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Gilbert’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 Gilbert and surrounding areas below.

Amaya Damme

During high school, I took a two year-long CNA Program that my high school offered. I had the intention throughout high school that I would be a pediatrician. I then worked as a CNA during the program and quickly got discouraged and realized that I wasn’t cut out for the medical field. One of my favorite lifestyle YouTuber (Julia Havens) posted a video about a workday in her life as a social media manager for Sephora. I had never heard of this job before, and after watching her video, I started researching immediately. I changed my college career path from nursing to marketing about a month later after finding the video. I started college and during orientation, one of the professors told me about their social media marketing certificate that Chandler-Gilbert Community College offered. I took 20 credits my first year mainly focusing on the certification. During my second semester of college, I wanted to finish up the certificate and had to find an internship. Read more>>

Neil A Miller

My story is about a community of people interested in creative photography. These people formed the Arizona Photography Alliance after the Phoenix Art Museum made policy changes that caused Infocus its photography support group to shut down. It was immediately apparent to those involved with Infocus that they needed to continue to have group events and other photography related activities. It was actually a breath of fresh air to be able to create a non-profit organization with its own goals not restricted by an umbrella organization. The Arizona Photography Alliance is now in its third year and has increased its membership to over 100 people. Our mission includes developing photographic programs and exhibitions that benefit our members as photographers, collectors and photo enthusiasts. It is an open group interested in the many ways creative photography can be appreciated. Read more>>

Victoria Chaubo

I’m from Paris, France in 2019 I decided to move in the us at first it was a simple cultural experience but then I decided that I wanted to settle there, I first move in Los Angeles and then in January 2020 I moved in Phoenix. So in LA I took some acting techniques classes and I moved here I wanted to pursue in acting but because of the lockdown I couldn’t. So during quarantine I decided to learn how to write scripts and I started to produced my own short films. My first short film made entirely from How with my iPhone I had a lot of good reviews from people and I submitted it to a contest in which I ended up to be a semi-finalist it was amazing because I never really had any experience. My second short film was more professional I gather three friends and a camera we shot different angles. This one was picked to be on a new streaming platform I usually get inspired by real life I wrote about mental health, Faith, relationships… All my short were produced in during quarantine without any budget I clearly took a leap of faith even if the industry was and still is shut I took it as an opportunity to develop my creativity and to work on my craft. Read more>>

Jordan McKinnon

I was working at an airline on the ramp for 5 years, enjoying the benefits of free travel and a flexible schedule. I did everything from scuba diving with reef sharks in Thailand, to backpacking the south island of New Zealand. In 2019, we found out my girlfriend was pregnant. This was a surprise and it made me terrified. I did not feel like I was ready to be a dad. I did not feel financially ready. I did not feel ready to give up the travel and adventures. The months leading up to my daughter’s birth were some of the scariest times and I became a bit depressed. The moment Skyler was born, my fears were gone. I found my new purpose, a new adventure. I love her more than anything in the world and her being born made me think about pursuing my passions. The airline was a great job, but did not push me intellectually or drive me creatively. I had done some photo and video work on the side for a long time, but I didn’t know how to make it a full-time job. With Skyler here, I wanted to teach her by example to follow her dreams. When COVID hit and the airline industry took a turn, I jumped at the opportunity to go on leave and start my photography and videography business. Read more>>

Anna Kupitz

When I was in junior high, I was on the ketogenic diet for my seizures; this meant I had to eat less than 15 grams of carbs per day and load up on the fat. At the same time, I discovered that I really enjoyed baking cupcakes. I loved the creativity of it. But there was no taste-testing for me. I could never try any of the cupcakes I made, not even one taste of the batter. Due to this, I got to experience doing something purely for the love of the activity itself, and the joy others got out of it, not because of the gratification I experienced. My mom and now business partner, Mary, has always been a baker who would create beautiful desserts for events throughout the years. Leading up to college, she and I would bake cupcakes for weddings and such of friends and family, until we ultimately decided to go into business together. I went to school at Arizona State University for Business Entrepreneurship, and, in the summer of 2018, Sugar Jitters officially launched. It continues to grow while remaining true to our family and community based roots. Read more>>

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