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Downtown’s Rising Stars

The heart of our mission at VoyageChicago is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In the recent weeks we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of the Chicago’s finest artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with our city’s incredibly deep talent pool. Check out Downtown’s rising stars below.

Adrian Calderon

As my work grew larger and larger in scale, I had the honor of having an apprenticeship where I learned what “site-specific sculpture” meant. I was then connected to a company that fabricated large-scale size sculptures for artists, I was hired and worked there for almost 11 years straight. Focused on Architectural fabrication, removing, fabricating and installing large scale size sculptures. Read more>>

Theresa DeMaria

Theresa found her calling at the age of 16 with her first job at the iconic Bonwit Teller, her favorite retail emporium. “This was where I set my standard for what fashion is. Bonwits was a superb outpost of refined elegance and discreet good taste.” She attended Purdue University studying Fashion Retail, and from there she moved to New York to finish her design training at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Read more>>

Jossie Harris Thacker of Kids W.A.Y

Jossie started off as a hip-hop dancer. One of the first to appear in music video’s back in the ’90s. Became one of hip-hop most sought after dancers and choreographers. She danced and toured the world with some of today’s greatest r&b and hip-hop artists such as Michael and Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Bobby Brown and many others. Also known for being one of the original “FlyGirls”. Read more>>

Jamilla Yipp

I am a storyteller at heart and truly believe in connection over poses. I decided to incorporate that passion in my shooting style and have never looked back. I do believe in getting a few traditional shots, so I guess you can say my style is a bit of a hybrid. But I love it. Seven years ago, as well, I decided to start documenting births, and it resonated so much in my business. I am mainly a Birth and Newborn Photographer based in Oak Park. Read more>>

Laurie Dickinson Lee of Swift Passport and Visa Services

We established Swift in 2008 and had an initial customer base from word of mouth referrals and Google AdWords. 10 years later, we have had the privilege to have helped over 100,000 individuals gain peace of mind and ease of international travel. With eight employees plus contractors, and an ethos captured by Swift’s double-entendre slogan. Read more>>

Ryan Atkins of Lakefront Pictures

I later dreamt up, wrote, shot, directed, and cut a story together on bullying and the effects it can produce, which won an award at a film festival. Many contacts were made and Conrad Series was born which I have served as Co-Creator, Director of Photography, and Creative Director for. The production has wrapped, is in the final stages, and a premiere is set for December. Read more>>

Ethan Kastner

Making functional things in clay can increase people’s sensitivity — if you are using something made by hand, you have awareness of a person, and it doesn’t need to be a specific person, but, you’re being primed to think about how people are in the world. And I”m also always trying to make our studio/space the most welcoming and accessible it can be. Read more>>

Alyssa Cruz

Youtube had a lot to do with my learning, I am a self-taught makeup artist before Youtube became big I watched all your classic you tubers and learned from there. I started practicing on my family which later led to my amazing clientele and work opportunities. I’ve worked on different shoots, short films and some celebrity clientele like Niki and Gabi, I have also taken a class with Priscilla Ono who I adore and still admire her beautiful work! Read more>>

Wallie Mason of Transnational Immigration Alliance

Over the decades, I have represented clients from many countries, seeking the right to live in the United States, based on a variety of Immigration laws. While some of the clients have been Business and Family-based cases seeking a better life here, many have been refugees and displaced people running for their lives. Read more>>

Brendan Bonham and Atish Doshi of The Black Sheep

Our position is that we can help brands and student housing properties reach students through a 360-degree approach. We lead with marketing as it’s our biggest growth driver, but this is amplified through local social, video and editorial to have a strong online and offline approach. Read more>>

Kayleigh Mahoney

I am here in Chicago, at the age of 23, making an amazing life for myself. Although it’s hard to be away from my family and some of my best friends, there’s not a day that goes by where I regret moving to Chicago. I am so proud of all I have accomplished here thus far, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds. As cliché as it sounds, “everything happens for a reason.” Read more>>

Janice Riggs

For years, I’ve been in love with France, so during the early days of the Internet, I found my way to a chat group of other like-minded women. At that time, I was lucky enough to travel to Paris for work every two or three months. I got to be friends with a woman who worked at my regular hotel… So, on the chat group, whenever anyone had a question about “What Would a REAL Parisienne DO?”, I would ask Vivienne. Years later, I learned that members of the group had collected everything that I wrote about Vivienne, and saved all of my writings in a document called “The Vivienne Files.” Read more>>

Mylene Pollock and Lenora Rand

We were sitting in a coffee shop downtown, and we started talking about what we were doing… and what we wanted to be doing. It ended up being one of those maybe-this-could-change-your-life conversations. We’d both been working in big ad agencies, building brands and coming up with campaigns for some of the world’s biggest companies – brands like Hallmark and Kellogg’s, P&G, Allstate, IBM and Unilever (Dove). We’d had a lot of fun along the way, and we’d won awards, made a decent living, and by all measures, we were both content and successful. Read more>>

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