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Inspiring Stories from North 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 North Dallas below.

Penny LeBlanc

Penny received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in Interior Design and Architecture. She was employed as an Interior Design Project Manager at Off The Wall and Research Planning Associates in Philadelphia, PA before opening a residential design build company LeBlanc Design in Savannah, GA. Read more>>

Nancy Peham

It’s been a road of twists and turns to get to Helping Hands. I was an active, energetic kid who loved run around the neighborhood, ride my bike to the zoo and area lakes, have craft sales, and carnivals in my back yard and go skating in the winter. Read more>>

Akash Jain

After getting my Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering, and marrying my high school sweetheart, I moved to the US in 1996. I had a successful and rewarding career of 18 years in consulting. I advised clients on Business Strategies, Mergers & Acquisitions, Innovative Technologies. Read more>>

Tamie Nguyen

It begins 10 years ago when I left Cleveland, Ohio and moved to Dallas, TX. A modern city with warmer weather and opportunities. Growing up, I always fascinated with arts. Given a chance to work at a beauty salon had slowly grown my passion. Read more>>

Josh Youngblood

Technology has always been my passion ever since I played Connect 4 on a monochrome Apple II computer in 2nd grade. In 9th grade, I worked for an East Texas school district as the de facto Technology Coordinator. This further ignited my passion for technology, and at 15 I started my own business building and servicing computers. Read more>>

Kerry Hovland

Von Anthony, owners Kerry and Amy Hovland, have created a beautiful canvas to achieve your dream hairstyle. They really wanted a “destination” salon that was different from all others and one that met their level of customer service. Read more>>

Theresa Nguyen

My parents escaped Vietnam and were among the lucky who were able to board one of the last helicopters leaving Vietnam during the Fall of Saigon. I was the first child born in the US and the second-generation Vietnamese American. Read more>>

Nadim Ahmed

Without my parents or two younger brothers, I had migrated to United States at the age of seven. Although I didn’t want to leave my family behind, I knew I had to do it for my future. So naturally I took life, school, and my childhood very seriously. Read more>>

Christie Connel

I started my love affair with documenting life while I was in high school. I jumped right in and got both feet wet being the head of the yearbook. I attended Providence College and Rhode Island School of Design to pursue a photography and psychology double major. Read more>>

Lisa Winfield, Abbie Seidel

The timing sort of came together and created the opportunity to start Poo B Gone. After over 20 years as a graphic artist, I [Lisa] found myself out of work at the end of 2006. Abbie had been working for her sister’s landscape company for 25 years. Read more>>

Elizabeth Wiley

My work has a strong focus on Equestrian sports. There are a few other subjects that I will paint, but there is always a horse painting in the works. Growing up in Abilene, TX, I was constantly surrounded by horses. Everywhere I looked there were horses. My parents had horses and I rode for many years. Read more>>

Rob Watkins

I was born and raised in Dallas in the White Rock Lake area and have lived in Dallas my whole life other than my four years in Lubbock at Texas Tech, where I majored in finance. My story as to why I got into banking and eventually becoming a mortgage lender goes back to my childhood years. Read more>>

Ian Sharar

I’ve been into video production and filmmaking since I was a kid. Back then, it was making Star Wars fan films and trying to learn visual effects and 3d animation. When I was 18 I got an internship at a local filmmaker non-profit, helping them out with editing and learning the professional way to do things. Read more>>

Cory Fredericksen

I love to tell my story because it helps me to be thankful for the journey I’ve been on. Growing up in Wisconsin, close to my grandparents, taught me the work ethic I hold today. Work hard, love people and always give the best you have each day. Read more>>

Jarren Mack

I was born in England to a military family and as a child was into sports, cars, and music. I wanted to either be an Air Force pilot or soccer player. I ended up played team sports and served in the Air Force which taught me the value of hard work and team building. Read more>>

Stacy Cordell

My career stemmed from a sudden termination from a past employer. At the time, I had planned my whole mindset around working for this employer; I didn’t want anything else in life. Then after only 3 weeks of working there, I suddenly got fired. Read more>>

Tanya Gulakova, Marco Govoni

I’m originally from Belarus, a landlocked country that used to be part of the Soviet Union. My husband Marco, is originally from Bologna, Italy where he became a licensed Engineer some twenty years ago. Read more>>

TJ Callaway

My journey into audio started with music. I started playing my brother’s guitar (when he wasn’t home) when I was 12. Eventually, I got my own guitar because I got tired of being beaten up when he’d come home and find his guitar out of tune! In less than a year. Read more>>

Cammie Petty Palmer

My name is Cammie and I have been in the wedding industry since I graduated High School 8 years ago. I fell in love with events and the business and design of them. I am the creative director for my company Beautiful Event Rentals and have the vision for the creative direction of the company. Read more>>

Carlos Steele

I became fascinated with photography watching my niece Kim Kearse-Lane walking the Ebony Fashion Fair runway. I did not like all the strange men with the cool devices (cameras) taking pictures of my best friend and niece. Read more>>

Raul Varela

I started my business back in 1994. I had been working for a large advertising agency for 3 years and felt the need to explore the possibilities out in the world. I always wanted to run my own business, Unfortunately at 23 years of age I did not have much experience. Read more>>

Pamela Busiek

By the time Pamela Busiek had assumed the role of president and CEO of global trade association ICMAD (Independent Cosmetic Manufacturers and Distributors) in July 2011, she was already a well-known cosmetics and personal care businesswoman and international speaker on the benefits of private label, advocacy and business growth. Read more>>

Dr. Susan Istre

Parenting is a tough job that none of us has any training to do. When I was a young mother of three, including two ADHD boys, I found myself in need of some practical advice about how to help my kids deal with social challenges —and could find few resources. Read more>>


A graduate of The University of Texas at San Antonio. I got into interviewing up and coming talents across the state of Texas, with the help of a close friend Killv Kelz, and since then everything has been lining itself up. Read more>>

Julian Placino

I’ve worked in the recruiting and staffing industry for over 11 years in the Dallas area. Today, I oversee talent acquisition for Bottle Rocket, one of the premier mobile development firms in the world, located right here in Addison, TX. Read more>>

LeTitia Owens

After being homeless herself, LeTitia decided to use her vocal ability to uplift the homeless and the less fortunate. After realizing there were so many people that just needed to know they were thought of, the Lord gave her the song: Where Are You? Read more>>

Mora Namdar

I am a born and raised first generation North Texas girl who grew up with two of the hardest working parents you could ever meet. I always loved art, literature, and helping people and was always encouraged to study and work hard. Read more>>

Nika Arastoupour

Nika Arastoupour has accomplished so much, it is hard to believe she could only be in her 30s. She is a proud SMU alumna, a successful real estate agent with Highland Park-based Rogers Healy, and a busy wife and mom of two young boys. Read more>>

Ron Johnson

I started a career in the IT industry in Buffalo, New York before relocating to Dallas, TX. When I first came to Dallas, I work as a senior vice president for a major financial company. Life was great and the future seemed bright. Then one day at work I noticed some dark spots in my vision. Read more>>

Elise Martin

I grew up in Saudi Arabia, I finished HighSchool early at the age of 16 and as a result, I got my degree in web design and my teachers aide diploma while I was in Saudi Arabia since there was no college in the 90’s that would take expat women at that time. Read more>>

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