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Inspiring Stories from the West 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 West Side’s rising stars below.

Edna Jackeline Vazquez

I am a Mexican-American immigrant living in Chicago. I came here in 2005 with my Dad, with the desire to have a better life with more opportunities for growth. The essence of this journey was to explore myself through freedom and love. Read More>>

Matt Woodburn and Sarah Neukom

We met in 2011 when we were introduced by mutual friends. It was clear that our skills complimented one another (Matt’s diverse background in events gave him unparalleled experience and insight into the world of event production and Sarah’s background in non-profits and fundraising made her an invaluable asset with professional skills and business acumen that uniquely complimented Matt’s creative nature). Read More>>

Destine Young

Starting this company has been the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. Although, each day, I surprise myself by taking risks and chasing my dreams fearlessly. Carrying out a vision takes a ton hard-work, patience, knowledge, commitment, devotion and so much more. Read more>>

Marita Valdizan

I learned techniques with clay and cold ceramic. By the age of 12, I was teaching my first class on cold ceramic techniques to adults and children. I continued studying the arts after high school and took a lot of side jobs to support myself while studying. I sold handmade jewelry and unique beads using cold ceramic to everyone that was intrigued. Read more>>

Julia Klein

After going to art school at the University of Michigan, I moved to New York and got a job working for George Braziller, an independent publisher who had been publishing literary and art books for 50 years. It was a very small office and because of that, I got a lot of responsibility quickly. Read more>>

Eileen and Jeff Walsma

We have a lot more to learn as we continue this journey. Not only on how to continuously seek that ‘amazing’ shot, but how to stand out in a world where photography is literally at everyone’s fingertips given the capabilities of today’s cell phones. Given that, why jump into this particular fray? Read more>>

Tori Karsten

I continued to help coach over the winter and summer seasons and came to realize that my true passion still was working with female athletes (specifically field hockey girls) and helping other athletes find confidence in themselves through fitness. I took many group fitness classes and felt the team aspect come back to me as I experienced highly motivating instructors. Read more>>

Nikki Stratton

Working on growing my affiliation network did not happen overnight and growing followers and sales is also a challenge. Digging into the analytics of Style Me Stratton and focusing on the most clicked on shoes, sweaters, dresses, etc. helps me continue to refine my focus. Read more>>

Nick Patel

Once your industry collapses as the Video stores collapsed, it starts getting difficult as your good days are going away, your income is going away, your security is going away, the number of lawsuits from closing down the location due to not generating enough cash flow to pay outstanding bills and face court. Read more>>

Retta Hentschel

I had a grandmother that was an artist and she had a great influence on me. I always helped her at her shows and spoke with other artists, as well. In other words, at 16, I started to understand design and what was good engineering which helps me now in designing my own windows so they don’t fall apart. Now, many years later, I find I’m up to my neck in custom orders and frantically making glass for galleries and fine art shows. Read more>>

Hillary Pilotto

I chalked it up to life with a toddler and newborn but continued to struggle. I knew this wasn’t healthy and sought out my own therapy. The validation, education, and understanding that I received were invaluable. This is what I needed to do. I decided to take specialized training for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders and began working with women and mom’s in my community. Read more>>

Sue Koch

As I found myself at the desks & whiteboards of other business owners walking them through social media strategy and teaching them to use these tools, I found myself FINALLY realizing the true meaning of success. Not a title. Not a salary at the expense of sanity. It was making an income doing something you absolutely enjoy doing. Read more>>

Howard Madison

I’ve wanted to be a writer and performer ever since I could put words, thoughts, and actions together in a meaningful way. To that degree, I believe that the core of writing and performing is storytelling. There are stories all around us that are just waiting to be told. Read more>>

Antonia Ruppert

I’m in the middle of one of my best years. From working on pantyhose paper long ago to now creating original art and community art on canvas for various entities, my art and my story continue to inspire. I’m looking forward to what is next. Read more>>

Danielle Lenczuk, Nicole Galanti, and Casey Galanti

Bow & Arrow Collection started as way for the three of us sisters to combine our skills and create something we love. The store is how we inspire and celebrate all of life’s special moments. We began our journey in 2015 as a pop-up shop inside of a women’s clothing boutique, Felt Chicago, based in Logan Square. We also showcased our collection in a variety of markets around Chicago but always knew we wanted a space of our own. Read More>>

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