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The Change-Makers: stories that inspire

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.

Isabella Rush

I started modeling with an organization called Embrace within UTSA but because of COVID, it was shut down. Then, I read an article looking for fresh faces. I tried out for it and was picked to walk the runway for the first show in San Antonio during TX Fashion Week. After that, photographers and boutiques started reaching out to me to model for them. I have been in different boutique websites and have been published in a magazine. Read more>>

Alexis Boundas

I grew up in Chicago, IL and moved to Austin for school. Ever since I was a young girl, I have been balancing my modeling career and dreams of becoming a doctor. Since as early as I could remember, I have always loved modeling but also always felt that my place in the world was as a doctor, helping children. Growing up, I constantly felt like I was being pulled in two different directions, being told by others and by myself that I had to choose between modeling and school. Read more>>

Castillo Jessie

Money Man Entertainment was established in 2017 by independent artist Figuz and D-Flo, who decided to put their talents and entrepreneurial business sense together to create the MME brand. Starting out with creating and producing music for solo and group projects for themselves. MME transitioned into the production of videos, merchandise, marketing and promoting events for tours such as “Trust the Process” with Ace Hood and “Return of the Trill” with Bun B. Placing the MME brand and it’s artist Figuz and D-Flo center stage to a huge audience. Continuing to stay consistent with music Figuz and D-Flo have released a number of singles under the “ Money Man Entertainment” name courtesy of UnitedMasters.  Read more>>

Sneakpeak into IDIA with Sneha Kashyap Thakur

I started a year ago when I moved to Austin and could not figure out how do I connect with other South Asian Women, whom do I talk to about my mental state, what do I do if I want to engage myself in empowering other women, how can I ask a friend of a friend to help another friend of a friend in a public setting. Read more>>

Grace Shook

My husband knew what he wanted to be from a young age – I was not that kid! I went through a plethora of career options growing up and initially struggled to find my degree in college. I dabbled through various majors – nutrition, business, education, and philosophy before finding sociology and psychology. It was a very frustrating experience! Looking back on it, I did not really know that becoming a counselor or therapist was an option. Mental health was not well known or talked about where I grew up, and I did not know anyone who was in this field at the time. Read more>>

Cheryl Reeley

In order to graduate from my Master’s program, I was required to complete a 9-month internship. My specialization was healthcare so I applied to be an intern at one of the two main hospitals in Champaign, Illinois, where I attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The intern supervisor asked me what populations I’d like to work with and I said “any population except children. I do not want to work in Pediatrics.” Read more>>

Gemma Parmar

I’ve arrived where I am today through the accumulation of all my experiences in life. I take great joy in looking into all the moments of my life to see how they have shaped me into the person I am today. I have this inner soul calling to never live with regret and to immerse myself in the opportunities that life offers me. This gives me the relief that if I died tomorrow, I’ve done everything I can to live a joyous and full life! Read more>>

Diana Deane

It all started for me at a very young age. I always had an entrepreneurial spirit, starting little businesses all through grade school selling my creations to friends during lunch. I remember having a little notebook to write down my orders and was starting the skillset of custom work then and there in middle school. I eventually went to design school where I picked up work doing bridal tailoring and that’s when I really found my niche. Bridal was it for me.  Read more>>

Mario Villanueva

Let’s see.. I was born in Mexico, Tula, Tamaulipas to be exact, in 1992. My family and I moved to the states when I was three, I grew up as the oldest of four, and I became a permanent resident of the US when I was nine. I’d say some of the top influences that contributed to my growing up experience would be: growing up in a small town between Houston and Galveston, Texas, being the eldest of four, navigating my queerness in a Mexican/ Mexican-American household, and being an immigrant.
Read more>>

Tara Miller

As it stands, my primary focus is Indian Esotericism. We can note the Mysteries have both their worldly and mystical functions. On a practical level, Tantra offers physical, tangible techniques to enhance life. In the Tantric concept, the body is the ultimate Yantra or mystical symbol. The body’s subtle energy system is therefore manipulated by mantra, breath, posture, dance, etc. to improve the quality of life. As a result, we are more joyful, amorous and energized, churning with life-force. Others are inspired to participate in this creative, affirming and world-embracing process.  Read more>>

Blake Scott

I started doing special effects video editing when I was 14 and immediately had a love for film. I had to balance my life between basketball and film work and decide to take the basketball route initially. I ended up going to Southwestern University home to play basketball and while I was there I started making comedy videos with the basketball players. Once I realized I wasn’t gonna make the NBA I moved Austin Texas where I started creating comedy skits, short films, doing stand-up comedy, and doing improv classes. Read more>>

La Chelle Dougherty

I was born and raised in Austin, TX. I have always had a career in the construction industry beginning as a glazier, then moving into the field of waterproofing and restoration before settling into the electrical industry where I found myself challenged in a way I never had been before. I worked as an electrician for 4 years before receiving my Journeyman’s License and then my Master Electrician License 3 years later.  Read more>>

Victoria Trevino

My photography journey began when I was five years old and discovered my grandfather’s Polaroid 600 camera (that I still shoot with until this day). I was simply astounded by it’s instant gratification – immortalizing a fleeting moment and simultaneously watching that same moment develop before my eyes just minutes later felt like magic to me. Twenty five years later, I still feel that magic every single time I’m able to capture a fleeting moment for one of the most special days of someone’s lives – their wedding day.  Read more>>

Harish Kotecha

I was born in Uganda, got my degree in engineering from UK, and worked in Uganda util 1972 when dictator Idi Amin decided that all Asians should leave Uganda. I had option to go to UK or come to USA, I chose USA. Upon arrival, I had $200 and friends who housed me. After about three months, I was able to leverage my degree to get a job at IBM. I climbed the ladder and lived the American Dream! Our daughter has masters as Social Worker and our son Savan Kotecha is Oscar nominated song writer with over 300 million songs sold. Read more>>

Casey Slusher

In 2012, I squeezed everything I owned into my Honda Civic and drove 1,400 miles from New Jersey to Texas to start my first “adult” career. I had just graduated from Physician Assistant school and during my training, I’d spent some time in Austin and fell in love with the city, the culture and the people. The city and the opportunities here made such an impression on me that after graduation, my boyfriend (now husband) and I decided to move to Texas. I practiced medicine for roughly 8 years until 2020, when I became a mom to our daughter Elliott, born May 2020.  Read more>>

Richie Rosen

On a small ranch on the Llano River, in the “Free and Sovereign Nation of New Art, Texas”, is where this all began. Art, Texas is located on Hwy 87 between Mason and Fredericksburg. During one of the many weekends I spent with Bill Worrell, or “Worrell” as his friends would call him, in between discussions of a variety of topics, playing guitar, listening to music and on occasion sharing sips of Tequila with Mexican food from Santo’s Restaurant in Mason, Worrell taught me the Lost Wax casting technique for making jewelry.  Read more>>

Marisol Vasquez

Coming from a huge family, I remember birthdays being such huge events. This tradition carried on when I had my one little family. Every year I would start planning my kid’s parties months in advance. But, like everyone else, I had small dinners for their birthdays during the pandemic. My daughter’s 15th birthday was no exception, I planned a small dinner and set out to create decorations including a balloon wall.  Read more>>

Heather Webb

I was born and raised in Texas, from a very musical family. I remember my grandparents having music parties when I was a kid, and I would just sit on the floor and listen to the old folks playing old time country music from artist like Bob Wills, Patsy Cline, Bobby Helms and more. My great uncles played stand up bass and fiddle, my dad played guitar and sang, and there were always lots of other people there playing various instruments. I was always amazed at how they all knew what to play, and everyone just jumped right in when someone started a song. That’s where my musical journey began. Read more>>

Danielle McDonald

We started Radiant Mama in January of 2018 with one single product, homeade elderberry syrup. We had just had our second daughter, Lily, and were living with my mom at home and were searching for something that would help build natural immunity and keep the germs at bay in our household with our oldest daugher in school. We started out at the local farmer’s market and worked Saturdays there for about 1.5 years. Read more>>

Alexander Williams

Aura Rainwater was born at 3am one morning while in meditation. Out of my love for Mother Earth, knowledge of structured water, water memory and concepts brought forth by Dr. Masaru Emoto, I envisioned and birthed Aura Rainwater. I contemplated how emotional energy has a massive influence on everyone and everything in life – including water! It is our emotions that drive our manifestations and our creations. I began looking at Dr. Emoto’s work about 15 years ago, and it popped back into my awareness in 2016.  Read more>>

Cassandra Klepac

The process of creating and making visual narratives come to life started for me when I was a teen. I used to make collages for my friends and family with cut outs from magazines mashed up with photos I’d take from disposable cameras. I vividly remember anxiously waiting around the HEB photo counter for my prints, back when they had a photo counter! That 1-hour photo promise were the longest hours of my life back then. I loved telling stories through photos and I loved capturing moments. It helped me remember more of the parts of life I feel we all take for granted. Read more>>

Angie Edwards

Thank you for letting me share my story! More than anything, my purpose in telling my story is for others to see that healing and recovery from trauma and addiction is possible. No matter how long you’ve been living with either, or both. Here’s a little background about me. I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin the youngest of four kids. My memories from childhood are filled with boating, swimming, and fishing on the many lakes and rivers throughout Wisconsin. To this day, being near water calms me. Water heavily influences my art style and is the reason I use oil paints as my main medium. Read more>>

Steve Bernal

I’ve been fascinated with art since childhood. I took up playing music seriously at age ten, too, and have had a 40-year career as a professional bassist and cellist. But, during all this time, have always drawn and painted off and on. In 2014 I decided to take painting more seriously, and began in earnest. Soon, I sold a piece to a business in Phoenix, Arizona that I posted on social media which was seen by one of their employees.  Read more>>

Margarita Sanchez

Wow ! Not sure how to start. I feel like at this point there’s no specific thing I could call myself or what exactly I am just because I love doing all these things at once or individually. An artist? A content creator ? A fashionista? Mua? To be honest I’m just doing what makes me happy within myself and putting my given creativity out there . I was born and raised in Austin Tx and lived here all my life .  Read more>>

Ariel Jordan

My name is Ariel Jordan, I started my beauty business to not only make women flawless. But to show up and provide value to my community so that the women in my community can conquer the world, and achieve all that they desire. I’m a lash artist located in the Roundrock area. I started doing lashes in June 2021. I literally started my business from scratch. Today Im building a community full of women where we’re putting self care first! As of today I have serviced over 70 women in the Roundrock area! Read more>>

catherine sinkule

I went to school at the Savannah College of Art and Design where I majored in Jewelry and Accessory Design. Not only was I learning all the technical aspects of the industry, but also making connections with some of the top brands in the space. During my summer breaks, I was living in New York City working with designers like Dannijo Jewels and The Row. When I moved to NYC full time in the Summer of 2017 I began designing and producing jewelry for Elizabeth & James. Once Elizabeth & James was sold to Khols, I transitioned into designing and developing solid gold and diamond pieces for some of the largest stores like Macy’s, JCPenny’s and Costco. Read more>>

Patricia Vonne

What inspired me to enter into the realm of real estate was my father was a door to door salesman for 39 years selling cookware to raise 10 children. He later got his real estate license and encouraged me to do the same because he felt I had a knack for sales. It was a flexible job that I could take on part time or full time and a license I could have forever. I’ve had my license for 13 years now and I am very grateful to have it and to be able to help families make one of the most important decisions of their life. I work at Austin Music Realty, a division of Stanberry Realtors which is family owned and celebrating 36 years in existence. Stanberry has a long tradition of excellence driven by strong values and true dedication. Read more>>

Amram Long

Well, I was born in Louisville, Kentucky to My wonderful parents and my older brother who was 2 yrs old by the time I was born. April 6th, 1978 I was born at 3 months premature 2lbs 4 ounces and had a 2-5 percent chance of living and of course I did! My Mama, my brother and me move from Louisville to Phoenix, AZ in 1986, because my Daddy and My Mama were divorced from my mother since I can remember but He and my Mama felt like we needed to all be together as an immediate family. Read more>>

Luke Gaffney

Civil Steel started as the shared dream of a group of fabricators, artists and friends who, over cold beers after hot days, found that their complementary skill sets, diverse experiences and broad networks of happy clients overlapped to create a team capable of leaving its mark on the the Texas landscape. When the opportunity arose to buy out an established fabricator who was leaving town for desert pastures, Civil Steel officially opened its doors in February 2021. Read more>>

Andrew Lamping

I began my filmmaking journey at the age of 11 years old when I swiped my moms video camcorder and reenacted famous movie scenes with my friends. From there, I taught myself how to edit videos, become a better cinematographer, and direct people (especially non actors). My fondest memories are making videos with my friends every weekend during middle school. Fast fowarding to highschool, I got an apprenticeship with a well known videographer/photographer in my area and learned a lot of the fundamentals not only in filmmaking but the business as well. Read more>>

Meghna Chaudhary

Hello, You can call me Meg. I have lived on two continents, visited more than 15 cities, and speak three languages fluently. There are three essential parts of my life that significantly impacted my chef/baker life. The first part of my life started in Chandausi, a small town in Northern India, where I was born and raised. It is famous for its temples, architecture, brass statues, and delicious foods. The street food and sweets that I grew up eating have a strong imprint on my mind and soul. Read more>>

Tutty Lopez

We are Karolina & Tutty. Karolina – Is a visionary European Interior designer with 3-D imagination and space planning at her fingertips. Her 15 years of international expertise in architecture, construction, design, and real estate make her one-of-a-kind. Tutty – Is a French-Venezuelan fashionista with an effortless style. Thanks to her 15 years of luxury fashion expertise with brands like Burberry and Jamin Puech and her graphic design background, she has developed a keen eye for art, design & the interior design world. Read more>>

Amelie Robitaille

Hi! I’m Amelie. I was born in Quebec City, Canada, am an avid traveler and a lover of life, and a global citizen. I believe that each decision we make impacts the world, and I’m a firm supporter of mindful consumption and responsible choices. I began my career in the jewelry world a bit “by accident”, but I knew right from the start that it was a world where I wanted to make a difference. Armed with an undeniable passion (read: a little stubbornness) and a thirst for knowledge, I began learning the ropes of the trade through a mix of hands-on experience, mentorship, and quality education. Read more>>

Kristal Tan

Oh man, when I talk about how I started it always blows my mind how far I’ve come, haha! I was a real chubby, quiet and shy kid, and I usually felt especially awkward and weird because I was Asian. Growing up I was typically the only Asian in my classrooms, and I usually felt embarrassed. So I never really wanted to try anything, but then I watched the ballet scene is The Little Rascals and decided I could maybe try dance. I obviously fell in love with it, but it took me a really long time to feel comfortable. In a weird way, it felt like people were always looking at my anyway (for being Asian), so when it came to dance, and being on stage, I felt seen, but in a good way. It was comforting because people were looking at me, but because they were meant to be. Read more>>

Anjelica Villanueva

I remember being fascinated by anything with a sparkle when I was younger. Whether it was fireworks in the sky or a glistening stone on someone’s hand – in a way, it was almost like that sparkle symbolized opportunities. Watching films, I was always mesmerized by characters with a lavish look and charisma. I felt drawn to the art of film, culture and fashion but I didn’t quite know my own sense of style. Growing up in a single income household, I didn’t have a way to financially express or support my love for it.  Read more>>

Noise Complaint Productions

Noise Complaint Productions started as a collective and collaboration of musicians with our goal of making noise sound good and to share our music with the world . We are also closely associated with our partners in Plague Doctor Entertainment to achieve this goal and “spread the Plague” as we call it. Read more>>

Megan Danner

Love Well Yoga is based a few key tenants: (comm)unity, transformation, flow, breath, and worthiness.
Unity: I connect fully with myself and others on my path. “Build the type of community you want to be a part of.” This is where my story begins. My whole life, I’ve been obsessed with forging community wherever I go – whatever I do. My whole life, I’ve has been marked by being natural connector of people, ideas, passions, friendships, and even whole-body wellness. Read more>>

Joanna Baugbog

I think if you ask any artist how long they’ve been making art, the universal reply is “for as long as I can remember.” I’ve been drawing and creating things since before I could read or write. I was born in Quito, Ecuador and growing up along the coast, paper was fairly hard to come by. My brother (closest to me in age) and I would draw on the marker board of our little school room and “tell stories” with our drawings; erasing the no longer necessary parts of the image to create new elements. When we weren’t going crazy on a marker board, there was also clay to keep our hands busy. Read more>>

Brooke schmalfeldt Christian Humphries

Resintless is a small epoxy resin art business based in Austin, Texas, the Resintless team consists of engaged couple, Brooke Schmalfeldt and Robert Humphries and we are the creators of the unique, handmade art in our shop! It all started back in early 2020 when the pandemic hit, Christian was scrolling through Facebook and kept running into those addicting to watch resin pour videos, after watching a few myself we decided to give it a try, why not!? We ordered some resin and started to play around with it, we wanted to start something we could learn together! We instantly fell in love and decided it would be a great hobby we could do together; there is something so beautiful about creating art with the love of your life! Read more>>


We got together in January of 2017, playing our first show at Valentino’s in San Marcos. Everyone knew each other from high school and three of us (Luis Parra, Luke Nienow, and Shawn Hale) played in a band right before starting GOOD. and bringing Jesse Hernandez on to play bass. Vince Milazzo joined the band in August of 2017 and we went into the studio a year later to record This Is For You, then Bill Murray.  Read more>>

Elijah “IIIXCTY” Colwell

Georgia born, Texas raised African American recording artist IIIXCTY found himself surround by East Coast / West Coast influence including Eminem, Jay-Z, Tupac, and Biggie. After relocating to TX, I found myself surrounded by even more hip hop elements from school to everyday life. As an artist, drawing, painting, I took up a creative writing class to experiment on how well I could paint a picture with words. During that same time I met people who would go to the studio and record, and who was also pushing music on MySpace platform.  Read more>>

Last Visible Dog

Last Visible Dog began life as a studio project for two long time collaborators, Andy Perry and Dylan Roberts. Early days were spent examining our past musical creations and preparing the methodologies we would use moving forward. How to write what we wanted to create took precedence. It wasn’t long before we had roped in third member, Michelle Keirstead, to add her broad musical stylings. Thus we began to build a catalog of home-recorded songs that would push us closer to our next step… creating a band. Read more>>

Jani Lovelace-Jensen

Recently, my youngest daughter graduated Kindergarten, and she and her classmates were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up. She confidently chose “Teacher!” It’s a question I think most of us have spent our lives trying to figure out.
In my case, I didn’t really choose Massage Therapy. It sort of chose me. Read more>>

Megen Mundy

I began my interest in herbal medicine about 10 years ago, after growing frustrated with the side effects and strength of my prescribed SSRI’s. I knew there had to be a better way of managing my life-long struggle with anxiety and depression, so I started researching holistic methods. Once I really began to see a difference in my health, I became interested in expanding my knowledge, making my own herbal concoctions, and sharing this information with the people in my life. Read more>>

Kendall and John Antonelli

John and I met in college at Georgetown University in Washington DC. After a season or two of flirting – and then neither of us being available simultaneously – I finally found my moment in our senior year when I kissed him at a winter school dance. (I’ve always been a gal who goes for what she wants!) Although he’s from New York, he lovingly supported me in my move back to my native Texas, on the heels of my father’s death and my grandmother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. We settled on Austin so I could be closer to family, while I also attended UT for my graduate program.  Read more>>

Michaela Beach

I was born in Austin, TX, and grew up in Dripping Springs. My photography journey started when I was young. Besides riding horses and dance classes, photography was my main hobby. I always had my camera with me. I brought my camera to my brother’s baseball and basketball games, my sister’s volleyball games, horse shows, and I even photographed a few backyard weddings. After high school, I started my first full-time job in real estate. As I grew into my new role in the marketing department, photography slowly took a back seat. Read more>>

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