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Raleigh’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.

Kristin RIddick

Started out in the hair industry close to 20 years ago! I have held many hats, from a commission stylist to managing a salon to renting my own independent studio and now owning my own salon with a crew of 15 amazing stylists! I started my journey in my home state, Iowa. From there I met my husband of 12 years and moved to North Carolina. Over the past 17 years in NC I have steadily built a very loyal clientele. Always taking 1 step at a time to have full control of my growth. Life is very busy with running a salon and raising our 2 daughters but I would not change a thing! Having a husband who is always pushing me out of my comfort zone and showing me its ok to take risks has been a blessing. I can humbly say my road growing up “statistically” was a far reach to have this outcome. But with prayer, goals and hope anything is possible for anyone! Read more>>.

Marci Lew

During my 20’s, I spent the decade backpacking through Asia and Africa, working lots of unusual jobs and coming home to the States (to Boston MA) in between to save up a little more money and head back out to new adventures. On one of my trips home to the States I tried out a yoga class in Boston, and felt so good afterwards that I thought ‘more of this, please.’ Following my travels abroad, I moved to Tampa Fl and worked as a primate keeper at the Tampa Zoo (Lowry Park), and began taking more yoga classes. I eventually got certified as a yoga teacher and began teaching some classes. Read more>>

Jerolyn & Erik Hamer

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, we saw a perfect opportunity to finally step out in faith to start not one but two businesses. While on maternity leave. I (Jerolyn) was hesitant on going back into an office setting. But I still needed a way to bring in income and I needed something to stay busy. Events and parties had always been a passion and hobby of mine. I am known as the “Theme Queen” amongst family and friends. All of my parties and events typically have a concept or theme. Like my 32nd birthday was Blue 32 where everyone had to wear blue, or my “Roar for 34” was an animal print party, Our personal events were always creative and different. We hosted a Jack Daniels theme party one year for Erik and also an at home Hibachi theme Night. Read more>>


I initially got interested in couponing, being a young, impressionable person who saw value in saving and preparing for the future. I grew up very humble, we did not have access to nice things or the finest of any thing, but I went on to become one of the top students in school. Even with all odds against me, I found myself in rooms with people who I never dreamed of. I credit my business to my late father who always expressed the value of saving for a rainy day. I remember the first time, I resold an item and I remember how my father’s eyes lit up and he said Loretta you can run a business doing this.  Read more>>

Jahmyah Garrett

My name is Jahmyah better known on all social platforms as “myahthebeauty”. Im originally from Germany but I grew up in Prince George, Virginia kinda a small town. But I guess having the kind of parents I did they never allowed me to let a small town stop me from dreaming so big. Being able to have such a childhood, learn to play the piano, be involved in art all throughout school, it gave me a creativity that now as an adulthood I feel can change the world. I went on to graduate from the Norfolk State University with a bachelors in political science. I wanted to become an attorney and still do but it just seemed like as hard as I tried to pursue that the I kept being called to do something else. Read more>>

Shlonda Nottingham

Becoming an author developed after overcoming many obstacles in life and using what I have learned and experienced over the years to help others make it through as well. Growing up, I always knew that when I got older I wanted to help people. Every profession or career that I desired to have involved me helping someone else to become better or get better results for what they were seeking to have. As a child, I was faced with many challenges seen and unseen. So while I always had the heart to help someone else, I too was pressing my way through the things that my mother and I were going through.  Read more>>


I grew up in Liverpool with two brothers and one sister. I left school without a single qualification, and worse, I left without any dreams or ambitions. At 16 I started work in the construction industry. The overriding feeling I remember about my childhood was fear. Fear controlled every aspect of my life. It dictated everything I did, and didn’t do. As a young man things came to a head, I had a mental collapse and suicide became my main focus. Read more>>

Camila Hanisch

I was born in Chile. There I went to school, got married to a great man I deeply love and admire, and had two wonderful children. In 1998 my husband got the job offer of a lifetime, so our tiny family made its way to the USA. I didn’t even speak English! However, since then I have lived successfully between two countries, two languages, and two cultures. However, a nagging voice in my heart kept telling me that I haven’t found my life purpose yet. I volunteered in so many organizations doing so many different things that I lost track of it all. I love people and for as long as I can remember I’ve been listening to their stories and tribulations. Read more>>

Genesis and Jerry Caraballo

Hello, Our names are Genesis and Jerry Caraballo, and we are the owners of Caraballos Cleanings Services, LLC. Our business was launched in 2022 and we started this business because we loved helping others, but also because seeing Jerry’s dad succeed in his cleaning business in Florida was a true motivation for us. This motivated us to build our cleaning company to not only clean commercial businesses and residential homes, but also offer other services such as pressure washing, carpet and upholstery cleaning to these clients and present our business as a ONE STOP SHOP. Read more>>

Tashanda Smith

Since the age of 3, my Grandmother would bake cakes and pies for people around the community. On Sundays, my mom created a family tradition by baking a cake with our Sunday family dinner. I would watch how they would carefully mix ingredients, not measure a thing, and tell everyone in the house not to “jump.” My mom use to say. The best cakes are the ones you add your own spin on.” I began engaging in bake sales during my teen years, and fell in love with baking ever since. After my Mom passed in 2018, I knew I would need something to keep my mind in a positive mental space. I created A page on Facebook, and my business has literally rocketed ever since. Read more>>

Natayjha Barnes

I have always been in love with the beauty industry. Since I was a kid makeup and hair always fascinated me due to me having a big sister and watching her do her hair and makeup as well as my grandmother who is also a cosmetologist. I used to sneak my sisters lipsticks and wear them at school and then eventually I started to do my own makeup and had 2 beauty lines which turned into hair and now I am also learning about nails. Everything beauty, is me! Read more>>

Vikee Koh

I’ve always loved fashion. My nickname in Middle School was Designer Diva and it stuck lol. Before moving to Charlotte 10 years ago I started following several people in the Fashion Scene here. I made sure to connect with them all and make an impact in the Fashion Community. I started my blog Living La Vida Diva shortly after arriving in the Queen City. It’s main focus is fashion and community with a little food and beauty thrown in. I find things and people and get excited! I want to share my finds with the world! Read more>>

Lindsey Epps

Our mission is to empower, engage, and educate women+ in tech. We have a unique opportunity to unite and support each other. We encourage any woman+ that celebrates technology to join our effort. Our goal as a non profit is to fundraise to provide opportunities for education. Continuing education, bootcamps, scholarships, and grants. The ultimate goal of this group is to empower each and every woman+ that values the role that technology plays in her life. We will be offering many opportunities to network with other women+ in tech. We encourage one on one connecting as well as at our meetup events.  Read more>>

Jamie Lynn Moore

I’m proud to be born and raised in Raleigh. I have always had a love for all things art since I was young, and I was fortunate to have parents who supported my enthusiasm. In school I took as many art and woodshop classes that I could. I was good at it, and I found a freedom and comfort in art that I didn’t experience anywhere else. In college I knew wanted to inspire others in their creative journey, so I pursued art education. I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art and K-12 teaching license from Meredith College, and my Masters of Art Education from East Carolina University. Read more>>

Endeja Carter

Hello World, Hello to my charming brothers, and sisters. I am the illustrious Endeja Carter, also known as Divinedeja on most of my of my social media platforms. Many may know me from my beauty and cosmetic business, or from my newly launched luxury swimwear line, and if you don’t know now you know! I am 22 years old originally from Charlotte, North Carolina. Yes. I am a Charlotte Native, also known as a proud southerner. I recently moved from my hometown Charlotte, NC to reside in Raleigh, where I attended William Peace University.  Read more>>

CJ McGill

In my mid 20’s I struggled with finding creative outlets to express myself. Combine that with going through a nasty divorce and being a new father all at the same time you could say the road was bumpy and for a while. After doing a ton of self reflecting and self-discovery, I realized that my already intense love for sneaker culture can be elevated even further. I decided to pick up my camera, which I was already using for sports photography and began to record myself talking about one of the most diverse communities there is. That community being the sneaker community.  Read more>>

Melissa Vine

We are so blessed to have met each other, fate had a plan for our trio. Keshana and Melissa met each other in seventh grade, then Melissa convinced Kelli to become friends. It wasn’t until college graduation weekend, where all three of us started our bond. While planning the ultimate girls trip in to New Orleans, this felt like the perfect moment. This forever changing trip in 2018 blossomed the most amazing, life-long sisterhood, we have been inseparable ever since! Read more>>

Taina Maisonet

I started small. I took classes at a local modeling school and learned how to navigate the industry first. Once I understood what it took to go to auditions and actually get the part, I started submitting for as many shows as possible. I was finally getting call backs and attending NC fashion shows! Through this experience I got to meet lots of NC’s finest creatives and now I shoot almost every week! Modeling has been a great experience. Read more>>

Jennifer Cook

It all began for me when I started my personal weight loss and spiritual journey. There was a season in my life when I was nearly 300lbs and my confidence was at an all time low. Once I began the journey of self awareness, self love and accessing my higher power (God) it became clear to me that I needed to spread the message of class, confidence and courage into the lives of young ladies and women. Living in a society that berates women and young ladies whether on social media, in fashion, music and other forms of entertainment it can chip away at a persons moral and spiritual compass and if not strong in mind and body you will find yourself compromising who you are just to fit in and be liked when in actuality it takes into a deeper rabbit hole of low self esteem.  Read more>>

Jonny Kaine

Hello my name is Jonathan Kainessie. I am from Charlotte North Carolina. Born and raised on the west side of charlotte specifically. I am also a first generational child of two parents both being born in Sierra Leone West Africa. My parents instilled a lot of there culture and beliefs into me and my brother Martin’s life growing up in a African household. We were always exposed to our roots through food, fashion, music and so many factors. While growing up on the west side of charlotte we were also expsode to many different environments and situations early to the point were we were presented with the option of different lanes and paths for our lifes at an early ages.  Read more>>

D’Kiah King

I started after a prom look gone wrong. My junior year in high school was when I decided that I could do my own makeup the way that I wanted for my senior prom. So I watched YouTube videos for a long time getting all the products they recommended then my senior prom came and I fell in love with how good I actually did my makeup. Ever since then my passion for makeup and skincare grew. In college I would only do family and friends in my apartment bedroom. Then I decided to create a brand for myself which at the time was Divine Kreativity . Read more>>

Ziquine Hopkins

The road to EDGE has been long, rough and rugged. To understand where the company is now, we have to go back to EDGE’s humble beginning. My wife and I are fans of Shark Tank and would watch everyday ordinary people walk in with an idea and walk out with an investor, fast forward and they would share their success stories. We would try to think of great ideas, problems we could solve and how we could walk our own path but could never materialize anything. When we purchased our home I was excited to do yard work, cut the grass, rake the leaves, all the above. However, the grass our builders gave us  was in far less than ideal conditions.  Read more>>

Emily Schaaf

Here is a little backstory… My name is Emily Schaaf. I have been doing hair for 5 years now. I have always loved anything artistic and creative. I started coloring my own hair at around 10 years old. It all started by me watching my mom do her color. I was always curious about it so one day she let me pick a box color out ( yes… before I knew how bad box dye was) as long as it was something natural looking. From then until now I have been coloring consistently over the past 15 years.  Read more>>

Nick Mclamb

I started using a camera in high school, filming goofy YouTube movies with my cousins, then filming parkour videos in college. I wanted to up my quality so I grabbed a DSLR and that’s when I realized how much I enjoyed taking photos. I tried weddings, portraits, landscape, and even fashion photography but I found all of that to be too uncomfortable and not lucrative enough to justify pursuing it. After college I became a Realtor (2014) because I wanted to be somewhat of an entrepreneur. Read more>>

Madison Provines

I’m a Graphic Designer, Risographer and Art/Graphic Design teacher based in Asheboro, NC. I graduated from Appalachian State University with a BFA in Graphic Design. Much of what I focused on in college revolved around print design, web design (coding), risography, and book arts. My love for printing and publishing goes way back to high school. I participated in my high school’s yearbook program and eventually became Editor-in-Chief. My senior yearbook won first place in a national contest, and was recognized by Lifetouch, a leading photography and yearbook company for schools. Read more>>

Lori Gammon-Megginson

I have always loved animals, specifically Dogs. When I was little I wanted to be a vet. I read the book series All Creatures Great and Small, which was a 5 book series. I was always bringing home stray dogs and cats. I also would bring home frogs and lizards. My final career choice was being a Registered Nurse. I received my BS in Nursing, focused on Pediatrics and worked in this field for almost 30 years. Read more>>

Karmen Brown

I started modeling in 2018 when I was a freshman in college at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). I was introduced to modeling through auditioning for and joining Mystique Modeling Troupe. Mystique is a performance-based organization that focuses on all aspects of modeling. I had no idea at the time that being a part of the troupe would spark such a huge passion for modeling in me or that it would help me as much as it has on my journey in life. Before joining I would’ve never expected myself to be a model or performer. I’ve always loved fashion, story-telling, and routines. Read more>>

Michelle Snyder

I am a wife to a 20 year Army Veteran and I have 3 children. I have always wanted to have my own business, but with frequent deployments and taking care of the home front and babies, I could never find the time to get started. Before 2020 happened, my husband 2 years out from retirement and my babies all grown up, I had drawn up my business plan and was ready to put it into action. I opened my Boutique during a pandemic… crazy impatient me. Signed up for vendor markets, built my website and started advertising on Social Media. To my surprise I was getting a lot of support and making sales. Read more>>

Master Kie

It all started in middle school when I joined chorus and learned how to read music. I actually stayed in chorus through high school even though I was shy and did not like singing in front of people, despite being forced to do a solo my senior year…whew! I took the knowledge of reading sheet music and applied to teaching myself the piano. It was then when I discovered that I could compose my own music. When I got to college ( UNC Charlotte ) in 2003, I saw a couple guys playing this a music production software called Fruity Loops. I decided to play around with it myself and thought wow this is a cool and different way to create music! And so I stuck with it to this day.  Read more>>

Skyler Cason

My art journey started as a child. I have always been intrigued by any kind of creative project, and I owe a lot of that to my grandma. She ignited a lot of my creativity and always urged me to use my imagination as a child. Growing up, drawing or painting was my go-to activity. As life progressed, art grew into a passion, and I decided to take that passion into my career. When college came into play, I decided to pursue graphic design and marketing at Campbell University. I quickly learned that graphic design was a more challenging and rewarding form or art for me. I fell in love with it! Read more>>

Jennie Ventura

I have always been an entrepreneur at heart. I started working at a young age and was involved in my family’s retail business growing up in upstate NY. I naturally found myself focused on business and sales which lead me to my career in Technology and IT Training. My focus has always been on strong relationship building and business development. Four years ago I started a blog which was initially focused on writing about my life experiences and struggles with anxiety. I quickly realized that I enjoyed expressing myself through writing. Read more>>

Janay Moore

Janay is a blogger located in Raleigh, North Carolina. She first started blogging in 2021 as creative way to past time during the pandemic. Using her social media strategy, she used her Instagram platform to influence, impact many brands and make extra income online. Influencing is a passion of hers and she has provided brand influencing for brands such as Bold Rock, Sincere Sally Boutique, Breezy Swim, and have conducted Amazon Reviews. In 2022, she competed in Ms. Health & Wellness Competition where she placed in Top 10. Read more>>

Ahmauni Montgomery

I was born and raised in North Carolina by great aunt who I call my mother. I’m very blessed to have had her raise me and now she can see the great life choices I’m making and building. I’ve always had a passion for beauty and healthcare. Ever since I was a little girl, I was known to always have my hair done and the love I had for makeup. I was in 8th grade popping on lashes during my car ride to school. I became a pro! This was during the time that a lot of people didn’t know how to apply lashes. As years went by, that passion turned into content for social media back when I didn’t know exactly what content was and there was no title for it. Read more>>

Satbir Grover

Dear All. This is Satbir Grover and go mostly as ‘Grover the Realtor’. Surprisingly, Grover was also the most loved Muppet from the blockbuster ‘Sesame Street’ and that makes it easier for people to connect with me. I am so excited to be invited on this platform to contribute my personal journey. I am originally from India and moved to USA in 2009. Read more>>

Megan Panzanella

Becoming a mental health therapist wasn’t always my plan. I graduated from UNC Charlotte back in 2016 with a BA in computer science with a concentration in web development. I accepted a job right out of school and immediately felt like something was off. I was behind a screen all day in a cubicle with little to no interaction with people. I convinced myself this was my new normal and how life after college was supposed to be. As the months went on, I got to a point where I knew this wasn’t something to just push through. Once I accepted that this job was a disappointing run, without hesitation, I went into work and quit. I walked out after my last day of work and instantly knew what I was missing from the computer science world- human connection. Read more>>

Vanessa Schlitt

I am from Brazil, I came to the US in 2004, My first job was a Portuguese instructor at Berlitz school. I was helping a few American executive that were travelling to Brazil for business. However, My heart always being on the finance side, I Started working in the mortgage industry in 2012, I started with a small Branch in NY. I remember Mr. Rodriguez hired me with no experience. Clients were 100% Latino. He hired me because I speak three languages and I was hired just as a assistant. Quicky with a month I was ( promoted) helping him with loans. I developed to love and help families get in their dream homes. Read more>>

Learie Holder

My business partner and I(Brandon Johnson) work our 9-5 jobs together and we met 4 years ago starting at the same company in the same week. Once we started working together every week we hit it off just off of our respective backgrounds. After awhile Brandon told me he was into photography and I did videography for a youth football team. Needless to say we put our heads together and decided to combine our skills and created Filmaticz Production LLC IN 2020. Read more>>

Noel Butler

My story starts off like many other’s do. Originally, I am from a town you never heard of in the Appalachian region of Ohio. Looking back, after opening my first box of Crayola crayons, I know now that this is where my love for art, and nature started. From childhood, my journey had some twists and turns, into adulthood. In 2017, I quit my job as an RN and moved with my husband and son to North Carolina. With my family’s support, I was encouraged to pursue the life of an artist, making art. I am currently a resident artist at the Tar River Arts Collaborative in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and a studio artist at The Cotton Company in Wake Forest, North Carolina. Read more>>

Brittany Avery

As a child, I enjoyed “reinventing the wheel” so to say. I rearranged bedrooms, played with different textures, patterns, and paint colors as well as dragged colorful pillows to different rooms of my home just to add a pop of color and a different feel of happiness. I never was content with any room staying the same but changing with the seasons. As I got older, I gain instant joy from decorating my home to the point that friends and family would call me to decorate and design spaces in their homes as well. I never shy away from my passion even though I did take on a different career path.  Read more>>

Michael Dawes

Since 2010, I have possessed a passion for menswear and style. I started my career at Joseph A Bank in college while completing my undergrad. I was there for 5 years before exploring other opportunities. These opportunities placed me from NC to Washington DC. While I was there, I launched my business, The M. Corbett Collection (a custom suit business) in 2019. Well, we all know what took place in 2020. A pandemic. The pandemic bought me back to North Carolina. I was afraid that my business would fail. Little did I know that this was just the beginning of what a successful small-town business would be. Read more>>

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