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Baltimore’s Most Inspiring Stories

The heart of our mission is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our communities. In the recent weeks, we’ve had the privilege to connect with some incredible artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with the incredible group below. Check out our favorite stories from across the Voyage family.

Ron Jeffries

My name is Ron Jeffries, born and raised in Baltimore. I grew up in the hood on Poplar Grove and Rayner. Raised by a single mother we struggled to make due. I was then afforded the opportunity to attend the Baltimore School for the Arts and that’s when the world of the arts was open to me. Since then, I’ve never been the same. Never in a million years would I have thought a poor black boy from the hood would be afforded so much opportunity in a world that seems to exist without equality for black men. Read more>>

Thea Tullman Moore

I always loved to sing as a little girl. In middle school, I was cast as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz and Wendy in Peter Pan, and after that, I was hooked! My high school had an excellent music program, and I was fortunate to have solo opportunities with the concert choir and leading roles in the school musicals. I was encouraged to take voice lessons at 16 and I quickly fell in love with art songs. I knew that I wanted to pursue music in college but I was also interested in the humanities, particularly literature and foreign languages. Read more>>

Lo Ivey

Growing up in Washington, DC, I always had a passion for the fast-paced lifestyle. After high school, I decided to further my education at the illustrious Clark Atlanta University, where I studied my passion, Public Relations. Throughout my matriculation, I interned for many companies and agencies, big and small, which led me to find my niche within the sports and entertainment industries (mostly sports!). After college, I began to freelance and work under some of the top publicists within the Atlanta area. Read more>>

Von Tae

DeVante Eugene Jones (born August 25th, 1992), known as Von Tae (often stylized VON TAE), is an American singer, songwriter, and rapper. He first garnered attention on social media after his controversial single “Contagious” went viral under a J. Cole tweet on Twitter in 2019. Along with being featured by various media outlets including Jet Magazine, he has also received praise from Industry veterans such as Senior A&R Earl Johnson from Jay-Z’s Roc Nation record label, actress and comedy legend Luenell, Kandi Burruss from the iconic 90’s R&B girl group Xscape and many more. ​Read more>>

Imani Pittmon

Hi! There are 2 sides to my story. First, I’ll begin with baking. Since I was a child, I’ve always enjoyed baking and trying different cupcake flavors. I remember that my mom used to always bake a yellow cake with chocolate icing, although I do not like chocolate, the cake was always amazing. This started my obsession with cakes, mainly cupcakes because they are smaller and easier to make. The 2nd part of my story is about my nursing journey. Read more>>

Becca Maffett

The moment I remember realizing I had a serious interest in photography was in my high school graphic design class. We had a project where we had to take photographs and then bring them into Photoshop to edit/alter/etc. These photos were taken on a point-and-shoot camera that I had at the time and were nothing special… but it was the first time I felt like I was paying attention to how light affects objects, creating different shadows, and I was hooked. Read more>>

Kay Campbell

Ever since I was young, I have always been interested in fashion, and it really took off once I turned 11 was and able to be more in control of my wardrobe. During the school week, I had to wear a uniform, so on weekends, I would want to shine when it came to what I wore. It wasn’t just about looking amazing for me, though, it was about looking unique. I didn’t want to wear the same clothing that everyone else wore, I wanted something different. I would mix and match clothing to fit my personal style and look amazing. ​Read more>>

Jane Wise

I started painting about 12 years ago after homeschooling my 2 children. During that time, I taught art classes. I quickly realized that I liked making the art more than teaching. So I started taking art classes with different artists. I started at Longwood Gardens with a plant illustration class because I enjoyed gardening and art. Then I took some classes through Lancaster County Art Association with Karen Fratalli. Read more>>

Sherri Sembly

My career in real estate began in 2014 and I spent the first 6 years of my career working at two brokerages. I was excited about my career change, and I wanted to learn everything. I excelled quickly and helping people reach their real estate goals became my passion. It was life-changing for me to help others change their lives. In the Spring of 2020, my best friend and I took a leap of faith, and we started our own franchise brokerage with NextHome. Together, we opened NextHome Forward, located in Nottingham, MD. Read more>>

Asisat Edu

My name is Asisat Edu and the Principal Interior Designer and Founder of DIH Designs. My husband and I purchased our first home in 2018. I loved our home but wanted it to reflect us. I immediately went to what I would like to call “Youtube University” and learned many DIY projects. After seeing so many people’s reactions to my home and how therapeutic it was for me, I immediately wanted to provide the same experience for others. Read more>>

Art DeyJom

ArtDeyJom, born (James Atsu Agbolosu) is an abstract and a Pop Artist who does not always attempt to represent an accurate depiction of a visual reality but instead uses shapes, colors, and forms to send a visual language to whoever comes in contact with his works. Art was introduced to me at the most difficult time of my life when I was unemployed after the retail store I worked with for 5years closed down. Read more>>

Kristin Baker

I worked in the events & hospitality industry–waitressing and bartending at weddings, banquets, restaurants & clubs for over 9 years in my hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana. So I’ve seen a lot, learned a lot, and been able to experience and work with some great individuals. From a very young age, I’ve had a natural eye for creativity and a passion for helping others achieve their highest potential. Once I relocated to D.C in 2018, I landed a part-time event assisting role with a local event planning firm. Did that for about 2 years and finally realize… that my ideas were something I wanted to share with the world? Read more>>

Victoria Waddell

I pretty much always had a really strong ambition to be something. I didn’t know exactly what it was but I wanted to be somebody. I’ve been creative all my life and I love making things for people. Seeing the looks on my customer’s faces when they get their item makes me want to go harder. Of course not! Business is never a smooth road if it is not working hard enough. Some days, I would sell 100 items, and some days, I won’t have any sales. It’s all about determination to keep going, it’s been plenty of times I wanted to quit. Read more>>

Alex Robinson

I am originally from Long Island, New York, and grew up playing baseball. I wasn’t the biggest or most talented player on the field, but I was always the most determined. I earned a full scholarship to the University of Maryland where I played my college baseball from 2013 to 2015. In my years in College Park, I was a part of two teams that won NCAA Regionals in Columbia, South Carolina, and Los Angeles, California. At the end of my junior year in 2015, I was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 5th Round (140th Overall).  Read more>>

Jared Tracey

I started my journey into the unknown at a young age. At the age of 16, I saw my father’s apparition at the cemetery he was buried 2 years prior. He was leaning on my car with his arms crossed wearing the same clothes he was buried in. He was there for a split second and gave me a head nod and then slowly dissipated. It was at that moment I knew I had to figure out the how and why of what I just witnessed. I got with one of my best friends Brent Smith because he was going through activities at his home as well. We formed Pasadena Paranormal Investigators, which is now Pasadena Paranormal. Read more>>

Triple Threat Brass

We all met each other as kids through a local music program. As we got older, we noticed that we wanted to take music more seriously and actually do it as a profession. Triple Threat Brass was created in 2019 based on the overall concept of wanting to push various boundaries with the basic norms of music, and just simply extend those elements to a new level. As of 2020, we’ve been able to perform for numerous events, as well as, collaborate with many amazing businesses, all within Baltimore. Read more>>

Ann-Sophie Juste

My name is Ann-Sophie Juste, Co-Founder of PrideandBeauty. I am originally from Port-Au-Prince Haiti; Baltimore is where I currently reside. Small business owners have always been the way of life where I come from growing up in Haiti, I remember the people in my neighborhood as well as my family having small shops out front of their homes. Selling handmade\homemade goods is extremely prevalent in my culture. Small business is the way my people make a way when we have no other options or avenues. Read more>>

Leslie Shreve

It all started back in 2004—one year after starting my business. I realized I was still dragging around my big ol’ Franklin Covey planner from my last corporate job and I was also still carrying around my 1998, brick-sized, cell phone. And they both had to go. I wanted to operate more efficiently and productively, and planner-free. So I bought my first “PDA” (Personal Digital Assistant) from Verizon in late 2004. Then I ditched the planner and decided to maximize the use of my old familiar friend, Microsoft Outlook®, a system I’d been using since the early ’90s after I graduated from college. Read more>>

Lanre Vincent Adeyinka

Coming from a family of chefs and restauranteurs, it wasn’t much of a hassle juggling between flight school and culinary school. Flipping through cookbooks as a child, boy 5 or 6 years, I would say the passion, the daydream of that little boy experimenting in his mum’s kitchen, I would say propelled me to the world stage from the little kitchen in Lagos Nigeria to London, Cairo, Paris, Tel Aviv and now Baltimore. Read more>>

Kennedy Ringgold

I’ve always had a love for art and luckily my mom has always encouraged and nurtured my passion. I was always in art camps and classes and in 2014, I attended MICA pre-college which led to me going on to get my bachelor of fine arts in 2019 from MICA as well. My mom also helped me get my LLC. known as TRILLEXPRESSIONS LLC where I do a number of things including Commissioned drawings and paintings, murals, live wedding paintings, and tattoos! Read more>>

Ben Lamp

Our owner, Chuck Cregger, started building and installing railings and stairs over 20 years ago. He has a passion for creating new things and taking on challenging projects. His passion breathes through every employee we have. We have expanded our business into remodeling, building decks, barn doors, and bars as well. While we love every side of our business, we always stay true to what brought us here, railings and stairs. Read more>>

Maverick James

One of my older close friends was making music for years and that inspired me to start making music. I started making music ever since high school so it’s been a decade now. I was decent at first but ever since I have been more music over these last few years, I felt like I have been improving with my music a lot. Now, I’m at a point where I feel like I deserve more shine, more credit, you know? I just want my music to be heard a lot more. Read more>>

Ashna Pathan

I am a film and theatre composer who recently graduated from the Music for New Media program at the Peabody Conservatory. My interest in music began when I was five, and my love for my dad’s Bon Jovi CDs had me convinced I wanted to be a rockstar. With the best intentions in mind, my mom put me in classical piano lessons in response. This went about as well as you can imagine, and I spent several years in classical piano lessons goofing around, making up my own silly arrangements of the pieces I was supposed to be practicing instead of learning them as written, much to my piano teacher’s disdain. Read more>>

Christina Mills

My name is Christina Renee’, owner of ThePlannerJournal.com, and mom of three, born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. I’ve been a Dental Assistant for over ten years specializing in Periodontistry, Prothsodontistry, Oral Surgery, and General Dentistry. While working at the University Of Maryland Oral Maxillofacial Surgery Associates, I specialized in Facial Prosthetics, Surgical Obturators, and Cosmetic work for recovering cancer patients. Read more>>

Andrew Sheppard

I grew up on the water around boats and the marine industry. So naturally, my passion for boating and being out on the bay and the local rivers stems from my childhood being spent doing anything that involved fishing, swimming, and boating. I was taught from a young age that I have to earn and work hard for the things I had. So everything I have ever owned I worked hard for. That followed through with me starting my own boat rental company. My mother owns her own business and has taught me much of what I know today and I aspire to be as successful as she has been. Read more>>

Stacey Flood

My name is Stacey Flood and I wear two hats. I am a professional organizer and an HR professional. I love helping people and making systems run and operate smoothly. I guess you could say that my two “jobs” are a perfect marriage. My mottos are “Everything has a space and a place” and ” Don’t work harder, work smarter!” I’ve always had an eye for order and I like things neat and tidy. I do not function well in chaos and clutter. Read more>>

Maceo

I was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. That’s where I originally got my start in music I grew up singing in church choirs and chorales. I sang background for a few of my friends, did talent shows and I really got more invested in music when I was in my senior year of high school and wrote my first song about an ex and that really pushed me to want to pursue music in a more professional way. From there, I auditioned for many TV shows such as Sunday’s best, American Idol, X-Factor, and The Voice. Read more>>

Jazsmin Bryant

My name is Jazsmin Bryant, creator of Epik Creations, LLC Graphic Design and Photography. I must say I have always been a very creative and think-outside-the-box type of individual so being an artist was destined. I started taking pictures when I was 17 at Hampton University in a photojournalism class. That year for Christmas, my parents bought me my first camera, a Canon EOS Rebel T6 kit for the class and I automatically fell in love. I not only completed my class assignments, but I also began taking photos around campus for graduation, events, etc. Read more>>

Hannah Everhart

I’ve wanted to be a tattoo artist since I was seventeen, and opening my own shop was always the goal. In 2012, I finally plucked up the courage and put every scrap of art I had made between high school and my two semesters of community college and went to every shop within a 30-mile radius of my house looking for a tattoo apprenticeship. I mostly got the brush off – even had one shop laugh me out the door for not being “tattooed enough” to warrant a tattoo apprenticeship. But I got one yes, and that’s all it took. I started tattooing in 2013 and never looked back! Read more>>

Brittany Yates

I started my business in 2011, I founded a nonprofit organization. As I was working on developing the organization, I frequently visited a French bakery/coffee shop. The coffee shop was open 24/7 and I would go late in the evenings and stay until 3 or 4 am. One thing I found interesting is that during this late night and early morning hours, the coffee shop would be filled with people working. I’m an introvert, so I never talked to anyone one-on-one. Read more>>

Mai Ly Degnan

I grew up in a tiny town in central Florida. Definitely, as a kid, I was always drawing nonstop. I carried a sketchbook and always had microns and markers on hand. However, even though I was always drawing, I never quite knew that it could be a career. I never really had the opportunity to take art classes, and viewed my drawing as something “just for fun”. It wasn’t until my 2nd year of college, while I was on a pre-med track, that I took my first art class. That was a huge turning point and an eye-opener for me because I all of the sudden found a passion that had always kind of been there throughout my life. Read more>>

Hanna Mangold

In 2019, after studying English Lit and creative writing, working as an ESL teacher, a professor, a tutor, a retail clerk, a waiter, a dishwasher, a hostess, a prep cook, a nanny, a dog walker, a secretary, a leasing agent, an ice-cream scooper, and a house cleaner, and living in Virginia, Georgia, Vermont, West Virginia, DC, and Austria. I followed a whim and enrolled in massage school at the Holistic Massage Training Institute here in Baltimore, MD. This turned out to be a total game-changer for me—I didn’t even really believe one could have a career they really and totally loved! Read more>>

Ardajah Jones

I started my journey in middle school when I went to an open house at my soon-to-be high school North Point. North Point was a unique school that offered a variety of vocational, science, and technology programs. At the open house, middle schoolers from the whole county were invited to tour each of the individual programs. I immediately walked into the cosmetology lab and was enamored by all of the doll heads, hair tools, and mirrors. Read more>>

Septimius The Great

At the age of 17, I started as a fashion model in Baltimore at my high school – Baltimore Polytechnic Institute which was an outlet for me to break out of my public shyness. After graduating high school attended college in San Diego, CA for 1 year before returning to Baltimore due to the passing of my mother. I then continue modeling with training thru the Travis Winkey modeling school and began modeling all over the DMV area while attending Morgan State University. Read more>>

Angelo Solera

My name is Angelo Solera, I was born in Spain and immigrated to the United States at the age of 17, and have lived and worked in Baltimore since then. Over 25 years of experience working in the Latino community, a long-time community leader, advocate, activist & health care professional, having held several positions in government, health care, and community-based organization including a political candidate for city council in Baltimore City District one in 2003. Read more>>

Devyn Samios-Uy

The passing of my mother in 2018, who was always proud of me no matter what I did, pushed me to venture out on my own and open my own business in 2019. I wanted to continue to make her proud of me. After working for others for years, earning the bare minimum, and working myself to the bone, I sought out my mentor Cheryl Hicks, who taught me Reiki, and asked if I could join her Center as an independent massage therapist, Reiki healer, and crystal healer. Read more>>

Breyah Williams

I am from Baltimore, Maryland, but attended a high school in Westminster, Maryland. As a teenager who moved away from all of her friends, I was pretty upset that I had to move out there. But while I was there, I attended a tech program and was able to explore talents that I was not aware of, the main one being sewing clothes. (Everything does happen for a reason) That was truly the one thing that bought me joy whenever I was going through challenging situations. The first outfit that I designed for myself, outside of the tech program, was a prom dress. Read more>>

Justin West

Justin “Siriguejo” West started training capoeira in Baltimore in 2005 with a Brazilian instructor. In the fall of 2006 Siriguejo, along with other capoeira students, made his first trip to Brazil for his capoeira instructor’s wedding, and stayed in brazil for 4 months studying and training in Salvador, Bahia, and Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais. Upon returning to Baltimore in March 2007, he started teaching capoeira as his instructor had moved to California after the wedding. Read more>>

Gabriel Vicentico Vargas Estrella

It makes me a little nostalgic to talk about how it all started. Since I was 4 years old, I have always been a sports fan, especially soccer. As I grew up, it gave me great experiences, traveling to different places and meeting a lot of people. I did tryouts for several professional teams and I also played in the 3rd division of the Mexico professional soccer league. My passion for sports also came from my father and my uncles. they have always liked sports like soccer, football, baseball, basketball, and many others.  Read more>>

Justin B. Smith

My name is Justin B. Smith. For those that don’t know, I am from South Florida, Broward County to be exact. Originally a model, I am now an entrepreneur specializing in digital marketing, content creation, and one-on-one coaching. I received a certificate in Social Media Marketing in January 2021. It made me happy because I knew that the skills I possessed and now had would allow me to really help individuals from a business perspective. Read more>>

Trish Kallis

I’ve had a passion for organizing my entire life. When I was a child, I would spend time organizing my room (no really, ask my mom). For me, organizing is very therapeutic. When I see clutter, assess the space, categorize items, and neatly place them back, it gives me satisfaction like nothing else. Recently, I decided to take the plunge into entrepreneurship. I created Chaos & Couture Professional Organizing to turn my passion into a full time career. The idea of doing something I love for someone who needs help with their space, is an actual dream come true! Read more>>

Lertkiet Lertchayantee

In 2011, I spent 48 hours by plane and by car to arrive in a small college town in Kentucky as an international student from Thailand. The first night there was no water service in the house where I was going to live. I remember walking 2 miles to buy water from Wal Mart so I could bathe and brush my teeth. For three years it was surviving minimal English skills, being broke all the time and serious culture shock. Many times, I would ask myself “What am I doing here?”, “I miss Thailand – Is this where I want to be for the future”, “Can I be happy in America?”. Read more>>

1 Comment

  1. Janice Bryant-Baker

    June 30, 2021 at 7:16 pm

    I have enjoyed reading about ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

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