From the time I was a kid till 2013, I wanted to be an artist and change the world. It took that long to realize that I should be in photography. Through my personal experiences, I come to realize that my photography is for a positive social change. I shed positive light on the disabled community, people of color, plus size females, and indie musicians in some way, shape, or form. It is what we need right now in a world of what society thinks what mainstream America should look like in terms of beauty. Continue Reading Meet Cheryl Dunn of The Visual Mischief Blog
Buzz Magazine Phoenix
My story is a testimony of perseverance and passion. I have always had an interest in entrepreneurship however my career began in retail management which quickly shifted to working in human resources. I worked my way up through the ranks into a leadership role. However that wasn’t enough for me, I kept applying for various promotions but was tired of always adding skills yet hitting a brick wall. So I decided it was time to do something I enjoyed which involved fashion and talent management. I had attained experience in these areas at a young age by being in front of the camera. It became second nature so much so that it turned into a part-time job. I juggled a full-time career and a part-time passion for several years. That passion birthed a business called 3Jay Productions. Five years after it’s inception I quit a full-time job with benefits to move across the country. Of course most people thought I had lost my mind, little did I know this was going to be one of the best decisions not only for me personally but also for my budding business. That was eight years ago and I’ve created a brand that is thriving.
3Jay Productions is a multi-faceted B2C and B2B that caters to those in the beauty fashion and entertainment industries. Continue Reading Meet Jalia Pettis of 3Jay Productions
I have worked in and around education for 18 years in different capacities. I worked with youth offenders, dropout prevention and after school recreation. But, the most impactful time on my journey was the 6 years I spent directly in the classroom as a teaching assistant in the Alhambra Elementary School District at Barcelona Middle School. This time was so impactful because 1.) it showed me I am not cut out to be a teacher and 2) it exposed me to the plight of teachers first hand. How they are underpaid, underappreciated and overworked. That experience transformed me into a self proclaimed Teacher Fan.
The role of the teacher is the most important in society and we must do more to preserve. I realized that in the work of improving schools there are alot of programs focused on kids. Alot of programs focused on technology. Alot of programs focused on extra curricular activities. But, not alot of programs focusing on strengthening the teaching profession. We can put millions of dollars into those other areas but, with out strong teachers nothing truly lives up to its potentional. Realizing this gap lead me to go back to school and get my degree in nonprofit leadership and management and launch Million Dollar Teacher Project October 2016. Continue Reading Meet Lloyd Hopkins of Million Dollar Teacher Project
Kema Charles was born in Oak Park, IL and also spent some time living in Pensacola, FL. She was more of an athlete and never considered acting until she took her first acting class in Orlando in 1999. This leap of faith paid off, as she scored her first acting role in 2000 on the acclaimed show “Sheena”.
From there, Kema decided to leave the east coast and try to see if the entertainment business had a place for her. Due to family situations she only stayed in Los Angeles for about two years. While back in Orlando she then went on to work on other projects as well as scoring a role in the movie “Impiety” (with Wreaking Havoc Productions). In 2007 she produced her first film “Jamaican Me Crazy” (with DramaQueen Productions) in Atlanta, GA. At that time she realized that she was not done with Los Angeles, and moved back to the “City of Angels.
In 2009 while producing projects with Phalanx Entertainment she discovered her true destiny and birthed Circle C Entertainment. Under the Circle C Entertainment and Phalanx Entertainment umbrella Kema had the opportunity to direct and produce the music video “Thinking About You” by Raz B (of the Multi-platinum selling group B2K and the hit show “Love and Hip Hop Hollywood”).
Afterwards, the budding entrepreneur took her skillsets to Africa as Director of Operations for a filmmaking program in Abuja, Nigeria. While spending time with the students, she rediscovered her first love in the entertainment world – acting. Upon her return from Africa she landed a role in the stage play “You Reap What You Sow” (a production of Stephanie Singleton).
In 2011, Kema birthed “Lights Camera Discover” (LCD) a non-profit organization that teaches youth teamwork by way of filmmaking and animation. For the past nine years, she has run LCD in four different states. The organization is growing every year and Kema has received numerous awards and recognition on behalf of her tireless work with LCD. Some of these awards are the NBC Channel 12 “Non-profit Spotlight Award” in June 2018, the South by Southwest “Community Service Organization” award in March 2019, a city of “Phoenix Mayor Awards: Innovative Arts Organization” Finalist in October 2019. Recently, she was awarded the “Phoenix Suns Golden Standard” Award Winner in February 2020.
Continue Reading Meet Kema of Lights Camera Discover
As a Phoenix, native it is my responsible to give back to my community. When I was in the seventh-grade I was exposed to computers. I loved to work on cars with my cousins and working on computers just fell in line with that. I attended the University of Arizona and majored in Management Information System and Operational Management. I have work as an IT professional for 20 years in local government, as well as mentoring youth and serving the community.
I started mentoring youth while in college and continued by coaching high school girls’ basketball for 7 years after graduating from college. While coaching, I noticed that students were not prepare to attend college after high school and that there was a lack of STEM education that was being provided to inner city youth. In 2008 I founded Future Stars, Inc a nonprofit that provides opportunities for inner city youth to achieve their goals of higher education with a focus of sport and technology. Future Stars has provided mentorship of student athlete to prepare them for college to play sports or just attend college. We also host internet safety workshops throughout the community to promote safe usage of computers.
In 2015 we launched the Hands On STEM program in the Faye Gray Recreation Center and the Hands On STEM Fair. The program is a nine month programs that exposes inner city youth to STEM education with activities that are fun, engaging and promotes critical thinking. The Hands On STEM program is currently in two community centers and has approximately 60 students that attend each year. There have been over 900 attendees to the Hands On STEM Fair that takes place the last Saturday in April every year. We will continue to provide STEM education to the South Phoenix community to make sure they know that they are smart enough and can have a STEM career.
To learn more about our programming please visit: futurestarsaz.org
Continue Reading Meet Shereka Jackson of Future Stars
My creative journey as a photographer & videographer started in early 2013 – when I first picked up a point and shoot camera. It began when I was just snapping random landscape photos, self portraits, dance videos, and photos of my friends. I didn’t think much of it long-term at the time, I was kind of just doing it for fun and developing a hobby. I was living in a small town that didn’t really offer any creative art classes so I took it upon myself to learn it on my own. I’ve developed my skill from trial and error, reading the manual, and simply doing my research online. YouTube helped me a lot on my journey. At the time, Tumblr was really popular and I would post all of my images on there. It started to get a lot of traction and I started to double down on it. From watching another creatives workflow, behind the scenes videos, learning more about the technical side of things, reviews, lighting, etc; I tried to soak in as much knowledge. I always recommend this to self-starters or anybody who is looking to pave a path into the creative arts, or anything at all. Find the patience and passion within to self-teach yourself and use your resources online; it’s free!
As time went on, I started getting my first clients through Facebook in 2014. It was so insane to me that someone wanted to pay me to take photos, but that’s when things started up for me. Being self-taught, I had to dive deeper in the business side of things considering it was just me doing it all. I had to set prices, figure out what other photographers/videographers were charging hourly in my area, and work around that. I never boxed myself into one category, I ventured in all genres from music videos, weddings, fashion, events, senior portraits, family portraits, interviews, commercials, etc. I’ve always been the type to constantly learn and evolve and till this day I’m learning something new. Throughout this process, I worked for a few school photography companies, doing school and sport portraits. I also worked alongside a company that specialized in weddings in which I got most of my wedding knowledge and experience from.
As the years went on & continuing my craft as a side job, I landed a video production gig for two years, and this helped me build my cliental and further my skills. After two years, I decided to make the move as a freelance artist and go all in on my company. May 1st, 2020 was the first year mark as a full time creative. It definitely is a process – you have to trust in it to the fullest, and constantly strive to do better. Nothing worthwhile is created without time and effort. I’m grateful to say my business is doing well and I’ll ensure that it stays that way by making timeless work and being a good human being to my clients. This year, I’m working on some personal goals to become a full-time creative director in both music videos and editorial work, as well as honing in on my craft as an actor which also started within the same year as my journey in photography & videography. Continue Reading Meet Roberto Cordero of RC Creative Media
I’m an Alternative Medicine provider, meditation guide, professional musician, and collaborating Sound Healing Artist for Dragonfly Percussion. I founded Zen with Ben as the culmination of my percussion and meditation training. I’m deeply passionate about the use of sound and vibration as alternative medicine for stress-related conditions. I facilitate sound therapy using antique Himalayan singing bowls and other instruments to relieve stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, pain, anger, addiction, and trauma.
I received my first meditation teacher certificate in 2014. In 2017, I started a program at Northern Arizona University’s Health Promotion Office (Flagstaff, AZ) teaching meditation for students with substance abuse disorders. In 2018, I went to work for a formal corporate-style meditation studio in Phoenix, where I first explored sound as a form of meditation. Coming from a classical music background this practice helped me to reconnect with my passion for music, boost my meditation practice, and find a more profound sense of peace by tuning into my own “frequency” in the silence after the “sound bath.” I’m constantly in awe of how quickly and deeply people connect with the present moment through music.
My practice took some big steps in 2019. I began a collaboration with Dragonfly Percussion in the design of their new “Resonance Line” gong mallets for sound practitioners. I opened doors in my private practice in Tempe, AZ. I obtained my Advanced Meditation Instructor certificate, and finished three levels of training at the Atma Buti® Sound & Vibrational School (Boulder, CO) under Master Suren Shrestha. I also began to explore my Lakota heritage, focusing on their wisdom in shamanic healing and drumming. I’m a descendant of Chief Solomon Iron Nation (Lower Brule Sioux tribe, 1815-1894). Iron Nation was a vital peace-keeper and education proponent throughout the 19th-century American Indian Wars; and, a signatory of the Fort Laramie treaty. In 2014, the National Park Service approved listing his gravesite along the Missouri River Bluffs on the National Register of Historic Places. The inscription reads: “We, the Lower Brule Indians / Put up this stone in memory of our / Dear Head Chief / Solomon Iron Nation / Who Died November 14, 1894 / Aged 79 years / Children, Love One Another.”
I’m excited to unify centuries of wisdom, sacred sound, mindfulness, and healing traditions from shaman around the world and share them with you in an effort to “Love one another!”
Continue Reading Meet Benjamin Irons of Zen with Ben
I was raised in a musical family. My father and older sister would work in the studio every night writing and producing songs together. My mom convinced me to join the fun. I started out by learning drums with my father. I then went on to the guitar, piano and bass. Once I felt comfortable with playing all instruments I then wanted to write songs and produce. I built out my dads studio and recorded my first album when I was in 8th grade. My first album received attention in MTV Australia and was included in Pier 39 News in San Francisco. When I entered high school I started performing around town at places like the Martini Ranch, Venue of Scottsdale, Club Red and many more places. It was then that I aligned myself with well known local producers; one in which is Otto D’Agnolo (producer of Kenny Rogers, Jordin Sparks, DMX, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Beach Boys, etc) where I worked in his studio on several projects. One of the sessions we worked on together was with Artist Sam Moore on a song that was placed into the TV Show ‘How I Met Your Mother’. I finalized my 2 degrees in College including Audio Production Technologies and Sound Design. It was at my school where I met a gentlemen who went on to sign 3 of my songs to FirstCom/Universal Music Group. My 3 songs were placed on several TV Shows (Heartland on CBC, Home And Away, American Rehab) and FM Radio Stations. After I established a presence in Arizona I then went on to travel to Los Angeles, CA where I worked with 2 well known producers (credits include: Justin Bieber, Post Malone, Fifth Harmony, Meghan Trainor, Keith Urban, Snoop Dogg, etc). I went on to develop my second album ‘Broken Alive’ with these producers and many single releases and music videos following. After developing my craft and learning from the knowledge provided in the sessions I broke ground on a professional new studio set up. I began tracking high quality vocal tracks out of my home studio and writing for several DJ’s around the world. My first DJ collaboration was with QUIX where we signed our song ‘Hero’ onto LA based label Dim Mak Records (Steve Aoki’s Label) and we published onto Warner Music. David’s hit single “Hero” (Released on Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak Records) with Quix and Vincent is growing globally with 3.3 MILLION+ streams. “Hero” and many other of David’s songs have been curated into some of the most exclusive Spotify Playlists (including: Hype, Trap Mojito, Bass Arcade, Dance Rising, Friday Cratediggers, Motivation Mix, Power House and even the legend himself – Steve Aoki’s personal playlist. David has captured the hearts of many throughout the world with his music being performed at MTV SnowGlobe 2018, Shambhala 2018, Audiotistic 2018, EDC Mexico 2019 and EDC Las Vegas 2019.
Some of David’s other songs (‘You’re Not Alone’ and ‘ Feel the Love’) have been hand selected by DJ Hardwell (#1 DJ in the world in 2013/2014) and added to more than 5 prestigious Revealed Radar compilations and chosen for Hardwell On Air best of February and best of July 2019. David’s music has also been graced with worldwide recognition airing on several FM Stations such as KissFM and SiriusXM and many A-List DJ shows including the likes of Cheat Codes, Chainsmokers, Afrojack, Nicky Romero, Tritonal, Hardwell, Steve Aoki and many more. David has no plans of slowing down, as he is now partnering with several talented artists and major labels for many upcoming releases on his Spotify (700,000 + monthly listeners) in the Pop, EDM and Progressive/Future House genre.
The Arizona native has also been busy writing songs for such well-known publishing companies as Universal Music Group/FirstCom, Warner Music Group and Sony/ATV.
Shane, who sings and plays several instruments on his releases, is known for the breadth and depth of his songwriting that covers many different moods and emotions, which resonate with Mainstream Pop/EDM Music fans of all ages. With recent collaborations with Olly James, Manse, ANG, QUIX and Billboard Top 40 Charting Artists VESSBROZ; David is on the path to becoming the next big thing in Pop/EDM Music in 2020.
To start 2020 out with a bang, David Shane released ‘Escape’ with DJTop100 Worldwide Thomas Gold (#89) on Revealed Recordings. David and his team are now setting the path forward for Top100 DJ collaborations and Top 40 Pop Acts in Los Angeles. Continue Reading Meet David Shane
I’m a native of Arizona, born and raised in the valley. I had a incredible career as a Arizona Department of Public Safety Officer (Trooper) for 25 years. Although my career was in law enforcement my true passion was baking. When I retired in 2016 I attempted to be retired but after a year I realized I was still too young to live the retired life. I went back to work in the law enforcement field and then into a private security position.
In the beginning of 2020 I decided it was time for me to move forward with my dream of baking for more than just family and squad mates. It was time for me to jump into entrepreneurship with both feet. After talking to my family about it and making sure I had their support I started the process of starting what is now Stuffed AF Cookies.
I purchased an e-book on starting a small business “Hustle Smarter” from a friend of mine. That little nugget of information really helped me with the stuff I didn’t think about; the LLC, the business name, the licenses… So many things I didn’t think of when I decided I wanted to start a at home business baking cookies.
I knew I wanted to have a website but where to start? I was definitely a fish out of water in the realm of branding, logo and website. I reached out for suggestions and was turned on to Tiny Fox Creative, graphic designer. That entire process was my favorite part of starting my business. Being educated on how my brand and logo speaks my products language was fascinating. I couldn’t be more pleased with the final product. It’s 100% me!
Fast forward a few months and lots of learning along the way, here I am taking orders for my cookies. Continue Reading Meet Kristi Johnson of Stuffed AF Cookies
Christmas 2014, I unboxed my new Nikon Coolpix. Little did I know I was holding my future job! I took pictures of everything around me, eventually discovering Adobe Lightroom. Through process of trial and error, I discovered what I thought looked good. I really got interested in photographing people, so using my sister as a model I posted picture after picture on social media. Eventually people started asking me to take pictures of them, which led to senior portraits, then to couples, then to weddings. Continue Reading Meet Brooke Locklin of Pics By Brookie