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The Most Inspiring Stories in Utah

The heart of our mission is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our communities. In the recent weeks, we’ve had the privilege to connect with some incredible artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with the incredible group below. Check out our favorite stories from across the Voyage family.

Zachary Egbert

I picked up my first camera in February of 2019 when I took a photography class at Dixie State University to fulfill an art credit needed for my Associate’s degree. But this class isn’t what first got me intrigued in perusing photography. What started my interest in this craft was actually something that happened a few months prior to starting that semester of school. It was when my sister got a job at a Honda & Mazda dealership doing their social media. Read more>>

Katy Gish

My dad was a photographer and I grew up watching him fall in love with his art. It wasn’t until he passed when I was 14 that I appreciated his photos. I decided to take a beginner film photography course in my first year of high school and quickly realized the thrill of telling a story through photos. My first year was spent doing film and eventually my first digital photography course the next semester. I owe much of my talent to my teacher Ms. Riley. She took me under her wing and told me I had a good eye it just needed to be trained a little more. She taught me to love photography like my dad once did. Read more>>

Keala Jarvis

My journey into photography came during an attempt to become a graphic design student at the University of Utah. After not being accepted into their program I began taking additional fine art classes the following semester to “find myself”. Thankfully, In doing so I fell in love with my darkroom photography classes and switched gears. Now with a BFA under my belt & 10 years in the field my photo business and creating path has morphed in many ways. Today I specialize in high school senior portraits that are more than a moment. Read more>>

Sherri Gunn

When I had my first baby I like most women assumed my baby and my body would know what to do when it came to breastfeeding. I wasn’t prepared for the frustration and discomfort and I reached out for help only to have a difficult experience with a lactation consultant. I told myself that I never wanted a mom to feel like I had and that started my interest in becoming an IBCLC. I had been an RN for 10 years and worked in the NICU at Utah Valley when an opening in their lactation department became available. I studied and took the exam to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.  Read more>>

Julie Abate

I was born to 2 hippies from Cali who decided to become Pastors in the Bible Belt as soon as they where married in their 20s. They had me quickly after in Tennessee. Moved to Texas, then decided to become missionaries. Moved to Costa Rica when I was 10 and then Chile at 12 until I was 18. I was married then divorced and long story short I became a flight attendant. Moved SEVERAL more times: TN, GA, NY, IN, CA. I had a few severe work injuries and lots of trauma. I was seeing so many doctors who where only treating my symptoms. I lived in my car in LA as a flight attendant and was looking to set some roots. Read more>>

Jessica Clegg

I grew up in a home where everything was homemade. Especially the pies for Thanksgiving. I remember my mom always making it a point to bake our cakes for our birthdays. It was the birthday treat to lick the batter from the beaters and bowl, which I broke once, and still have the scars on my fingers to prove it! My baking journey didn’t really start until I started working in the Cardiology department at the hospital. Yeah. Weird. Read more>>

Kristi Harmon

t started off as getting a few of my girlfriends together for a pick me up. I loved how it helped them so much, that I wanted to have them more often, and then my creative mind wanted to make them more elaborate and special, to help others know how special and important they were. As time had gone on, despite having other jobs and obligations, I always wanted to come back to parties. It just became my thing. Several years later, I realized that many people around me struggled to find dancing events close by.  Read more>>

Erin Woodruff

When I was 19, someone told me that I should be a life coach. I had no idea what they were talking about, but the comment never left my mind. I decided to go to college and got my bachelor’s degree, I got married, and bought a house. After a few years of marriage, we wanted to start a family, but after months of trying, I had to accept the reality that getting pregnant might not be as easy as we had thought. Read more>>

AJ Ranasinghe

I started hosting automotive events in 2016. I had noticed many auto events did not have the full-on production feel that other sporting/entertainment events had and were lacking a family-friendly environment. I had the vision to create a community that celebrates the automotive culture and its enthusiasts by providing premium events that were family-friendly and could inspire the next generation! Read more>>

Kambrya Pettit

In first grade, I hated “reading practice” at school. So. Boring. And it felt so pointless. I just wanted to get to the “real” reading. I wanted stories. I wanted imagination. Over the years, those thoughts stuck like crayons on Arizona car upholstery. Fast forward several decades: – I had graduated with my degree in Early Childhood Development with honors. – I had had eight children and had lived all over the world. (Leading me to the firm opinion that parents need simplicity. And chocolate.) Read more>>

Liz O’Connell

I’m from Virginia, born and raised. My journey really started when I was a kid – my little sister was diagnosed with leukemia at 11 months old and battled her entire life. When I was 6 I was asked to donate bone marrow to her to help save her life, which I did. After the transplant she lived 2 years cancer free before she relapsed again. I donated bone marrow again in an attempt to save her life, but sadly she died from complications a few weeks before her 7th birthday. I was 9. My parents divorced soon after. Dealing with the grief of her death and the breakdown of my family unit was a large part of my adolescence. Read more>>

Victoria Johnson

I’ve always been passionate about making things. From a very young age, I remember going to museums and galleries with my parents and being enrolled in extracurricular activities that involved art. Making art was always a hobby within my family and I never thought much of it. Photography especially was always something that was going on. I was fortunate enough to travel a lot with my parents and friends and would always take pictures of everything. After many years of using the family’s digital camera to photograph my life, my parents gave me my very own digital camera, which I carried around with me everywhere. Read more>>

Zach Collier

I’ve been in the local music journalism space since 2013. Provo Music Magazine is the spiritual successor to former sites like Provo Buzz, Provo Music Guide, Analog Provo, and Reach Provo (which I founded in 2015 with Alessandro Improta). I got my start writing music features for Provo Buzz and really fell in love with the local scene. When Provo Buzz closed its doors, I acquired all of the music content and launched Reach Provo to keep things going. Sandro and I sold Reach in early 2017 to focus on our music projects and performing full time, but we really missed it. After our friends who took over Reach Provo moved out of state, we got involved again and relaunched as Provo Music Magazine at the beginning of 2022. Read more>>

Whitney Cook

In high school I had the opportunity to work at a local boutique which inspired me to start my own clothing boutique. A few years later I shared my dream with my husband to start my own clothing shop but it seemed so distant. After doing some research we realized just how possible it was for us to start. We were recently married and didn’t have much to start with so we invested about $400 dollars of our savings into product, got a business license, and set up a website. From there social media, word of mouth and also local pop up shops have had a big influence in growth. Read more>>

Geovani Salazar

Before I could advocate for the importance of marketing for Hispanic businesses and educate them on how to use free tools to obtain some digital clout, I had to identify that there was an issue. I used to work at a bacon processing plant. I was working more than 40 hours a week and had reached a point where I desired more out of life. I looked up some easy ways to get money online and found that door-to-door flyer distribution was one of them. I went ahead and pursued this concept, creating a website and filling it with content. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was practicing blackhat SEO – a nono in today’s search ranking process. Read more>>

Dana Williamson

I had been working in Corporate America for 20+ years and started wondering what was next. It wasn’t fulfilling me anymore. Additionally, my daughter was 16 at the time and I was realizing the planet was not in the condition I thought it would be in when I brought her into this world. I wanted to be part of the solution to leaving her a better planet. And I wanted to do something more fulfilling. I didn’t know what that meant, I just knew I was passionate about food, education and the environment. So I started researching what was out there.  Read more>>

Hailey Starr

Art is something that has always had a special place in my heart. It’s been a part of my life that has always been there for me no matter what struggles I may be going through. Through art I have learned so much more about myself and who I am as a person. Creating is something that just puts me in that “flow” like state. I love learning different art forms and skills. When I started taking some local classes I realized silversmithing had something of a divine and magical nature. Read more>>

Brandon Richter

Oh man, where to start. I suppose lets start with what I do as a business, then we’ll round back to how I ended up here. Entropy Ink is a screen printing company, we print logos and designs on shirts and various other garments using the most common method used today, silk screening. I developed an interest in the arts early on, the earliest of the visual arts I can remember being in a high school photography class, nearly 15 years ago. I knew I wanted to make a living creating, and I think that’s where some realistic seeds were planted. After a failed attempt at a college fitness degree, and a boatload of dead end jobs, I found myself playing music in bands and refusing to work a 9-5 job. Read more>>

Notta Genda

I’m a local performing non-binary drag king who currently works in the AR department at Snapchat! My story starts in Willard, Utah which is a tiny rural town where the population is 99% Mormon. I struggled a lot with my internal conflicts of being a queer trans kid and trying so hard to follow a religion that didn’t support those parts of me. I hated wearing dresses for church and vehemently avoided other feminine things like makeup and the color pink. For what is still a majority of my life, I didn’t know any different.  Read more>>

Kate Healey

Horses have always been a part of my life, as I grew up on a Welsh pony breeding farm that my mom ran. Later, I would turn the farm into a full-scale equestrian lesson, boarding and training stable. During Jr. High and High School, I went through the United States Pony Clubs rating certification program, which taught me all about horses, not just riding. Through this program, I learned equine anatomy, veterinary care, tack and equipment, conditioning, nutrition, stable management, farriery, and more. I also started learning how to teach riders, and got a working student position where I could teach a few students a week at age 15. Read more>>

Paul Gagner

Dreamland Safari Tours was founded in 2001. We offer hiking, backpacking, photography, and sight seeing tours in the surrounding area, including the Wave, White Pocket, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and areas around Kanab Utah. In March 2020 my wife Sunny Stroeer and I purchased the company, just as COVID was taking off. 10 days after signing the purchase agreement, we made what we felt was the most responsible decision in light of the fledgling pandemic, and we shuttered the business.  Read more>>

MUNIRA ALARBID

I was born and raised in Venezuela, and I moved to this country six years ago. Since I came here, I had different jobs and then I started working in an Office of Accounting. I was very receptive to the clients. Then I quit and had a different job, but with the Tax season coming, many clients from that Office looked for me on my social media asking where I was and if I was doing the same thing, because they wanted me to do their Taxes.  Read more>>

Alysa Beck

My name is Alysa Mae and I’m the owner and creator over at Mae Dae! My shop started out in 2018 as Rooted Wild vintage and I sold vintage clothes I would thrift up in college on Etsy. I loved the “hunt” so much and having a place to sell my finds was honestly keeping me from becoming a horder haha! During Highschool I knew I wanted to have something of my very own but I didn’t know yet what that looked like. Throughout college I started to not resonate with the products I was selling and took a break to reevaluate and then the lovely pandemic hit and I was stuck at home most of the time.  Read more>>

Heather Clark

I’ve always had a love for reading. I remember watching my mom and grandma reading and wanting to grab a book and be just like them. In elementary school I discovered The Babysitters Club book series and that made me love reading even more. I was able to escape into a book world that was full of fun and surprises. As I entered into high school and my early twenties I did not read as much. It’s not that I didn’t want to, I just wanted to hang with my friends instead. I did miss it but felt reading wasn’t cool and I didn’t want to be considered a book nerd. (You could call me that now and I’d be fine) Read more>>

Payton Tomicic

It started when my husband surprised me with Winston for Valentines day. I was immediately obsessed with my adorable new puppy. My husband suggested to me I create him an instagram to share all of the photos I was taking. I really fell in love with the art of sharing our interests through the perspective my dog and I. Since then I have continued to post and create content to share all of our amazing experiences to show all of the things that you can do with your dog especially outdoors. Read more>>

Kevin Liu

How does one decide to start cleaning trash cans for a living? Well, it all started out with two dads, and one common goal in mind- to never be asked by their wives to wash their trash cans by hand ever again, and to help other homeowners also rid that nasty task on their to-do list. Meet John and Kevin, co-owners of Bin Showered, where your dreams of having sparkly, clean trash cans come alive, all without lifting a finger.  Read more>>

Olivia Sham

I grew up in Cedar City, UT surrounded by the performing arts community brought there by the university, the Utah Shakespeare Festival, and various other theatre companies/arts organizations. I come from a family of performers so naturally, I fell in love with the arts just the same and began performing professionally at the age of 13! After seeing me perform in a few school talent shows, my 7th grade guitar teacher, Ryan Durfee, asked me if I’d like to be the lead vocalist for a jazz band he had formed with other local musicians Heather Wilhelm & Mason Cottam.  Read more>>

Chloe-Anne Swink

I started out as an aimless blogger and poetry writer. I wrote about my travels on my own blog and pitched stories to larger publications and media hubs. Typically to little avail. Writing was my passion project, but I didn’t think I’d ever be able to monetize it. Along came the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020. I had just quit my bartending job–something I’d been doing for 5+ years–and now realized that I wound’t be landing a new one any time soon.  Read more>>

Josh Sales

My name is josh sales and I am a freelance videographer from Lehi, UT. I started videography 5 years ago and am now shooting over 200 music videos a year for artists like Mat & Savanna Shaw, Gentri, Madilyn Paige, Rise Up Childrens Choir and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I came back from my LDS mission in May of 2019 and also started up a side business called Christian Covers Official. Here is a link to learn more about that as well and more of my story! Read more>>

Camarie Widmer

My first rodeo was when I was five days old. Both of my parents have been involved in rodeo since well before I was born. My mom barrel raced professionally and worked for the World’s Toughest Rodeo company and my dad picked up and team roped. As a young girl, I rode some, but never got really interested until the summer going into my freshman year of high school. I’m not sure what caused it, but the switch flipped and I was hooked. I told my dad I wanted to high school rodeo and he was supportive, but made it perfectly clear that if they were going to haul me to all the high school rodeo’s. Read more>>

Wayne Hsiung

I’ve loved nature and animals my entire life. There’s so much beauty and diversity in this nation, and it has a healing impact on our people, when we honor it. But I had an experience as a child, going back to my grandparents’ ancestral homeland in China for the first time, that traumatized me. I saw dogs being caged and killed for food. As a child growing up in the Midwest, my dog was my best friend. Most kids treated their dogs like family members. It just never occurred to me until that moment that there were other places where animals were treated so violently. Read more>>

Hayley Smith

My husband and I struggled with infertility for years (due to me having PCOS). I would not wish infertility on anyone – it is a hard trial to have to go through. After many failed infertility treatments we decided to adopt. We had always wanted to adopt but the opportunity came sooner than we expected and we are so glad it did. We eventually adopted our son as a newborn in 2019. Fast forward to a couple of months ago I felt like I was in a huge rut. Read more>>

Rick Talbot

I’ve liked fishing since I was a kid, but my addiction to it started about 15 years go on a 50-mile hike through the White Cloud mountain range in Idaho. We were fly fishing and hiked into a remote lake where I caught my first elusive Golden Trout. This experience gave me the idea to try and catch every game fish in UT. I accomplished this goal over the next few years, but my interest in new species had only grown. With that, I’ve started taking a rod with me whenever I travel for work or go on vacation. Read more>>

Madelyn Giaimo

For as long as I can remember I was obsessed with photography. Almost every birthday I would ask for a camera and had built up a pretty good collect of point and shoots that were all filled with pictures of family birthdays and photo evidence of trouble my siblings and I would get into. After getting my first job at the local candy store, I saved every penny and bought my first “professional” camera.  Read more>>

Alex Pizarro

I started my film business in weddings in April of 2020, at that time I was still new to Utah , I moved from Las Vegas. So the idea of jumping into filming weddings and capturing those special moments crossed my mind and started to do more research. As I started with doing a lot of backyard weddings due to Covid. I was building up my portfolio and presence into the wedding industry. Little by little I self taught on how to market my business, including building my own website, Instagram, google my business, and networking to really elevated me to where I am today. Read more>>

Craig Sorensen

Crowdsourced Comedy has been around since 2015. It started with a group of friends that regularly performed improv/comedy in Provo. After years of catering to a family friendly audience, we wanted to expand our reach. Salt Lake City was clearly the closest urban area for this. We wanted to perform all types of comedy–from squeaky clean to downright naughty–at our leisure. It took us a while to find a home, we took any gig we could! Read more>>

Miriam Gersdorf

When I first moved to Utah, my boyfriend (now husband) took me on my very first hike to the summit of Mount Timpanogos. It’s a peak at just under 12,000 ft and is a 16.8 miles round trip hike with over 5,000 ft of elevation gain. I had moved here from sea level, where I grew up in New Jersey. I showed up at the trailhead that morning in a pair of Keds and only a water bottle. Despite it being the 4th of July, there was still a lot of snow on the mountain.  Read more>>

Ashlee Larson

I grew up loving taking pictures with my dad. He always helped push me creatively with photography (he still does) and helped me grow a love for it. I was at Salt Lake Community College for two years, one of those years focusing on photography. Focusing on just photography helped ignite my love for being behind the camera but I didn’t want to ruin my love for photography so I changed courses for schooling. I have done photography on the side for over five years, mostly doing nature shots and starting building some cliental.  Read more>>

Devin Walston

I’ve always had an interest in photography for as long as I can remember. My mom got into studio and landscape photography as I was growing up and it definitely had an impact on me. As I got older I started to dabble more and more in the art, starting with attempting to take photos of the stars with my phone to eventually borrowing my mom’s camera and taking photos of everything I did. After a few years of photography, I started the same journey with videography. Read more>>

Jennifer Jaden

Jennifer Jaden is The Founder and CEO of Gal Media Group. With an immense background in press, media, and business Jennifer has a following and audience committed to seeing their businesses flourish. Launched in 2020, Gal Media Group has grown by over 550% in under two years. With a passion for helping small businesses succeed, Jennifer has worked endlessly to land full features for her clients in publications like Forbes, Elle, Men’s Journal, Cosmopolitan, and WWD to name a handful. Read more>>

Sadie Smith

As a BYU student studying education, I was frustrated with the disconnect between what I was learning in class with elementary school. If only there was a way for students like myself to apply what we were learning in real time, with real children- thus the founding of Smart Sharks Tutoring. Smart Sharks Tutoring creates opportunities for both elementary education majors to apply what they are learning and for children who need a bit of extra help outside school. Read more>>

Lorenzo Rivera

I grew up in south east Los Angeles by a good family but i chose another path, growing up i wanted to be apart of something and the choices i made led me to become apart of a gang and led to many bad choices in life. I was living on the streets for many years from cars to friends houses and at times park benches as i was living a life of of drug addict dealer and consuming as much as i could to get out of the reality of what my teachers have told me, ” i would not amount to anything” “I was a waist of life” “you will be a loser all your life” at 14 years old i started to believe what my teachers started saying. Read more>>

Brad & Blair Driver

We embarked on our Airstream journey in February 2021 and it has been quite fun. After leaving our second 39ft Montana fifth wheel, we have thoroughly enjoyed the ease of travel and the fun this new rig has brought us. We have been calling RV life “home” since Brad purchased his first RV in 2015. After meeting in Zion National Park in 2017, Blair was convinced the lifestyle was for her.  Read more>>

Breona Wilson

At the age of 14, I had no plans of modeling — I had my sights set on following in the footsteps of my family and joining the Marine Corp. That all changed when I was discovered by Jana Dubois, a wonderful woman who convinced my parents I had a unique look and that I had a future in this industry. She brought them out to a photoshoot and the rest is history. Read more>>

2 Comments

  1. Hatin

    March 31, 2022 at 11:57 am

    Congratulations for post! Nice article 🙂

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