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The Most Inspiring Stories in St. Louis

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.

Katie Mulchek

In July 2007, my roommate was getting married, she came to me and asked if I would be interested in making sure all the details she carefully planned came together on the day of the wedding. I went to school for event planning and hoped to be wedding planner one day but was still just trying to pay the bills doing a 9-5 communications job, I hadn’t jumped into it yet. Their wedding launched me into my career as a wedding coordinator and I never looked back. By 2009 I had my website and LLC and I was officially known as Your Perfect Wedding Day. Since then I’ve done over 250 weddings in my 15 years. I love every minute of the process and helping my couples have their perfect wedding stress free! Read more>>

Joseph Davis

My story is a little complex. As a child I had many health complications, which could have very well made it extremely difficult for me to accomplish half of what I’ve done so far. My asthma was terrible, but somehow I had enough breath in my lungs to hold notes and sing. I’m not surprised though, I grew up in a very musically enthused environment. My early love for music, theatrics, and all around entertainment can be heavily credited to my grandfather Gregg “Happy Guitar” Haynes Sr. Back in the days when I was known as little “Jojo” and performing with my grandfather at various churches. Read more>>

Cas Rodriguez-Miranda

I was raised by two Cuban immigrants who were only in the States for about two years prior to my birth, so traversing through life in the Midwest was a new experience for not just me, but my whole family. We didn’t have much, and we didn’t do much, but we lived and continued to live and planned to do so as long as we could. My folks wanted me to have a good education, since I was a second-generation baby, so they enrolled me in various private schools growing up. The issue was that I never really felt like I fit in with any of the kids there, since being brown, poor, and unable to speak english beyond broken sentences left me sticking out like a sore thumb.  Read more>>

James Clayton

Hello, I’m James Clayton(37) and I was born in St.louis but left when i was 2 years old. I was raised in Georgia for majority of my young life, then i moved back to St. Louis in 2012. Since I’ve returned I’ve worked for several wireless companies(US Cellular, T-mobile, and Verizon), as well as Pepsico for 8 years. I have always had a passion for selling and just connecting with people. In 2014 i graduated from Lindenwood University with a degree in Marketing. I absolutely loved my time at the university and made some connections that i still connect with today.  Read more>>

JewelBee

Originally being from Germany my husband and I moved in November 2020 to St. Louis (yes, in the middle of the pandemic). As you can imagine it was a very big change leaving family, friends, my job and basically everything but each other behind and move to another continent. My whole career I worked in HR but my visa didn’t include a work permit so I knew that I couldn’t go back to the field I used to work in. I needed some time to adjust and very soon I started to take advantage of this once in a lifetime chance of having the opportunity to try out something completly new. Read more>>

Jill Brockman-Cummings

Janie’s Farm is a Certified Organic, 5th generation family farm in East Central Illinois run by Harold, Sandy, and Ross Wilken.  Janie’s Mill is a natural extension of Janie’s Farm. There, just a couple miles from the farmstead, the Janie’s Mill team stone-grinds our grains into high quality flours and other milled products. The name of both the farm and the mill honors Harold and Sandy Wilken’s eldest child Janies who passed away in a car accident in 2001 at the age of 15. She remains near and dear, lighting the way. Following Janie’s passing Harold and his family resolved to ditch chemicals, diversify their family farm, and grow healthy grains for our community.  Read more>>

Colton Maurer

I’m a 23 year old entrepreneur who last year started a semi pro football team for ages 18+ out of St. Louis, mo. Within this year, we have already started expansions to a youth team as well ages 7-8 years old. Absolutely not, when I started the Falcons Brand, I was approached by 2 teams I won’t name with an invitation to join the management group as one big organization. Being young and trying to learn the ropes, I took the agreement which ended in me having to terminate my brand and merge teams. None the less, the team ended up getting shut down within 5 games being played and I was right back to square 1. I had to get guys to trust me to rebuild this program let alone the new recruits we have picked up across the greater metro area. Read more>>

Tracy Landau

Twenty years ago, my husband Phil and I were working at a food, beverage, and supplement ingredient company in St. Louis when we were offered new positions that required relocation. Neither of us wanted to leave St. Louis, and Phil, coming from an entrepreneurial family, had always dreamed of starting his own business. So, we stayed in the city we love, ventured out on our own, and started MarketPlace. Drawing on Phil’s technical background and my career in brand strategy and marketing, we started MarketPlace as a consultancy to support food, beverage, and ingredient companies in developing successful business strategies. Read more>>

Jessica Bueler

Welcome Neighbor STL You don’t need an invitation to do the right thing. Elevator Pitch: Welcome Neighbor STL began in the fall of 2016 with a toiletry drive for newly-arrived refugee families and has organically grown into a multi-faceted organization with over 3,000 supporters. The organization partners with community allies to help meet the evolving needs of refugee families. Welcome Neighbor STL begin in November 2016 with a toiletry drive for refugee families. Read more>>

Nicholas Gusman

My start in music came about age 18 with the song, House of the Rising Sun. I had friends that were musicians and I’d say guitar was a part time interest up until then. It was unlike any song I’d ever come across. It’s a traditional song, so no one knows who wrote it. We only know it’s been handed down and changed shape many times. I guess I could hear that ancientness and the haunting tragic topic of the song stayed with me. Read more>>

Veronica + Alex Young

Back In the day, the Youngs Photo + Film was ‘Veronica Young Photography” Alex actually is the one who encouraged me to take my business to the next level. What alot of people dont know, is that Alex has been in video production for over a decade, and he is the one who bought me my first camera, and taught me how to use it! After about a year of my business being full time with weddings, Alex actually got laid off from his production job. All though I was freaked at the time, it was a HUGE blessing in disguise. It was in that timeframe when he decided to take on the wedding world with me, and the rest is history.  Read more>>

Daniel

I was always someone that found my happy place in being creative, even if ridiculously so. I think the first job I ever remember wanting to be was a writer when I was seven years old and obsessed with books like ‘A-to-Z Mysteries,’ ‘Geronimo Stilton,’ ‘Sherlock Holmes,’ ‘Holes,’ ‘The Westing Game,’ ‘The Phantom Tollbooth,’ ‘Nancy Drew,’ ‘Hardy Boys,’ etc. Then, I got into movies and have been obsessed ever since. I was the kid watching the post-credit behind-the-scenes featurette on a Disney VHS tape to see how Pixar did what they did and to see the voice actors in the booths next to their cartoon counterpart from the movie. I loved stories and I wanted to make them. In my brain, it didn’t matter what capacity; whether writing it, acting in it, filming it, editing it, producing it, etc. I wanted to do every genre: funny, mystery, drama, thriller, anything. Read more>>

Marillyn Webb

Pallottine Renewal Center, doing business as Pallottine Retreat and Conference Center (PRC) is an hidden gem in North St. Louis County. While we have been open since 1969, we are still a hidden gem in North St. Louis County. PRC is a sacred place of peace, hope and renewal where all are welcome. We are a ministry of the Pallottine Missionary Sisters, an order of the Roman Catholic religious sisters founded by St. Vincent Pallotti, who was committed to flourishing of persons in all walks of life. We provide and maintain an environment which is comfortable and safe, faith-driven, and supportive, open and present to the needs of individuals and communities and which reflects the charism of the Pallottine Missionary Sisters. Read more>>

Lindsay Dill

I was lucky enough to grow up a 90’s kid. You know, playing outside until the street lights came on, running around with neighborhood kids, playing all the outdoor sports possible. I played organized sports from a young age such as basketball, volleyball, and softball for 14 years. Even though I was naturally very athletic, I was never really “fit”. I started to become aware of how much bigger I was than the other girls in my class by the third grade. I was a pretty good athlete who worked hard during practice and games, but I was totally missing the balanced nutrition component of being an athlete. Read more>>

Louie McDon

I started rapping in 2016 with friends in college and quickly decided to start taking it seriously. By early 2017 I created my own LLC (The Lyrically Obsessed Universe) to protect my creative ideas from day one. By August 2017, I released my first self-titled project, the ‘Louie McDon – EP’ & later that year on November 11th, released my first full-length project titled “The Silver Lining, Act 1: ‘ill-advised’”. After pushing these first two projects for a year, in 2018 I decided it was time to evolve and stop leasing beats. Read more>>

Lauren Parks

President and CEO/Co-Founder Lauren Parks has led the mission of the rebirth of the childhood home of Miles Dewey Davis, which had been unoccupied for at least 15 years (see one of the before and after pics)! Deciding to use her personal funds and resources, Lauren Parks contacted her friend of 40+ years , Gary Pearson, and forged ahead to take on this challenge with dedication, determination, genuineness, and grit! Read more>>

Paige Bequette

Rebrand Rogue started as a passion project and somewhat out of the necessity to create content for close friends in the St. Louis area who are DJs/performers/artists to promote their upcoming events. As a DJ myself, I was constantly trying to find ways to get photos for flyers and for my own social media promotion that were higher quality than just iPhone snaps. In this day and age, eye catching photography and video are so important for building a consistent social media following or even running digital ads to reach more people. Read more>>

Nate Cornelius

My name is Nate Cornelius a lot of people call me Wheelz I have been in a wheelchair may whole life I started going to music festivals and traveling for concerts when I was 18 … (“Long strange Trip” ) Now at 35 I run 2 small businesses. “Wheelz Dealz and Detailz LLC” and “Grateful Family Productions LLC”… Wirh Grateful Family Productions we do an annual event called Gnomestock a 3 day music event we named in honor of fallen friends in the music scene Willy the Wood Gnome.. With a portion of sales for the event we make donations directly to Shriners Children’s Hospital. As I was a Shriners Kid it means alot to be able to give back to them. Read more>>

Amy Lescher

I was board and raised in STL. I am married (Erik), with two daughters (Sophie, 19 and Stevie, 11) and two French Bulldogs (Bronx and Tank). grew up very athletic and always playing competitive sports. I even played soccer in college. It was in college that I got certified to teach group fitness and began teaching fitness. I taught for the sports teams on campus and continued teaching fitness as a secondary job though my early 30s. I have always been enthralled by the body, how it functions and how it moves. I have a degree in Biology and I am a nurse. Basically, I am a major biology science nerd! I took up fitness full time after my second daughter was born. I’ve been in fitness for more of my life than not. I’ve seen it change, morph and even evolve during a pandemic. Movement brings me happiness, strength and courage. It is through movement that I strive to allow others to find those things too. Read more>>

Christie Grubbs

During June of 2020 my mother passed away. During her last few days we went through her photo albums. We laughed, we cried and we laughed some more. I couldn’t help but notice how few pictures there were of me and my mum. Even less of us as a whole family. We never got professional pictures done and were lucky if all of us were in the same country at the same time for a cellphone picture. I returned to the states and the first thing I did was buy a camera. I always loved taking pictures of my kids but now I truly knew the value of a picture.  Read more>>

John Erysian

Started in 1993 on a cart in a mall. Slowly grew to inline store and eventually two locations. Now occupy one 3000 sq ft store in South County. Began with the notion of educational toys and learning through play. Believed there was a niche for toys that teach rather than mass market toys which were commercially driven. Still maintain same values today–parental involvement and choices based on learning and lasting play value. Read more>>

Melissa Webb

I used to be a teacher. I taught social studies to middle and high school students for two years. I had a five-year plan for teaching. In the last week of my last semester of my master’s program for education, a school counselor came and talked to my class about the work she did. I was intrigued and knew that was what I wanted to do for my career. I enrolled in the Master’s program for counseling and started the next semester. That was the fall of 2011. I graduated with my second Master’s in 2013 and was still teaching. I decided to step out on faith and get a counseling job. I started at an agency in the fall of 2014 and have been doing therapy since. Read more>>

Daman Singh

My father introduced me to music when I was three years old. He, a musician who grew up in India, taught me how to play the tabla (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tabla). Throughout the week, I would practice for hours with my father, and then I would play with my parents during Sunday services at the local Sikh temple. In high school, I was always interested in the guitar, and that was when I picked up the bass guitar for the first time without knowing how to play it. I slowly taught myself the bass by listening to my favorite songs at the time and following along, trying to figure out the notes. Read more>>

Taylor Mitchell

From nursing school to culinary school, and moving from Executive Chef at age 22 to marketing manager for a medical marijuana company by 24. I’ve always had a really deep desire to help people and have known I always wanted to own my own business. My career now as a content creator & finance coach began after 1 viral TikTok video. In mid-2020, I started an Etsy shop selling hand-painted terracotta flower pots & was making short TikTok videos to advertise my store. However, in October 2020, I posted a video that received 4 million views and changed everything for me. Read more>>

2 Comments

  1. SYLVESTER BROWN, JR.

    September 20, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Greetings and congratulations on the launch of VoyageSTL. From the perspective of a former columnist (St. Louis Post-Dispatch and publisher (Take Five Magazine 1987-2003) and current writer with the St. Louis American, I can honestly say I am impressed with your work. Already, it seems to be a refreshing addition to the region’s sometimes stale media landscape. – Good luck with your venture.-Sincerely, Sylvester Brown, Jr.

  2. Marz

    August 31, 2022 at 9:38 pm

    Proud to say that Cornell Nichols is my cousin and my pastor.. If ever you’re looking for a Church home I highly suggest you come to Christ temple family church.

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