Connect
To Top

Inspiring Stories from Coral Gables

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 Miami’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 Boca Raton rising stars below.

Melissa Mendez

I was born in Miami, Florida and moved to the Cape Coral área in high school. I made a name for myself here after working hard day in and day out as a nail tech and henna artist for the past 11 years. I love my business and as much as I wish I could say this is what I’ve always wanted to do my whole life, it wasn’t. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I dropped out of community college after attending for one semester and went to nail school because I’ve always been passionate about beauty and the things that make us feel beautiful and stand out. Once I graduated, I started working at a nail salon. Eventually, I decided to go out on my own & boy did I go out on my own! I picked up henna and began showcasing my art at local events in Miami for YesJulz, Miami Swim Week, Art Basel Events and more. I’ve serviced celebrities and I started building my clientele in Miami and I’m ready to take my hometown by storm. Read more>>

Cristina Pelaez

I have always been very creative and expressive, which led me to pursue an education in interior design. However, once I graduated and entered the workforce, I realized that there was very little room for self-expression in the industry I was in. It left me unfulfilled and as I was searching for something else, I realized the impact that my surroundings had on me and how easily they could either lift me up or bring me down. It was a difficult and uncertain moment in my life, as I was unsure of what I wanted, but by actively adorning myself and the spaces around me with things that brought me joy, I was able to keep my spirit high and ultimately discover what was truly important to me. Mind Matter Shop was inspired by my experience and the idea that each of us holds power to create our own reality through the intention with which we live and do all the little things in life. Read more>>

Ana Maria Certain

I have had amazing adventures, and that is what has gotten me to where we are today. I moved from Colombia to Miami with my family when I was 12 years old and did my middle school, high school and college here. I have worked in corporate for over 15 years with really cool jobs at Sony Ericsson and then in the media world. It’s been challenging at moments but then again, so is everything that’s worth it. Around eight years ago, I participated in a marketing and sales master’s in Barcelona and met my husband. After careful consideration, I started looking for a job and ended up living the European life. I was in Barcelona for the past seven years, where I was able to get married and have my first two baby girls. It was an amazing experience. COVID and our surprise triplet pregnancy made us reconsider our situation, and we moved back down to Miami to have emotional and physical support, with my family, in Miami. My triplet babies were born at 25 weeks due to a PPROM and were in the Holtz Children’s hospital for five months. Our firstborn triplet, Miguel, sadly passed away on December 6th from pneumonia complications. Pablo and Gonzalo are now home with us and thriving. Read more>>

Elliot Durant

This is a story of constantly recreating oneself, always seeking to improve and make an impact in society. I was in show business for almost four decades. When the pandemic hit, my industry shut down, and I had to find a way to recreate myself once again. I found a need for pure drinking water in Miami and decided to learn about a new industry and make myself a business professional. Can’t, won’t, don’t, fear are all words that create an aura of negativity and I believe that there is always positivity and a rainbow just on the other side. This has been an extremely difficult task to undergo. This vision also came with a cost other than the financial as I had to leave my family in California while we create this Pure Water Factory brand. Nothing great can be constructed without some sacrifice. I believe that where there is no great risk, there can be no great gains. I am 60 years young and believe that there is no time in life that you cannot recreate yourself. Read more>>

Loreana von

Ever since I can remember, I’ve had the soul of a creative. Confused as of how to put my creativeness to use and being too young to figure it out, I decided to study communications and found my passion for photography when I was about to graduate college. Thus, I only minored in photography. As a 2009 college graduate, I encountered myself looking for a job in what was then the worst economic recession of our time, leaving me even more lost as to where to look or what area I will be working in. At that point, I had to take whatever was available. With this, I landed a job at law firm as a filing clerk. I worked my way and became manager and was there for about 11 years. Complacent and living paycheck to paycheck, deep inside, I knew my future didn’t lie there. I knew I had more to offer than I was giving. At the end of the day, a law firm was never what I had dreamed of in terms of my career goals. Nonetheless, I am forever thankful for the friends I made there and the unforgettable experiences. Read more>>

Nicole Valenzuela

I started my business when I was 19 years old, still attending college at MDC and trying to figure out a way that I can continue with my classes and also work doing something that I love. Partnered with my mom, she and I came up with the concept of Nikki’s Beachhouse – a one-stop shop for women’s swimwear, clothing and accessories in a friendly, inviting atmosphere. Fourteen years later, I have an online store and two physical stores that are recognized as fashion landmarks in South Florida. We are among the longest-standing small businesses in both areas, and I am extremely proud of that. My business has become my life in an amazingly awesome way. I have learned so much by being in full control of my own company, and I wake up every morning excited for what the future holds. Read more>>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in

  • Miami’s Most Inspiring Stories

    Every neighborhood in South Florida has its own vibe, style, culture and history, but what consistently amazes us is not what...

    Local StoriesSeptember 16, 2021
  • Daily Inspiration: Meet Carly Cartaya

    Today we’d like to introduce you to Carly Cartaya. Carly, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with...

    Local StoriesSeptember 13, 2021
  • Community Highlights:

    The community highlights series is one that our team is very excited about.  We’ve always wanted to foster certain habits within...

    Local StoriesSeptember 8, 2021
  • Heart to Heart with Whitley: Episode 4

    You are going to love our next episode where Whitley interviews the incredibly successful, articulate and inspiring Monica Stockhausen. If you...

    Whitley PorterSeptember 1, 2021
  • Introverted Entrepreneur Success Stories: Episode 3

    We are thrilled to present Introverted Entrepreneur Success Stories, a show we’ve launched with sales and marketing expert Aleasha Bahr. Aleasha...

    Local StoriesAugust 25, 2021
  • Community Member Spotlights

    It’s more important to understand someone than to judge them. We think the first step to understanding someone is asking them...

    Local StoriesAugust 19, 2021
  • Community Member Spotlights

    It’s more important to understand someone than to judge them. We think the first step to understanding someone is asking them...

    Local StoriesAugust 9, 2021
  • Introverted Entrepreneur Success Stories: Episode 2

    We are thrilled to present Introverted Entrepreneur Success Stories, a show we’ve launched with sales and marketing expert Aleasha Bahr. Aleasha...

    Local StoriesJuly 21, 2021
  • Community Member Spotlights

    It’s more important to understand someone than to judge them. We think the first step to understanding someone is asking them...

    Local StoriesJuly 9, 2021