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Inspiring Stories from Downtown

The heart of our mission at VoyageHouston 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 Houston’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.

Madison Cansler

I am the owner of Mad Connects, a social media firm here in Houston, TX. I am originally from Beaumont, Texas. My journey began at Southern Methodist University where I received my B.A. in Fashion Media with a minor in photography and journalism. After receiving my undergraduate degree I worked at a social media firm in Dallas, TX that was started by a fellow SMU student. I loved the environment and began to excel at social media management, content creation, branding, and influencer marketing. At the company, I moved from an internship to Head of Influencer Marketing where I created the entire strategy and implementation of how to do influencer marketing for our clients. The company had never used influencer marketing before I created it, and I ended up growing the client’s social media by 250% in a 3 month period. After this I went back to SMU to get my M.A. in Advertising to learn more about the industry. During graduate school, I decided to start Mad Connects LLC and was shocked at the success I had so quickly. I had credible clients in the Dallas area such as Brit Rose Boutique, Benge Texas, PlantSwitch, Claire Crowe Collection, Prestige Travel Group, and the TellMeTX app. Read more>>

Danny Thomas

In 2008, Danny took his love of entertaining and history and blended them together to form Houston Ghost Tour. As a clown school graduate and with a degree in abnormal psychology, Danny put his unique spin and charisma into the the business. Today, Houston Ghost Tour has grown to be an exciting, entertaining, and fascinating look at the historical hauntings in and around the Houston area, and has won numerous awards and praise from our long reputation as a Ghost Tour Company. Read more>>

Shawn Mitch

After my professional football career was cut short due to injuries, I decided to pursue business within the entertainment industry. I always have had a host personality, so I decided to start throwing events under the name PayToPlay. PayToPlay then blew up in different areas as the team around me grew. When it came to music, fashion and entertainment, PayToPlay is always. in the loop. I started in the suburbs at a skating rink and made my way downtown. Read more>>

Deaunza Albright

I’m from South Park, Tx. Located on the Southside of Houston. My ma raised me and my older brother for as long as she could on her on. Being in a house with a single-driven parent that’s all I knew was to work because that would be all I see my mom do. So I just wanted to figure a way that I wouldn’t have to work every day doing something I didn’t love to do. So I started to train myself in different areas as far as Recording, Engineering music to eventually picking up a camera. Read more>>

Kristen Ferguson

I knew since a small child, I wanted to be an artist and art teacher. My parents had a more practical degree plan in mine. In 1999, I was 36 and had two young daughters, and in the most miserable marriage. I went back to school for what I REALLY wanted. Fast forward to 2003, I was quickly hired by Georgetown ISD and taught art there for 7 years. My daughters grew, graduated, and in 2010, moved to Katy area with my 2nd husband. Very quickly I figured out that the community was very supportive and the visual arts and I made some wonderful connections, particularly KVPAC (Katy Visual & Performing Arts, which no longer exists) A children’s book opportunity happened in 2013, and lots and lots of small festivals, fairs, artist groups and places to feed my soul. It was such a surprise, honestly. I swore I’d rather die than live in Houston. (laughing) I love it now. But it took a while. Read more>>

Saira Hidalgo

Hi! Thank you for having me, I’m excited to share my story with my Houston people. So, I graduated with a Major in Accounting, a Minor in Business and took a few Creative Arts courses. I realized that the education I had, made me a powerhouse for a business idea I had been having for a while. Before graduating, I started working at a business where online presence was not big. I’ve heard us early 90’s kids are one of a kind because we were there through the transition into the digital world. So that might be why I have such a passion for it. I helped this business transition from paper agendas to online calendars, I made them present on Instagram and Facebook, I designed their business cards, got them a logo and even created a website for them. I just had so many ideas flowing in and it was exciting seeing them all come to life. Read more>>

Divine Katoure

My career began over 8 years in San Francisco as a commercial real estate leasing and sales agent specializing in industrial, retail, and office products. Commercial buildings are so fascinating to me. Most people never think about the commercial buildings they enter while grocery shopping, visiting the hospital, or attending events. For me, commercial buildings have a life of their own and have so many stories to tell. I cut my teeth in an area with one of the toughest real estate markets and largest world economies in San Francisco working with The Hawthorne Group which gave me exposure working with companies such as BEATS, Empire Records, Crunchy Roll, and a handful of tech companies. Commercial Real Estate has given me so many opportunities that I would have never imagined. About 5 years ago, I decided to focus my niche on the leasing side of commercial real estate. This niche gives me an opportunity to guide Landlords and Tenants on their real estate journey to victory and beyond. Commercial real estate isn’t only about analyzing deals. It’s about serving a community of investors and business owners. Read more>>

Ken Williams

My life experience as a Black male raised in Houston, Texas has allowed me to become aware of the role I was destined to play in breaking down systemic barriers, fostering more opportunities, and providing additional resources for individuals who look like me. My life has been rooted in education, civic engagement, and social justice which have contributed to my success. However, I’ve always asked: Why? Why me? Why not my best friend, Kristy, who at the age of 14 attended an alternative school after being pushed out of a magnet school? The key difference between Kristy’s and my story is an environment with resources and opportunities. These experiences at an early age allowed me to come to the realization that an environment enriched with resources and opportunities aids in determining the success of an individual and how city and local government plays a critical role in. While he was placed in an alternative school— ironically named Contemporary Learning Center—with other black and brown children who were being treated like prisoners, I was in AP courses, flying to D.C. with Junior Statesmen of America, in experiential learning programs with a diverse group of teens, and being presented an award by the Mayor of Houston. Read more>>

Eva Pearson

I love color, design, fashion, music, New York, and taxi cabs. My passion is creating beauty in daily life that turns the ordinary into luxury. I enjoy turning an everyday moment into a special occasion. My stationery, greeting cards, and gift box designs bring celebrations to life!. Read more>>

Kayla White

Since a young girl, beauty and fashion have always been my passion. Half of my life I grew up around beauticians and fashion stylists. Watching them perfect their craft grew my interest in wanting to have my own beauty store. The Lecor Collection all started during the pandemic. In my mind and reality, every woman wants to look and feel good. I wanted to make sure every woman can look and feel good at affordable prices. Read more>>

Purdon Groves

Before Founders Houston and Sherry Clark purchased the acreage that is now Purdon Groves, the previous owner, Freddie Eads, hand cleared the property, thoughtfully creating manicured groves and open pastures. We want to continue pouring that kind of care into Purdon Groves, specifically by handcrafting experiences for our guests that inspire them to connect, retreat, celebrate and create.
We do this in a variety of ways: ​ Farm – The Farm at Purdon Groves is made up of our hydroponic farming operation, orchard and livestock. We strive to provide our community with wholesome, chemical-free produce and meat – whether that’s for PG farm to table dinners or our wholesale and retail customers. With 16 hydroponic towers, we are able to grow more produce in a smaller space, while using no soil and 90% less water than in traditional farming methods. We are breeding our Kunekune pigs and Rouen ducks to provide a sustainable and healthy protein source for the farm, as well as the community. Read more>>

Randy Guttenberger

Randy Guttenberger is an Author, and Personality Insights Analyst for over 25 years. He helps improve human performance by using a combination of professional assessments, principles and insights, and unique coaching expertise. His delivery reflects his energetic passion, experience and humor. Randy shows people how to get maximum results with minimal efforts. Once you implement his tools and techniques into your own success you will never look at life – or people – the same way again. Randy brings a unique combination of science, management, coaching, counseling, and development to help clients gain a clear understanding of their dynamics in just two sessions. He then provides action steps to make the difference you have always wanted to realize. Randy’s passion is to certify 3000 people (trainers/counselors/coaches) in MYS to be the expert to bring these wonderful solutions to their local communities. Read more>>

Hayley Beck

I got involved in the animal field in 2019 when I started working in rescues. Little did I know then I’d be where I am now. It sparked a passion in me that I had no idea needed sparking. Since the rescue, I have worked at animal boarding and daycare facilities. I opened my dog training business because I wanted to help dog owners with their pets. I have two dogs who struggle with anxiety and fear, so I know how hard it can be! I wanted to be able to assist people who need help as well so they can know they aren’t alone. I went and got educated prior to opening my doors as well. My goal is to better the relationship between owner and dog. And so no one has to feel like they’re struggling with their dog’s behavior like I felt with mine prior to all this!.  Read more>>

Helena Paschal

I started my business almost 20 years ago in Atlanta, Georgia, with a foundation of event planning and public relations. My career path started in 1997 with a college education in public relations. In college, I became the President of PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America), and I took the organization from seven members to over 90 active members and 32 accounts in less than three months. I worked as an intern with a radio station designing public relations campaigns for local businesses. I went on to earn my master’s degree in communications with a specialization in organization development from St. Louis University. I have planned over 500 business events. In addition to planning PR events, I am the CEO of Correlations Professional Training Development, the only four-year professional development program for aspiring event planners. I have trained and certified thousands of event planners throughout the world.  Read more>>

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