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Fort Lauderdale’s Rising Stars

The heart of our mission at VoyageMIA 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 South Florida’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 inspiring stories from Fort Lauderdale below.

Sarah Alsofrom

I’m a Florida native who has been very lucky to have lived and worked in the Sunshine State my entire life. My career background is in the corporate, government and nonprofit worlds with stints at WPTV Channel 5, Gunster law firm, State Attorney’s Office of Palm Beach County and the Hanley Center Foundation before coming to GL Homes in 2015. Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate to have many people in my life who have wanted my success as I much as I have. With that giving spirit in mind, I do my best to mentor hardworking young professionals who just need a leg up. Read more>>

Nathania Szczesny

Having always loved throwing parties with elaborate decor and of course cakes, I decided one day to bake some cakes and decorate them with florals and post to see if there would be an interest! I received so much encouragement and love and decided to move forward in starting a small business! My passion is to create cakes that can be displayed as a piece of art or decor for someone’s special occasion. (And of course something delicious for all to enjoy!) Getting to contribute even just a small amount to someone’s special day is such an honor to me! Each cake is made with special intention and articulate detail and I truly LOVE what I do! I’m very excited about this journey and where it will lead. Read more>>

Johnny Wilson III

I’ll start with how I got my name. When I was 13-14, I saw a movie called “Dracula Untold”. It was a pretty good movie and I loved it. Later on in my freshman/sophomore year in high school, I was in a program at my school for sound engineering, I wanted to be a music producer. But sadly, after my sophomore year my school cut that class and I was forced to go into television production. There, I didn’t know what I was doing, but I grabbed a camera and just started shooting. From there (in that new class), we had projects like PSA’s, commercials, music videos, etc. My classmates used to tell me all the time that I’m good with the camera. After high school, I got connected with Strong Arm Athletics with IMG Studios and I started shooting the FYFL. Then I got connected with Publicist Tre Neal which really helped me do more things such as covering major events like 103.5 People Matter Fest, Overtown Music Fest and much more. Then I go with one of the greatest photography studios, KeyFootage Studios. Read more>>

Jason Shlansky

My background is in architecture. I received my B. Arch degree from FAU in downtown Ft. Lauderdale. After graduating, I worked my way up the corporate ladder of a couple of architecture firms. In a project meeting at the latest firm I was working, I witnessed a conversation between the principal of the firm I was working in and a builder. The conversation was on how the drawings were not realistic to how the building was being built. This is when I had my epiphany: “How can you tell someone to drive a car if you have never driven one? How can an architect tell a builder how to build a building if they have never built one before?” This question immediately carved a career path for me. I left the architecture firm I was working for and went to work directly for a builder. Being I had a fancy degree and skills in design, I filled no viable need for a builder. However, I wanted to learn. I took a position as a laborer. My job was to keep the construction site clean and do miscellaneous tasks that no one else wanted to do (dig, lift, move, clean, etc…) I did these tasks with ease and appreciation because for me, it was not menial labor, it was a passive intro education on how construction worked. Read more>>

Vanessa Izmirlian

I am the creator and designer of Surf the Look. I recently graduated from Florida Atlantic University and started my small business, Surf the Look November 2019. My sophomore year of college was the first time I ever went thrifting with friends. I grew a love for it and started slowly reworking thrift and vintage clothes to fit my body. I always loved having a unique style and wanted to share my work with others. Surf the Look was created for young and spunky individuals like me whose style is a bit out of the ordinary in the most far-out and groovy way. Each item I create is one of a kind, like every individual that decides to rock it. I take recycled clothing and rework them into new items and also do custom pieces for clients. My logo was created by a local surfer named Surfy birdy. She’s someone who’s not only inspired me with her art but her love for our planet. I continue to keep creating as much as possible and keep up with the trends everyone loves. Before Surf the Look, I was working as a barista in a small coffee shop. Nearing the end of my college career, I knew I had to take a leap of faith and fully apply myself to what I know in my heart I was made to do. Read more>>

Xavier Harrington

For a while, I wasn’t sure what direction I saw myself headed in. I’ve always been an artist with a creative mind. I would always draw, paint, and sculpt but always wanted to explore other avenues of art like photography but never knew where to start. It took a lot of courage and motivation to even pick up a camera. One day I told myself I’m going to invest in a camera and explore. I saved up and purchased a camera then took my camera everywhere and shot random everyday objects. I would then take shots of people being themselves in their element. When they saw what I could create, I would always get complimented on my work so I thought this could be it. A year later, I decided to start Harrington Imagery LLC. I avoided calling it Harrington Photography because I saw it as more than just photography (which is also the company slogan: “It’s more than just photography.”) and potentially growing into something more. Today Harrington Imagery LLC is continuously progressing and I am very proud of the progress it has made. Read more>>

Alexander Colon

Originally from Lancaster, Pennsylvania I moved down here at the age of 21. I attended FIU, where I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Communications. Throughout my time in school, I got a marketing intern position at Revolution Live, one of the biggest and oldest performance venues in South Florida. I wanted to learn the ins & outs of venue management so I found this to be the smartest way to do so. About a year into my internship, my manager suggested that I throw a showcase at the infamous venue since he saw I was an artist and was trying to set up shows around the area. At that moment, I knew with a venue like this, a showcase would have a TON of potential. I threw my first show in 2017 at Revolution Live, only garnering an audience of 50 people or less. I would continue to throw these showcases often, at least once a month. After my internship with Revolution Live, me and the booking manager continued building our relationship and allowed me to keep throwing shows. At that time, I received a promotions position at Power 96, Kiss 99, and WQAM (what used to be CBS Radio).  Read more>>

Deon Vanhorne

I have always loved fashion and had a keen eye for fashion since I was young and in school. I would play dress up and even amongst my peers in school, I would always get best dress and enter many fashion shows. I decided to take it serious a few years ago at my previous job when my boss asked me to personal shop for her for her vacation because I was always looking fly and fab. I took her up on her offer, she gave me a 1000.00 to shop for a five day cruise I did just that and brought her back 300 back with a full 5-day ensemble for everyday. She in turn gave me the change for my pay and suggested that I start doing that as a business. I took her advice and decided to go back to fashion school and from there, it was nonstop. The best decision I made, I love fashion. I eat, breathe, sleep fashion. Read more>>

Mikey Dinero

I’ve been writing poems and rhymes since I as a 5th grader. It didn’t hit me until the end of my freshman year that I wanted to be an MC. The thought crossed my mind as a youth, but I was always scared of what folks would’ve said. I finally came to the point where I didn’t care anymore. My OG, swank aka Pharoahdagod, gave me confidence in my abilities and helped mold my skills. Brutally honest but genuinely caring, it took some time but I turned into a decent lyricist. Unfortunately, he passed in early 2020, but the mission is incomplete. So I’m not done, and that’s where I am. Read more>>

Seth Fine

Background in sports business. Early career highlight winning World Championship with then Florida Marlins in 1997 as their Merchandise Manager. Started my own award and recognition company that specializes in sports and has since morphed in complete, business to business designer for high-end crystal and acrylic awards. Most recently invented The SkyClip+ which is a simple solution to problem all travelers face… how to comfortably and conveniently enjoy our mobile devices when we fly. Brainstorm started while on flight to Barbados for annual guy’s dive trip and have been perfecting it ever since. The SkyClip+ can hang from most tray tables for hands-free viewing and entertainment. Also works just as well sitting on any flat surface so can be used on the tray table or at home/work for Zoom calls, emails, gaming, etc. Had our first test approved for sale inflight sale with a major airline as well as in stadium giveaway with a local professional sports team before Covid hit. Read more>>

Patrice D. McClendon

I was born, reared and educated in Jacksonville, FL. I received my undergraduate degrees from Jacksonville University and graduate degrees from Webster University. I am the oldest of three girls. I am where I am today due the sacrifices of my parents, Eugene and Claretha McClendon. My parents instilled in me hard work, humbleness and serving the less fortunate or those who may be going through a rough patch in their life. They also taught me to be resilient, stand strong in the midst of all trials and trust God. He will see me through any storm. That leadership from my parents shows in my work ethics. Currently, I am the Faculty Coordinator at Webster University, Payroll Specialist at Acosta Sales and Marketing, and most importantly, I am the President and Founder of Sista 2 Sista: Women Empowering Women. Read more>>

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