist | Ambassador | Veteran | Speaker

The most important lesson that I have learned along my journey is to never take things for granted and appreciate the relationships that you have. In life, all you have are unique opportunities for growth, but you must acknowledge and take advantage of them. Nothing is impossible unless you stop trying to achieve it. I have been blessed to have many successful roles in my life from serving my country on and off the battlefield as a military officer, to being a serial entrepreneur in multiple industries, to being an international speaker, and author of 25 books to include 5 bestsellers; and so much more. It’s an honor to live this life. I just want to say thank you to every person that I have been privileged to encounter throughout these years. Many of you will say that I have empowered, impacted inspired or motivated you but honestly, you are the ones who have blessed my life. I recognize and appreciate that relationships are the best currency in the world. My challenge to all of you who may be reading this is to live your most productive life to the fullest and on purpose.
On all social media: @drvajoseph

Caylee Chinen | Yelp Employee and Founder of a sustainable swimwear line, Erme Swim

You will get out as much as you put in. Everything that you want to achieve or do takes time a patience.

Most importantly, do what you love. When you work towards something that you enjoy, you will continue to work hard and never get bored.



Jennifer Hernandez | Food Blogger and Photographer

I started my food blog for fun and to share my love of cooking! I had no idea there was so much information and other food blogs out there.

I’ve learned to embrace my passion for cooking and to enjoy the journey! The pictures are an added bonus… describing a photo only goes so far. I want people to feel they can literally taste how good the picture looks.

Sia Square | Baking Enthusiast | Owner

I have learned to not overwhelm myself. And to know that my only competition is myself. I don’t strive to be better than anyone but my past self. That alone could stress a person out. There are so many different bakeries out there that a person could go to, but what sets me apart from others is simple. It’s Me. No other place has me. My personality and the love that I put into my craft shows when someone tastes what I make. I’m very thankful for the small support system that I have. I don’t think I would have had the courage to even be where I am, if it weren’t for the people rooting for my success.

Rose LeVeque | Third-Generation Functional Potter

The most important lesson I’ve learned throughout my journey so far would be to not give up. It is so difficult starting up any type of business so the best thing you can do, is to not be afraid to ask questions and really put yourself out there!

There are always times that will be harder and It would be a lot easier to go back to a 9-5 job but being able to fulfill your dreams is worth every minute of struggle to succeed.


Amber Lopez | Co-founder and Creative Genius and Luis Lopez | Co-founder and Life of the Party

To have fun! When you take life too seriously, sometimes you overlook the present moment and how much fun we can have when we’re truly connecting with one another. When we do this, that’s when you start creating  memories that can be cherished forever. That is why we founded Sol Vibes Photo Booth. We wanted to give people a fun way to capture their memories!

Carolina Garcia | Mother | Artist | Creator

The most important lesson I’ve learned in my journey so far is to appreciate every day here on Earth, and not take anything for granted.


Shelby Knoles | Interior designer and owner of Willow & Co. Interior design company

The most important thing I have learned in my journey as a designer and business owner is the importance of communication. I find it so important to be upfront, honest, and maintain a steady and constant line of communication with my clients.  I have been able to establish a friendship with my clients and attribute this success to good communication!


Emily Christensen | Wife & Business Owner

Focus on the little joys and the things that bring you happiness and make sure you have gratitude for those things first. This has helped me get through difficult transitions, and hard times with ease and peace of mind.


Jennifer Tasche | freelance makeup artist

Letting go of the past is the healthiest thing you can do for yourself. Each day is a new day to create the best version of yourself.


Sydney Stempfley | Owner of SOULcial Studio, a Phoenix-based social media marketing agency

Like Nike says, “Just do it.”

I’ve always wanted to start my own business. The problem was, I had no idea what to do or where to start. To put it simply, I didn’t have a plan.

I was just a girl with ideas and a dream.

I grew up a competitive gymnast, diver and cheerleader. I was always in the pursuit of perfection.

I realized that, as a new business owner, I had to push past perfection.

I had to stop obsessing over the small details for once in my life and just do it.

Emily Caitlin Burks | Photographer | Writer | Musician, & Early Childhood Professional

That I can do as much as I think I can.

“She believed she could, so she did.”

Imagine. Bloom. Adapt.

Discover with joy, your own epic tale of strength, fight, delicate wonderings, torn yet beautiful pieces, the grounding effect of the simple things, and allowing yourself to discover the power of vulnerability. Let yourself align your life to the passion and vivaciousness that is possible when you stop working for a living, and live for your work. Pushing through the cloud of fear holding you to your “what if I fail?” self-destruct button, teaches you to keep jumping into your next chance rather than drowning in your own misperception of your worth.
DO it, scared.

Beyond your fear is opportunity to imagine that our differences are what create the tapestry of this crazy, wonderful, and when looked at closely, shared human life. Everyone has a story. Altogether, peace can first allow your inner world to gain a momentum into destiny, but it can also create a better place for all of us to live. Passion, freedom, and unconditional love make living worth the pain and process of growth and self-development.

Brad Gast said this about gritty perseverance, and not giving up your belief in better things:

No matter what happens, no matter how far you seem to be away from where you want to be, never stop believing that you will somehow make it. Have an unrelenting belief that things will work out, that the long road has a purpose, that the things that you desire may not happen today, but they will happen. Continue to persist and persevere.

As a photographer, authenticity is in everything I do. Simplicity is wrapped up in complexity, and even the most basic things in life can be discovered and rediscovered as something new. Yet often, I will find myself circling back to my roots, basic instincts, and the passions and curiosities that consistently have sparked life, clarity, and light into my individual identity. In moments of pain, quiet musings of existence, and sensorial explorations of this beautiful world we live in, our true gifts and happy journeys can be found. We often become obsessed, jealous, or shameful of our lack of perfection or equal abilities, instead of inspired or encouraged by other peoples’ visions. We forget what’s most important to us, as artists of our own lives, to create and live like human beings, all with our own giftings, abilities, treasures of the soul, insights, perspectives, failures, mistakes, and experiences that are weaved into the epic kaleidoscope that is our existence in this universe. Our modern world is consistent in blasting blame, feeling shame, and advising others instead of talking to ourselves. Our own thoughts, visions, ideas, and ways of inspiration and life process are singular to us, yet in the most raw and real US we are, we will find connection to others in ways the illusion of perfection and the walls of fear have kept us from really understanding.

Do not be afraid to be yourself, imagine the possibility that in living truthfully and adapting honestly and messily will keep you from the prison of the mundane and regret of never trying.

To me, never feeling alive and regretting the choices you never made, hurts more than failing and getting back up again to a new beginning.

Keep going ; your story isn’t over.

I finish this entry with a quote from a man with a story that helped radicalize my fierceness of identity and nonconformity to the mundane or the popular:

“The words that follow ‘I am’ follow you. Choose carefully how you describe yourself.”
– Rock Thomas


Jill Maher | Nutrition and Health Coach

The most important lesson I’ve learned in my journey working with hundreds of clients is achieving one’s ultimate health/nutrition goal(s) requires a lifetime of overall consistency. Extreme/crash diets and inconsistent behavior never result in success – when we try to force ourselves to operate in the extreme, we fail. People who make the best choices possible most days, and indulge when they really want to (without beating themselves up) achieve long-term success.

Ashley Chessin | Realtor and lover of all things design

Life is too short to do things that don’t fulfill us or aren’t working. Never forget that you can always make a change no matter how difficult it seems. If you’re unhappy, unappreciated, or just bored – make moves to find what moves you!


Kevin & Rany Karst | Parents | Entrepreneurs and Fitness Enthusiasts

We’ve learned so many valuable lessons along the way but the lesson that stands out the most is “don’t be afraid to fail”, in fact, seek failure because that’s where all the lessons are. You often hear people say they’re afraid to fail and because of that fear most will never achieve that higher level of success. We’ve learned early on that failure was not only a necessary part of growth but also plays a huge role in success.

Jessie Murphin | mother & Motherkin co-founder

The most important thing I’ve learned since starting this Phoenix motherhood community AND being a mother in general, is how important it is to have your village. It’s okay to not do it all. Especially on your own.


Amber and Mark Pierce | Founders

Julius Schlosburg, @catsphotoshoot

Being a business owner is not for the faint of heart. We don’t have a pool of mentors or investors to rely on. We are our own mentors, our own investors. We’ve chosen to invest in ourselves. Our operation lies in our hands—we are the research and developers, marketers, creators, and decision makers. Through that, we’ve learned to always trust our instincts, as they’ve never failed us.

We’ve also learned there is a fine line between hard work and workaholism. It’s all too easy to get sucked into the cycle of “After this project I’ll have time to…” But, there’s always another project. There will always be more work to be done. So we take the time to enjoy our coffee, to create for creativity’s sake, or in Mark’s case, to ride his bike in the wilderness for weeks on end. Balance is key.

Rico Lavender | Designer and Entrepreneur

I’ve learned that you cannot get far without good people alongside you. If there was anything that stuck with me early in my career it was that it is important to foster good relationships with people in your industry because at some point you will cross paths again and the more friends you have the more opportunities you will have because of them.

Shela Yu | Professional Relaxation Therapist & Artist

Amy Elizabeth Bruce @amylizzi

The most important lesson I have learned on this journey so far is how to take responsibility for my own happiness. We hold so much more power within our own minds and bodies than we let ourselves believe. Once I was able to break the chains that linked my happiness to other people’s opinions and ideas I was able to free myself from a lot of unnecessary misery. My life has gotten a whole lot brighter and lighter because of it, and now, my work is to help others do the same for themselves.


Vesna Bailey | Author of the Award-winning NOTES Giftbooks Collection

I think all of life is an evolving journey defined by distinct chapters, and each chapter reveals it’s own teachings if we are paying attention. At this point in my life, I am seeing that to be clear on one’s own life convictions,  and to live by our own bottom line is like having a compass that will guide us through making good decisions and choices regardless of what surprises life may throw our way. Being aware, kind, just, and compassionate is a responsibility that belongs to each of us, especially when the circumstances may not be convenient for us at the moment; those are the moments of promise that build us individually as well as collectively to heights untold. One of the final Notes in my books reads, “You matter. It matters. Live a life that matters.” – I tried to raise my own children with this all-encompassing backdrop, and it seems that so many other mothers and fathers from all walks of life are also finding their own voice and heart in the NOTES – ultimately the NOTES are every parent’s words. I am beyond honoured and grateful for the opportunity to inspire our next generation of children, parents, and hopefully our community leaders, in this way.


Maggie Norris | Owner | Chef Instructor Whisked Away Cooking School

Life Created

This is a very tough question because I have learned so many lessons along the way! I would say the most important and definitely the toughest has been learning to accept failure. Whether it is an idea that flops, a class that doesn’t fill up or a less than perfect review I have come to realize that these are just springboards to another opportunity. Don’t get me wrong, when things don’t work out it still stings, but it is easier to accept, learn and continue to move forward.



Bringing in 2020 with all the positive energy and dance moves!

Store Athleta Phoenix

Our team has come up with the following: There is no denying that times will get hard and life will not go exactly as planned, however through these times it is essential to remember that we are not alone. As easy as it is to isolate yourself, if you take a moment to step back, you will find  a hand that is ready to help pick you up or someone who at the very least can understand.


Stephanie Silva | Owner | Celebration Sweets Maker at Sweet Boutique Bakehouse

The most important thing I have learned on this journey so far is to lean in and trust my instincts, embrace challenging times as growth opportunities and appreciate the small wins!


Johni Cesario | Brand Photographer

Denise Marie

Give myself grace.  As a business owner it is important to give yourself grace.  It is important to not be so harsh on yourself, especially when you are doing the best you can.  It’s easy to experience set-backs or bad days but the true test is how to take these days and use them as learning experiences, that matters. I try to talk to myself in a way that I would speak to my best friend. When I start speaking negative thoughts to myself I notice it becomes that much easier to experience self-doubt or self-sabotage. Even that, overtime the more critical we are to ourselves the easier it is to fuel our minds with doubt and to tear ourselves down. I remind myself to be compassionate and gentle to because it is so easy to dig a dark hole, especially as a business owner that operate independently from a team. I do the best that I can and give myself grace and ease throughout my day, because it helps me to stay on the road to success. I honor my time and stay conscious of when I need to slow down and breath.

Tammy Auther | Jewelry Designer & Owner of Tammy Auther Designs

The most important lesson I’ve learned as a small business owner is perseverance!  The jewelry industry is a competitive field, so it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind, or compare my business model to others, but by staying passionate about my product and interacting daily with my awesome customers helps me stay focused and appreciate the journey!

Brooke Samuelian | A Modern Senior Photographer

One of the things I have learned is be True to yourself.  If you are always looking around at everyone else’s success and comparing them to your faults you will never succeed.  See yourself as being successful and you will be. 

Stephen Konopka | Go Getter | Dreamer | Fighter

If you were to get any advice from me which 1 would you chose to be the most important lesson for you? Maybe you can combine them? Have Fun!

1)- Show up to a shoot prepared with a positive outlook! ie: All your geer with backups! Bodies lights lenses batteries cards and or film, and most importantly,,, your SMILE!

2)- Make a plan and stick with it but at the same time be receptive! Changes may occur, stay quiet, look & listen, specially on an outdoor shoot when you have to be more concerned about lighting and composition because when outdoors these are not a certainty and change rapidly, either one will make or break the shot so timing or “planning” is everything!

Ultimately you’re the one in charge! Nobody else is pushing that shutter button but you! What your pictures turn out to look like will be the difference between professional or amiture hour. It’s up to you on how far you go and there’s always something to learn if you’re willing.

I’ve been shooting for 40, 45+ years and I’m still learning something new and looking forward to seeing how it’s done better, so it’s easier for me! I’m sorry there isn’t just 1 lesson I can give you to make “Magic” happen because I’m still learning.

TreLee | Singer | model | actress

I’ve learned that everyone has the same fears.  You can either let that fear kill your dreams or choose to overcome.  I consider myself to be a late bloomer, but I am happy about what I have been able accomplish thus far.  There have been so many things that I kept myself from doing because I was too afraid to stand out.  I will continue to move in silence with my wife by my side, still on my journey.   I have accomplished some pretty great things. My biggest accomplishment yet, my sons Marqaun and TraMar.  Love you boys!  My mom told me that there are so many things in life worth fighting for, make sure you are number 1. Thank you, mom (Faye Forrest).

“Live your life for you, and everything else will fall into place.  – Me”
Everywhere: @mstrelee

Samantha Kade | Actress & Producer

The most important lesson I’ve learned in my journey so far is that listening to your gut is always the right answer. The soft voice in your head or that rapid flutter of emotion have your best interests in mind. Listen to them. The second lesson is take the time to reflect and marvel on where you are in life and what you’ve accomplished. Be in awe of yourself for a minute. Enjoy a little dance of joy that your hard work is paying off even if it doesn’t always seem that way. You probably are someone’s success story and don’t even know it. If I may, just one more nugget of wisdom, don’t give all your energy to people who give you nothing in return. Please. You will thank me one day.

Dr. Vernet A. Joseph | Productivity Strategist | Ambassador | Veteran | Speaker

The most important lesson that I have learned along my journey is to never take things for granted and appreciate the relationships that you have. In life, all you have are unique opportunities for growth, but you must acknowledge and take advantage of them. Nothing is impossible unless you stop trying to achieve it. I have been blessed to have many successful roles in my life from serving my country on and off the battlefield as a military officer, to being a serial entrepreneur in multiple industries, to being an international speaker, and author of 25 books to include 5 bestsellers; and so much more. It’s an honor to live this life. I just want to say thank you to every person that I have been privileged to encounter throughout these years. Many of you will say that I have empowered, impacted inspired or motivated you but honestly, you are the ones who have blessed my life. I recognize and appreciate that relationships are the best currency in the world. My challenge to all of you who may be reading this is to live your most productive life to the fullest and on purpose.

Isai Guerrero | Mortgage Broker and Family Man

Photo credits: my 8 year old daughter

I recently made the transition from a Big Box Lender to a Mortgage Broker because I am able to help my clients purchasing or refinancing a home with better pricing, more loan options, easier qualifications, and all of this gives me the time to serve the local community. The most important lesson that I have learned during this time is that journeys cannot be done alone. They should be done with a small group of role models, mentors, and people who share similar values. By surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals, one has the ability to scale, develop, and have a good time while doing so. The journey then becomes a passion and passion always leads to success. For anyone who is having trouble locating role models, I would start by identifying the places/companies that they admire and share similar values, following them and their leaders, and reaching out to them proactively and eventually ask them if they have time to share their stories with you (perhaps over coffee). Be curious and most importantly ask them how you can give back to them – even if its just sharing their content.

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Perspective & Advice for Those Facing Insurmountable Odds Sun, 01 Mar 2020 01:00:17 +0000 Throughout our journey with Voyage, the one thing we have learned over and over is that hidden within every challenge is a blessing or opportunity. It’s up to us to determine whether a challenge we face will be a step back or the catalyst for a step forward. We had the honor of connecting with […]

The post Perspective & Advice for Those Facing Insurmountable Odds appeared first on VoyagePhoenix - Phoenix.

Throughout our journey with Voyage, the one thing we have learned over and over is that hidden within every challenge is a blessing or opportunity. It’s up to us to determine whether a challenge we face will be a step back or the catalyst for a step forward.

We had the honor of connecting with some of the city’s brightest leaders and role models and we asked them our question of the month: What is the best advice you have for someone who feels like they are facing insurmountable odds.

Below, you’ll find their advice and links and other info so you can learn more about them, their work and how to connect with them. We’ll be interviewing many of these amazing individuals in the coming weeks, stay tuned.

Rachel Albrecht | wedding photographer

“Just keep swimming.”

Instagram: @rachelnoelphoto

Victoria Garcia | Barbertologist

Be patient and be open minded. You have to be patient when it comes to the educational process because once you finish beauty school you can only go up from there. You don’t know everything there is to know because there’s so much in the industry to do. Therefore the continued education is huge, there are so many other classes offered outside of beauty school to attend to be so much better. There’s also the part of being patient with your clients to achieve a look. Many people don’t know exactly what they’re desired look is because they use pictures of other people who do not look anything like them or their hair texture isn’t the same or even the color isn’t achievable. As for being open minded, be creative. You are allowed to be experimental within the means of your client and skill level. There are so many different techniques you can use to achieve an end look. With anything you do, the more you do it the better you get.

Instagram: @_vbeautyyy

Ashley Warrick w/ Ahsoka Tano| Dog Mom and Local Craft Enthusiast

My advice for someone who feels like they are facing insurmountable odds would be to SLOW DOWN and take a moment to look around you. See all the beauty with life. Think positively. Right at that moment whatever you are facing might be too big but look at all the people who have overcame their odds. You will realize your mountain is just a mole hill. Push yourself for greatness because it can be achieved!

Instagram: @buggwithabeer


This is such a heavy topic for me because I’ve literally spent My whole life doubting my skills and abilities to achieve a greater success in anything I did. When I was 16 I was a big time skateboarder got sponsored traveled to different skate competitions and demos, signed autographs did it all! But deep down inside I didn’t feel like I was good enough. In 2010 I was a junior at South Mountain High School I joined the wrestling team for the first time. Excelled In all my matches even qualified for state Had a great year. Senior year came along and was voted to be team captain…. but yet I still did not feel like I was good enough, I had such a low self of steam and alot of self doubt that its been tough to succeed! UP UNTIL NOW! I woke up one morning and was sick and tired of these Negative thoughts and degrading myself for absolutely no reason So I told myself that

So thats what I did and I wake up with that same mindset every single day! Even if Im sick, heart broken, exhausted, weak, you name it! I still wake up and Get IT DONE!

So that being said I feel the best way to overcome insurmountable odds or any self doubt is to build your self appreciation and self confidence and really strive to do your very best at all times and I guarantee you that those doubt and those thoughts of you never overcoming anything will turn into check marks on your TODO LISTS!!! 🙏


Ashley Rostro | Nanny & full time momma

To someone facing insurmountable odds I would first tell them to you are not the first to feel the world is against you, you are not the first to feel like everything is going wrong. Also unfortunately it won’t be the last time you feel that way. You need to clear your mind of all the negative trash and filling it back up with optimism. Life will always bring the good and the bad, and when you feel it’s only bringing the bad you need to take a step back appreciate who you are and the things you have accomplished. Try to not let the negativity of the situation or the world bring you down. Relax, take a deep breath, celebrate who you are and just do the next right thing.

Instagram: @hooping_siren_

Kevin Nielsen | IT Professional | Actor | Entrepreneur

Be careful of the story you tell yourself ABOUT yourself. It’s not what other people say that matters, it’s what you say about you that threatens your destiny! If you want something, you have to tell yourself it’s achievable. If you don’t have that belief, find someone who can believe in you until you have enough belief in yourself. When I first decided I wanted to become an IT professional, I had no college degree, I just got fired from a job in customer service, and I used my tax return to pay bills for a couple months so I could learn to code. No one supported that decision, my parents we’re telling me to get a job because they were scared, my girlfriend and I broke up, and I had no social life for 3 months. Now, over 2 years later I make 4 times the salary of my customer service job and can afford to pursue my dream to become an actor. My story is unique to me, but sometimes taking the same path as everyone else isn’t what YOU need to do either. Get creative, ask for help, and believe everything will work out in the end; You got this!!!

Instagram: @nielseninternational

Ryan McGinnis | Brand Ambassador

Ryan McGinnis

Take a deep breath, and break the issue down into smaller, obtainable objectives…

Instagram: @ODVimports


Medicated Chef

Success comes in steps. Shortcuts lead to failures. Put the work in to make it work. Do what you are passionate about and make money while you do it. Show your worth so people know what your worth.

Instagram: @medicatedchef


Vince Larue | Pen & ink artist and ultrarunner from France

Don’t put yourself at the center of the story, breath, slow down, keep moving/going!

Facebook: The Art of Vince Larue
Instagram: @theartofvincelarue

Neekta Hamidi | environmentalist and WEF Global Shaper

Communication is key. Learn to articulate your needs, and share them in an authentic and honest way. Communicate with those around you, and with those from different backgrounds, and built relationships early so you can seek support when you need it.

Kimberley Cullumber-Alexander (on right) Residential & Commercial General Contractor & Twilight Modern Artist with long-time friend Michelle Smith (on left)

First and mostly importantly, I try to stay grounded in my faith because that it is where my strength comes from.

I get crystal clear on the outcome I want, visualize it happening every day and act “as if” it already happened (soooo powerful)!
I map out the major steps I need to take and I do something, however small, every single day to move the needle.

I remind myself that life’s journey is full of obstacles and setbacks and that it’s while working through these things that I reveal who I am and who I’m going to be.

I stay open to the lessons and/or blessings that inevitably and unexpectedly come out of these things. Also, I stay open to the fact that help most often comes from people and situations that God puts in my life during these times.

I think of all the great overcomers I’ve known and read about, and had any one of them given up too early, their stories would be vastly different. If you just keep getting up, you’ll cross the finish line eventually.

And lastly, use your experiences to help and bless others!

Instagram: @Buildn.Art.Etc 
Facebook: @KimberleyArt29

Renzo Curay | Entrepreneur & Engineer

Alexis Curay – @DolcenaBeauty

For someone to overcome their challenges they must look at their progress and goal every single day. Climbing Mt. Everest is not a one day trip. It take years of training, preparation, and dedication. When climbing on your Mt. Everest be quick to remind yourself what the goal is and how much progress you have made. Remind yourself that it is okay to take a break, that failure is inevitable. But it’s not whether you can avoid failure but how one overcomes failure. Do not give up, you are almost there.

Website: ZionBrothers.Com

Prasanna Jennae Polite | Fitness Instructor | Influencer | Professional Dancer, and Choreographer

Dave Harden

The best advice I can give to someone who feels like they are facing insurmountable odds is to surround yourself with like minded friends, family, and support. Odds will forever be against you no matter how well known you are or the amount of money you may have. You have to keep pushing and remind yourself that this obstacle you’re facing is minor and can be accomplished!

Instagram: @bodybyjennae

Jonathan Yazzie | Photographer

Featured in photo is @_kristyrose Clothing/Stylist @stillshelives

The best advice I could give someone who is facing insurmountable odds is to breathe and tell yourself everything will be okay, it always will be.

Instagram: @immortalpone

Len DeCarmine | Certified Business Coach with ActionCOACH & Co-host and Creator of The Extraordinary Being Movement Podcast

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my journey is leaving the past behind!

We all in one way or another still harbor past experiences of situations that still hold us back today from finding the love of our life, being successful, trusting others, and even finding happiness. Holding on to these past experiences drains us of our true potential, it wastes our energy and serves no purpose in creating a future we deserve.

For years, I was a hostage to these emotional experiences and stories which I created about myself and others. Living in the past continuously caused me depression, fear, and anxiety. I never felt I was good enough which lead me to financial hardship, loss of friends, and people I loved.

Realizing this unhealthy way of living, I decided I would no longer allow the past to bind me. I made a choice to take action by stopping my negative way of thinking and being. I began to acknowledge my failures as learning experiences and that it was good to make mistakes. I accepted who I am, not allowing the judgments of myself and others to hold me back from loving myself.

Then I took the biggest step forward, I released the pain of the past. I reached out to friends and family to open the doors of communication to forgive and ask for forgiveness. Many were open to this idea others were still holding on to their way of being and their past.

Today I am at peace, the clearing of the past has opened new doors, new opportunities, and new relationships which I never thought would be possible. I stay focused on today, the present, for it keeps me grounded with realistic steps towards creating the life and future I’ve always desired. The thoughts of the past may still creep in but I take ownership and responsibility of my part and reflect on the lessons which I learned.

I currently have a successful coaching business and I am the co-host and creator of a podcast and online radio station call the Extraordinary Being Movement. Where we discuss various topics on personal development to help people release the chains of the past and be the extraordinary individuals they are meant to be!

Instagram: @lendecarminecoach
Instagram: @extraordinarybeingmovement

Alexandra Markiewicz | Wedding and Family Photographer

It was in recent years that I’ve changed my perspective on situations that had failure and rejection. I used to take it personally when my life didn’t go as I initially planned it, but I learned most about myself through the times that I’ve struggled. Be prepared for these difficulties because they help us to gauge the successes and have a deeper appreciation when that success does come around. When you feel up against insurmountable odds, don’t quit. Keep pushing forward. Don’t be afraid to lean on others when you need it, and be kind and help others because you don’t know who else is going through their own insurmountable odds – people can be really good at hiding their struggles. Lastly, do not be afraid of change. Who I am ten years, five years, even five months ago isn’t the same. I’m constantly growing and trying to better myself. It’s so important to remain humble, but hungry as you face the different pathways of life.

Instagram: @alexandramarksphotography
Facebook: @alexandramarksphotography

Briana Valladares

Always keep a smile and don’t give up. Everything in life happens for a reason, you just gotta stay positive. Look at your tough times as an opportunity to learn, grow and become a better person.

Gina Marie Valentino | Gina’s Cheesecakes | Desserts, and More

Gina Marie Valentino

When the odds are stacked against you you feel like the mountain is too high to climb. Everyone is trying to make their mark in the world and all you want is a little piece to be happy so you keep trying. Your passion has to far exceeded your fear. It took me a long time to figure out what my passion is. Every time I would get excited about something there was somebody else right in front of me who had the same idea. I stepped aside because “who am I”. I gave up so many times. I tried so many things. All of my hobbies were suddenly laced with” how can I make money with this” And completely took the joy out of everything.

But I continued to cook and bake. Two years ago I suddenly lost my smell and taste And have developed severe allergies too many foods. That did not fare very well with me at all as a baker and home chef.  I found that I could not taste actual flavors but I can sense sweet and salty things. I am so grateful that I have the mental memory of flavors so that I can associate it to things that I am eating.

Being in a mentally and emotionally abusive relationship for many years my confidence level was next to nothing. I felt like I didn’t deserve to be successful.  I may have even made up my own obstacles because then It wouldn’t be my fault if I failed. I have a new outlook now and My recent separation has pushed me to aggressively pursue my dream of selling cheesecakes and bakery items. I do deserve success. Why cheesecakes? Because they are good and I can make them on my own schedule and take breaks when Needed. I use an award-winning cheesecake recipe from the 1970s that was given to me by my stepmother who recently passed away. I alter it and customize as needed. I make 6,8,9,and 10 inch cheesecakes, Italian specialty cookies, breads, and take out dinners for 1-4 people. I do most of my baking in the evening because that is when I feel best.

Yes at 58, with fibromyalgia and lupus and many many injuries there are physical challenges I deal with on a daily basis, I’m as financially unstable as you can get at this point in my life, I’m suddenly alone, and unable to work full time due to my health. But I still want to make people happy with my cheesecakes and desserts and try to pay my rent.

I do whatever I can to sell my product. I utilize the next door app in our neighborhood as a way to reach people near me. I go to bakeries, I go to office buildings, banks. I post pictures of all my goods. The first time someone called me up and said that they saw my picture and wanted to buy a cheesecake I cried. My picture enticed them to buy a cheesecake!!!!! I was so happy.

There will always be a lot of obstacles in the way but I also realize in my own journey that there’s always a way around them to get where you need to go. Sometimes you Need help and that’s Ok. TAKE IT!!!!! Take It! Don’t be too proud. Don’t be too stubborn and always ALWAYS Be grateful.

I have to keep telling myself. Is the obstacle bigger than you? No it is not!

You either get over it or go around it. It has taken me a long time to think like this.

I’m not all the way there yet but I’m working on it.

Instagram: @tuttogina_miacucina
Facebook: Gina’s Cheesecakes, Desserts, and More.

Andrea Lin | Incoming Medical Student

Andrea Lin

I’m a pretty goal-oriented person, so I try to break large and looming ideas into smaller goals. This way I can be realistic with what I want and can actually achieve within a certain timeline. By giving myself structure, I feel less overwhelmed, since I only have to tackle one thing at a time. Also having a strong support system like friends and family to encourage you when you feel down is great. But I think the first step is coming to grips with reality yourself and pushing through when the going gets tough!

Instagram: @andrea1in

Sarita L. Walker | Creative Writer & Entrepreneur

Jeffrey Leon Davis

The most important lesson I’ve learned in my journey is “don’t be pushed by your problems, but be led by your dreams.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Have you ever noticed that when you run from things or you do things out of fear or to get rid of your problems so quickly, you become consumed, anxious, worried, discombobulated and you just want it to all be over? But when you follow your dreams and focus on following those dreams one day at a time, and let God or the universe or whoever you believe in handle your problems, things are so much more quieter? Its easy. Flowing. Life doesn’t give you a headache. And then out of nowhere you are getting opportunities and money is flowing from places you didn’t think would come? Like this piece I am now apart of. I am very thankful to be apart of it and it’s just one piece of the journey of my life. Who knows what opportunities that will come from this and all I did was start a business watching dogs because I love animals. So have patience and continue to be led by your dreams, everything else will come to pass as the Universe sees fit.

Personal Instagram: @miss_ritariiii
Health Coach Instagram:  @tea_2_life
Pet Sitting Instagram: @missritas_petsitting
Blog Instagram: @diaryofritamisses
Author Instagram: @author_slwalker_official
Personal Facebook Page: @sarita.laurin

Experimental Chef | making healthier versions of everything I love and crave

The best advice I could give someone who feels like they are facing insurmountable odds is to suggest what works for me. I have to get outside myself and try to look at whatever the situation is from all angles. I am a big list maker so I would say write it down and read it back as if it is something your best friend is going through and then try to respond as you would to them- and take your own advice – It’s just what works for me- And if I am still unable to sort it out, step back, relax, gain a clear head/vision and go 100% all in on what you think will help- and pray….. it’s easier said than done but put it in his hands.

Instagram: @themunchkintree

Jill Green | Owner of Sweet Life Garden Backyard Farm and Orchard Organizer/Creator of Arcadia Edible Garden Tour

 I would say go inside yourself and connect to The Devine Healer. Try to surrender all of your fears and gather strength from knowing that all things are in the hands of a Greater Power than you! Its not easy. And, gather family and friends around you.

Instagram: @Sweetlifegarden



Priscilla Marshall | Photographer

 Breath. Take things one step at a time. It sounds cliché but this advice serves well when facing difficulties. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s hard to make clear and concise decisions. If you take your time, think things through and don’t let the immense weight come down on you, you’ll be able to accomplish anything you put your mind to.

Instagram: @priscillamarshallphotography

Patty Wilson | Personal Trainer & Transformational Coach specializng in Body Love & Intuituve Eating

The advice I would give and that I live by is to take it one day at a time and one breath at a time. Stay present and do your best to look at the positive in the situation. Listen to you intuition, that gut feeling because its always right!! Stop second-guessing yourself and listening to what others tell you to do. Your inner wisdom is providing guidance; you just have to listen. And ALWAYS continue your self-care…. be it a workout, massage, running, hiking, meditation, etc

You CAN & WILL overcome anything because you are so Poweful!!!

Instagram: @pattywilson_healthcoach

Carron Schmick | Innkeeper @ Ho’Omaha Huna, A Romantic, Ocean-front Getaway in Maui

 Anyone can be successful. It is our kindness and generosity towards that distinguishes us from others.

Instagram: @hoomahahuna
Web address:

Matthew Bracamonte| co-founder of High End Dabzation

It actually took me a couple of days to answer this question after I first initially read it but after looking within myself I think i’ve finally been able to pull out an answer. The most important lessons I’ve learned so far are the importance of self-discipline and the relentless believing your dreams will come true.

Without self-discipline becoming an entrepreneur is absolutely impossible or really accomplishing anything significant in life. Day-in and day-out, good days, bad days, tired days, energetic days, sad days, happy days, all of the days…you need to have that inner voice positively talking inside your head telling you to wake up and seize the day, to put any sort of tiredness or distractions aside, and to focus on the day ahead. The ability to act on that inner voice that knows so vividly the dreams you want to bring to fruition is your biggest asset. Your business can have all the money in the world but if you begin to lose focus, become lazy, and stagnate you won’t have a business for very much longer. Everyday just has to be a Day 1 mentality. Always push yourself past your potential. I’m also a whole lot happier and in a better mood when I’m more self-disciplined too.

Secondly, the importance of just believing. Especially in the beginning. I’ve been running High End Dabzation since March 2019 but before this I was a college dropout with dreams to create mobile apps who then taught himself how to code, moved to Chicago, landed a software engineering job at, got fired, moved back home, worked at Snooze (the brunch spot perfect job for aspiring entrepreneurs), flipped furniture on OfferUp (I started before Garyvee told everyone lol), and now I’m sitting in my office next to a passionate team of six writing this up.

Five months into our business journey right when we were really starting to scale and hit stride the ‘Vapegate’ occurred and nearly an entire population became scared to use the very products that we were manufacturing, and rightly so. States even began to impose immediate vape laws that banned the sales of certain products. For two weeks in September we watched our sales slow and most entrepreneurs might have started thinking of a complete shutdown or pivot to a different service/product. But my strong belief in what we are building and the industry as a whole has kept me optimistic and experimenting. Amidst the vape scare we manufactured the industry’s first near lead free ceramic cartridge which has enabled us to drastically differentiate ourselves from our competitors and show our customers that we care deeply about their health and well being first and foremost.

Every step of my life has been built on the power of belief. Believing that these dreams and goals of mine have been placed inside my head for a reason and sure they may seem far off right now with a lot of hard work, persistence, and perseverance I will live them. On this journey mindset is everything.

Instagram: @matthewbraca, @hedcarts

Tyler Tang | Photographer & Videographer

 Take some time to analyze yourself before facing such odds. It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to doubt yourself. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s not okay to give up easily. If all else fails, give it your best effort. In the end, you’ll be a better person when you overcome.


Instagram: @ttaaang




Mel Rzeznik | Certified Yoga Teacher

 The way you speak to yourself matters. Treat all with compassion, including yourself. Remember you are worthy and capable. For me, negative thoughts have this tendency to spiral into more negative thoughts. I need to catch them before they spiral out of control. Find the pause inbetween the thoughts, and decide where you want to direct those thoughts. Take over the reigns instead of having those thoughts and reactions control you. I have learned that, like yoga, it’s all practice. Just show up and keep practicing.



Nick Vance | Lifeguard & private pilot

 If you ever feel like you have a task too difficult to overcome, take a step back and do the research, or put in the work to get it done. We all face that moment of procrastination, but putting something off because you can do it later or because it’s too difficult isn’t good enough. Procrastination is a mindset that you have to set yourself free of and just put in the work in too get it done. The stress you may feel from the task given will all be relieved when you have the satisfaction of getting the work done.

Instagram: @killin_it_kelz
Salon: Mane Attraction Salon


Kelly Kain | Hair stylist / Salon educator

When you find yourself at your lowest point or say “rock bottom” it can be really hard to identify what to do or how to surpass such an obstacle. However time is more than past, present, or future. Time has a way of bringing clarity to us to see what is suitable for specific situations. Life’s events will continue to spin you off your cycle and you will continue to gain knowledge with each hurdle. You have to believe in yourself that you can take this challenge that life has given you to grow, learn and surpass them to be a better you. Someday you going through this hardship will teach you to help someone near you, who also is hitting the lowest point in their life. Now that you have the knowledge and guidance of what got you through your struggles, you can significantly change someone’s life. We are all in search of “the good life” but don’t look at what it took to be there. Be patient, be good to yourself and always remember it’s just a moment in time.

Also read some great books and fuel your mind with great knowledge.

“The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.”
-Carl Rodgers

Instagram: @photography_amateur___

Sam Quintanilla | Roscoe, IL Designer

“Find a way” and “Trust the process”

I’ve learned a lot in the last ten years and some of the most important lessons were disguised in adversity and struggle. I graduated high school in 2010, enrolled in three different schools over the next three years, and ultimately dropped out. After moving home I started a sanitation position at a cracker factory and I quickly realized how important a college education was. I would spend my breaks drawing as a mental escape and from rock bottom I chose to follow my interests and pursue a career in shoe design.

From that point on I started my redemption tour and decided nothing was going to get in my way. Fueled by passion I would view new adversity as a challenge to improve myself. I knew that if I were going to chase a dream this big I would have to go all in and find a way to make it happen.

Once I finally returned to school in 2016 I started to climb my way out of an academic hole. I knew I was essentially starting over but my belief in the pursuit kept me locked in. I stayed focused, worked as hard as I could, and trusted the efforts I was putting in. Right now I’m currently a junior at Arizona State studying industrial design and soon I will have my degree. Once again I will find myself facing a fresh start with new challenges but I’ve learned to believe in the hard work, enjoy the grind, and trust the process.

Instagram: @s.quint

 “Soul” Soulinhthone Khaivilay Chanthontip – Public Figure & Photojournalist

 Live life to the fullest. Don’t let anything stop you from living life. Life is beautiful. Especially when you have a second, third or more of life to live. Keep your family close. They are your main support at the end of the day. If your plans don’t go as plan just go with the flow of reality. Do things the right way. Trust your instincts. Don’t second guest so much. Just remember cannot, impossible, no’s, thoughts and negativity are all temporary. You can do this! If you love it! Your happy! Screw what society thinks or sees you as. Your perfect the way you want to be! Be yourself! Anything is possible!

Instagram: @SwaveySouls



Matthew Cates | Owner & Founder of Rebel Reaper Clothing Company

 I would say keep pushing. There’s plenty of times we all face more than once adversity and when all seems hopeless – my best advice is to keep pushing forward no matter what. Make moves. No matter how big or small, do at least one thing productive each day to get you into the right direction of where and who you ultimately want to be and eventually it WILL happen.

Instagram: @rebelreaperclothing
Warehouse/Shop Address: 15863 N Greenway Hayden Loop #116, Scottsdale AZ 85260 , Photographer Instagram: @wasaliveonce

Bob Wallace, MBA – Entrepreneur, Author & Auto Enthusiast

 All too often, the biggest obstacles that are preventing us from moving forward exist between our own ears – in our own head. Maybe you have a scarcity mindset or have a negative relationship with money, relationships, success, you name it. Maybe you think you’re not smart enough or that you lack the education or experience necessary to overcome the odds and challenges that lie before you. Or maybe the problem is that you’re scared of success, or you don’t think you deserve it.

When facing insurmountable odds, when things seem like there is no way out or nothing you can do, or that something seems impossible, the best advice is to get out of your own way. We truly are our own worst enemy. You may have heard the term “stinking thinking” and this is precisely what we all do in these situations. We get inside our own heads and overthink things, think of the worst possible outcomes, and feel both confused, helpless, and not deserving.

My advice, try the following:

Know that insurmountable odds are sometimes inevitable – No matter how well you plan and how well you execute your plan, you are bound to meet with disappointment, setbacks, and failure along the way to your ultimate triumph. Sometimes, you will encounter what seem like overwhelming odds.
Talk to people who have walked the path before you – Every challenge you encounter on your journey has already been experienced – and overcome – by countless others before you. Do your research and find out who these people are. Talk to them one-on-one if you can and ask them what they did to overcome that problem.
Break things down into achievable short-term goals – When you’re faced with big challenges, seemingly insurmountable odds, the best way to deal with it is to break them down into simple, achievable steps. This is true for any goal you want to achieve, really – by breaking it down into a series of smaller tasks, and accomplishing them one at a time. Be sure to set measurable goals with specific deadlines and then determine all of the individual action steps you will need to take to accomplish your goal.
Come up with 3 possible solutions for every problem – When you run into an obstacle or roadblock, a great way to resolve it faster and with less hassle is to brainstorm three possible solutions to it. There’s always more than one way to solve any problem, and in order to find the one that will work best for you, it’s smart to give yourself some options.
5. Set goals that help you stay focused on the big picture – When you’re scaling a mountain, it’s the breathtaking views from the peak—and the triumph you know you’ll feel once you’ve reached the summit – that keep you climbing toward the top. Don’t get stuck thinking only about your next few steps. Remember the ultimate reason why you’re doing this.
6. Be willing to pay the price – Achieving your biggest goals and dreams will require some level of sacrifice. It might mean putting other things in your life on hold while you devote your evenings and weekends toward your dreams. Or it might mean investing some of your savings or giving up a few hours of sleep each night for months on end. Are you willing to make that effort?
7. Never give up / Never Surrender – If the price is something you are willing to pay, commit yourself to achieving your dream – no matter what it takes. The willingness to do whatever is required is the magic ingredient that helps you persevere in the face of challenges, setbacks, pain and even personal injury. I once heard from a long time sports psychiatrist that in assessing sports teams and individual players that consistently win, they have one thing in common – they all wanted to win more than the other team or athletes. This holds true in our personal lives as well.
8. Keep things in perspective – Try to remain focused, driven, positive and “keep things in perspective” meaning to look at the whole “picture”, seeing things in their proper relation/proportion to everything else. The idea is something like stepping back from the things you are most concerned about so you can see other things too that are key pieces to resolving issues and overcoming the seemingly insurmountable odds.

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Michael Ross | Area Sales Manager for BTL Industries

 Each of us, at one time or another, has faced what we thought were insurmountable odds and perhaps thought of giving up. However every day and all around us are ordinary people that, through extraordinary faith and determination, are able to tame the insurmountable into something surmountable and demonstrate we can always overcome.

Instagram: @mikeross_btl_aesthetics

Mike Newcomb, Executive Director and Food Sharing Facilitator

 My advice to someone who feels like they are facing insurmountable odds is to reach out to their community for help. Start with knowing and believing there is an abundance of community resources available to us all in times of need. Reach out for help. Please don’t deny the many open-hearted people and organizations in your community the privilege of being of assistance to you.




Catherine Hildenbrand, jewelry designer and mineral collector

 When I’m faced with a big challenge, it’s easy for me to feel overwhelmed. I’m fiercely independent and have difficulty asking for help, so even though I’m always up for helping others, it’s so hard to allow them to reciprocate! When I feel the stress, I need to break everything down onto a paper list. The series of steps make it feel less overwhelming in my head and I can tackle them one by one. I know that I have family and friends who love and support me to lean on. I also remind myself that I’ve faced some incredibly scary things and I can do it again, with more skill, more vulnerability and more love.

Instagram: @desertmoongem


Cameron Horton |Social media influencer

The best advice I have for someone who is facing insurmountable odds is, no matter what everything happens for a reason, so keep your head high, work hard and never be afraid to ask for help!

Instagram: @hyper_horton


Dana Gibbons Photography | Personal Brand Marketing Photographer

 For me, the most important lesson that I have learned throughout the years is connection. Without connecting personally with my clients and other local photographers, my career would be at a stand still…and it was for a few years at the beginning. It was only when I started reaching out to fellow photographers and community vendors that changed it all. I was starting to get recognized within the community because I made every effort to be seen and make a personal connection with everyone I met. There is a saying in our community of entrepreneurs: “Community over Competition”. When you start to create lasting relationships with your clients, it show. And through these connections not only will your business grow, but you’ll find lasting relationships and friendship.

Instagram: @dgphotoaz

Jonel Filsaime | Graphic Designer & Hiker

 First take a breather outside and give you problems a second thought. Things can look really bad right now but eventually it you’ll have to accept it (if that is the only option) and be able to learn from it because as humans we learn to adapt to things in order to move on.

Instagram: @jonelucf



Brandon Floyd | Father, Owner, Pizzaiolo, Veteran

The most important lesson I have learned along my journey is remembering to make time for myself and my family. Balancing a perfect work/home life is difficult for anyone. When you own a small family restaurant you are the core of the business. Hiring and training the right staff to be able to entrust my business with has been key. Leaving a few hours early or taking a couple of days off helps tremendously not only to give me more time with my family but to recharge my mind and body.

Instagram: @floydandcompany


Brianna Buttaro

Since leaving my comfort zone of the East Coast, 5 years ago I’ve learned to become the person and the listener that i’ve always needed. Since the cross country move, I’ve gotten so curious about other people and their stories. I ask so many questions people think I’m crazy sometimes. I do this with not only my loved ones, but complete strangers too. That’s my favorite, actually. Don’t be afraid to ask the guy next to you how his day was. Celebrate your friends and family. And the guy you heard on the phone tell his brother he got the job while in line at the grocery store? Celebrate with him too. Add a beer to your cart, leave it behind and let the cashier know to give it to him. Be open and stay curious. I promise you’ll hear some wild stories, meet the best humans, and create the strongest bonds.

Instagram: @notbriannabuttaro


Justin Allen and Jeff Becker Roles| Co-Founders of Passion4ball Peak Performance Coaching

 Before I would give them any advice, I would try to get them to shift their perspective from the idea that what they are facing is insurmountable and start believing that what they are facing is something they will achieve. Everything happens twice in our life, once in our minds and once in our reality; so it is imperative to help them create a vision for success in the situation. If they don’t believe they can achieve it, they never will. If they believe it is insurmountable, then it will be insurmountable. I would try and help them paint a picture in their mind of them overcoming the situation. How does it feel? What actions are they taking? What are the thinking? Who is giving them support? What are the challenges? How are they showing up to be successful? By creating this vision in their mind, they can shift their belief that it is insurmountable, and create a vision of how they will overcome. Through this process we would also create some ideas for what they need to do to achieve success in this difficult situation.

Secondly, What makes them feel like it is insurmountable? Is it fear? Is it a lack of confidence? If we can address the cause of their belief, we can address the root cause and start shifting their thoughts and beliefs from the core and Take action to remove the fear, take action to gain confidence, etc.

Third, I would try and help them explore a time in their life they did something or overcame something they didn’t believe they could. If they can’t think of anything, then I would try and help them explore someone they knew that achieved something beyond the odds. This is a great way to showcase that the impossible and miracles happen all the time. It is also a great place to dig and say “how did you/they do that?” This way they can collect some ideas of how they or someone else achieved something difficult and explore how they can utilize this information in their current situation.

Fourth, I would address the potential challenges in their way (real and unreal). What is in their control and what is out of their control? In the end they can only really control their own thoughts and actions and trying to control the uncontrollable will only cause pain, anxiety, and fear when they are attempting something difficult. I would help them let go of what they can’t control, identify what they can control and then gain clarity on how they can show up more bold, courageous, etc to successful take action on the things in their control.

Next, I would help them create necessity for why they must take action. Why is it so important for them to achieve or overcome the insurmountable? What will happen if they don’t achieve or overcome? Without necessity, it is too easy to back down, make excuses, and not take big bold action in the face of challenge. With necessity they are more likely to take on a challenge and act with courage.

Lastly, They will need to create a strategy. What is the game plan to overcome or achieve in this difficult situation. What action steps are they going to take? What are their priorities? When will they take action? Where will they get support! “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” ― Benjamin Franklin

Website:  www.passion4ball.orgsion4ball_
Instagram: @justinthomasallen,

Amanda Smith | Licensed Massage Therapist & Energy Healer

 Well, when we are facing anything “insurmountable” the energetic framework begins to spiral into something like tunnel vision. Energy is either expanding or contracting. So, when we are in an experience of contraction, we are presented an opportunity to review what it is we are seeking. That is to ask ourselves, “Why is there so much resistance along this path? Is there any other way to seek a slightly different outcome, with fewer obstacles?” My best advice is to eliminate frustration around the blockages, and to begin curating a new path in a gentle manner. The ever so repeated quote “energy flows where attention goes,” is really quite valid in these moments. Recognize that trying to bulldoze through a brick wall is a dense experience, and that surrendering to that density often softens and presents possibilities for solutions. Reclaim your power, your sovereignty and your ability to choose. You are a limitless expression of the universe and have the capacity to recreate yourself in every moment. So I guess, in my life, if anything feels “insurmountable,” I will bow to the greater expression, surrender, and find a new way. Often, holding the mantra of “ease and grace,” as I recreate my route. Blessed be.

Instagram: @element.tree

Sari Custer | Chief Science and Curiosity Officer for Arizona Science Center

 With all the scientific revelations paleontologists have learned from our current exhibition, Victoria the T. rex – an exhibition showcasing one of the most significant T. rex finds in recent history – I am reminded that, in science and in life, there’s always more to discover. So, my most important lesson in my journey is to never stop wondering and never stop imagining!

Instagram: @azsciencecenter, @SariOnScience

Beth Williams | Marketing Manager for Volterra

  It would be easy to say “just stick it out, persevere, etc.”, but frankly when people can’t afford to put food on the table, they’re not building or remodeling their homes, so dedication and commitment to our business would never have been enough. We had to streamline our product line to include only the most profitable items that were still selling. Even as our business is thriving today, I’ll still give any business owner the same advice: Stick with what you’re good at and crush it! At various points over the years, we tried to expand our product line to include veneer stone and some other things, but had to stop production because the competition for those products was overwhelming. We own the faux beam market today because we capitalized on a niche market and focused a majority of our energy being the best at those products.

Instagram: @volterra_products

Michael Browder | Makeup Artist, Drag Queen, female Impersonator

The best advice I can give to someone is the advice I would give myself which is first to not worry, there is nothing in the world that you can’t overcome, you can do whatever and anything you set your mind too.

Instagram: @Mikeyb810
Facebook: Aubrey Ghalichi


Hunter Holquin aka Shayroc | Artist & entrepreneur

The most important lesson that I have learned thus far is that patience is key, and studying your craft is inevitable if you are serious about it.

Instagram: @shayroc

Lana | Jewelry Maker

 Everyone always told me it was impossible to be an artiste when I grew up so I wanted to prove myself right! The most important lesson that I’ve learned so far is to never give up on something you are passionate about. It’s passion; not patience. I’ve had an entire case or minerals and jewlrey stolen from me 2 years into my craft. I was devastated and lost over a few thousand dollars in materials and art alone. It turned into situation that became a blessing. Itonly made me wanna get back in the game and go bigger and be better than I was. Dont give up on your passions.

Instagram: @Fractalwires
Facebook: alana salamone


Wilberto Sierra | Photographer & IT Security Administrator

 Throughout my life journey, I’ve accomplished many goals, but through the path, I’ve encountered obstacles that prevented me to reach them. However, I am the type of person that I like to be challenged and never give up. Also, I have a great support channel or a group of individuals that supports, motivates and inspires me. My support group was critical during my quest because they were the ones that pushed me to be the best, to keep trying and never give up. Sometimes when we are facing obstacles that we might think is the end, we should take a step back, think outside the box, and ask for help. In end, we should never give up, sometimes taking a break helps, but always have your eyes set on the goal.

Instagram: @wsierraphotography

Compel Church | Bringing Hope & Healing to the West Valley

As a church, our vision is to bring hope and healing to our community. Hope is an essential part of overcoming insurmountable odds. Being a church, we believe there is always a God factor to examine when facing insurmountable odds, something we would call a miracle. However, miracles aren’t magical or mystical, rather, they are a partnership with the supernatural.

Before a miracle ever takes place, we often are met with an unforeseen or seemingly impossible circumstance that requires faith to move beyond. Faith is more than a belief in something, in fact, the Bible says that true faith produces action – and action is a necessary component for anyone facing insurmountable odds. It is the belief that the obstacle ahead of us is not for our demise, but for our development. That the pain of the moment will not paralyze us, but propel us forward. In this environment, our faith deepens and gives us strength to face future impossible situations with greater faith and courage.

Lastly, we encourage people to find a community that will both cheer them on and champion their development. We need people who will believe in us before we sometimes believe in ourselves. We also need people who can share hard truths when we are heading the wrong direction. Very few things, if any, will shape us more than the people we hang around with. If you’re facing insurmountable odds, find the right people to help carry you to the other side.

If you’re facing insurmountable odds, know that you can make it and you’re not alone!

Instagram: @CompelChurch

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Meet Catherine Pettitt of Corbin’s Legacy Charity in Mesa Thu, 20 Feb 2020 01:00:53 +0000 Today we’d like to introduce you to Catherine Pettitt. Thanks for sharing your story with us Catherine. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there. I am a professional educator who has worked in high poverty, Title 1 schools throughout the Phoenix area for the past two decades. I am […]

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Today we’d like to introduce you to Catherine Pettitt.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Catherine. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I am a professional educator who has worked in high poverty, Title 1 schools throughout the Phoenix area for the past two decades. I am currently pursuing my doctorate at Northern Arizona University while serving as a lead teacher and principal intern for the Mesa Public School District. My mission as a teacher is to provide for the holistic needs of students. Along my teaching journey, I befriended a generous soul with whom I taught: Corbin Leafman. Her mission to serve her students aligned with mine. While her life was brief due to cancer, in her honor, those closest to her launched the charity, Corbin’s Legacy: a local 501c3 nonprofit, which has provided food and medical services to Title 1 elementary school students since 2015.

I now currently serve as Corbin’s Legacy’s Title 1 Schools Director. Corbin’s Legacy provides mass distributions of food to Title 1 schools in Mesa, Glendale, Phoenix, Laveen, Apache Junction, and Peoria. In the past year, our charity has distributed 5,400 backpacks filled with food and sponsored 400 Title 1 classrooms (food is provided to classrooms during the school day). Most prominently, Corbin’s Legacy has a medical platform, which has funded the first school-based health clinic in Mesa Public Schools at Emerson Elementary School. This school-based health clinic has partnered with A.T. Still University, wherein medical students give health screenings under the supervision of a physician. My doctoral work is focused on studying the effects of the clinic.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The best lesson I have learned, and a mantra I like to use is this: you need to give it a try one more time. It’s that moment when you want to quit that is the most pivotal: just one more attempt reinvigorates your mission and usually offers some clarity. One of the greatest challenges I encountered as a Title 1 Schools Director for my charity was building credibility and merit with new school partnerships. The elevator speech requires repetition, faith, and persistence.

Corbin’s Legacy Charity – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Corbin’s Legacy’s mission is to improve outcomes of underrepresented elementary school children through the elimination of food and medical insecurity. Our vision is to be changed and make change for good because we knew her. The most unique and wonderful part of our charity is that we don’t require any documentation of need, and we never turn away a request for food or medical assistance for underrepresented elementary children.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Seeing the transformational power, first hand, of how the community responds — has been humbling and fruitful. It’s well and good to contribute your own talents, but it is remarkable to step back and watch a community share in an effort to make positive, lasting change.

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Image Credit:
Angela Vaughan; JJ Westgate

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