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Chandler’s Rising Stars

The heart of our mission at VoyagePhoenix is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In the recent weeks, we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of the Greater Phoenix area’s finest artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with our city’s incredibly deep talent pool. Check out inspiring stories from Chandler and surrounding areas below.

Victoria, Constance, and Johanna Van Klompenburg

A few years ago, a number of our family members were diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). We quickly started Speech and O.T. services to try to catch up on the missed early intervention that is so critical. One of our kiddos was at O.T. and did not want to participate in working on her executive functioning. Her mom who is a special education teacher, cut her a deal: Once we find an activity that she likes to work on we will stop services and replace it with the new activity. One day we went to a soap store and once inside, she lit up. This was the activity! We jumped on the ability to work on her planning/prioritizing, organization, time management and sustained attention. Soap making is a very precise activity that required every skill that she needed to strengthen. After working on these skills, we thought – how can we use these new skills to BLESS others. After realizing all of the sensory needs of many of our friends, we had an aha moment. We would make fun soap for kids that don’t want to bathe and try our best to make it as natural as possible. Read more>>

Jerricka Staten

In 2018, one of my close friends introduced me to the idea of making my own hair care products. I began obsessing over ingredients and how to make different products. I tried recipe after recipe until I had something that I believed in. I started out with two products, Strengthening African Black Soap Shampoo and the Lemongrass Infinity Cream. Now, fast forward to the present-day, I have nine products. My products contain mostly organic, all-natural ingredients, some of which I have personally grown in my garden. I love my hair and how it makes me feel when it is freshly done. Great hair can change a person’s mood and boost their confidence drastically. I want to provide that feeling to anyone I can reach, especially during the crazy times we are in. Read more>>

Ciara Bennett

Back in 2016, I was working a corporate job and at the time the schedule wasn’t working for me and my family. I had just had a new baby and wanted to be more hands-on with my kids. I had never thought of business before or knew anyone who had a business but I knew there was more for me than working for a large corporation who looked at me as a number. I prayed for years to know what my purpose in life was. At the age of 23, I was the mother of a 5-year-old and survived a 6 year physically abusive relationship. At that point, I was desperate for change. One morning I woke up with a whole business plan for granola. Prior to this I had never eaten granola or knew what it was honestly. I went to the drawing board and started researching granola. I sketched up my logo and created an LLC first. Read more>>

Nicole O’Hare

I think this is a great question about how I got started and how I became a therapist and where I am currently in my private practice. I always wanted to be in the mental health field and when I initially graduated from high school, that was my plan was to get my bachelor’s in psychology. I continued on that path for a few years until I had my son, which changed things for me in regards to being a full-time student. My son was About 18 months old when I decided I needed to go back to school and pursue my bachelor’s degree. I took a few classes at the community college to figure out if I wanted to continue on the path of getting my bachelor’s in psychology. I actually switched my major to nursing and quickly found out that path was not for me, and this lead me back to original path of psychology. Read more>>

Kelly Dillard

I was born in Phoenix, Arizona. I lived here until I was ten years old. Once after that, my mom, my sisters and I all moved to Kansas City, Missouri. I lived in Kansas City until I was 20 years old. Throughout my childhood, I loved to play sports like ice hockey, baseball, basketball, and football. I got my athletic genes from my dad, who is a former pro baseball player. Fortunately, none of those ever really stuck with me because I discovered skateboarding. I was 12 when I really started to engage in skateboarding. It has helped me a lot mentally throughout my years of growing up. I’ve dealt with bullying, suicidal thoughts, and self-harm. Skateboarding was always my outlet and has made me the person that I am today. I have met so many great people and made so many wonderful friendships. Read more>>

Ellicia Romo

I got started as a teacher in Arizona in 1994. After moving from Northern AZ to the Phoenix area, I knew I wanted to find a new career path. I joined a company where I was able to learn about life and health insurance and investments as well. They helped me with schooling and training and before long, I was licensed in life and health insurance and I had a series 6 and 63 to sell mutual funds. I stayed in that field for a while. I had great mentors and learned the art of closing a sale and training others. At this time of my life, I went through a divorce and needed to make a career move again. We were working together and I did not want that. The divorce left me financially strained. I was reliant on the state for assistance while I worked to get back on my feet. Read more>>

Edie Klein

My name is Edie Klein, the owner and creator of Fairview & Co Design. I repurpose vintage barn wood that’s been salvaged from my great-uncle’s barn into new jewelry. I got my start making beaded jewelry in 2003 when a co-worker taught me the basics. I’ve loved jewelry since I was a kid and was so excited to learn everything I could to make my own creations. In 2016, I was looking for a new medium that would allow me more creative control over my designs when my dad mentioned that my great-uncle’s barn was slated to be torn down. Woodworking was not something that I had previously considered, but it intrigued me. I made a few prototypes and was instantly hooked. Read more>>

Emilie Ma

Modern Women is a student-led humanitarian relief project aimed towards women’s rights to reproductive health. By making menstrual products more easily available and increasing discourse about female anatomy, we are destigmatizing the fight to improve the holistic health of women in the states. Every year, we devise a plan to aid a target population, especially Native American menstruators. We run fundraisers, donate feminine products in hygiene care packages, partner up with local clinics and reservations. We hope to bridge the gap between access to female hygiene products and low-income menstruators with its efforts. Read more>>

Jay Landfair

The Jaxon Foundation story starts on November 7th 2018; about a year before the foundation was officially created. Jaxon had been at a Marching Band competition a few days before and while unloading the equipment from the trucks he started feeling light headed and felt he was going to pass out. I received a call to come and pick him up. We went to the doctor the next day. He was tested for mono and a few other things but it seemed he just had a migraine and was to try and sleep it off. The doctor said if he wasn’t better in two days to bring him back in. Two days later we called to make the appointment to bring him back in and we were told it would be faster to take him to the emergency room for bloodwork to be done. Read more>>

Jackson Solomon

I’ve been drawing and creating artwork for as long as I can remember. My mom was an artist, so from a young age I drew a ton of inspiration from her. Growing up I was always doodling cartoons and creating characters, trying new styles, and as the years went on I started playing with various mediums. I did lots of digital art, and started working with digital art programs as early as 13 years old. When I started private art lessons, I started working more with different types of paints: watercolor, acrylic, and oil paint for the most part. Since then, my art style has become a lot more refined, and in some ways even more abstract. I still create characters and have recently been improving my graphic design skills, and soon plan on trying to create a webcomic with a friend. Read more>>


Candace Schacherbauer

I graduated from The National Esthetics Institute of Scottsdale in 2004. At the time, I did not realize this would be my life path and that I would love my career so much. I actually talked my mom into attending Esthetics school with me which made it fun to have a close study partner. We threw around the idea of opening up a spa or two but I ended up going to work for a renowned Plastic Surgeon in the Ahwatukee area right after graduating. Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the most talented plastic surgeons. It’s funny to think I’m back in Ahwatukee with the same doctor I started with right out of school! Read more>>

Ruchi Kalra

I came to the US as a young 15-year-old college student from Africa. Over the years I graduated in Math, Computer Science, and an MBA in Marketing. I worked in various roles in corporate America in revenue accounting/sales planning and analysis to marketing for an orthodontist. Read more>>

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