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Inspiring Stories from East Dallas

The heart of our mission at VoyageDallas 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 Dallas-Fort Worth 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 the rising stars of East Dallas below.

Evan Renfroe

Maximized Media Productions actually began as a passionate side project. After 10+ years in the fitness industry, I decided it was time to pursue something new. I’ve always been a fan of visual storytelling, and after years of being a business owner, I’d grown to really enjoy marketing and advertising, so it seemed like a natural blend of the two areas of interest, (video and marketing). When getting into video, I knew absolutely nothing about camera basics, editing, really all of it was foreign to me. As I was preparing to make one of my very first videos, I remember searching YouTube for “How to Film Yourself”.. I knew it had something to do with a tripod, and the camera needed to be facing me, but that was about all I knew. Fast forward a few years and many hours attending the prestigious “YouTube University”, and I now have the pleasure of running a successful video marketing business. Read more>>

April “Keyslady” Roy

I was born and raised in Tyler, TX where I started playing piano at the age of 5. My mother noticed that I had an ear for music and pure fascination with pianos, so she started me with piano lessons so that I could learn how to read music as well. When my church at that time purchased a new Hammond organ, my Aunt Ruby who was the children’s choir musician had me to accompany her on the new church organ while she played piano. I was assigned as the Sunday School musician at a whopping $5 a Sunday which afforded me several cassettes of my choosing whenever I would go to a music store. My salary increased to $10 shortly afterwards and has continued to grow from there. This is what made me disciplined. I was paid to do a job. I was only 8 years old at that time and had been singing in the children’s choir but immediately transitioned to playing the organ full time and sometimes the piano when my Aunt Ruby had me to do so. Granted, I knew absolutely nothing about organs when I first sat down to play. Read more>>

Uzziah Campbell

I was 11 years old, in 6th grade. I lived in Tacoma, WA, where I saw my mom use candles and essential oils to relieve stress while she struggled with mental health issues. I began to make candles for her, learning everything from YouTube videos, after her doctor told her she could no longer use essential oils on her skin. While witnessing racism and civil unrest after the death of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and others, and hearing the anger of so many people who had to live with COVID-19, I decided that I would calm the world with the same candles that I was making for my mom. My business blew up after I was contacted by the local news station, to find out who the young kid was that was sending lots of free candles to doctors, nurses and other front line workers during the wake of the pandemic. Read more>>

Franki Ray

Our beautiful friendship began in kindergarten, and since then it has inspired an adoration for life that shines the brightest when we are together. In 2017, we followed our dreams and landed exactly where we were destined to be, masterminding for Franki Ray! Franki Ray is a celebration of all things wonderful, as it has been cultivated from the muse of our imaginations. And how marvelous it has been for us to be able to manifest our friendship into something we can share with the world! Our stunning leather goods and fabulous tracksuits are just the beginning of this luxury lifestyle brand. Read more>>

LaTonya Michelle Ray

I am the 3rd Born Child of Roy Melton Ray and Vera Jewel Adams-Ray. Raised in Tyler, Texas and graduated from John Tyler High School. My parents raised me to trust in God and to always believe in myself. There was absolutely nothing I couldn’t do in life. I graduated with an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice from Tyler Junior College. While at Tyler Junior College, I began an over 14 year career with Walmart. While with Walmart, some of my most greatest achievements has been the opportunity to help others by donating to the Salvation Army, United Way and through our Scholarship Foundation founded in loving memory of our late father, Mr. Roy Melton Ray. Read more>>

Don Louis

I’m Don Louis, I’m from Commerce, Texas. I really come from a small country town who’s mostly known for football. I originally thought that sports were my calling and pursued it all the way to a pro camp, but due to injuries, I had to hang up the cleats.  Lost and distraught after pretty much losing what I thought was my future; I broke down and prayed to God for an outlet that would let me stand out and not just be a number.  A situation was provided in music after having a couple friends already heavily involved, I decided to dive in. When my first song lost in my ways came out, I had no doubt in my mind that this is what I am supposed to do.  I started two years ago and the interactions from fans saved my life it gave me an outlet to speak from my heart and relate to others.  Read more>>

Kristen Neal

I’ve always been fascinated by all things audio/video production, photography, and web design. I guess you could say that this is in my blood; it’s what makes me come alive! Middle school really opened up the world of marketing to me when they gave us an A/V project where we had to create a commercial for our music festival-that was so cool being able give people information about how they could be there too… I didn’t take coding as coursework during high school but decided on using Wix after becoming frustrated with not finding enough jobs posting online or anywhere else either just because it wasn’t prominent enough yet back then. Designing websites became part of my little part-time job in High School and throughout college.  The journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur has been one of self-discovery for me. I always knew that there was something different about my gift, but it wasn’t until recently when life put me in difficult situations which caused some major reevaluating on what exactly this “gift” might be.  Read more>>

Geshe Boyd-Steele

I’m currently a Registered Nurse. I’ve been working in healthcare for over a decade. I began my career as a Certified Nurse’s Assistant. After two years of gaining healthcare knowledge and experience, I pursued studies as a vocational nurse. Following graduation from the LVN program, I immediately began studying for my entry-level exam into the LVN to RN program. After acceptance, enrollment, and completing the LVN-RN program from Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Tx, I was accepted into the bachelor’s nursing program. I graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with my bachelor’s of science in nursing. My specialty has been psychiatric and medical surgical nursing. I’m currently enrolled in the Master’s of Nursing program with dual specialty to become an Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-ACNP) and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP). I have a passion for caring for people. I will be offering care services through my assisted living homes opening on March 1st, 2022.  Read more>>

Kyle Boehme

After graduating from Texas, A&M in 2012, I moved directly to Dallas to work in the corporate world. After working in the software industry for about a year and half, I realized that this was not a long-term fit. I craved independence, flexibility, and wanted to transition to a career that I would be more passionate about. Ultimately, I landed on the idea of getting my real estate license. I grew up in a small town in Southeast Texas, and vividly remember getting excited to sort through the big houses in the Houston Chronicle on Sunday. Although I always had a love for real estate, it was not something I ever truly considered getting into – mostly due to lack of uncertainty that can come with working a 100% commission job. The decision to get my license was quick and I was completely naive about what I was getting myself into. With that being said, I quickly fell flat on face – working part-time to make ends meet.  Read more>>

Robert Kent

I have always had a love of food and cooking. During the pandemic, I decided to learn how to make chocolate bonbons as a hobby. At first, I gave them away to friends and family, but people quickly started to ask if they could purchase them as well. With this encouragement, I decided to host a series of pop-up shops in 2021 and each one sold out! The business has continued to grow since then.  Read more>>

Arielle Paterick

As a Southern California native who has proudly called Dallas home for nearly 8 years, becoming a realtor here only seemed natural to me. I fell in love with Dallas upon first visiting and my passion for this job is primarily rooted in my strong affinity for this city, its neighborhoods, and the people. As a Realtor, I’m able to share my excitement for Dallas and utilize my area expertise to help people find the perfect home in a neighborhood they love.  My love for real estate began at a young age when I would tour model homes and attend open houses with my parents as they searched for our next family home. Since then, my interest in homes, market trends, and neighborhoods continued to grow and eventually led me to pursue a career in real estate.  Prior to being a Realtor in Dallas, I spent nearly 15 years in marketing and sales for prominent companies such as the Dallas Market Center, New Balance, and Samsung. I was previously a part-time Realtor in California, but a unique job opportunity brought me back to a marketing role. Read more>>

Barbara Cole Salmeron

In 1999 I began my spiritual journey while living overseas. I had already stopped watching TV and made the decision to also stop reading fiction because there were so many topics, I knew nothing about so I started collecting and reading non-fiction books. Once I moved back to the states I joined book study groups, meditation classes, personal development workshops, and studied and became certified in a number of things like Reiki, Chakra clearing, Mindfulness, and meditation teaching, etc. My appetite for personal and spiritual growth was voracious!  I recognized how valuable of a tool meditation was for every area of life so I kept practicing and began teaching. In 2009 I attended my first gong meditation and instantly fell in love! I kept returning to gong meditations, bringing all my friends, and in 2010 I learned how to play the gongs as taught by Grand Gong/Master Teacher Don Conreaux. I did not know how big of a deal he was back then; he’s pretty much gong royalty!. Read more>>

Nash Bayoud

Turning Tides was born from our need to look hot without harming the planet and the people on it. A couple years ago, my partner in life and business, Taylor, and I were shopping for eco-friendly clothes, but all we found were boring, soggy-oatmeal-looking clothes. We started making clothes for ourselves and, after seeing how much people loved our designs, decided to sell them.  The small Turning Tides team makes everything by hand using deadstock and upcycled materials. Read more>>

Chase Pridavka

My wife and I are both East Dallas natives. We both have backgrounds in vintage clothing and resale. I’d say that I defiantly got my start in vintage thrifting and going to flea markets in the 90’s. My mom and my grandmother would drag me around so that they could find designer bags and clothes, meanwhile, I was digging for old band shirts. My wife grew up picking and reselling with her father who is an antique dealer and have several stores in the Dallas area in the ’90s and 2000s. This is in our DNA.  Read more>>

Joshua Olivo

I moved around a lot when I was younger and at a new school, I forgot which bus to take home. I asked to leave to double-check with the office but my teacher assumed I was trying to ditch class early and asked if anyone else lived on the same street I did and Juan raised his hand. That was 7th grade and since then, dude and I have been best friends with a heavy influence of 2000’s era pop-punk. It wasn’t long till I really discovered blink-182 seriously and Juan already had a guitar so it was inevitable a band would start. After-school we would sit and write the beginnings of what would become Worst Case Scenario. Years later, we had some songs but no drummer so we put out an ad on Craigslist and found Cameron as a gigging musician. He wanted to play and he was amazing, anything he played sounded tight and really made the sound of it come together. I think that was when the band really kinda started. That summer we went to the studio and recorded our first record paid for by Juan and I with our band savings. Read more>>

Nikki Caraway

I am an accountant who found her passion in entrepreneurship. Believe me, it wasn’t my original plan of owning a CPA firm someday but God had another plan and I am happy about it!  My business begin with wig making after experiencing hairless and thinning. I needed an alternative that wouldn’t cause added tension to my natural hair and enabled me to properly treat my hair. In doing so, I discovered wig-making. It began as a way to make my hair look as natural as possible. I’d gone to salons, to only leave unsatisfied. The next best thing was to perfect the craft and do it myself. I’d eventually receive compliments and an added push from my children and niece who’d encouraged me to possibly venture into business. My niece (who thinks she’s my manager lol), suggested classes and the journey began from there. The business that was to be a side job grew tremendously within months. The months turned into years of gaining knowledge, mastering my craft, and increased sales. It was unbelievable! Coming from Corporate America, I didn’t know working for myself would be so rewarding. Not only rewarding financially but mentally. Read more>>

Tamara Fisher

Christmas was always a special part of my childhood and faith. The world seems to be a better version of itself during this time of year, and my family was no exception… everyone was able to get along and come together for Christmas traditions. Decorating the Christmas Tree as a family was the beginning of the Christmas season and meant quality time had arrived. My parents loved Christmas decorations and saw them as a way to create a magical experience for the family. The grand finale was a Christmas morning filled with Santa’s gifts, Christmas music, cocoa, and a visit to Grandma’s to see extended family. The Christmas Tree always seems to be a gathering point for these special moments, and these memories still bring me joy today.  Years later, I learned just how difficult being Wife, Mother of five children, Designer, Shopper, Event Planner, and honorary Mrs. Claus can be. I spent a disproportionate amount of time shopping for Christmas Tree decorations to create the beautiful tree I envisioned. While my joy for the season would fuel me through the holiday frenzy, I felt like there had to be a better way to create a beautiful home for the holidays -and- enjoy it. Read more>>

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