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Inspiring Stories from the Woodlands

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 rising stars from the Woodlands and surrounding areas below.

Catalina Gonzalez

Catalina Gonzalez is a mother, wife, Certified Counselor, Yoga Alliance Certified Instructor, Substance Abuse and Recovery Coach and a Wounded Healer from past sexual abuse and eating disorders. Catalina is originally from Cali, Colombia and began practicing yoga in Houston TX in 2015. She studied and gained a deeper understanding of the practice and in 2016 she received her Certification with Life Power Yoga. She has over ten years of experience in recovery herself and through supporting sexual abuse victims in their recovery process. Read more>>

Austin Davis

I was a 3rd generation auto repair shop owner in the Houston Heights, my grandfather started in 1937. I got a finance degree in college and wanted to be a commodities broker in NYC, but my father swayed me back to Houston to take over the family business. I ran the company for 10 years then sold out. I then wrote a book “What Your Mechanic Does Not Want You To Know” which I sold online for a while. I then started a website in 1998 dedicated to helping people with auto repair problems free of charge. Read more>>

Chris Degen

The Woodlands Home Repairs began with one man and one goal, helping the people of The Woodlands community to repair, build and restore their homes to be better than before! Chris Degen served in the U. S. Navy as an Operations Specialist and was stationed in Pearl Harbor for 4 years on the USS Russel (DDG-59) and the USS Port Royal (CG-73). It was this dedication to excellence and service that inspired him to begin TWHR and gave him the strength to grow it into the successful company that it is today. Read more>>

Susie Pokorski

The Young Texas Artists Music Competition (YTA) began in 1983 as the Young Texas Artists Premier and featured only one performer. Presented by Montgomery County Performing Arts Society, the Premier evolved into a competitive showcase for Texas classical artists between the ages of 18 to 30. From two divisions with three local judges to four divisions and five internationally recognized judges, YTA continued to grow with the support of many patrons, sponsors and volunteers. Read more>>

Cheryl Lemoine-Kainer

Ironically, it all began with an eye. My husband’s eye to be exact. He had developed one red eye while I was pregnant with our only child. No discomfort, no pain, just red. After multiple doctor visits, the ophthalmologist he was referred to told him it was one of two things–a thyroid problem or a brain tumor. Unfortunately, it was the latter. Life as we knew it was over. He died 18 months later. I was devastated. My daughter was my only joy. Many months and tears later, my wise older sister told me I needed to figure out what I was going to do with my life. Read more>>

Tina Fox

The United Southern States Pageant System was founded in 2009. As the founder, I had competed in many pageants throughout my life, large & small. I was completely fascinated by the incredible women that I met from across the USA. These women were truly remarkable and making a difference in their community. Volunteering their time and bringing the spotlight to charities in need. I wanted my pageant system to be a little different so my new journey began. We crown multiple women in one evening, awarding many titles for their accomplishments. Read more>>

Kathryn Bone

WFA was founded in 2009 and opened the permanent facility in 2011. We employ three coaches and a manager. Growth has been very steady! We feel fortunate to have such a wonderful group of fencers and parents that make running a club such as this a joy. We started with 15 students and have grown to almost 100. WFA teaches the Olympic sport of epee fencing to anyone interested in a life sport. Our students start around the age of 6 in a fun Musketeer class. Fencing is a life sport and anyone interested can start fencing at any time. We welcome all ages and ability levels. Read more>>

Scott Wells

I’m originally from Singapore and have beeni  active in sports my whole life. In high school, I decided to play basketball and run track. I had scholarship offers in both but decided to play basketball. During high school was always made all district and county teams. I was offensive player of the year my junior year. My college career was short lived because I decided that I wanted to travel so I dropped out of college. Travelling teaches you something you can never learn in a book. Plus, I had an entrepreneurial mindset and didn’t see much use in a degree. Read more>>

Melanie Nasser

I first discovered Pilates during my professional ballet career when I suffered an ACL ligament tear in my knee in the mid-90s. I was in Ohio dancing with Ohio Ballet at the time and had surgery and my rehab at the Cleveland Clinic. My physical therapist was also a Pilates Instructor and the Clinic had all the Pilates equipment there so much of my rehab included Pilates. In the late 90s I returned to Tulsa Ballet and when I was considered retiring from my ballet career I had an opportunity that presented itself to train to become a Pilates instructor and work at a local massage/Pilates studio. Read more>>

Gloria Lavara

We’re a locally owned neighborhood bakery that’s been servicing The Woodlands for the past 6 years with our delicious baked goods. Our slogan: cupcakes and more will not cover all the wonderful products we have on our menu. We were first known for our Cupcakes and then for our amazing Sugar Iced Cookies. We also have Chocolate Chip Cookies and Texas Sheet Cakes plus Specialty Cakes by special order. Our business started as a small cupcake shop that serviced the community and it now can cater big corporate events and make your dream wedding cake. Read more>>

Andi and Don Young

It began in 1989 upon being transferred to Houston, Texas right after a 4th place finish in the Disc Golf Pro World Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. There was absolutely no place to play disc golf anywhere in the Houston metro area back then, so I co-founded a player’s organization, the Houston Flying Disc Society (HFDS) from grass roots… My membership number is HFDS #001. We started creating ‘object’ disc golf courses and running local events to raise money to purchase disc golf baskets. Read more>>

Renee Morton

I started the mortgage business back in 2003 after a divorce. I had 3 small children and needed to be able to work around their schedule. I jumped in knowing nothing, 100% commission and had to self generate my own business. I had been cheated 2 times in buying a home and wanted to make a change and be able to make a decent living. My goal has been to treat my clients like friends and family and offer the best service in the industry. I survived the 2007 mortgage crash by getting approved to work with Fannie Mae on their foreclosures. Read more>>

Jim Backhus

For the last 10-11 years Mom’s Secret Chef (MSC) has specialized in delicious homemade meals-to-go for businesses, families and individuals who love home style cooking but do not always have the time to cook them. MSC offers a variety of entrees and we have an “ever-changing” weekly Menu. “What’s for dinner tonight?” is the everyday question and MSC offers a solution with our food-to-go and easy reheating method. Fairly smooth road…. with daily challenges to operate efficiently. We have been blessed with growth but at the same time the higher cost of doing business. Read more>>

Vicki Robinson

Soon after I got married in 1991 my mom and I started a small business selling affordable jewelry at neighborhood shows, today’s version of a pop-up. I started my family in 1995 and wanted to be at home as much as possible so we were a seasonal business for many years, my mom carried the load in those early years. We started traveling to larger markets and in 2000 we were excepted into The Houston Nutcracker Market which took our business to the next level. My mom retired years ago, then when my son headed off to college it was time to open a store front. Read more>>

David Carswell

I have been in the telecommunications and networking business for a little over 20 years. When I started, I started at the lowest rung on the ladder. Learning the basic foundation. Became an essential back drop for what we do today. When I started ABNS, I am not sure I had the business knowledge required. That has been the most difficult aspect. So we had brought in some additional resources with the requisite skills. I learned quickly to get the right people in the right job and you can really accelerate success. Read more>>

Scott Stephens

It’s been a long interesting road with lots of changes and challenges. Industry has changed very much since my start in 1977. Expectations have changed so much back in the early days most of the customer built their vehicles for off roading adventures, and on road driving was not so important. Todays’ customers want a trail capable vehicle that will do the trails in Colorado and still have great street driving characteristics. In the early days, customers were mainly young guys, but today’s customers range from male to female from sixteen to seventy years plus of age. Read more>>

Kimberly Doherty

Lone Stars breeding program originates from the Gleanloch Farm bloodlines and has been breeding Straight Egyptians for over 15 years. We started with just one straight Egyptian Arabian but it was just not enough our business grew until we had horses boarding all across Texas. That was when we bought 42 acres of land in Magnolia TX so we could have our own facility to breed train and sell Arabians. Our farm can now board up to 34 horses, we have a covered arena, sitting room, 2 wash racks, a walker, and many grass filled fields for the horses to enjoy. Lone Star Arabians now has over 20 horses and is dedicated to not just the breeding and training of our own horses but also client’s horses. Read more>>

Andres Gomez

I was born in Venezuela and immigrated to the United States in 2004. I have worked with various oil companies such as Hess Corporation and Schlumberger. Having been laid off from Schlumberger due to a reduction in the oil prices, I decided to be my own boss. My present business, AG Insurance, was started in September 2016. With my knowledge of administration from previous jobs, the business is on the road to success, especially since everyone needs insurance. At the present time, I’m starting a new business in the same office by the name of Dreams We Make It Reality. I got the idea from my daughter’s wedding in August 2016, which we decorated ourselves. Read more>>

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