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Inspiring Stories from Norcross

The heart of our mission at VoyageATL 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 Atlanta’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 rising stars from in and around Norcross below.

Latesha Grant

I was drawn to the practice of yoga, searching for peace and balance, after my first year at College of Charleston in 2000, while obtaining my B.S. in Biology. I grew a fondness for yoga and it became a part of my life. Even though from time to time, I left my mat with frustration, my mind and spirit would make me return to regain inner peace. I completed my 200 hr. Teacher Training at Holy Cow Yoga. Which gave me the ability to share, how yoga transformed my life and showed me clarity in guiding my students through beginning asana poses, intermediate, and then inversions safely with impeccable confidence. I am certified in Yoga Therapy, Pre/Postnatal Yoga, Yin Yoga, Yoga for Cancer, Yoga for Athletes, Senior’s Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, and Restorative Yoga. I’m completing a 300hr certification in Ashtanga Yoga by end of September 2021. I’m insanely excited. I have traveled to Paris, Dominican Republic, Canada, Amsterdam, and Hawaii sharing my gifts of yoga. Read more>>

Jamie Lackey

There was no coordinated effort to collect and distribute essential baby items or period products to women and children in need. After watching moms having to use plastic grocery bags for diapers or washout and reuse disposable diapers, I knew something needed to be done. There are no public assistance programs to provide for diapers or period products. Parents were missing work because of diaper needs, babies were experiencing severe diaper rash infections, and teen girls were missing a week of school a month because of a lack of period products. Combining my passion for motherhood and social work, I founded Helping Mamas out of my garage. Collecting baby supplies from friends and family members and then distributing them to social workers serving women and children. By 2018, Helping Mamas had grown into a 9,000 square foot building where we operate today. Read more>>

Chanzlee Mitchell

I specialize in low maintenance, natural-like color, and custom blended hand-tied extensions. I started my hair and makeup journey when I was 13 years old, answering the phone at a salon. In 2017, I took my first extension class with Habit Salon. I learned all extension methods and how to perfectly blend and choose what works best for each client. In 2018, I apprenticed in one of Athens top salons for two years where I worked with the Gym Dawgs and Southern Distinction Magazine. In 2020, I passed my boards and continued to build my clientele. In July of 2021, I was placed in the top 25 by Behind The Chair, the worlds largest hair award. With entries from 80 different countries. I now have found my home at Urban Chic Salon. My goal is to give you a real and exciting experience. Can’t wait to see you in my chair!. Read more>>

Bilkis Shinaba

Initially, I started as a make-up artist back in 2013, doing makeup for events and personal clients. I also later created my first brand, kiss lane boutique in 2016. From there, I decided with my love for cosmetics. I wanted to design my own products. So I extended my kiss lane brand in the Year 2020 I opened the kiss lane cosmetics site with a few of my lipstick lines and lip liners. Now I have over ten product lines and over 5000 products each as I am still learning the business and growing. For now, I design, market, and promote by myself with my family. Read more>>

Eriko Yoshioka

Growing up in Osaka, Japan, my parents made me go to a cram school twice a week. Most middle schoolers did not look forward to going to a cram school, but surprisingly I really enjoyed it, especially when it was English class. I have always loved learning English, and I wanted to practice more and immerse myself in the language. Read more>>

Ana Matiz Mandowa

My career started in 2001 as a Residential Real Estate Paralegal. In 2010, after the real estate market crashed, I decided to go back to school nights and weekends while working full-time. I later graduated from Brenau University with a CIDA accredited Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design / Master of Interior Design. Shortly after, I obtained my real estate license with the State of Georgia and became a Realtor with Virtual Properties Read more>>

Erin Freeman

I’ve been an artist for as long as I can remember doodling with a Sharpie on the inside of my dad’s green Ford Pinto and my mom’s brick kitchen wall! Growing up, after my Crayola 64 pack was worn down to the nubs (especially Sky Blue), I realized that I was so fortunate to have a set of parents that fully supported my desire to be an artist (just, not on their walls). In college, I majored in art from Birmingham-Southern with a BFA in graphic design. In my industry, I have worked as a designer on accounts such as Pepsi/Buffalo rock (Shh! I know ATL is Coke country!) as well as commissioned several freelance contract illustration jobs, but I still felt there was more to learn. I went back to grad school at SCAD/Savannah and graduated with an MFA in graphic design. While in school, I studied during the height of the “Deconstructive Era,” learning how to artistically tear down traditional design principles and rebuild them again in an experimental way. In hindsight, I believe this was also training me for something much greater: the ability to build resiliency in the face of competitive professional climates and remain true to my creative principles. For that, I am grateful to all my wonderful professors!. Read more>>

Darrick and Bob Jesus Alvarez

I’m Bob Jesus, and I play guitar and sing/yell at the microphone as well. Darrick is my younger brother and would turn out becoming the drummer for this ambition we named Deaf Condors. We began to improvise endless hours of riffs and eventually decided to turn them into songs back in 2018. We were supposed to record and release our debut EP in 2020, but just like many, all projects were postponed. Luckily, we were able to record and release our four song EP this past June through Super Carnival Recordings. Read more>>

Louisa Campbell

The first piece of furniture I refinished was a bottom piece to a hatch which I found it on the side of the road being given away for free. I took it home and refinished it for my son. I was hooked then. I loved seeing the transformation of old to now “new.” We painted our kitchen and bathrooms then after. I painted a few pieces for my new home. In 2020, I painted a few pieces and decided to test the market and the first one sold in a day. I decided to see where this could potentially go and I have been well received. I have learned a lot along the way and still have a lot more to learn. I love to do custom work (your furniture your way). I also have an inventory of unpainted furniture that clients can pick form and customize. I also source furniture for clients if they have a specific item or size requirement. I do restoration work, painting and some upholstery as well. Read more>>

Asia Thomas

I am a graduate of Clark Atlanta University that has worked corporate for about ten years in Sales. The job was always high stressed, and I would often think about how can I maximize the money coming into this household to benefit my children for years to come. As single moms, we often juggle our careers and nurturing our children or are feeling pressured by taking sick days to care for our children. I researched for a year, asked questions, and began the process. Once I was approved, I lit up with my job and walked into my store to began the process, and all of the employees walked out. I was extremely stressed and had to learn how to run the store on my own. I was nervous, scared, and experiencing a lot of other emotions, but I was doing this for my children, so quitting was not an option. I ended up hiring staff and increasing sales from $3,000 weekly to $7000 weekly in a matter of weeks. I had a plan, and I was more than dedicated to sticking with that plan!. Read more>>

Robert Tinsley

I graduated from Georgia Tech with a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering back in 2003 and started working as a Radio Frequency Engineer at EMS Technologies, which has since been acquired by Honeywell.  I got married to a UGA grad and we have 2 boys, now ages 9 and 7. Read More>>

Jeanie Washington

I didn’t choose music; it chose me. Lol My Dad was a self-taught jazz musician – he played organ, piano, and anything with keys – so I was immersed in music from the crib. He was my favorite person in the world, so everywhere he went, I wanted to go. That meant rehearsals, gigs, meetings, and even his weekly pinochle games every once in a while. I had no appreciation for jazz as a kid – most of the songs had no lyrics, and it wasn’t on the radio – but it gave me an appreciation for all other types of music. And anything that had music in it – dancing, movies, etc. – I wanted to be involved with it. I was born and raised in Providence, RI, moving later to Pawtucket, RI, for high school. RI had no dedicated R&B radio station – still doesn’t to this day – so we listened to a little bit of everything on the pop radio station – r&b, pop, hard rock, and country. That’s why I don’t like genres and find myself blurring the lines in my own music. As long as it’s good music that’s well written, I like it. Read more>>

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