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Inspiring Stories from North West 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 West Dallas below.

Srishambavi Gopinath

I don’t remember when exactly my interest in dance began, but I remember from a young age, dance took up most of the space in my mind. Something about Bharathanatyam (an Indian classical dance form) has always fascinated me, so I started learning around 4 or 5 years old. For as long as I remembered, I would always be dancing, choreographing, or teaching dance. It was always about dance. For more than 12 years, I received intensive training in Bharathanatyam. It helped me express myself, and I often found myself feeling more alive when I danced. Later, I went on to get a degree in engineering, got married, came to the U.S., and had kids. During that time, I found fewer and less opportunities to dance, and I realized the importance of dance in my life. Teaching is another one of my passions and I really wanted to share my knowledge, so I thought of beginning a school. With my husband’s motivation and support, I started a dance school, Bharathashetra School of Dance, with three students, which soon grew big mostly through word-of-mouth. Read more>>

Nicole Cater

I worked in the real estate sector of Corporate America for years before starting my own business. I was working the daily grind and assisting small business owners in obtaining multi-million dollar contracts and moving them into successful businesses. At this point, my husband and I had three kids at home and I realized that I could not meet the goals I had for myself as a mom. We had suffered loss before our twins were born, after a miscarriage and losing a child. This loss pushed me to realize that I didn’t want to miss out on my children and seeing them grow and loving them as much as I could. Working in the corporate world just wasn’t an environment allowing me to give what I could and be the mom and wife I wanted to be, and I knew I could do more. She left the corporate world and started the concept that created what INC Management Group is today. Now seven years later, between my husband and my children, we are running multiple businesses. Read more>>

Landon Forgette

I’ve worked on and off in coffee for the past 15+ years. I’ve always wanted to open my own shop but never really took the chance to do so. My brother and I grew up in not-so-good surroundings and we never had any money growing up. We were homeless for some time, but I managed to get a job that helped my brother and myself move on with our lives. My brother ended up serving six years in the Air Force. When he got out, he started his own business and it did well, so he called me up one day and asked if I was still wanting to start my own coffee shop. I had just transferred back to Texas from Portland, or with my previous job, so it worked out well in conception. We opened on March first of 2020 after spending several months getting the space ready, and we ended up shutting down for a few months due to Covid-19 a little over a week later. The community is great where we are, so we’ve been able to stick it out through the ups and downs, even though we were unable to procure any PPP loans. Read more>>

Allison King

I’m 23 years old. Born and raised in Dallas, Texas. I grew up in Northwest Dallas near the border of Farmers Branch, where I now live. For those of you who know the area and the schools around here, I went to DeGolyer for elementary, Marsh for 6th grade, Dealey for 7th and 8th, and then W. T. White for high school. I love everything about Dallas, which is precisely why I chose to stay here for college! I graduated from SMU in 2019 with a B.S. in engineering and another B.S. in math (I’m also a huge nerd).I actually started out as a Chemistry major when I got into SMU because I loved Chemistry in high school, and once I found out engineers made a lot more money (as shallow as that may sound to some people), I promptly switched my major before I even set foot on campus. This decision kickstarted a myriad of events that have changed my life forever. In short, I began my career by interning at Rolls-Royce my junior year of college as a Project Management Intern in their JSF LiftSystem Sustainment Program based in Indianapolis, Indiana (a truly remarkable experience). Read more>>

Patrick Varnado

I grew up in Vicksburg, MS, single-parent household like most of the kids where I’m from. My mom was a major influence in making sure I made something positive out of myself. She always stressed college and eventually got me enrolled in her alma mater – Alcorn State University. We figured that computer Science would be the best thing to major in to ensure I had a job after college, so I took that route while playing football for two years and taking leadership positions in some of the organizations on campus. All of this led to where I am today. I ended up in Dallas based on the job I was offered by the company I was interning with in college. Getting to this point just seems like the intro of where I’m going. Working in corporate for these last few years has taught me a lot about professionalism and how business should be handled. I’m now using those skills to push myself and my personal brand to break from restraints of a 9 – 5 or working for someone else (other than potential customers). Read more>>

Abi Salami

I am a Nigerian-American self-taught artist based in Dallas, TX. I create art that boldly explores the beauty and essence of black womanhood while promoting positive mental health. My art is informed by my own life experiences and those of loved ones and I aim to normalize “Black Joy” by creating art that softly and tenderly re-injects humanity into Blackness. I was born in Lagos, Nigeria and moved to the United States with my family when I was ten years old. I have always been a creative person. I loved to draw and paint as a child and always thought being an artist would be such an amazing career. However, art was not viewed as a viable career in my household so I was encouraged to attend business school instead, which I did, and I earned my master’s and became a licensed CPA. I stayed in Corporate America until February 2018, when I was laid off due to a merger, and I decided against remaining in the corporate world and began to chase my dream of becoming a professional artist. Since then, I have shown my work across the country, including the Women’s Museum of Dallas and the African American Museum of Dallas. Read more>>

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