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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.

Joshua Kight

I got very interested in comic books as an 11-year-old. I decided I wanted to be an artist. I majored in art in college and graduate school. I started having shows with my paintings in the Austin area in 1982. I worked very hard and my style evolved over the years. I like having content in my work as opposed to being non-objective. My latest pieces are what I call “Night Pictures”. They are inspired by my walks at night under the stars. Typically, I have planets and comets blown up to ridiculous proportions and figures who are having the planets and comets go through them, around them, in their eyes, mouth or even on the top of the head.  Read more>>

HAZMVT

My name is HAZMVT. Born and raised in Toledo, Ohio. I started as a DJ and Artist, playing dive bars and open mics until I landed a role as an official DJ for a Hiphop group called DOER GANG. After the Team formed, we did 2 tours with a Columbus, Ohio artist named Doobie. We hit 30+ cities in the United States area including the house of blues in Houston and Dallas, as well as closing out the tour at the Columbus venue, Express Live with over 2500 people. When both tours finished up, I ended up moving to Cleveland Ohio for a year to get closer to an official studio and study the art of being a recording engineer.  Read more>>

Cris Perea

Latina, wife, mother, and sister Born in Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua, minutes away the border of El Paso, Texas. As a child, I was fascinated with anything that had to do with beauty and fashion, inspired by both cultures. I loved it so much that my mother enrolled me in a cosmetology school after graduating from high school in 1992. I started by learning how to cut and color hair. Occasionally, I would get clients who would let me express my creativity and do something personalized. Once I became a mother, I would practice on my own children until they got older. Read more>>

Damon Fogley

Back in 2019, I had a junk removal business in the warehouse next door and was always looking for ways to capitalize off of the junk and also keep it out of the landfill. I learned about the concept of rage rooms that were opening across the country and wanted to get in on the action. we built one small room just as an experiment to see if it would sell and it did great. I found out that the rage room business was actually more profitable than the junk removal business plus I had a steady supply of junk for people to smash up including TVs, printers, furniture, and random glass items. Read more>>

Kathy Palladini

We bought some investment property in the Texas Hill Country in 2012. Two years later, Keith gifted me with a small herd of Texas Longhorns to keep me company. I loved the land, but I wasn’t very excited about the cattle. I grew up in the city with no agricultural background at all. Actually, it was in the heavily populated Houston suburb of Clear Lake City, and I spent nearly 30 years working at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. This new life with a ranch and livestock was completely unfamiliar to me and one I never wished for. As it turns out, it suited me perfectly. Read more>>

Lauren Dickens

I grew up in Dallas, Texas with a pencil in my hand at all times. I was constantly drawing and getting my hands messy, riding my bike around and building forts in dirt lots. In high school, I ran cross country and played basketball — something I have a deep passion for and still play today. The peace that I find on a basketball court can’t be matched. It’s my meditation. Ultimately though, pursuing a career in the creative field was a no brainer. It’s second nature to me — guttural, visceral. It’s how I process the world and my place in it. Read more>>

Justin Galicz

The Little Gay Shop was started by husbands Justin + Kirt in 2019 as a table pop-up after moving to Austin from New York City. When they moved here, they were a little surprised at the lack of queer-defined spaces that existed beyond the nightlife scene, so they wanted to change that. In 2020 in the middle of the pandemic, they opened the brick and mortar, a converted shipping container that was just over 100 sqft. From there, it has continued to grow and expand, taking over the house next door in Feb 2021 and partnering with Luna Espresso (formerly Stay While) to open up a coffee shop. Read more>>

Aaron Evins

My story starts back in summertime back in my 3rd or 4th-grade year when my next-door neighbor, Craig Garcia, had a 3 6 Mafia CD with the “Tear the club up” instrumental on his boom box and we had nothing to do so he said let’s bust a flow and we got to writing. He was 5-6 years older than me and already in high school so I was trying to catch up/compete with him with my competitive nature. We wrote some flows and tried to freestyle but of course, wasn’t the best, but I had a passion for it immediately.  Read more>>

Celia Araujo

My parents were both born in Mexico and were only able to go to school to about middle school grades. They legally came to the USA shortly after they had gotten married. They worked hard jobs and even worked out of state doing seasonal migrant work. Lucky for me I was born in the USA in a small town called Brownsville, Tx. At the age of eight, I also worked alongside my family in Greeley, Colorado picking cucumber. Growing up, I know my father was always telling me and my siblings how important it was for us to get an education and obtain a degree. He didn’t care what we chose so long as we made sure and went to school for something we wanted to do. I am the youngest of five. Read more>>

Megan Delp

I’ve been a mental health therapist for five years now, and have been so frustrated by my clients’ stories about struggling workplaces that I decided I wanted to do something about it! Companies have had to change so much since the start of the pandemic, and that has only increased stress for everyone. As I pursue my doctoral degree in Organizational Psychology, I’m combining what I’m learning with what I have already mastered through my therapy practice, and providing mental health education to companies in a way that is functional, sustainable, and sometimes even fun. Read more>>

Polly Morwood

As an Australian woman living in Austin, Texas as a designer and working artist, I often have to pinch myself that I get to live in a city I love and get paid to do the work that I love. It is the dream for me! I hold very high standards for myself and am always striving for more, albeit, I am very conscious and grateful that all the losses and all the rejections have got me here. Through many beginnings – and endings- I feel like I have lived multiple lives and versions of myself within the short 32 years that have got me to this place.  Read more>>

Allison Bryant

I am Allison Bryant, Blue Door Salon founder and owner. I have been a hair color specialist for 20 years and have been proudly operating Blue Door Salon for 3 years. I am an Austin native. I love the vibe in Bee Cave. It is my personal mission to help women feel beautiful. I am most proud of my salon for being a space of creation, not competition. Our salon opened a year before the Covid-19 pandemic. We got through it and rose above. We have thrived and grown through the hardest times of our industry as a new business, we are very proud of that. Read more>>

Esmeralda Anderson

After many years of working in marketing, I met and married the love of my life who also happened to be enlisted in the U.S Army. Shortly after we had our first child, and I became a stay at home mom. This meant I was thousands of miles away from my family and home. I became lonely and began filling my daily hours by documenting my child’s growth. The more I captured his images, the more I was eager to learn about proper lighting and the art of photography. Growing up, my oldest sister was a photographer and I was her model. Read more>>

Loveinblackwithtoryandteri

Tory and I met on social media. Although I had selected his friend request six months prior, we didn’t actually connect until six months later. Once we did, it took off immediately as, we knew what we wanted in a partner, which was one who believed in having an intentional relationship with God individually and collectively in their relationship. We dismantled any remaining walls we had up from previous experiences and became each other’s “soft place to fall” and carefully listened and openly shared the good, bad & ugly of our pasts. We also unapologetically expressed our emotional needs and expectations to allow one another the knowledge and wisdom to meet & show up for those needs w/our best, human, compassionate selves. Read more>>

The Formality

The Formality, as we are now, have really only been together since May of 2022. We initially came together before that, but with always changing members, there was nothing solid laid into the groundwork. As the line up solidified, we were ambitious to get out into the rich culture of the Austin live music scene. With our first taste of performing live, the adrenaline became addictive, so from that point forward, there has been no looking back. We are now pursuing more ambitious projects and venues to fill our gnawing drive, as well as working on studio songs we are putting out in the near future. Read more>>

Carina Boston Pinales

My roots in Central Texas run deep, going back several generations, which inspires me to build here and dedicate my work to my legacy. I come from a humble background and a bi-racial household that shaped my identity. My upbringing inspires me to connect and learn from others while staying true to my roots. Considering my heritage and background, I found power through overcoming assumptions about myself. Read more>>

Charlie Aghadiuno

My voyage to where I am today started from a jail cell in Houston, Tx. It was that night I decided to ask God to help me change my life. My name is Charlie Aghadiuno and Real Estate saved my life. It was 2015 and I was just acquitted of a crime I DID commit. It was bittersweet because I used all my resources to fight my case and was left with my freedom and not much else. I had no money and no home; but what I had was faith. I came back to Austin after living in Houston for almost 4 years and had nothing to my name. Read more>>

Audrey Davis

A lot of people might not know what a prop stylist is. I didn’t until I became one. A stylist builds the scene with a photographer, bringing props like ceramics, furniture, and lifestyle elements into a composition–we bring the “stuff” to the set. I got my start as a prop stylist in Birmingham AL interning for Time Inc. media company. The hub in Birmingham (now Dotdash Meredith) focuses primarily on food and tabletop styling. I had never even heard of prop styling until I came across a job posting about the new hub. Read more>>

Christina Martin

I used to work in Human Resources. I became extremely ill and had to leave my job. While I was on bed rest and recovering from one of my surgeries, I began researching how to start a business. I have a bachelor’s degree in business and an MBA in international business and I have always wanted to own my own company. I love makeup and of all of the business ideas I had, I decided that this was the one I wanted to pursue. I began with liquid lipsticks that I had to label myself. I was able to grow the business into a full line of products and we are now sold at physical locations in Austin and Switzerland. I’m looking forward to continuing to expand the brand locally and internationally as we continue to grow. Read more>>

Zack Tullier

I first got started in photography while in college, trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Something about photography and video really stood out to me. I like seeing people’s reactions to great photos or awesome videos of them. I started with covering non-profit events for free and eventually moved my way up to covering weddings and corporate events. I was able to use my portfolio to land a job at the largest studio in Baton Rouge as a lead video editor. I helped to grow that company which landed me a position as a director here in Austin, Texas. Read more>>

Lisa Muller Armendariz

My love for art has always had its hold on me, even as a child. I loved making things with my hands, whether that was with clay or my dad’s scrap wood pieces. I loved how art was an escape from reality and how I was able to express myself through being crafty. As a pre-teen, I would “borrow” my mom’s canon point-and-shoot to take selfies for my Xanga and Myspace back in the day. You can relate if you were an emo millennial too. It wasn’t until I was a senior in Highschool that my grandma bought me my first DSLR camera. I brought my little Nikon camera everywhere I went, photographing my friends, flowers, animals, and garbage, haha. Read more>>

Yamileth Miller

I’m Cindy Yamileth Mejia, also known as Yamileth Miller. I was born and raised in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Where I used to daydream of one day becoming an entrepreneur. I came to the U.S. when I was 12 and I had a hard time adjusting without knowing the language. I suffered a great deal of bullying at school which drove me into the goth scene. Fashion has always been important to me from an early age. My mom opposed my fashion taste and refused to buy me anything remotely goth looking. I did what a normal teenager does best and rebelled against her. Read more>>

Emilio Acevedo

My photography journey was not as a straight line as others might have been. I would say my interest in photography began in high school when my oldest sister Victoria began studying photojournalism at The University of Texas. I would say she was my biggest inspiration to pick up a camera. I was able to take a commercial photography class in my junior year of high school where I learned the basics of a camera and went to compete with other schools in the state. Without winning any sort of recognition, I felt discouraged and my photography journey came to a bit of a hiatus. Read more>>

Kimberly Turner

I used to suffer with pretty severe anxiety growing up and my best friend Hanna gave me a canvas and said “Just paint. I don’t care what you paint just paint something.” And ever since that day all I have wanted to do was art. I went to school for design for a little while where I fell in love with color compost. I had learned different techniques and mediums; which is where I found the medium I prefer doing today, which is color pencil. I eventually did get into tattooing which is extremely rewarding as I am able to put my art on other people to have for the rest of their lives. Read more>>

Whitney Wiseman

For as long as I can remember, I have been passionate about and called to Ministry. In fact, on “Career Day” in third grade, I brought my Bible to school and told everyone I was a missionary. My faith informs not only my beliefs but how I live in and interact with the world around me. It drives me to share and offer hope, compassion, and dignity to all, especially those whom society has pushed to the margins. And then to empower my church community to do the same through spiritual growth (connecting with God and with others). Read more>>

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