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Kansas City’s Most Inspiring Stories

The heart of our mission is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our communities. In the recent weeks, we’ve had the privilege to connect with some incredible artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with the incredible group below. Check out our favorite stories from across the Voyage family.

Scott Symes

We originally started our private practice with the idea of treating both the mind and body – mental health and chiropractic in one location. I am a psychologist, my wife a therapist – my brother, a chiropractor went into business with a childhood friend of my brothers who is also a psychologist, and his wife also a psychologist. We quickly grew into a larger location and incorporated DNA weight loss. Read more>>

Riley Fuchs

Everyone knew the girl that did all of the hair for every event in high school. They knew a girl that was always willing to braid your hair during lunch, in the middle of class, or after school before sports practice. I was the girl in high school. I grew up watching my mother work in a salon. I was always fascinated by her work and how she got to make people feel beautiful every day. She had a passion to make women feel good about themselves, I carried on that passion. Read more>>

Aida Stenholm

Growing up in Peru, my parents ran their own little business. We didn’t have a lot of extras but entrepreneurship was ingrained in us at a very young age. I started my first business when I was in elementary school. My popcorn empire didn’t last long since it didn’t quite meet the policy guidelines of Jose Carlos Mariatlgui Elementary School. A few years later, I started a side business attached to my parent’s shop. When profits started coming in, the very first thing I bought was a great pair of shoes. Read more>>

Clayton DeLong

Hello – my name is Clayton DeLong. I play guitar in Kansas City and love my career! I started when I was 16 years old and have been a full-time musician for 15 years. My passion is playing music and I’ve worked hard at what I do. This interview is an honor and I thank you kindly. I went to the Conservatory at UMKC and studied Jazz & Classical Guitar – earning my Jazz Performance Bachelors Degree. Over the years I have been a part of and created many different bands and businesses. A La Mode, Rivertown, Awestruck Entertainment, and ProhibitonParties.com – just to name a few. Read more>>

Jessica Dalby

As a Hispanic woman with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and a veteran of the United States Army, I made the conscious choice to venture into the world of entrepreneurship in August 2020. The LLC started off as Diggie The Progression Of Hip-Hop LLC, but quickly took a life of its own. Two years later it has now manifested into Jessica Dalby Brand Media LLC. A collaboration of brands that offer a wide variety of initiatives, in music, mental health, and more. Read more>>

Sher Randhir

I was introduced to Yoga around 2010, but it wasn’t until 2015 that I truly found my practice and started the transformational path. I committed to a daily practice, trying to get my health back on track, and it was a huge success. I found stability in my mind that I could not have even fathomed. In 2017, I decided to do yoga teacher training, and I chose Kundalini Yoga at Sat Tirath Ashram in Kansas City for my training. The teacher training was intense, but it gave me the tools to spread this knowledge beyond myself. Read more>>

Veraly Flores Catalan

Hi, I’m Veraly Flores Catalán. I was born in Guatemala, Nueva Concepcion, Aldea Laguna de Tecojate. I’m a mother and a wife, and I’m passionate about photography and modeling, I come from a humble and hard-working family, and that’s why I feel very proud of my roots and my people. Academically, I was a student at the Tecojate Institute where I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in science and letters with a focus on tourism. After a couple of years, I studied the first semester of Social Communication Sciences at the Mesoamerican University of Quetzaltenango. Read more>>

Megan Smith

Green Works in Kansas City is a nonprofit founded by Kate Corwin in 2007, with the goal of providing high-quality youth leadership programming for city kids in under-resourced neighborhoods. All of the programs are focused on the environment and living sustainably. One of the programs teaches high schoolers about entrepreneurship, business, and customer service, and since Kate firmly believes in a holistic educational experience, she opened our retail space called The Perennial Bee in 2020 to give students real work experience. Read more>>

Chase Dempsey

My name is Chase Dempsey! I currently am going to Wichita State University to receive my Master’s in communications and electronic media! Currently, I own my over business: Chase Me If You Can Productions which is my video and photo business. I offer drone, live stream, video, photo, and logo services. My passion for video grows with each client I work with. My goal is to bring your vision to life no matter what it is. Read more>>

Robin Cook

From the start, I’ve been creative at heart. Growing up in my parents’ jewelry store, I always had an affinity for beads and still remember receiving my first bead box. Originally, our store was adjacent to a hair salon, and I remember one day taking a small rack of my handmade earrings to sell to the salon patrons. Returning to our store with cash in hand and a smile on my face, I excitedly shared this success with my parents (I was about 10 years old). Read more>>

Nyla Handy

It all started when I was a little girl- my mother told me that I always wanted to dress. As I grew older, the feeling for fashion grew stronger and I began to dress others as a fashion designer. My late grandmother, Joyce Lee Webb (who was also a well-known fashion designer in her community) showed me the ropes on my first sewing machine. I never followed the school uniform dress code in school. The boring muted khaki, dingy white, and dusty navy were always complimented with statement costume jewelry, colorful socks, and a fresh pair of shoes. Read more>>

India Bridgeford

So what is my story?! To give you the play-by-play we’d need an autobiography, lol so I’ll condense as best I can. It seemed like my childhood centered around serendipities that showed me that Kansas City would one day need a woman like me. My story began when I was young as a shy yet intelligent girl in small-town Morrilton, Ar. My favorite teacher Paula Coan, who thought I was an absolute genius, entertained her second-grade class by playing the piano. Read more>>

Sifa Bihomora

In high school, I started making music with a friend in his basement. We free-styled at first, coming up with beats and lyrics on the spot. The music was very personal because we were both starting out with the recording. Then, I began performing locally and released my first EP. In 2018, I was accepted into Berklee College of Music and was able to further my connections and perform in Boston. I recorded my next EP, Tiny, in October 2020. Read more>>

Bob Holloway

I discovered my love for woodworking while building a piece of furniture for my 4-H project when I was 14. My grandfather, who enjoyed woodworking as a hobby, encouraged my interest and purchased a table saw, band saw, router, planer, and other equipment for me to use. I am still using many of those tools today. When I was in high school, I created numerous benches, chests, and an armoire in the wood shop. I also won the state drafting competition, which was held in Pittsburg, Kansas. Read more>>

Paige Miller

I have always had an interest in the beauty industry since middle school. I started with makeup creating all these crazy looks to nails, where I was practicing in my home and on myself. Though nails have a strong smell and can stink up the whole house, I had to stop. I haven’t practiced since then, yet I was still trying to find ways to get out in the industry and be involved. Here recently, eyelash extensions became super popular, and I knew many people offering the service. At first, I didn’t want to be a part of the group just because they’re so much of it. Read more>>

Sean Gates

Hip-hop recording artist IZ316 was born and raised in Wichita, KS. IZ began free-styling at the age of 9 and writing his own songs by age 11. He was raised by his Mother and Step-Father. His first musical influences came from school and church choir. Around the age of 8, IZREAL moved to San Diego California to live with his biological Father. This is where he was introduced to rap music on a larger scale. Read more>>

Keo Fletcher

You wouldn’t believe or maybe you will, but I started off by auditioning for America’s Got Talent (2016). After my first audition, it let me know that music was what I wanted to do forever. I auditioned for 3 years more years after that, and in the meant time while I waited for a response, I started writing songs and posting them on my Instagram. One day, I got asked to play a solo gig at “The Fog” with Dakota Jackson and Cody Moore. Read more>>

Brittany Briana

So, I got into the trucking industry because I was involved in a bad wreck where I almost lost my life when I was hit by a semi-truck, so at that point, I could no longer work in the healthcare industry because of my injuries. So I was literally just scrolling down Facebook and I said “freight dispatching & trucking company, I said what’s that?” So I did my research on it and then I paid and took her class, next thing I know I had my own business. Read more>>

Trent Twaddle

In the summer of 2015 Middle Finger To Cancer’s founder, I was a seemingly healthy thirty-two-year-old financial analyst living with my new wife in Houston, Texas. Following my wedding in May, I was seen by an orthopedic surgeon to evaluate a small lump in the palm of my right hand. The lump was first thought to be a common fibroma – a non-cancerous mass. After several weeks of physical therapy with no improvement, an MRI indicated suspicion of cancer. A core needle biopsy was performed at the MD Anderson Cancer Center. Read more>>

Briana Wesley

As a little girl, I remember watching my mom crochet begging her to teach me. After spending some years mastering the basics, at about 13, I started making headbands and hats for my cheer team and classmates! It wasn’t until COVID hit, shortly after finding out Andrew and I was pregnant with my second Daughter. I was laid off and that’s when I thought to elevate my skills. I started making crochet mask, and that took off! Over the following year, I took some time to study some patterns and designs. Now, I am the proud owner of STIITCHD BY BRI. Unique, handmade, crochet apparel. Read more>>

Kerrigan Sheffield

It’s honestly pretty surprising how long it took me to get here, but I have been trying to find ways to express my creativity since I was a kid. In elementary school and middle school, it started as making jewelry for all my family and friends. In high school, I began taking classes in engineering and architecture and started selling custom paintings on the side. There was even a time I was banned from going to Hobby Lobby by my parents in high school because I was spending too much money there on craft supplies (spoiler alert: I went anyway and ran into my grandma in the store and she yelled at me, but then continued to shop with me anyways – grandmas are the best). Read more>>

Mohamed Dia

My journey begins in Senegal West Africa, at the age of 3 my family migrated to the United States and ultimately we ended up in Kansas City, Missouri, where we would start our new lives. As the oldest child, I learned to adapt quickly to responsibility and change after going to 9 different schools around the city and the occasional move. I still enjoyed learning and solving problems throughout my childhood since they always seemed to arrive at our doorstep. Read more>>

Joshua Sinclair

I was ten years old when I started playing the guitar. Took lessons for 6 years and started up a couple of bands in high school. Moved to Philadelphia after a year of college and started playing and networking throughout the east coast. Moved back to the Midwest a couple of years later and started up a band with my younger brother on drums. We started releasing our own albums independently and touring regionally and then started branching out with some national tours. Read more>>

Shawn Craver

I picked up music as a kid in the Appalachian Mountains from family and friends. My mother played the piano at church and her side of the family has always been quite musical. Our church sang old hymns from the 1800s and family reunions were filled with fiddles, mandolins, and banjos. My mom’s dad moved from West Virginia to the Baltimore area and played in a radio band after World War II. He maintained a jam at his house throughout the 70s and 80s. He had a poster of Johnny Cash in his music room and it all made a big impression on me. Read more>>

Bao Su

I am a single mother of two. I was the proud owner of a hair salon for a number of years. I worked as a licensed cosmetologist and also was a fashion and hair model. Finally, I was also a certified spin instructor. During those years, it was a struggle to commit to both my work and my kids. I think the years of wearing many hats raising my kids and running my businesses have prepared me for my current endeavors. Read more>>

Katie Stevens

In 2019, my husband and I moved to our homestead with a 3-year-old and 9-month-old. We were determined and motivated to live a different life. One filled with space, fresh air, and all the beauty nature has to offer. We have just shy of 5 acres, with nearly 1 wooded acre to explore! Flowers have always been a passion, but the idea and direction of the farm were only beginning to grow. As we settle into homesteading and raising toddlers, we quickly learned there is a new pace here. A slow and steady we must embrace, a fact we knew but learned to feel was entirely different. Read more>>

Laura Wuthnow

Our family has always been one of the entrepreneurs, ever since immigrating from Belgium in the 1920s. You could say dreamers, or perhaps just people who bore easily, but my grandfather was always on the lookout for the next thing. Dad, Ron VanLerberg, has been the same way. Six or 7 years ago, Dad got the wild idea of starting a strawberry patch and we jumped right in. I’d say we had some gardening experience, but we certainly weren’t farmers and had never grown a strawberry let alone thousands of plants worth. Read more>>

George McMillian

My name is George McMillian. I grew up in the northland and I’ve always been an artist of sorts, constantly drawing in my classes and fiddling around with guitar and drums. I always loved it for what it was and had no plans at all to make either thing a part of my career. However, towards the tail end of high school, I had decided that I was at least going to go to college for design and maybe start a band. I studied graphic design and Spanish at UMKC and during this time started to socialize in the music community and play in a couple of bands, the most profound of which has been Kid Computer. I started this band in 2017 with my great friends Matt Gore and Christian Sanchez and we’ve been at it ever since. Read more>>

Vanessa Hayward

As a little girl, I would go with my dad to different events he catered to. Growing up watching him run his catering business was my 1st introduction to the event industry. Fast forward to 2014, I planned my wedding with the help of my mom. Shortly after, I would get calls from brides and friends in need of planners and asking if I would plan their weddings. Planning was something I started doing for fun, as a hobby, and eventually turned into a business. Do what you love and it will never feel like work! Read more>>

Carolyn Wingate

My home and business locations are both about 10 minutes outside Wichita. Our family farm is located in Andover, KS, and our business warehouse is located in Park City, KS right off the highway so it’s ideal for distribution and logistics. My grandparents and great-grandparents had a beautiful 10,000-acre cow-calf ranch in eastern Kansas. After my great-grandparents passed away the siblings couldn’t agree, and the ranch was sold. Read more>>

Ruth Shrauner

t seems like yesterday I was starting college to become a teacher. Although I had crazy dreams at 18 years old – like being a designer on “Trading Spaces” or “Project Runway” – I allowed fear to get in my way and, instead, decided to become a teacher because it seemed obtainable. After graduating I taught for three years before deciding to go back to school to get my Master’s Degree in Instructional Technology. Read more>>

Annika Wooton

A large part of my story begins with the dream of becoming Miss Kansas, and ultimately, Miss America. I started competing when I was a teen – attracted to the stage, the sparkles, and the opportunity to perform. I realized that while that got me in the door, what kept me hooked was the impact I was making on communities through service and intentional relationships. When I started college at the University of Kansas, I had the goal of becoming Miss Kansas – and truly thought I was going to knock it out of the park on the first try. Read more>>

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