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Portraits of St. Louis

It’s more important to understand someone than to judge them. We think the first step to understanding someone is asking them the fundamental questions about who they are and how they became the person they are today. Understanding and empathy are essential building blocks for a better, more compassionate world. We’re incredibly fortunate to be able to ask these questions each week through our interview series. Below you’ll find inspiring interviews from in and around St. Louis.

Megan Redfern

I have been in the medical field for more than 10 years and have experience in every edge of the spectrum. I grew up in a small town and attended a small school and a local university. After 5 years in clinical research, with 3 of those in management, I have finally found my niche and work for a large CRO in the clinical research industry. During this time, I recently finished my Masters in Clinical Research Organization and Management. In my spare time, I am the Worship Pastor at my local church and have recently released my first single. My husband and I have been married for 7 years and are foster parents. I stay very busy, but I love domestic and international travel. 70% of my job involves domestic travel to local medical facilities. I have come much farther than the small-town Alabama girl and am now a well-traveled professional. Read more>>

Sarah Hickman

I’ve loved drawing since I was a kid! I remember organizing my crayons and drawing scenes from my Disney storybooks countless times. After I had my first baby, I spent a lot of time on YouTube during late night feedings. I stumbled upon some bullet journal videos and I was hooked! I got myself a journal and started creating. I spent a lot of time making my journal look just how I wanted. This turned into a passion for hand lettering and reignited my enjoyment of doodling. My husband encouraged me to share my work, so I started an Instagram account dedicated to my art. The more I practiced, the more my skills improved and I decided to start teaching myself digital lettering and art. This has become my favorite way to create! I try to have a little bit of time each day to make some art. It’s not easy sneaking the time in, as a stay at home mom to two little boys, but it makes me happy and I prioritize time for things I enjoy. Read more>>

Lauren Powell

I’ve always loved data analysis and helping others, so I went into public health. I loved my job a lot. I was laid off in early 2022 and decided to make a big change in the private sector. Now I’m in data science and do machine learning! I’m originally from Florida but live in downtown Atlanta now. Read more>>

 Tina Adams-Turnipseed

I am Tina Adams-Turnipseed. I am the wife of Lonnie Turnipseed Sr. We have been married 29 years and together for 43. We have one son Lonnie Turnipseed Jr. ad 35 God-children that we treat like they are our own. I Work full-time as the District MIS Coordinator/Systems Administrator for the Riverview Gardens School District & I am a serial entrepreneur. I am the CEO & Owner of TSEED Executive Productions & Extravagant Events, Chez TSEED by TSEED’s Kitchen, L.T. Novelty and Gifts, The Founder and Executive State Director of BWNMOIL (Black Women Networking Missouri Illinois) & The Midwest Regional State Director.) Our organization is here to create a sisterhood that celebrates, edifies, supports, elevates, and holds accountable the whole woman. Read more>>

Heena Chopra

Growing up in New Delhi, India, my mother, who I fondly refer to as Maaji, would spend hours in our kitchen preparing traditional Indian dishes. Our kitchen was not just a place for cooking, but it was where our family and friends would gather, share stories, and create unforgettable memories. This was where I learned to appreciate the art of cooking, and my Maaji instilled in me the value of cooking with love and skill. Read more>>

Megan Rogers

I think there are a ton of people who will speak the words, “someday I’m going to write a book”. I was a member of that club for a very long time until I decided to cash in my membership card and actually write the book! Read more>>

Ben Link

Dawson, Missouri, is a small town where we spent several formative years, so the idea behind the name is no matter where we go or what we do, we want to remember where we came from and what’s important. Dawson Hollow is comprised of 5 siblings. We all cut our teeth making music at young ages playing cover gigs (mostly traditional folk and bluegrass music). As we grew into our teens and late 20s, we started listening to more types of music (such as The Beatles, Beach Boys, Eagles, and whatever else alternative music was going around at the time, Bon Iver, Avett Brothers, Foster The People, etc.). We started writing our music, and that’s when DH was born. We are currently working on our 3rd studio album. Read more>>

Michelle Gauthier

Hi, I’m Michelle Gauthier, and I’m a Life Coach. After listening to a Life Coach on a podcast, I decided to be a Life Coach. When I heard her talking about how she helped people improve their lives, I knew it was my calling. At the time, I was about 20 years into a great corporate career. I had a demanding, high-stress job and two small kids. Adding Life Coaching training on top of all I was already managing seemed like a crazy idea, but I did it anyway. I finished my training and decided to go for it. I quit my corporate job to be a full-time life coach in 2017. Read more>>

Gino Santa Maria

I was born in Peru, South America, and I knew I wanted to be an artist from an early age. I lived there until my 6th year of engineering at a university. In 1981 I moved to the United States and started painting full-time, doing studio work exclusively. Although many things changed over the years, the most significant change occurred in 2017, when I stumbled into the practice of plein air painting. It simply means painting from nature. Painting en plein air is the hardest thing I have ever done. Initially, it challenged me beyond my abilities but with perseverance and practice; it became almost second nature. Read more>>

Ion Caraulan

First of all, my specialty is far away from art. And from childhood, I understand that drawing is not one of my best sides. I have worked as an engineer in Civil engineering for over 10 years. In the end, It became boring for me. Just work to be able to live. Someday I was curious about 3d modeling. It started from interior visualization to modeling some simple objects. I tried some 3d software like Scketchapp, 3DsMax, and Blender (which I love the most), And I wanted to know if I could become an interior visualizer. After a few projects, I realized this was something other than mine. Read more>>

Nicole Dutton

As many other artists say, I’ve always been interested in the arts. As long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed painting, drawing, and exploring all mediums. When I entered college and had to decide on a career path, I chose to get my B.A. in psychology to go on to a master’s in art therapy. However, I pivoted after five years of working in behavioral health and social work while also taking night art classes. I decided to follow the path I had always enjoyed most and apply for a Master’s in Fine Arts. I was accepted into Fontbonne University’s MFA program, where I emphasized painting. Read more>>

Drew Davis

My name is Drew, and I’m a 17-year-old entrepreneur born with cerebral palsy. I weighed 250 pounds a few years ago, but through hard work and dedication, I lost over 100 pounds. This experience made me realize I can achieve anything if I put my mind to it. During my school business project, I presented my idea for a hot sauce business called Crippling Hot Sauce. I received an 82 on my project, but my teacher said it was cool but unrealistic. Instead of getting mad, I decided to research and prove everyone wrong. I started Crippling Hot Sauce to show people that no matter your circumstance, you can turn any dream into a reality while giving back to a good cause. Read more>>

Rab Fentress

My name is Rashaun Fentress, better known as “Rab.” I am currently the media coordinator and creative director for NandoSTL and a known local media mogul in St. Louis. I started my media career in the photography scene around 2015-16 to make extra money along with my normal 9-5. Photography wasn’t truly a passion of mine, but I was good at it, and it paid, so I committed to it. My passion was (and always has been) filmmaking, which led me to start a local film team called TR Studios with my closest friends. Besides doing photography as my main side hustle, TR would aim for YouTube success while helping local film directors with their upcoming projects. Read more>>

Brittany Olsen

My fitness journey started in May 2021 at Arrichion Hot Yoga + Circuit. Before that, I weighed 450 pounds and decided I needed a life change. My nephews and nieces greatly influenced my desire to get healthy. I wanted to be able to play with them and run around instead of sitting down and watching them play. I had struggled with fad diets, from Herbalife, Keto, and weight watchers, and none of those stuck or helped. I decided to take myself more seriously and reached out for help through the Weight Loss Management program at the hospital. Read more>>

Jason Karr

My Posse in Effect. We’re a 7-Piece Live Tribute to The Beastie Boys based in Saint Louis, MO, formed in 2015. What was supposed to be a one-time show became a touring band and a huge success. Since the band’s incarnation, they have been selling out home shows and touring the country, spreading the gospel of the Beastie Boys. They have an exceptional engagement in Saint Louis, at Delmar Hall, for the 10th Anniversary of Mission Taco. It’s happening on April 6th at 7 pm/doors (show at 8 pm), and Dj Mahf is opening the show. Read more>>

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