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Inspiring Stories from Fort Worth

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 Fort Worth’s rising stars below.

Kay Genua

I started working at The Market Antiques and Home furnishings in the fall of 1990. After the first month, I was in the top 5 sales people in the company–there were 5 locations at that point. I always went on my deliveries when I sold furniture and antiques. My clients started to ask me to help them with other areas of their house. At this point I started my design career–what I did not know I asked questions from other designers in the company. I had always had a God given talent to see space, colors, and to place accessories. Read more>>

Neil Foster

I received a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from the University of North Texas. I started in the advertising business as a copywriter working for a couple Dallas agencies right out of school and then joined GCG Marketing in 1995 as a creative copywriter. I moved up in the organization rapidly and became a VP/Partner in 1999. I was then able to help reposition the agency from a design studio with 12 employees to a full-service creative content driven agency with 45 employees and doing almost $10M in annual billings with diverse client roster including ExxonMobil, 7-Eleven, Rheem, Hilton amongst other national clients. Read more>>

Shannon Albert

I got my college degree in Computer Information Systems and worked as a programmer for corporations for many years. In 2004, I started planning our family’s first Disney World trip and discovered it was much more involved than I could have ever imagined, but the planning process ended up being just as fun as the trip itself. I started dreaming of putting my technical skills and love of teaching to use to help others plan trips, but it wasn’t until 2012 that I got the nerve to actually do it. A year after starting my site, I quit my corporate job to focus on the site full time. Read more>>

Emily Jones McCoy

Posh Play founder Emily Jones McCoy had no intention of starting a business—her plate was plenty full with a new baby and a full time job as the dugout reporter for Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers—but when a baby gift filled a void in her home, she decided to fill a void in the marketplace. After McCoy had her first child in 2011, she struggled to find a stylish alternative to the traditional, juvenile play mats on the market. Fortunately, her best friend from high school—Kelly Smith—had experienced the same thing five years prior and took matters into her own hands. Read more>>

Colleen Karsnick

After I graduated high school, I went to cooking school and worked in restaurants, all positions in the restaurants and then eventually head pastry chef at them all the while doing cakes “on the side” until eventually I didn’t have time to go into the restaurants anymore because of my cake load! No definitely not, the kitchens are mostly filled with men and a lot of them don’t appreciate a female being in there or being their superior. A lot of times I would be placed in a higher position than some of them because of my culinary arts degree or just my experience, either way, a lot of guys in the kitchen don’t like a female there. Read more>>

Anne Bowgett

I was probably born with the desire to create and work with my hands because I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t painting or drawing or making something. But my journey into jewelry design started 13 years ago when I saw a necklace I loved but couldn’t afford. I wanted to make something similar so I went to the library for some books and started learning. After that I took classes on wire wrapping and started making my own lampworked glass beads and fused glass pendants. Several years later I read an article about metal clay and immediately knew it would be the perfect medium to combine my love of jewelry and my fondness for ceramics. Read more>>

Kelilah Israel

I became a single mom at age 15. I graduated high school one year early at age 17 and became the youngest police dispatcher for the City of Fort Worth Police Department. I worked there until the age of 27 and became a stay at home mom. I have always had a love for balloons, but I specifically remember wanting a certain type of decoration with balloons at my second baby shower. The few companies that I came across were insanely expensive. I guess the heavens and the earth moved and commanded that I become the Balloon Goddess. Lol. I set out on a relentless campaign to train and learn all things balloons. Read more>>

David Clarke

At the age of 18, I hitch hiked to Italy with a friend and was presented with ‘real’ espresso for the first time. Having been born and raised in the UK, at that time, tea was the drink of choice and coffee was mainly made using freeze dried instant granules. So this was a new experience, which I immediately decided to make a part of my life going forward. On returning and for the next couple of decades I invested in various coffee makers and espresso machines to pursue my love of this wonderful drink. Read more>>

Amy Evans

James spent the last 24 years in the heating and air conditioning field and Amy worked for State Farm Insurance for 20 years. Opening a Board & Brush studio helped fulfill Amy’s creative side! They are still in the studio every night meeting new people and forming lifelong relationships as well as helping people create wonderful décor for their home! Their family has lived in the Mansfield area for over 20 years. Their children grew up here and their youngest still lives in Mansfield and works at the studio! Read more>>

Judith Griffin

Illness brings me to my gardens where I find flowers and herbs to compliment self healing. Forty-four years ago, I had twins with immune deficiencies who were not expected to live. Their pediatrician told me to do what I could to help. I knew how to cook and grow. From my gardens, I made creams, essences and sprays, which soon became known as Petite Fleur Essences. My despair turned to hope as the twins began to improve in 5 weeks. When my youngest son, Jason, was 2, he lost half his hearing due to nerve damage, I was told his hearing would not return. I went back into the gardens and made a topical blend to apply on the outside of his ears. Jason’s hearing returned in 3 weeks, no nerve damage noted. Read more>>

Stanton Parker II

After graduating from the University of Kansas, I moved to Fort Worth, TX in order to begin my career as an accountant. While I undoubtedly gained valuable work experience, I knew that God had a greater purpose for my life. Like many of my millennial counterparts, I was determined to discover my passion and to leave my mark on the world. After much introspection, I realized that I had a great love for writing. I love words! Writing is a beautiful art to me. As a writer, you must organize your thoughts in a sequence that translates well with your audience. Read more>>

Brooke Ladouceur

My family started this real estate company 30 years ago and I have been working for them the past eight years. I am in the process of taking over the company slowly. We are not a franchise but our production level far outweighs most of the other real estate companies in our area. Because we truly care about people, we thrive on staying grounded with integrity & honesty & balanced with humility. It shows in our success rate & return business. We strongly instill these same qualities in all of our agents & treat everyone in the company like family. Read more>>

Coleman McDonald

I’ve always enjoyed working hard at work worth doing well. I started my professional life as an Air Force officer and F-16 Fighter Pilot. It was a tremendous privilege to serve alongside outstanding people while accomplishing a difficult mission. I particularly enjoyed the daily teamwork that was required to be successful. Through five assignments, including two combat tours, I learned well that no goal is impossible to achieve for those willing to plan well and work hard. Read more>>

Steve Coker

My story starts as a kid when my Father owned his Cleaners in Houston and I would spend Saturday afternoons there with my Dad. As a teenager, I worked in the Texas Hill Country at Neals Lodges as the Horse Wrangler who would take the vacationers on trail rides up into the hills. Once I finished school I had the calling to serve my country so I joined the Navy and spent the next 20 years serving as an aircraft mechanic on many types of aircraft. I spent a lot of time away from my family being deployed around the world mostly working on the flight deck of aircraft carriers in extremely hazardous working conditions. Read more>>

Karla Norman

After working in the corporate world behind a desk for many years, I decided I wanted to do something more with my life. So at 48 I went back to school. I had gone to college right out of High School but life got in the way Marriage, Kids, etc, I had 2 years of nursing school and wanted something along those lines. I decided on Massage Therapy. I graduated in 2014 and started working for a local salon. The salon moved into a very small building soon after. The environment wasn’t really what I wanted for my clients. Read more>>

Cari Dennis

My husband and I started the business 10 yrs. ago. He was losing his hearing and I needed to go back to work to help support our family. At the time, we had three young sons. We found this company for sale, even though we live in Southlake and the business was located in Weatherford, it was attractive to us because my husband Mark grew up in Weatherford. We poured all of our savings into the opportunity to make a down payment and was able to borrow the rest. I had 15 years previous experience in mortgage banking but nothing close to running an assisted living facility. Read more>>

Sue Williams

I grew up in West Texas and, like many, learned to cook from my mother. We owned a farm and I saw first hand the value of fresh, local, all-natural ingredients. Now this concept is a paradigm in the culinary world but at the time it was just practical living. My mother liked to cook for others and enjoyed making desserts. We would often make candy and enter it in the county fair. After studying agriculture in college, I went to medical school but never lost my love of cooking for others. Read more>>

Jewel Gobea

I started my Nutrition journey when I was about 19 years old. At the time, I had just gone through a horrible break up that left me really really depressed. I was really young and didn’t really know how to handle heart break. On top of that, I was somewhat forced into going to college. I hated school. So I ended up enrolling and just skipping class all the time to go be sad and lonely and EAT. I ended up somewhat self-medicating myself with food. I ate McDonalds, I ate Chick Fil A, I ate lots of chips, lots of powdered donuts. I pretty much ate anything and everything that gave me brief sensation of happiness. Read more>>

Don Hudson

I have loved wildlife all my life and have been in the pest and wildlife business since 1994. God has truly had His hand on me since the beginning. We are a Wildlife Management Company and we set the pace for the industry. I love the Texas hospitality and how friendly Texans are. Read more>>

Jennifer Henderson

Right out of college I went to work for advertising agencies where I learned how to NOT run a business. After I left both over a stint of only two years, I swore I would never go back into agency life unless it was on my own terms. It was not me – back stabbing, highly competitive and full of men running the show. Instead, I went into the nonprofit higher end arena where learned everything about campaigns, consumer marketing, public relations and politics. After four years, advancing up to the Director of Communications, I missed my true passion – design. To feed my soul, I started a side business at night designing for a few clients. Read more>>

Valerie Johnson

I was warned that it would be difficult to get a neurology job right out of PT school. They must have been wrong because right after completing my doctorate in physical therapy, I started working in vestibular rehab. Vestibular therapy is a subspecialty under the umbrella of neuro rehab that focuses on inner ear and other balance problems. The idea of starting my own physical therapy clinic was inspired by a man who wanted to hire me on a private basis. I met him while I was working part time at a hospital in Fort Worth. He was recovering from a cerebellar stroke and wanted me to continue to help him after his release from the hospital. Read more>>

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