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Portraits of KC

It’s more important to understand someone than to judge them. We think the first step to understanding someone is asking them the fundamental questions about who they are and how they became the person they are today. Understanding and empathy are essential building blocks for a better, more compassionate world. We’re incredibly fortunate to be able to ask these questions each week through our interview series. Below you’ll find inspiring interviews from in and around KC.

Sarah Jabbour

I started the business a little over 9 years ago as a side hustle while working a full-time marketing job, with the hopes of one day being able to open a store of my own. After the first three years, I was able to leave my 9-5 job to continue to grow and expand the business with the continued goal of one day having my own storefront. It has been a long road to get to this point, but so glad the past has led us to the Prairie Village space today! SCOOBIE has been open for nine years and has been a part of multiple co-op spaces around the KC Metro area (from downtown KC to Leawood to the West Bottoms). I have also helped market our business by the popping-up shop at events big and small, and at one point offered personalized style services. I worked out of our home office in Prairie Village for seven years, until building out our current Prairie Village store in 2019 (the space did not have plumbing, walls, electrical-we started from scratch on the buildout!). Read more>>

Brooke Waters

I have been singing since before I could fully talk and haven’t stopped since. I started out singing in church when I was about 4 or 5 and then progressed to talent shows, then singing a couple of songs with my dads’ band, and eventually to my own gigs. In 2016, I reconnected with one of my dad’s friends, Adam Wyatt, to take guitar lessons and he was looking for a new “project”, so we started Wyatt And Waters, a Country Duo. We play most weekends and even some weeknights! Read more>>

Monica Rodriguez

In 2016, I became a single mom of two toddlers. My entire world was shattered and I was picking up the pieces with two little boys by my side. I got introduced to an organization called The Single Mom KC and after only 4 months of being a single mom, I went to a summer event they put on. I remember feeling so out of place and almost ashamed I was there. I didn’t choose this life. I didn’t want it. They had a photographer there who was taking family photos for the single moms for free as part of the event. I reluctantly sat down with two tired and squirmy little boys and posed. Smiling through the pain and uncertainty. That one seemingly fleeting moment reignited a passion in my heart. I had always been interested in photography. I took photos with my camera phone constantly. I loved to look at photos and pin them to Pinterest. It was something I’d always hope that “someday” I could do. Read more>>

Beau Bledsoe

I grew in Little Rock, Arkansas, and moved to KC in ‘93 to attend graduate school at the UMKC Conservatory of music. I started working as a professional musician when I relocated here and haven’t stopped since. Read more>>

Roosevelt Broome

Roosevelt is also known as Soberichs emerged from the streets of Kansas City with his own clothing brand Sober formally known as Rich Apparels, as well as his own sound musically that blends the urgency of modern-day hip-hop with a smoother sound of alternative R&B. With over 10,000 streams worldwide, Soberichs has charted on the top 200 charts for R&B/Soul, sold out his first concert with over 250+ attendees, over 30 thousand supporters via Twitter, Instagram, etc. Soberichs has appeared in LA Fashion Week, KC Fashion Week, Omaha Fashion Week, appeared on VH1, BET, MTV and E! Network, Hot 103 Jamz, and countless blogs and magazines. Soberichs is continuing to thrive in the R&B space as a young artist. Read more>>

Jessica Boos

I started crafting in 2019 and quickly found it helped with my anxiety. A little background on my anxiety… My husband and I had tried for 5 years (2012-2017) to have a second baby. We had a daughter born in 2010 and knew we wanted more children. We tried some infertility treatments and suffered 7 miscarriages during those 5 years. I saw two specialists who both recommended IVF. The cost was too much. We decided to look into adoption which also costs quite a bit. I was driving home from a Doctor’s appointment when I heard a commercial about foster care on the radio. I talked to my husband when I got home, and we decided to become foster parents. We were fostering a baby when I started crafting. I started with vinyl project, mainly shirts and then expanded to sublimation and bleach and tie dye. The name of my business comes from our experience with foster care. Read more>>

Christopher Barnds

Growing up in the Greater Kansas City Metropolitan area, attorney Christopher C. Barnds always found himself wanting to help others any time he could. This desire to assist those in need only matured over time, which is what eventually lead Mr. Barnds to attend law school at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. While in law school, Mr. Barnds was a contributing member and editor of the University of Cincinnati Law Review. Mr. Barnds was also an associate member of, and then contributing editor for, the Urban Morgan Institute of Humans Rights, and the Human Rights Quarterly—the leading academic journal in the human rights field both domestically, and abroad. Mr. Barnds graduated law school in the top ten percent of his class, earning him academic honors as well. Read more>>

Wanda Winters

I organized the Pythons Drill Team in 1986. My goal was to provide a safe outlet for youth to learn, express, and showcase drills and drumming through the Performing Arts arena. I started with 10 girls performing to a boom box with cassette tape. After 2 years of directing the team, I added drums, flags, and rifles to allow not only more girls, but boys to join as well. I also became a non-profit business to create an avenue for disadvantaged youth equal opportunities to perform, travel, and acquire lifelong healthy habits that will help them become great citizens for their community. I’m celebrating 35 years of serving my community with compassion and dedication to teaching, mentoring, and having a positive impact/avenue for youth to free their minds, souls and hearts. Read more>>

Manual Harvey

The iPush Workshop Series was created in November 2011 by our company director, Manual “Lukky” Harvey. He was a street dancer who was transitioning and learning more about the dance industry and dance studio world and saw somewhat of a void of offering industry training to dancers who desired to train on a higher or more intense level than what their home studio may have offered. Oftentimes, dancers had to travel to conventions, which could cost a couple of hundred bucks each, and not every dancer could afford to do that, including many of the young dancers around his community. So he planned a dance battle and workshop event and flew in guest teachers from Los Angeles, CA, and had them teach and speak to local dancers about their experiences and the dance industry, and more. Read more>>

Francina Henderson

My name is Francina, owner of Dream Chasing Consultants, LLC. I created this business for other small businesses, like myself! It all came about with my husband doing Auto Detailing and word of mouth getting around.. we talked about taking things to the next step and said let’s go for it. I wanted to build a Brand with a professional look while being budget-friendly but like any other small business, it wasn’t being handed to us either! I didn’t know what was NEEDED then but I know I’ve always been very creative so I got to work. I started to design & print business cards, brand & marketing materials, and even designed the website…. Whew, that takes time and LOTS OF PATIENCE! Read more>>

CJ Page

I started out playing trombone in Overland Park, Kansas in 4th grade, and soon fell in love with the guitar. I took lessons with Tyson Leslie at Music House, along with Addie Sartino and Piece Turcotte. After middle school, I moved to mid-Missouri and started to pick up bass seriously. I started playing out in clubs when I turned 14 and soon met a mentor in Columbia. For years, I studied under him and soon became independent. I gigged with bands like SIFA, Aina Cook Band, The Adaptation, Hallam George and the HC, Archibald yell, PHURN, and many more. I moved to KC when I had graduated college, and started to carve out in the scene. I now play out in Blackwater, as a DJ known as Beach Bones, I produce and Record, Audio Engineer, Mix and Master Music with Element Studies, and have made appearances in Cypher Studios with Aaron Connor. Read more>>

Asia Mathews

From the time I’ve been 8, I’ve been into nails. I remember the first time I ever had my nails done. I stole nails from CVS, they were French tip press-ons, I was so happy I couldn’t wait. I put the nails on and went home and showed my mom, the first thing she asked was where I got them, I was 8 I knew no better so I proudly told her I stole them, well let’s just say she was not happy at all and I definitely got into some trouble. Fast forward 3 years later and this time I’m stepping up in the world! Read more>>

Navixha Bagga

Navixha has been on a journey of self-introspection and inner transformation for over two decades. As part of her wellness journey, Navixha has facilitated stress management and breathing workshops across India and the US, as a volunteer Coach for an international non-profit. One of her innate interests in capturing her life reflections into short write-ups and musings. A big turning point for her happened in the spring of 2018 – when Navixha was impacted by a re-org at her company of employment after 10 years. This could either have some as a big upset; or an opportunity to reset and take the next step forward. Read more>>

DeMarco Grave

To start, I was born in Nashville Tennessee where a lot of my grandfather’s side of the family lives. I was raised in Kansas City, MO. I’ve always been interested in photography when I was little. My uncle, Don was a professional photographer he did different photography but settled on weddings still does portraits and family photos here and there. But I grew up watching him picking up as many skills as I could I had a bunch of the disposable film cameras you buy at Walmart. Read more>>

Carrie Sunday

I fell in love with photography when I took a film photography class in high school. The whole experience was so much fun, and it was a creative outlet for me. During my senior year of high school, I was injured in a car accident that left me paralyzed and with little strength or use of my hands. After a while, I decided that maybe picking up a camera would be therapeutic for me – both physically and mentally. And it was. Now, 18 years later, I am regularly photographing families, seniors, weddings, all the things. It is still a huge creative outlet and still allows me a workout that I never know I need. Read more>>

Evgenia Friesen

My story started many years ago. I’m originally from Kyrgyzstan, where I was born and raised. Although this country is really beautiful, it’s also very criminal. This is why my family wanted to leave the country. So they saved money and from one day to the next we moved to Germany. (2010) In addition to the great education, Germany has no limits when it comes to opportunities, be it for work, turning a hobby into a dream job, or simply to travel around the world. That’s why I decided to do a job that I love (beautician) and then move away from Germany and travel until I can’t. Read more>>

Jessica Kelsey

I am a mother of 3 married to my high school sweetheart, who is a firefighter for the city in which we grew up. I was working as a school discipline secretary at a local high school when the pandemic hit. During quarantine, I created a Facebook Group/community for women of all walks of life. A group where you could turn to for support, questions, humor, etc. The group continued to grow and as it grew, I was on summer break, the pandemic continued to grow more concerning and there were uncertainties facing the upcoming school year. KC Mother Hustlers had grown to almost 6,000 members and I was able to monetize it through local ads, and products. Read more>>

Holly Enowski

I’m Holly Enowski, Miss North Kansas City representing the greater Kansas City area as a candidate for Miss Missouri in the Miss America Organization. This is my sixth time competing for the opportunity of Miss Missouri and I’ve earned nearly $20,000 in scholarships. I grew up between Lake of the Ozarks and Jefferson City, Missouri, and currently reside 40 minutes south of Kansas City. My undergraduate is from the University of Missouri where I pursued a Bachelor’s degree in science and agricultural journalism. I am currently an MBA candidate at Washington University in St. Louis (my program has been virtual due to the pandemic). Read more>>

Adeola Ajayi

12 years ago. I lived in extreme poverty, without any hope of me acquiring any type of college education. My five siblings and I with my parents lived in a room in a tenement building. We were so poor that we can’t even afford to eat a square meal. As a kid, I looked for a way out of poverty through basketball; I went through so much rigorous training without basketball shoes on my foot or food in my stomach. My two brothers and I usually slept on a bamboo mat in the hallway, because the room is too small to contain us. We rarely have electricity, so we will place a local lantern above our head at night to scare the mosquitos away, and also to keep us from being accidentally trampled on by the neighbors at night. (We’ve actually been trampled on, accidentally on different occasions). Read more>>

Duane Hallock

My adventure with photography began in the fifth grade when I bought my first camera. Somehow the world looked more enchanting through the viewfinder of my Kodak Brownie. After shooting a roll of film, I’d take it to the corner drugstore to be sent off for developing and printing. Then, I’d have to wait several days for the black-and-white prints to be delivered so I could actually see what I’d shot. In college, I took photography classes where I learned about f-stops, film speeds, and apertures. We developed our film in dark rooms that reeked of horrible-smelling chemicals. Then, under the red safelights, we would make prints, achieving various effects by manually dodging and burning the light as it shone through the negatives onto the photographic paper. Read more>>

Kim Gibson

I was that kid that sold her toys to other kids in the neighborhood, I have always been a merchant. So in 2008/9 as the economy began to take a nosedive and business began to drop off with my massage practice. I reached for a lifeline and started a pop-up fashion accessory business. The fashion line has grown since its inception of Pantyhose, Handbags & Accessories. Today, Misty Blue is a pop-up fashion business servicing both men and women primarily in the Historic 18th & Vine District. Our fashion line today includes fashions for men and women; sunglasses, jewelry, clothing, misc, and accessories. www.mistybluestyle.com. Read more>>

Tiffany Alston

I started this business because I wasn’t taught the importance of credit education. I’ve gone to companies to assist with my personal credit but they failed me, so I educated myself for years on the ins and outs of credit & the law. I decided to launch my business also in honor of my son who passed away in 2009, I promised him that something, whether it be big or small, would have his name on it. So, I take pride in everything and touch for my clients. I live, eat, sleep, and breathe in credit; and I want to pass on that education and opportunity to those around me. Read more>>

Nolan Brown

My brewing experience started in college with Homebrewing. I fell in love with the hobby and after graduating with a BS in Biology and a Minor in Chemistry. I decided that I didn’t want to go to Med School and wanted to brew professionally instead. I immediately went into the industry and worked my way up from a microbrewery to a regional brewery and finally to a national brand. It was at this point that the opportunity to open my own place presented itself and I moved back to Kansas City to open Transparent Brewing Company. Read more>>

Jonathan Tucker

I’ve been a performing musician for the last twenty years in Kansas City. A decade ago, I joined an Irish rock band in town called Chance the Arm, which got me connected with the Irish festival circuit across the midwest. I jumped aboard a popular renaissance fair pirate rock act called the Musical Blades about four years ago, which allowed me to branch out to the east coast as well as several prominent ren faires in the midwest. My bandmate and partner in crime, Olivia Harding (who lives in NYC), also performed with ren faire acts, including The Greatest Pirate Story Never Told, ultimately landing on her current group, Music the Gathering. She’s a highly trained singer, performing with a popular Cappella group in NYC called Stiletta. Read more>>

Dekesha Anderson

I started with hair and makeup and motivational speaking. I have always loved fashion. I’ve always wanted my hands in the industry somewhere. I enjoyed the idea of working for myself and creating my own lane, on my terms. When I saw stores starting and no location was needed, I maximized my opportunity. I knew what I wanted to achieve and I’m still working towards my dreams coming true. I started reading articles and thinking of how I wanted to brand myself. I started watching videos and slowly buying things that were going to help me market myself. I understood the assignment and I was definitely going to need a budget and that budget had to start from my day job. Read more>>

Bri Hull

I’ve worked in corporate marketing for almost seven years, and while it can be a creative job, I always knew I was meant for something more; meant to work for myself. I’ve always had a love for fashion and style and wanted it to be part of my career, but I was never quite sure how or what that would look like. So I started by meshing my experience as a copywriter with this passion and tried to make my way into the blogging industry about five years ago, then again two years ago… but as you can tell by this pattern, traditional blogging just wasn’t working for me. Read more>>

Alyce Walters

My name is Alyce Walters, I am known Locally as Hairfairykc. I have been a hairstylist for the last 13 years. A lot of life has happened in that time. I got married had two amazing boys Tripp who is 10 and Arlo who is 8, got divorced. I worked with Joico, a hair color company as an educator for a couple of years. Traveled all over, did photoshoots and fashion week. My work had been published in magazines. Had tons of fun, met a lot of amazing people. During that time, I met a guy and quickly became pregnant. Had my youngest son Brooks who is 2. Insert pandemic and a toxic relationship. Those two life-altering events both pushed me deeper into the understanding of Reiki energy, kundalini breathwork, how to rewire your nervous system to help heal from trauma. Read more>>

Aubrey McGrew

Growing up, I always knew that my purpose was to help people, but it was disorganized, not knowing exactly how I was supposed to help. I have lived in different parts of the Kansas City Area my whole life, it only seemed perfect to start helping in Kansas City. I am a book worm, wanting to soak up as much knowledge as I can, learning and developing myself and sharing it with those around me. In high school, I participated in Northland CAPS, a Center for Advanced Professional Studies, my junior year in the Medicine and Healthcare strand, my senior year in the Senior Associates strand, having the opportunity to have two internships; my junior year at North Kansas City Hospital in their Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, and my senior year at North Kansas City Hospital working with the hospital psychiatrist and psychiatric social worker. Read more>>

Tammy Bae

Let me just start by sharing a little about myself. If you had asked me 10 years ago what my plan for my life was, I would have replied “working in retail pharmacy.” I was trying to fulfill my parents’ dream of attending college and getting a doctorate degree. But as we all know, life doesn’t always go as planned. I decided to choose a different career path when pharmacy school didn’t work out. I started working in a nail salon where I immediately fell in love with the relationship I’ve built with clients. I was in a much happier atmosphere compared to the pharmacy where customers always seemed to be upset about something. I realized that I loved the beauty industry, and I felt like I could make a career in it! I decided to go back to school to get my esthetics license. Read more>>

Kathryn (Kat) Day

How did I get started? Wow, there is a story in itself. I will simplify things and cut to the chase. I came home to Kansas City in March of 2013. After going through eight surgeries in Fort Worth, Texas, from 2003 through 2012, I was in a wheelchair when I came home and told doctors I would never walk again. Since then, I have been dealing with two disabilities. I lost mobility in my neck to turn my head due to the surgeries. I also suffer from PTSD due to a series of traumatic events that happened in my past. I was not going to let either get me down. Read more>>

Kole Waters

Dreamist started as my project after a few members left my first band, from Dust To Beating Hearts. I was living in McPherson, KS, and finishing a contemporary music degree at Central Christian College of Kansas at the time. Our lineup back then was completely different than our current one, but the songs we’ve written wouldn’t have come out the same way if I hadn’t created them with those guys. (Shoutout to Travis Barker, Luke Koerperich, and Robert Graves). Read more>>

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