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Tempe’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 Tempe and surrounding areas below.

Elisha Thompson

My life is beautiful. I am who I am and I am where in life due to a number of varying circumstances and events. However, there is no doubt that my introduction to yoga not only changed my life forever, but saved it. In January of 2008, I was in the lowest part of my life. I was 32 and so miserable that I didn’t want to live life anymore and attempted suicide. Three years prior, I had a gastric bypass and lost over a 100 pounds. Until that point, I had spent my entire life believing that if I were able to get thin that I would be happy. All my problems, worries, and fears would magically disappear. I couldn’t have been more misguided. I lost the weight and was even unhappier than I had been prior to surgery. Read more>>

Amber Bengson

Since I was very young, I enjoyed creating crafts with my mom and sisters. She’d have us paint window catchers, Christmas ornaments, and wooden jewelry boxes every year. As I grew up, I still cherished my love for creating art, but went on to study biochemistry and healthcare. For a while, my academic side took precedence over my creative side. When the pandemic hit, I decided to get back into painting, researching techniques and learning by watching those more skilled than I was. I began posting time lapses of my paintings on social media, and found some interested buyers. After a few months of commissioning pieces for friends and acquaintances. Read more>>

Chelsea and Trevor Martin

Noms Bake Shop is a family-owned business that started in 2015 out of the home kitchen in Scottsdale, AZ. After pulling dad out of retirement and pursuing a small hobby of selling cookies at local businesses and farmers markets, we found the response to our products to be overwhelmingly positive. Simultaneously, we were noticing an opportunity in the gifting world to create a gourmet product with a custom/personalized touch that was easy to give and memorable to receive. We developed gourmet cookie assortments that are shipped nationwide in customized gift boxes that feature our clients’ logos, messaging, photos, or other personalization that makes the recipient feel special and thought of. Read more>>

Mark Jamnik

Growing up, my Mom would take me to art classes, and I would get ideas at art classes and then go home and try and duplicate. I LOVED art. As a little boy, my Grandma “Gram” used to call me “Marky.” Marky loved coloring, drawing (trucks), creating art out of paper… anything art related. When I grew up, I put my art away. Looking back now, I created a story that I couldn’t make money or the type of money I was going to need to make in order to live for the “expensive taste” I had in life. My Dad jokingly said “you have very expensive taste you are going to need to make a lot of money someday.” My parents are supportive of everything I do, and I know he made the statement with the absolute best intention to prepare me for life. Luckily he told me that because that took me on a journey towards a path that I’m still pursuing today. Read more>>

Debbie Kail

I grew up outside of Boston, loving the seasons! I always pushed myself to try new things and I loved exploring, which is how I ended up going to Emory University in Atlanta, GA, when there is no shortage of amazing higher ed opportunities in the Boston area! I loved college – yes, I loved learning but I loved having internships and being involved throughout campus. I used to joke with my friends that my real major was my extracurricular activities – helping to run a literacy program in local schools and serving in leadership in my sorority. Read more>>

Lucas and Jenni Sproul

Over a decade in sales experience and a degree in electrical engineering – concentration in power systems and renewable energy – came out of the campus ministry sector into new and uncomfortable territory for me… door to door in home automation and emergency response with an exceptional company called Vivint. I thought I was so above it and would never touch that stuff with a 9-foot pole. Three years later, I had driven my little beater Scion TC from Sacramento to Grand Rapids to Houston to Charlotte, Florida, Dallas, and even the Bay area, met my life along the way, made some good money, honed my skills in recruiting, leadership, and sales, and found a new appreciation for the hustle life. Read more>>

Nick Arcade

Everything began with art. I’ve been drawing/sketching since I could hold a pen or pencil. My fashion story started a few years ago. Fresh off of graduation and completing an internship, I was faced with a tough decision. Should I pursue some sort of career in the media field with my degree or attempt to build something of my own from scratch. I’d been reselling vintage clothes online for quite a while but I hadn’t branded it and It didn’t really have a particular direction. I attempted a t-shirt line quite a while back but after about a year, I decided it wasn’t headed in the direction I wanted it to. Read more>>

Eleanor Martin

I was one of the unfortunate souls who graduated high school amongst the corona class of 2020. The familiar streets of farming town Alma, Michigan, paired with an unadventurous online curriculum, had my mind wandering to every corner of the earth in search of adventure. At some point, the stresses of daily life amidst a global pandemic which kept me in close quarters with my immediate family led me to an epiphany; there was nothing holding me back anymore. I was a legal adult with no true purpose in the town I’d long exhausted. Within a matter of two weeks, I made all the plans necessary to move from my hometown of 18 years to Tempe, Arizona. I expected to be nervous, but the longer I waited, I began to realize it wasn’t going to happen. Read more>>

Tamica Sears

I’ve been an HR professional for about 20 years and I thought that coaching was a natural next step. While it was a great next step, there was nothing natural about it. I had to learn a brand new skill, which was challenging. I did a 6-month coaching course and learned how to effectively coach and be a better leader. Honestly, it changed my life. I’m a better mother, friend, and leader now because of the coaching skills I was fortunate enough to receive. I started doing coaching internally at a missile defense company and was able to then get some external clients. From there, my business has had its ups and downs but I have continued to grow. Read more>>

Lacie Wingate

I started my journey as a wedding photographer almost a year ago BUT my journey as a photographer in general started three years ago when I picked up a camera for the first time! At the time I was too much of an introvert to go out and photograph people, which is SO opposite of how I feel now! I stepped out of landscape photography for my sister who asked me to take some photos for her, and I feel in looooove. At the time I was still working a full-time job and going to school full time, so any free time I got I would go out and shoot. Fast forward a few years and now I just finished college and went full time in my photography business! Read more>>

Dana Hubbard

My love for photography began when I was 15. And stealing the family camera any chance I got. When I realized how much I enjoyed it, I decided to enroll in a film photography class at my high school. Learning film first is the reason for my technique and attention to detail in my photography. After film, I did commercial photography and finally portrait photography. Since that class at 16, I have done photos for families, couples, seniors graduating, and even weddings. It is amazing to look back at how far I’ve come from the first time I picked up a DSLR camera! Read more>>

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