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Inspiring Stories from the South Side

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 the South Side’s rising stars below.

Speros Batistatos

I began this 35-year career in the hospitality industry at the Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville, Indiana. In 1989, I was selected to lead what is now known as the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority. During my first 12 years, I increased the organization’s budget tenfold and facilitated the construction of the nation’s premier visitors center. Before returning to Lake County, I was the president and CEO of the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority, where I led an aggressive marketing program to support Southern New Jersey’s $8 billion tourism industry. Read more>>

Mell Monroe

Launched our business in 2012 after living and restoring our 1893 vintage home with 6 bedrooms, 5 1/2 baths, 4 car garages, 5 fireplaces located on a double lot, just 3miles away from McCormick Convention Center, University of Chicago and 5 minutes via automobile from Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago White Sox Baseball and 12 minutes from downtown Chicago. It took us 7 years to restore our historic home with 7200′ of living space for guests to relax and mingle on the first floor common area with an eat-in kitchen, family room, dining room and formal living room- and a large backyard and deck for guest socializing. Read more>>

Carrie Carr

I began the practice in 2004 with the vision of developing leaders in the community and having a positive impact It started with just myself and grew into a thriving group private practice over the years. Our main focus is working with those that have experienced trauma and struggle with mood disorders. However, we also work with athletes and business owners wanting to get to the next level in their performance. We work with children as young as 5 up through adults of all ages. We also specialize in using Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), neurofeedback, and other therapeutic services to ensure a holistic approach to treating the global impact of trauma and mood disorders. Read more>>

Louis Kaufman

After graduating in 1995 from the University of Illinois School of Dentistry, Dr. Kaufman joined his father Richard’s well-established 60-year-old general practice treating 3rd-4th generation patients. Dr. Kaufman serves on the advisory boards of numerous dental manufacturers, consults on product development and educates clinicians around the globe. He lectures at about 20 CE programs each year and has published numerous articles on restorative and cosmetic dentistry. Read more>>

Jill Ingelse

Dr. Jill Ingelse graduated from Illinois College of Optometry in 1998. She was resident-trained in pediatrics and binocular vision. She was named Clinician of the Year. After graduation, Dr. Ingelse purchased a small office on Western Ave. where she opened Meyer Eyecare and stayed for a few years to grow her practice. She then moved 2 blocks south on Western to a slightly bigger office where she continued to grow and add staff. In 2010, she took a leap of faith and moved her practice 2 doors north to the historic Opera House where her clinic is currently located. Read more>>

Kelvin Freeman

About 15 years ago I decided to dedicate my life and professional career to helping others achieve their fitness/wellness goals, something that I’m very passionate about. I started out as an independent Certified Personal Trainer (CPT). I trained clients in their homes, small studios, and at large gyms throughout downtown Chicago and the south suburbs. As my passion for fitness increased I began competing in various NPC bodybuilding shows and remain active. In June 2013, stepping out on faith I decided it was time to open a training studio. Read more>>

Melvin and Sherice Buckley

The Majestic office center was opened in 2012 to help small business have a beautiful environment to conduct business. The office building had been vacant. Over 25 years and was part of a development plan birth from years of residential Real estate development. Mr. Buckley has rehabbed over 100 properties in the Chicagoland area along with being a restaurant Franchise owner. Within the Majestic Office center is The Majestic Coffee and Jazz cafe, which presents a Friday Business Happy Hour Networking Event for business professionals to come listen to live music, network with other guests and are giving an opportunity to speak about their business. Read more>>

Karl and Tiffany Ray

We met during a model bootcamp session. He was the photographer and I was the model coach. When I laid eyes on him, I melted inside. He was my fantasy man I always dreamt of. He began taking photos of the models who attended the class. Up next, it was my turn. I stepped in front of him and his camera and began my photoshoot. Once the shoot wrapped, we introduced ourselves formally. We had a brief conversation and he let me know he had eyes for me as well. He then made a bold statement, “You are going be my wife one day. I’m going to marry you.” I smiled from ear to ear. We connected on social media never to have physical interactions or telephone calls between one another. Eleven years had passed. I finally contacted him to do a photoshoot for me. He didn’t respond at first but two weeks later, I received a reply. Read more>>

Luz Cavazos

We started making our sangria for family & friends and from there our business started to grow. People then began to ask if we could make it for their parties and word started to spread. After making sangria for many years with the encouragement from our family& friends, we decided to look into opening up our own sangria company with lots of trial & error it took us 4 1/2 years to get our business up and running. With the help of city of Chicago, an organization called Score, Loyola university business school, Accion, Sam Adams, Governors State university, village of Oak Lawn and of course, my family & friends we were able to open our business in December of 2016. Read more>>

1 Comment

  1. Grant Niebergall

    August 6, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    I had an opportunity to browse some of the interviews. I am very excited to have been chosen for one of the future interviews as well !
    I think it’s absolutely fabulous that a magazine of your caliber has done as well as it has only because the non-corporate companies are the ones who have the true stories that are not hidden by corporate rules. At the end of the day it’s about struggle and survival compassion and success and I tip my hat to every business owner out there and every genre of work! 1 Fine Tune is excited to bring the music industry together on stages as well as in the communities of Chicago in the nation !

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