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Michigan’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.

Sachin Kumar

Hi! I’m Sachin Kumar, also known as SCKACHI online, and I’m a 24-year-old social media content creator that makes Indo-American comedy videos on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. I graduated from Michigan State University with a Neuroscience degree.  I was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa, moved to Amsterdam, then to Michigan, and am now based in Los Angeles. Growing up in Iowa, there wasn’t much creativity and oftentimes I felt a lot of racism. Read more>>

Ponce D. Clay

Ponce D. Clay is a native of Detroit, Michigan, a 1988 graduate of Detroit Cass Technical High School, enlisting in the United States Navy in July of 1988.  He is a graduate of Morehouse College where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Spanish. He attended Troy State University-Japan where he earned a Master of Public Administration (Public Personnel Management) and is certified as Senior Professional of Human Resources (SPHR). He was formerly the Vice President of the Detroit Morehouse Alumni Association. He earned a Juris Doctor and MBA from the University of Detroit Mercy. Read more>>

Riley Brooks

I have always been creative and independent since I was a child. Growing up, I loved exploring all of the different creative outlets and methods the world had to offer. You could find me making things with clay, sewing, painting, or using papier mache, and believe me, the list goes on. Art was consistently my favorite class to attend in school and I often brought my projects home to work on. Sometimes I got so interested and would buy my own supplies to mimic the lessons I had been taught at school with my own projects at home.  Read more>>

Savor Popup

Savor started in 2019 as an artist collective group focused around an all-inclusive dining experience. Although we have evolved extensively over the years the one thing that has remained in focus is the aspect of art and food fusion. Our venue spaces always provide a different sensory appeal to pair with the meal itself. That ranges from art galleries, live paintings, musicians, and the very location of the meal itself. We like to think of our tickets as an entry to a multi-sensory art gallery.  Read more>>

Melvina Smith

In March 2020 the beginning of the Pandemic, I began my LLC Boss Lady Virgin Hair Collection. It started as a spiritual journey as I personally experienced hair loss due to chronic long-term illnesses. Once recovered I discovered how not only I could benefit from wearing hair extensions and wigs but others could as well. I wanted my line of natural hair care to be practical and inviting to many.  Read more>>

Nikki Roach

Once upon a time in Michigan, I was born and in the beginning, there was no internet. There were books and encyclopedias that came on CD-ROMs. I’m mentioning this because I am an artist who has an obsession with information technologies and I’d include in that descriptor things like books and the internet since they’re ostensibly content containers or visual information spaces. In other words, spaces where we read. Read more>>

Kate Landis

Most of my life I have had a strong desire to serve my community and I wanted a career that would make a difference in someone’s life. What better way to serve people than utilizing a formal education in culinary arts. I learned so much about taking care of people and being authentic with my work in the food service industry.  Once Matt and I started a family we quickly realized the restaurant industry wasn’t very conducive to raising two small children. Read more>>

Shantonya Scott

I’ve always loved all things home…house hunting, home decor, etc. I was selling my first home and my listing agent at the time invited me to career night at their brokerage. I never thought of real estate as a career but always loved the industry in my own way. So, I attended career night and it ignited an excitement I didn’t know existed. One of the agents at the career night connected with me and sort of took me under her wing. Read more>>

Setitra McCain

I started doing style & beauty blogging in Fall 2020 after having to close down my doors to my natural cleaning company due to the pandemic. I needed something flexible during the time when my kids were homeschooled. I spent months thinking about what to do next in my career. I wanted to be sure that whatever it is that I chose to do, it was something I can be truly committed to. I’ve always been into style and beauty. My mother and my late best friend are my inspiration for my blog. Read more>>

Carlie Robinson

My name is Carlie Robinson and Crave By Carlie was started as a way to provide quality active wear that is both fashionable and affordable. As a fitness enthusiast for about 6 years now, I worked out 4 to 5 times a week and I would always search for the cutest sets to keep me motivated. I spent tons of money on other brands and while some were beautifully designed, the quality was not worth even half the price other brands were selling them for.  Read more>>

Aiye Akhigbe

I founded Sticky Spoons Jam in 2016 as a way to feed my children high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavor, and preservative-free jams while fulfilling their love of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I had already made baby food and the transition to jams was only a natural move.  I started with a basic strawberry jam using berries grown on a farm less than 5 miles from my home. I made too many jars and my coworkers offered to buy the excess. Read more>>

Katherine Hatfield

This is a little reminder that self-love and confidence are all you need to possess, to unknowingly inspire others. I am a mental health and weight loss advocate who uses modeling as the platform to share my story. I’m age 32 and spent most of my life as a morbidly obese woman. When I hit my highest weight of 337 pounds, I knew it was time for a change. In August 2019 I was blessed with the assistance of gastric sleeve surgery and within one and a half years I hit my lowest weight of 136 pounds!  Read more>>

Luke Korolowicz

I began drawing professionally in 2012. A recent purchase of a 20-anniversary reprint of x men #1 got me interested in doing my own comic strip that I could photocopy and sell around the places where I haunted in Orlando. That took a year for me to eventually hit the realization of going further into selling original art of superhero characters. This development resulted in me going around comic shops and hitting the floor of Florida comic conventions to pound the pavement and get my work sold.  Read more>>

Julie Mills

When I was young, I could always be found outdoors. I loved nature, building things, swinging from rafters, riding my bike, and living in my imagination. I loved to draw, doodle, and color. I also loved to read and I would write my own short stories, illustrate them, staple the pages together and adore my mom’s laughter while she read them. My sophomore year of high school I was finally able to take an art class.  Read more>>

Katie Poli

I got to go to hair school while I was going to high school. At first, honestly it was just so I could get out of high school earlier. I didn’t know what I wanted to do after high school but I knew I wanted something artistic in my life. I didn’t feel like I had a lot of time to figure things out I messed around a lot during school I didn’t take it seriously at all because to me there was no challenge and I refused to be molded into “a product of my environment” and just pay bills and die.  Read more>>

Gavin Koenig

Throughout my entire life, I’ve been a big believer that anything is possible. I’m aware that sounds like a bit of a cliché, but I have first-hand experience on how true it is. I made my dream become more of a reality in a span of one year. From shooting high school sports to now having the pleasure to work with both Oakland University and Legacy Football. What pushed me to get to the position I am in today? I can credit my parents with that. They believed in me no matter what I did and truly pushed me to be great. I can only hope to continue making them proud as the years go by. Read more>>

Maurice Franklin

My story starts from childhood. My father is an entrepreneur and watching him go to work for himself every day was what I wanted. He was his own boss and was able to move how he wanted to. This inspired not only myself but my brother as he is an entrepreneur too. When it comes to driving, my love started when I was a teen. I enjoyed driving my friends around and I was able to get everyone home safely.  Read more>>

Vincent Parker

I graduated from Central Michigan University with a degree in Construction Management. I played basketball in college and overseas, so I spent all of my 20s chasing and living that dream. For the past 7 years, I worked for a civil engineering company on construction projects. We would remove old water mains on major roads or in subdivisions and install new water main, sanitary main, and storm main. Read more>>

Kyra Dalton

My company was founded a few months after the pandemic began. I was in the house going through a lot of emotions because I couldn’t move around how I wanted to due to the world being shut down, I was also pregnant at the time. Being in the house that long made me realize a lot about myself! I’ve always been a creative person but holding many titles in my life took me away from that at times. I went to school for culinary arts and I’ve always loved fashion and shoes.  Read more>>

Sama’ria Bass

I started Pardon My Detroitness in the year 2017 for a purpose and expression basically as you know we Detroiters have this reputation whether it’s bad or good to ANYBODY that isn’t from here so with that I created a phrase and movement for my Detroiters to let outsiders know ‘PARDON MY DETROITNESS” I’m where I am today with Pardon My Detroitness because I choose to be positive in every situation. I prefer to surround myself with positive people and fill my mind with positive thoughts and I’m thankful for all the support from my city. Read more>>

Sarah Lyons

Like many birth workers, my story starts when I became pregnant with my first child in 2011. I had a straightforward healthy pregnancy overseen by a CNM. Before her first birthday, I unexpectedly became a single parent overnight. I decided I needed two things; to go back to school to find a career to support us both and to build a support system, and I did both. I quickly made two close friends with young children. We traded childcare, listened to one another, potty trained our babies together, and oftentimes traded off cooking dinner. Read more>>

Emily Pieri

5 years ago, I was chasing the American dream while climbing the corporate ladder. I remember looking out my office window knowing I hadn’t seen my baby or my husband for nearly a month due to the “Busy” season at work. At that moment, I felt robbed. I remember thinking, “This can’t be the life people strive & hustle for.” I was recently promoted to my dream job right before I became a brand-new mom to my firstborn daughter, Adeline. Read more>>

Ariel O’Mara

O’Mara Sprung Floors is the fruition of a long-time dream, the seed of which sprouted and bloomed in the O’Mara family’s backyard workshop over 25 years ago. In 1996 Ed O’Mara built and sold his first modular sprung dance floor, with his own patented Cable-Tuned™ installation system, to the Flint Institute of Arts. Several years earlier, while building a dance studio for his wife, Mary O’Mara, he began designing his unique assembly system. This was the second dance studio he had built and he had found both a surprising hole in the sprung dance floor scene and an opportunity to create the manufacturing business of his dreams. Read more>>

Rashida McGuire

Hello, my name is Rashida McGuire, mother of 2 beautiful children. I’m the owner of Creative Kids Learning LLC, “We make learning fun.” I got my first job as a childcare assistant in a childcare center in 2011, just assisting in the infant classroom. In the next few years, I continued searching for my career purpose. In 2014, I came across Bundles of Blessing childcare center. I realized what my purpose was, to be an educator. Everything we taught the kids consisted of being creative while providing the best quality ECE program.  Read more>>

Tiffany Patton

Normally known in the realm of media after having an award-winning recognized podcast on the go with Tiffany Patton, which is still not finished just taking a cybatical. I began this beautiful candle venture in 2015. As I began to evolve, transforming my personal outlook on life, so did my vision. My passion came not only from my love and affection for candles but the love and desire to see others being the fullness of who God has called them to be. Read more>>

Evan Alderton

I grew up in a really small town in northern Michigan where there weren’t any opportunities to pursue music as a serious career. As a teenager, I taught myself how to play guitar and started writing my own music. In 2017, I recorded my first EP at Studio Anatomy in Traverse City, MI. I didn’t even have a band yet, so I recorded all the parts myself. I released it later that year, but I still had a lot to learn about marketing and growing an audience. Read more>>

Gloria Board

While serving my people in Haiti with my family one summer, I noticed two things that I could not get off my mind. One was the lack of people coming to work in Haiti learning our language in order to build relationship with them. The second was the shocking lack of literature written in Haitian Creole, the language of our own people. My daughter, Emily, and I immediately began to teach Kreyòl (Haitian Creole) to people working in Haiti, visiting Haiti for extended periods of time, and then eventually to adopting families as we noticed the trauma Haitian children experienced being put in a new environment, new climate surrounded by unfamiliar faces with people unable to understand them at a time when they needed to be understood the most. Read more>>

Ashley D’Orazio

Like many, my love for photography began when I had my first child. I wanted to document our days with beautiful photos. So, I bought my first DSLR camera and began snapping away. However, I quickly realized that having a nice camera does not mean you will capture beautiful photos. The perfectionist in me became obsessed with getting better. As I continued practicing and learning, my skills continued improving.  Read more>>

Shantanique Crumby

My story begins when I started my weight loss/fitness journey in 2018 after graduating with my Master’s Degree from Michigan State University (MSU) and returning back to the Metro Detroit area. After gaining so much weight from my 8 years at MSU I knew it was time for a change. When I returned home, it was recommended to me that meal prepping would help me reach my fitness goals because 80% of what the body needs is nutrition and 20% is physical activity. Read more>>

Alexis Spice

My Name is Alexis Spice, I grew up in Detroit, Michigan. I’m the youngest of three children and I was raised in a single-parent household. As a child I had a comfortable life (as far as I’m concerned), I have always seen my mother work hard for everything we needed and wanted. She is the reason for my optimistic mindset and go-getter attitude. In high school I became pregnant with my first son at the age of 17, after graduating I went on to pursue my education.  Read more>>

Christina Spivak

White Owl started as a collaboration between my sister, Courtney, and myself. We were both doing recycled/repurposed jewelry creations, and I was playing around with making jewelry from vintage lace and crochet.  Eventually, we started an Etsy shop together, and within a few months we were the featured seller, and the lace jewelry started to get a lot of attention in blogs, and then a few magazines. Read more>>

Ron Spears

We are a group of friends who share a common love for House Music. Our names are Ron and Michelle Spears; Bruce and Lisa Bailey; Phil Clay and Doris Bryant. One day Michelle was looking a pictures of a friend who was preparing for the Kentucky Derby. She thought to herself, “Wow, it would be great to have a Kentucky Derby-themed event here in Detroit. So, she call Bruce and introduced the concept to him and the rest is history.  Read more>>

Scogg Construction

The Scogg family has a creative passion for building. In 2016, Drew Scogg planted the idea of starting a family construction business. Andy Scogg, a public educator and licensed contractor spent his summers building new homes and remodeling in West Michigan for over 25 years. Austin Scogg, a recent college graduate with a degree in graphic design is eager to create the ideal space for your remodeling adventure. Drew, a recent college graduate with a business degree working in Los Angeles, CA decided to move back to West Michigan to turn his idea into a reality. Read more>>

Rachael Carter

I graduated from Wayne State University with degrees in Environmental Science and Biology. I have always had a passion for sustainability and the environment, as well as gardening at my home. After a few years working as an Environmental Chemist, I had decided that the Environmental field was not for me, and I began working (unhappily) in an unrelated field. All the while, I was continuing to grow my own food and fielding questions from friends and family that wanted help starting gardens of their own. Read more>>

Kristen Collins

I have always had a passion for art since I was a child. My parents would put me in various art programs throughout the state of Michigan. I went to the University of Michigan and started in the Art & Design school, but completed my degree with a BS in Architecture. During that time, I gained a number of skills and knowledge that I use in my business today. In August of 2020, I moved back to Michigan from NY where I’d just completed graduate school. During that time, I began to miss designing and decided to use my time after work to start a few projects. Read more>>

Katelynn Ostruszka

I have always had a love for design and creativity; however, my background is in Digital Marketing. Over the years, my career had become more and more technical, lacking the creative outlet that I craved. I decided it was time to create more joy in my life, and I enrolled in the Interior Design course at the New York Institute of Art & Design. My interior design career began by working part-time in the industry as a side-hustle creating e-design projects and 3D renderings – all while keeping my full-time corporate position. Read more>>

Rachel West

I started off Malie Therapeutic in a small back room of a hair salon in Waterford, MI when I was 20 years old. It was loud and busy and not the best place to start a quiet massage business. Regardless, I loved my small room and poured everything I had into it. Passion, love, effort, and time turned it into my favorite place to be. I started with zero clients! I didn’t have a sign out by the road or anywhere on the building really for people to be able to find me. Read more>>

Kimberly Hurst

I am a Certified Physician Assistant, working in Emergency Medicine with a special emphasis on sexual violence. When I was a PA student 20 yrs. ago, I had my first experience with a patient who had been sexually assaulted. There is no training in medical school/nursing school/PA school on how to provide care to a sexual assault patient. I had no idea what I was doing. My attending handed me a rape kit and said “this is your next patient”.  Read more>>

Tanisha Pyron

Tanisha Lynn Pyron also known as (Pretty Fire the poet) (The Afrocentric Pin-Up Girl) (The Creative Doula) is a classically trained actress, professional theatrical director, and a co-founding member of Face Off Theatre Company. Most recently I directed Absentia at Ohio University and co-starred in a regional theatre production of Yellowman. I am a virtuosic artist, creative photographer, spoken word poet, author, teaching artist, viral influencer, storyteller, and media entrepreneur recently publishing her first book of original poetry, BLACK POOL OF GENIUS Volume I, and launching Tanisha Lynn Pyron Creative Services, LLC as a media brand. Read more>>

Francesca Mychelle

I loved all things beauty from a young age. My father instilled in me growing up that no matter what you’re going through always look your best and move with purpose. Through life’s adversities and losing my father I’ve overcome everything that has been thrown at me and I’m able to be a beacon of hope for other young women who have been through the same struggles as myself. Growing up I watched women in my family battle illnesses that caused them to lose their hair.  Read more>>

Ryan Redoute

Professionally, I hit the ground running when I entered the advertising world after graduating from Michigan State University; beginning my career managing all things analytics and reporting for big brands like Mars/Wrigley and LEGO in Chicago, IL. Since then, I have gained experience in every other aspect of the advertising business including sales, media planning/buying, campaign management, brand strategy as well as business development. Now, I live for making my own client’s businesses thrive. Read more>>

Shawn Moulenbelt

I grew up in nearby Hopkins MI. After graduating from Hopkins High School, I joined the Army. My MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) was 51 Bravo: Carpenter and Mason. After 2 years of active duty, I attended Western Michigan University majoring in Construction Management. I also received my commission as an Army officer thru ROTC and was a platoon leader in the Michigan Army National Guard. Read more>>


Fr35h and hip-hop seem too compatible to not share an intimate bond. They were both birthed in the early 80s, during the notorious Regan and crack era. Like so many children from that environment, his grandparents raised him. His mother at the age of 15, became caught up in the allure of the street life & his father, a founder of the first Chicago breakdances crew “Explosonic Rockers”, Making him absent as well, due to pursuing his dreams. Although it’s the streets that saw young men like FR35H as prey, this is where his story would begin. Read more>>

Nasia Brewer

Began on this path through the encouragement of my mom. I use to always draw a lot on my iPad & she would encourage me to share my skills with others & I just did not think it was something people would be interred in — but I decided to take her word for it& I began posting on my social media accounts & people were surely enough interested. Over time people would request more challenging things and eventually, Hannah Dee asked me to make a logo for her & I had no idea what to charge, how long to tell her it would take, or anything but I created something that I had no idea I had in me & ever since then I’ve been growing my skills through constantly working & learning.  Read more>>

Hannah Duckworth

Our business is made up of Hannah Duckworth and Sandra Scott. We are both born and raised Michiganders who have always been in love with Michigan’s wide array of locally made goods. We were both living in our separate corners of Ferndale for the past 13 years. We often saw each other around town at local events and shops. We eventually gave into the forces of the universe and decided to become friends and business partners.  Read more>>

Brianna Ward

I was going through a divorce with 2 children and rediscovering who I was as a woman. I found out a lot about the “process.” I discovered it was a huge misconception about divorce and who you will become after it is all over. I heard how easy it was to get through and get over. But that was the furthest thing from the truth. As I was going through this process. I felt like a failure. I felt like I let my children and God down. I felt like I lost my identity. Read more>>

James A. Veenstra

My story began when I was a kid running around and playing in the woods, fields, streams, and lakes of Michigan. I loved being outdoors and I loved nature. Soon I began taking pictures and drawing and coloring and painting. My parents must have recognized my creativity because they always bought me things that I could make and create with as well as things that helped me enjoy the outdoors. Read more>>

Michael Bugard

I had a side gig in the early 2000s as a local bar’s trivia and karaoke host in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I attended an audition for a no-budget zombie movie which was held one morning before we opened for business. Given my complete lack of background in filmmaking, I did not have any expectations of anything other than rejection, but I got the part! A couple of years later the production company wrote the part for the vampire in their next feature with me in mind. Read more>>

Peace Tree Parks

Peace Tree Parks Non-Profit Organization is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization that was founded in 2015 by two high school best friends by the name of Eric Andrews and D’Andre Riggins, both Eric and D’Andre are co-founders of the organization and began the organization after graduating college and returning home to see an abundance of vacant unused land across the city of Detroit. This was a problem both Eric and D’Andre aimed to solve. Read more>>

Shannon Sweetwood and Whitney Wagner

Our names are Shannon and Whitney, two lifelong friends who co-founded Refill Emporium in January 2021. We are both very passionate about environmental conservation and reducing our carbon footprint. We want to leave this planet in a better state for our children and future generations, and that can’t happen if we continue to use plastics and single-use disposables at our current rate. Read more>>

Heather Gappi

I’ve always loved photography and capturing the simple things in life. I just couldn’t believe that you could take a moment and freeze it in time. Growing up my mom was obsessed with taking pictures, so maybe that is where I got it from. Just being able to look through boxes and boxes of old photos make you realize how important it is to capture the moments in your life. When I was 19, I finally saved up enough to buy my first DSLR camera. Read more>>

Armando Gudino

My DJ career basically started in high school where my passion grew to become a DJ. Staying consistent throughout the years being self-taught for many years until great mentors came into my life and stirred me in the right direction. But it all literally started with the passion for music that I have had since I was a little boy. Music was always playing in my household and because of that, I grew to have a good knowledge for music.  Read more>>

Grace Hudson

I’ve been a camera lover as far back as I can remember. I was the only who would ALWAYS have my trusty little digital camera with me on every trip and I’d constantly set up photo shoots for friends. In college, my entire wall was covered in a photo collage. Photos have always held such strong value for me, but I never thought it was something I could turn into a profession. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary and Special Education and went on to teach, which is where I met my friend Lena. Lena was a fellow teacher, but a photographer on the side. Read more>>

Somalia Carter

My name is Somalia Carter, I’m a mother of 4, wife, entrepreneur, author, philanthropist, and positive influencer. I started graphic designing in 2015. Self-taught from the school of YouTube lol My parents are both artists. I had no idea my natural creativity plus a photoshop skill would be the beginning of my new career. Initially, I was designing all the marketing materials that businesses need such as logos, flyers, business cards, websites, posters, etc. Read more>>

Larry Faragalli

As a native of the East Coast, from the Philadelphia region, I grew up in a family where design was the primary profession. After becoming enamored with technology, I began my career creating animations and websites in the mid-’90s. After servicing many different clients around the country, I moved to Michigan to assist in creating digital platforms for Central Michigan University’s Distance Learning Division. Read more>>

Dr. Brad Fahlman

I am originally from a farming community in Saskatchewan, Canada & grew up with an interest in sports and photography. After high school, I decided to follow academic pursuits, obtaining undergraduate and graduate (Ph.D.) degrees in Chemistry. After a 2-yr postdoctoral appointment at the University of California, Irvine, I took a faculty job at Central Michigan University in July, 2002, where I currently teach and perform research related to materials for rechargeable batteries.  Read more>>

India Young

In 2017, I randomly developed dark scaly eczema patches that were super itchy to the point that my “spots” would sometimes burn from scratching. It made me feel so uncomfortable in my skin. I invested so much money into store-bought products, even combining different products together. While I found some products to be better than others, they all lacked long-term moisture and actual skin absorption. Long story short, I still felt dry even right after applying what was supposed to provide moisture.  Because of my experience with other products, I wanted to create a brand whose primary focus was long-lasting moisture.  Read more>>

Barbara Wilson

Barbara from a young age was interested in preventive medicine, and in 1995 received a Master’s Degree in Public Health, in Health Education at the University of Michigan in her hometown of Ann Arbor. She worked in AIDS prevention and education in the early ’90s at the CDC with Anthony Fauci (her one claim to fame) She has many years’ experience developing and implementing health education programs. It wasn’t too big of a stretch to transition to educating people about chocolate. Read more>>

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