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Inspiring Stories from North Broward

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 North Broward’s rising stars below.

Nancy Verdule

My story has been a long time in the making however, difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations. Graduating class of 2002 while most of my peers were preparing themselves for college to eventually be doctors, lawyers, engineers, and nurses. None of those careers tickle my fancy when asked what I wanted to be, I said wanted to be an entrepreneur and own my business. At the time, I didn’t know what that business would be but I knew even then at 18, working for someone for 30 years and then to retire wasn’t for me. I would then go on to college to major in business and changing my major quite frequently until the Spring of 2004. I found out I was pregnant with my daughter and I decided to drop out of college since I was undecided anyway. I would then go on to join the workforce and shelve my dream of being entrepreneur to be a mother instead. Read more>>

Melannie Bannerman

I grew up in Hollywood, FL and after graduating college, became a mother at the age of 22. After becoming a mother, my body changed. I felt uncomfortable showing my stomach and other parts of my body, but I still wanted to partake in fun activities like going to the beach or pool with my family and friends. Swimwear companies always advertise the “perfect” bodies in their swimsuits, never adhering to all body shapes and sizes. I wanted to create something that could be beneficial to all body shapes, sizes, and colors. Chocolate Swimwear promotes body positivity and you will see that the models have relatable body types. As my brand grows, I plan to expand my market and continue to promote that every body is a bikini body! Read more>>

Selina Yannier Wilensky

Cooking, hosting, sharing and spreading love with food always bring joy and contemplation to myself. A Jar Of Gem’s journey started during Covid lock down. We started walking around neighborhood more often and it was beginning of Mango season. My neighbors are generous and lovely people so they shared their mangoes with us. Suddenly I had more than I could consume and I feel sad when I throw away food, for that reason I started to cook mango jam! Then I share it with my neighbors, family and friends, all loved it! Started asking for more than me and my husband started to think why not to add more flavors and create a brand! Read more>>

Dave Arjune

As a recovering alcoholic, I needed something to occupy my time. So, I started studying photography, picked up a camera and here I am four years later running my own portrait business. Read more>>

Sheree Simmonds

I’ve loved doing hair since I was a little girl. I use to always comb my Mother and Aunts hair, then came my little sisters. That’s where I began practicing my braids. After High school I went into cosmetology school where I learned a little about facials, nails and makeup. Then a light bulb went off hmmm BUSINESS OWNER I procrastinated due to fear but that didn’t stop my urge to broaden my horizons. I then Became a nail technician and a certified lash technician. I started providing services at home but didn’t feel comfortable having any and everyone come there, which was blocking my income. Finally decided enough is enough, I have to take a leap of faith, so I did in 2017, I opened up Sns Beauty Bar. Read more>>

Roni Luebkert

I know you asked for “brief” but I am absolutely horrible at telling short stories so I hope you can bear with me for this one. I was born in Jacksonville, FL in 1984; both of my parents had substance abuse problems so my sister and I spent most of our childhood being bounced from one house/family member to another. As you can imagine, the instability left us open to all types of trauma and abuse which would go untreated and unresolved for years. By my early teens I had already formed a pretty significant relationship with drugs and alcohol which would stick with me will into early adulthood. As a kid I never really had much interest in art… Read more>>

Abbygayle Brown

As a youngster, I’ve always dreamt about having my own business. Being so young I felt it was impossible. One beautiful day back in 2019 while driving with my stepmom, I talked about starting an accessory business for young people, selling durags. My stepmom mentioned that I have a lot of glasses so it should not be difficult. I started to brainstorm some names, but I wanted it to have a meaning. While listening to one of Beyoncé’s songs, I came up with DivaPlayhouse. I can be a Diva at times. I was ready to take on the world with my plan. Due to the pandemic, I lost hope, however it didn’t stop me from what I wanted. Read more>>

Jenn Weeks

On the back of a charter bus, on a Women’s Day outing, a young lady and I were discussing our singleness and the encounters we’d had. At the end of the trip, a lady approached me, saying she had a friend that did comedy and I should be on his upcoming show. I honestly didn’t think much would come of the conversation, but I ended up doing a 15-minute set at my very first comedy show. That was ten years ago. I wouldn’t get back on stage for another year and a half, but I’ve been addicted ever since. Read more>>

Marcia Purdy

Born and raised in the Midwest, St. Louis, Missouri to be exact. I always get the question, “how did you end up in Miami?” and my response is always “school brought me here, love kept me here”. Miami is where I found my life partner, learned to love myself and started my accessory label, A Gem & I. Miami is like my true love story! My love for fashion started very early on and at 12 years old, I was gifted my first sewing machine from my grandmother. I started by sewing everything under the sun from doll clothes to denim bikinis from old jeans. I knew my passion for style would lead me to the fashion industry and although it did, It was not on the side I envisioned. Read more>>

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