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West Loop’s Rising Stars

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 West Loop’s rising stars below.

Chi Okeke

Commendably, there has been tremendous support for the advancement of young women globally in recent years. However, there is still room and the imperative to reach and impact more young women proximally and locally in contribution to the vision. I was mentoring some teenagers outside my local church and noticed some of them were struggling with low academic scores, regular disruptive suspensions, a corollary low self-esteem, and the inevitable limited opportunities for success, and realized that these issues were not limited to my mentees, at that time, but affected at-risk communities; particularly students who attended title-1 schools. Read more>>

Brittney Batson

Right out of college, I moved to Texas and jumped into my first Zumba class. I quickly discovered my love for moving to music and working out at the same time. Little did I know this would be the beginning of my pursuit of an unforgettable dance journey as an adult. I found myself attending as many classes as I could each week for hours out of the day. After teaching students at work, I would eagerly head to Zumba, heels, hip-hop, and chair class to grow as a dancer because of the confidence and energetic feeling I would have after class. Going to the dance studio and meeting amazing women became the highlight of my week. Read more>>

Jen McDonald

Gardening began as a hobby for each of us. It grew into a career, an ‘Act 2’, about five years ago with another garden design company. The three of us loved designing and installing gardens but realized that we would be happier doing it together with a company of our own. With a few hundred garden designs and installations under our belts, we took the leap and formed Garden Girls. Read more>>

Kealie Montgomery

I started in the service industry back when I was 16. I have always just had a knack & love for it. Even after going to school for something completely different, I found my way back to it. I had worked my way up at a bar & restaurant that was dependent on MLB season, so I had a lot of downtime in the off-season throughout the years, which is where I began to do events on my own. After years of figuring out the ins & outs of how everything truly worked, with the support of my husband decided to make it official, and the business has taken off sense. Read more>>

Marianne Dublado

When I was 7 years old, I knew that I wanted to help people. And somehow, instead of dreaming of being a princess or dreaming of things typical 7-year-olds dreamt of, I wanted to be a psychiatrist. Can you imagine being 7 and knowing that you wanted to talk to people about their issues and help them this way? Read more>>

Nicolas Romero

I’ve been in love with photography and film since I was a kid, watching my dad use his cameras and camcorders to record early memories of my sister and I. Fast forward to high school, where he gifted me my first camera, a Nikon D3100. I used it for the entirety of my senior year of high school working on an exhibition project where my goal was to spread self-love and body positivity through photography. This year-long project gave me the opportunity to speak about photography in my own TEDx talk in 2018, solidifying my desire to pursue this career. Read more>>

Jessica Phillips

I never truly understood the immense and profound depths of love until my five-year-old daughter Brooke battled leukemia. As her mom, I walked beside my girl every step of the way for two years as she endured countless surgeries, chemotherapy, and a bone marrow transplant, and I held her in my arms until she passed away on September 29, 2006. Her courage and faith challenged my heart and life, but it was her extraordinary BIG Love that changed me forever. Read more>>

Kaye Bradley

Growing up, I always had a different kind of swag and style. I’m originally from Gary, IN, but always had a New York kind of vibe. I’m an artsy and creative person, and starting BlueRoc 7 in 2012 allowed me to be that. When I started, I had no clue on what I was doing as far as understanding the different types of prints and blanks. I started with 100 t-shirts, and half sold pretty quick. I was unhappy with the quality of blank t-shirts, so I quickly moved to cut n sew. This also allowed me to be more creative with not just the print but the t-shirt itself. Business was going pretty well until covid. It became hard and costly to get anything manufactured if you were a small business. Fast forward 3 years later, and we will be releasing the SS’23 collection throughout the summer. My supporters have stuck beside me through tough times, and I am truly grateful for that. Read more>>

Courtney Pringle

Hello, glad to chat with you today. My name is Courtney Pringle, and I am the owner of Flawless Custom Designz LLC. We are a family-owned print and marketing company with 9 years of experience. Our journey is quite interesting, as it started unexpectedly and evolved into a full-service print shop. Read more>>

Armani Mbaye

I started Tiny Teepee HTX in January 2020. I’ve always loved decorating, designing, and all things creative since I was a little girl! You could find me decorating my playhouses, setting up tea parties for my dolls, and even rearranging my room! I began Tiny Teepee as a creative outlet and as a way to make amazing memories for others. I’ve also met some really awesome people along the way! Read more>>

Maryann Murray

Years ago, I was a model and was always fascinated with the hair and makeup artists I worked with. I then finished Cosmetology school, and one of my friends owned a chain of men’s hair salons. They suggested I learn how to do men’s hair and swore in 10 years; there would be a huge industry for men’s hair. Now, over ten years later, they were right! I worked in a couple of high-end men’s hair salons and then decided to open my own almost two years ago, and haven’t looked back! Read more>>

Christina Liles

When I stumbled across our company 3 years ago, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into. It was a 20-person firm, male-led, and wow, do they take their core values seriously. I had a background in construction and tax consulting and didn’t see how a career in headhunting made sense. Read more>>

Audrey Utti

I think I leaned into designing to practice being more authentic. After a sudden and necessary departure from a Ph.D. program, I finally got the space to focus on health and figure things out. Fashion design was an itch that wouldn’t go away, so I found myself at a fashion community meeting a few months later. There, I was advised to get into modeling so I could learn more about the industry. It worked- I saw what went on behind the scenes, met all sorts of interesting people, and became aware of the incredible amount of work designers/models/artists/producers/etc. put into making it all happen. Read more>>

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