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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.

Sharon Ringier

I’m humbly blessed to proclaim that I will be celebrating the 23rd anniversary of my 30th birthday in March, I have two amazing sons Keith (31 yrs. old) and Kevin (27 yrs. old) who are my legacy, and have been married for over 33 years to my husband Dan. I come from a corporate background but knew something was missing because I’ve always had a creative side to me for as long as I can remember. Read more>>

Melanee Cooper

At the age of 26, I opened my first gallery in Lakeview named Art Meca where I represented hundreds of artists across all media from fine crafts to objects. After about seven years there and a few more years spent dedicated to raising my kids, I reopened the gallery in Lincoln Park and began to incorporate paintings. In the late 1990’s, I found a wonderful space in River North and began to focus even more on paintings. Read more>>

Bernardo Medellin

Burger Club Chicago is a group of friends on a search for the best burgers in the city. We got our group together at the beginning of 2018 because we all obviously love burgers, but also because this would be a great way for all of us to hang out once a month and catch up on life. None of us consider ourselves food critics, columnists, bloggers or Instagramers, but we really enjoy getting together and Burger Club is the perfect way to do it. Read more>>

Shilpa Alva

My motivation began when I was a child visiting extended family in India. Issues related to the water crisis were so prevalent that I saw children my age who didn’t have the luxury of playing; instead many were fetching water for their family’s survival. Even as a seven-year-old child, I knew this was not the way the world should be. Access to safe water is a critical aspect of daily life, and everyone should have it. Read more>>

Natasha Williams

By being unemployed and starting a conference with no money, I was told that I was dreaming too big and I should start small. I honestly tried but my dreams were always on a grander scale. I asked myself, “Why would I think small when I can dream big?” DREAM BIG then became the name of my conference as a way to contradict everyone who told me I was dreaming too big. Read more>>

Alyssa Nicole

My only mission in life is to make it, make a difference in someone’s else life who may have similar issues or going through a struggle. To let them know it’s always going to be an obstacle in the way. The thing is how are you going to turn it around and overcome it. Today, I am still trying to continue my dream at Columbia College of Chicago with majoring in Music Business Management. Read more>>

Stan Perkins

I briefly worked at jewelry trade shows in the beginning. Then I was a manager at an antique jewelry mall. I’m so glad I was part of that because I got to learn more, and got the history of period jewelry. In 1997, I started at M. Martin & Co. I became a Graduate Gemologist with GIA. I’m now the owner of one of the oldest jewelers in Chicago. Next year will be 80 years strong! Read more>>

Steven Clayton

I started out in Corporate America as a computer programmer over 30 years ago. I eventually became the Chief Information Officer for a public traded company. After we were acquired by a much larger company, I spent several years as a VP for Information Systems for a Fortune 500 Company. I wasn’t very happy in such a large company, so I found myself looking for my next opportunity just over 10 years ago. Read more>>

Danielle Mullen

My love of books-of words, rather-has always been present. I remember the excitement that reading the dictionary as a child would bring to me. Like ‘Wow, all of these words actually exist, and I can use them!’. So, I’ve always known that I’d go into an industry where I could put that love to good use. Read more>>

Whitney Weinstein

After a short period as an intern, he took me on part-time then eventually full-time as his showroom manager. Ron decided to retire in 2011 and offered to sell me the business. I was able to make him an offer and I took over what is now the Whitney Douglas Showroom. I’ve been in business for over seven years now and have a team of two wonderful full-time employees and one equally wonderful part-time employee. Read more>>

Tim Brigham

It’s been a crazy road. I find myself from time to time blinking a couple extra times as I do not always believe the whatever in front of me is real. If you would have asked me years ago what I would end up doing with my life. I do not think any of this would manifest within the conversation. I’m a mortgage banker by day and deal with millions and millions of dollars which alone is just incredible to think about. Read more>>

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>>

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