Jesi Lee is an artist, graphic designer, and photographer. Most of her work centers around nonprofit work where she uses her skills to assist charities with marketing and developing curriculum. Her motto has always been “passion with purpose”. Lee truly believes that everyone has something to offer the world. She is passionate about creating art but equally passionate about bettering the world by inspiring other creatives to use their art as a tool for social change.
In 2014, Jesi Lee was an artist mentor for adults with disabilities in Las Vegas. She worked with over 80 clients in a professional art studio. This is what sparked her passion for utilizing art for social change. She saw just how much art helped the clients and provided a therapeutic outlet. Later on, Lee moved abroad and worked as a creative producer for a large non-profit in Phnom Penh. She taught design and art, volunteering as a photographer for organizations that provided vocational training for women who had been the victim of sex trafficking. Lee founded a small charity that provided eco-friendly feminine hygiene products to women in poverty, as well as co-founder for the first vocational school in Cambodia.
When growing up, Lee’s family didn’t have much and didn’t have the greatest upbringing. She knew from a young age that she wanted to help others, especially women and children. She struggled with the “how” because her talents were in the arts. She thought that in order to make a difference, she had to be a doctor or lawyer. It wasn’t until later in life that Lee realized how valuable art, design, and photography can be.
Lee has had to overcome many obstacles while pursuing her passion. She struggled with being taken seriously because of her age and gender. The majority of successful designers and photographers in the industry are men. When Lee moved abroad to Cambodia, she volunteered as an art curriculum developer - which included observing teachers/professors (mostly men) in their classrooms and helping implement new teaching techniques. During the first few meetings, she was interrupted, ignored, and left confused while they spoke their language, Khmer, to each other, completely leaving her out of the conversation. Oftentimes, the professors would speak directly to her male colleague who was only there to familiarize her with the schools they were visiting.
Lee saw that she had to be careful navigating how to approach them, considering this was a completely different culture. She had to assert herself as a professional and that her age and gender didn’t diminish her qualifications. During a meeting, Lee asked her male colleague to step out of the room so she could deliver her notes and suggestions, showing that she was the lead in that project. That simple action made a big impact.
Jesi Lee’s son is the biggest reason that she continues to push forward in her dreams. She wants him to grow up knowing that he can make a difference in the world. Another reason is that from her experience working in Cambodia teaching design, she had a female Cambodian student approach her after class who said to Lee that she was so happy to see a woman doing this. The student was ready to quit school and go back home to the province. Her family had cut off contact with her and refused to let her back home because she wanted to go to school for graphic design. The student’s parents told her it was her job to take care of her family and that only men (her brothers) should go to school. She said she misses them very much but believes she is doing the right thing.
The conversation with that student left a big impact on Lee and she was motivated to keep pushing forward in pursuing her dreams of becoming an art director for her own marketing and design firm that specializes in marketing for nonprofits.
Valiance for Jesi Lee means standing for openness. An open mind and an open heart for more knowledge, more growth, more love, more compassion, and ideas.
Check out more about Jesi Lee on @jesi.lee
Fain Spray is a pop singer and voice teacher located in Nashville, TN. She is passionate about singing because she believes that it helps her to process her emotions. She sings when she is happy and when sad. Singing always helps her to feel a bit more whole, no matter what state of emotion she is in. Spray finds joy in helping other singers better understand their instrument and discover their vocal potential.
Spray has been singing since she can remember. She loved singing in church, and had several opportunities to perform in her hometown and surrounding areas. She auditioned for musical theatre productions at her community theatre in middle school, and it was there that she found a new way to express herself. That's when she really started making the connection between singing and processing different emotions and the power of storytelling. Even when playing a character who reacted to things differently than she might have, the lyrics and music helped Spray understand how the characters were feeling. That was magical, and it opened up a whole new world of expression for her.
Spray does what she does because she is fascinated with the power and capability of the human voice and the power it has to tell a story. Whether you consider yourself a singer or not, most people use their voice as a tool of expression every day to communicate with others. Spray feels that each of us has a unique story to tell, and singing helps her tell her story and the stories of others.
There was a time when Spray gave up singing for a while. It was after she graduated college. She was overwhelmed in so many parts of her life and dealing with major issues with performance anxiety and stage fright. During the last two years of college, the performance anxiety got much worse and was absolutely crippling. She began to doubt herself and she thought that she wasn't good enough to pursue a career in music. That fear caused her to stop singing for about five years.
Nevertheless, she finally faced her fears. Spray feels that a few wrong turns finally brought her back to her musical path. She started by taking a job in the music industry. In her mind, she thought it would keep her close enough to her passion and that working in the industry would be enough to satisfy her, but it wasn't. She wanted to be in the room where the magic happened, not on the outside.
When she started having these realizations, she decided to go back to school to get her Master's in Vocal Pedagogy so that she could gain a better understanding of the singing voice and the science behind it. When her performance anxiety was at its worst, her voice would physically shut down, so figuring out why this happened was of utmost importance. Also, some of the most influential people in her life were her voice teachers. She knew if she ever wished to teach, she would need her master’s. By gaining a better understanding of how the voice works and through teaching other singers, Spray’s passion and love for singing was refueled. She plans on making singing her life-long career.
There are a couple of things that keep Fain Spray motivated in her passion. Singing keeps her going. She has to sing a little something every day, even if it's just a song or two in the car on her way home after a long day. She finds it healing to her soul. Her husband, Jeremy, also keeps her going. He is her rock, best friend, and confidant. They talk about everything together and always encourage one another in their creative endeavors. As Spray continues pursuing an artist career, with hopes of making it her fulltime job, she continues to teach voice.
To Fain Spray, Valiance means boldness, persistence, and being unapologetically you, with loads of kindness and love sprinkled in there.
Take a listen to Fain Spray on Spotify
Chloe Sutton is currently working full time as a Manager and Organizational Development Specialist and also owns 2 businesses; Chloe's Creative Visions and High Collar Pets. Chloe's Creative Visions focuses on crafts and personalization, from customized birthday/event T-shirts, personalized initial keychains, home decor wreaths, fall decor, holiday customizations, face masks, and more. Her second business, named High Collar Pets, is an online pet boutique that sells collars, leashes, clothes, and pet toys.
Sutton found a love for crafting in college. It reminded her of how much she loved Sunday School & vacation bible school crafts. She bought her first Circuit machine around December 2018 on one randomly impulsive trip to the craft store. But she was not motivated to begin crafting for some time. In June of 2019, she got that motivation and cracked open the Circuit machine for the first time. Chloe started personalizing some gifts and that sparked the start of Chloe's Creative Visions. Her love for crafts coupled with her personal love language of gift giving, it only made sense for her to start a crafting business where people could customize the perfect gifts for themselves and others.
The idea for the pet boutique stemmed from her love of animals. She got her first dogs at 7 and 8yrs old. These two animals inspired her to go to college for Animal Science-Pre Vet. High Collar Pets had been on her mind since graduating undergrad in 2016. While spending Christmas in Chicago, she had an idea, which she felt was a prompting from God, to merge the worlds of her animal degree with her ingrained love for fashion.
For a long time, fear stopped her from launching this business idea. It sat for 4 years! Then in 2019, Sutton heard a sermon in which the pastor mentioned how God gives us gifts, talents and visions to further His plans. But He won’t wait forever for us to execute them. If we aren’t a willing vessel, His plans will still carry on, but He will move on using another willing vessel. Sutton knew then that she wanted to be the vessel God used to execute this vision. So she launched High Collar Pets in 2020.
Being an entrepreneur is hard work requiring a different level of discipline and work ethic. However, ownership is very rewarding. Sutton confesses that she has made a lot of mistakes because she is still within the first year of owning both businesses and she has much to learn. On top of the learning curve, Sutton still works her full time job, which requires her to wear several hats. She is also currently planning her wedding. There are times when she thinks she just can’t do all of it and feels overwhelmed.
In these moments, she reminds herself that she didn’t give herself these visions and dreams: God did. So that must mean He saw it in her to complete them. She finds the silver lining in mistakes and knows she is one step ahead now. When she feels overwhelmed and stressed, Sutton takes time to rest her mind and organize her thoughts through journaling, enjoying nature, and scheduling the tasks she needs to complete.
Valiance, for Chloe Sutton, means honorable, strong, and ambitious. The ability to hold your head up high and persevere with unwavering strength and faith. She hopes to open physical locations for her companies and to hire family/friends close to her. She wants to put others in well paying positions through her companies and give back to her community. She wants to create generational wealth and legacy with her companies, and to inspire.
See more of Chloe Sutton's work @Chloescreativevisions