For many individuals, it has always been a question of whether or not to continue with the field they chose to pursue. In any field, perseverance is key. Never giving up is almost always a universal answer to the query on how to succeed. True enough, this has been the formula for many individuals who are now reaping the benefits of their hard work and steadfastness—no matter what career they pick. Whether behind a camera, or in front of it, sitting behind a CEO desk, or out in the field, it is important that every individual value consistency. Chicago Journal features 20 of these individuals. Here are Top 20 Individuals who have captured our attention this year:
- Gary Vaynerchuck
Gary Vaynerchuck’s name is not new to top lists such as this. As a serial owner and highly sought-after public speaker, Gary Vee is someone who is in his prime. Vaynerchuck owns several companies like VaynerX, VaynerMedia, and VaynerSports. He’s partnered with many Fortune 100 companies through his 360-degree advertising empire VaynerMedia. The company has now four locations in the US.
Apart from the companies he runs, Vaynerchuck is also a five-time New York Times bestselling author. He has also gained popularity through his podcast, the Gary Vee Experience, which snatched a spot in the Top 100 Global Podcast.
- Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Photo by: Dwayne Johnson | Instagram
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is easily recognizable as an artist, wrestler, and a movie star. The Rock became popular inside the wrestling ring. Dwayne eventually made his way into the big screen, starring in award-winning movies like Hercules, Scorpion King, and Fast and Furious. In his career as an actor, Dwayne has received and been nominated by many award-giving bodies like the Teen Choice Awards, People’s Choice Awards, NAACP Image Award, and a whole lot more. This year, Time Magazine named him as the highest-paid actor for his roles in the upcoming films Red Notice and Black Adam.
- Atty. Kendra Stephen
Kendra Stephen is a trademark lawyer, business advisor, and entrepreneur. Attorney Stephen’s legal practice emphasizes brand protection, monetization, management, and trademark enforcement. Kendra represents numerous companies, athletes, artists, entrepreneurs, and media personalities. Kendra is the founder of the Trademark Firm, a boutique trademark, and brand protection law firm. She advises clients worldwide on all aspects of brand protection, including trademark clearance, prosecution, enforcement matters, portfolio management, global brand strategy, due diligence, and licensing. Additionally, she provides legal assistance regarding false advertising, domain name disputes, social media disputes, and strategy.
- Syed Rahman
Syed Rahman is a 36-year-old artist who creates unique custom 3D Arabic calligraphy art for worldwide audiences. Syed started his art business from his parents’ basement, and it has now grown into America’s 1st Arabic art gallery. The business has two locations in Chicago. Recently, Syed’s art was placed in the Chicago History Museum. For his art, Syed works with stainless steel and wood. He’s had many accomplishments with his art, like making the biggest 10-ft. Arabic art, which remains to be the biggest in North America until today. Many of the profits that Syed earns from his art go toward donation and charity for the less fortunate worldwide.
- Alex Morgan
Photo: Getty Images
Alex Morgan, born Alexandra Patricia Morgan, is an icon in soccer. The 31-year-old forward of Tottenham Hotspur played for the US National Team in 2012, where she earned her first Olympic gold medal. In 2015, she sustained an injury but overcame it, earning the US a championship for the FIFA World Cup for Women’s Soccer. In the same year, Time Magazine named Alex as one of the top-paid women soccer players in the US due to several endorsements. Alex helped the US Team again in the 2019 FIFA World Cup with six goals to assist the US in claiming its second consecutive World Cup.
- Akeem Mair
Photo Credits: Greg Doherty
Akeem Mair is an upcoming star from prime agents, Commercial Talent Agency. He’s recently signed for Minc Talent under Mariko Bellentine. As an actor, Akeem has built a firm reputation for having an excellent work ethic.
Akeem has starred in many lead roles produced by prestigious productions like the Columbia College of Hollywood Production. Some of the movies in his catalogue include All About Money, A Wonderful World, Limbo, Silent Love, Life of a Villain, Red, Fine Line, The Kidnap, and many more.
The 32-year-old movie star has made an appearance on The Ellen Degeneres Show, which was named by Ellen as “the best episode she’s ever seen.” To date, the video has amassed a total of 5 million views. Akeem Mair is truly an actor to watch out for this year.
Facebook: Akeem Mair
IMDB Profile: Akeem Mair
LA Casting Profile: Akeem Mair
YouTube: Akeem Mair
- Felicia Dortch
Felicia Dortch is a single mother of four, author, publisher, entrepreneur, registered nurse, public speaker, screenwriter, domestic abuse survivor, and model. Felicia is a woman of God and a boss in her own right. She describes herself as outgoing, dependable, strong, compassionate, and communicative. Having overcome many obstacles in her life has led her to be exceptionally appreciative of many opportunities that have been given to her. Felicia is an overcomer! She believes that when we connect to our Father in heaven, all women can become overcomers, survivors, and will be able to reach and exceed all goals.
At one point, she said she would have rather been dead than to continue with the life she was living. But after she spent more time with God, Felicia developed the strength she needed to believe in her ability to leave the abusive situation she was in. She said, “I know that God has a purpose for my pain, and it is up to me to live every day on PURPOSE.”
- Elle Hari
Elle Hari is a # 1 international best selling author and twin flame and ascension alchemist, writer, teacher, and coach. She is the founder of Elle Hari Universal LLC and teaches people how to navigate their spiritual ascension paths, enabling them to attain perpetual happiness, love, their true desires, and their soul’s purpose while experiencing loving, abundant, and fulfilling lives.
Elle’s methods are unique in that she teaches how to harness the energy of the soul and wield its awesome power to change your world by your desires. They are also based on universal laws and divine truths that always work. Elle has worked with some of the world’s most successful, famous, and influential people, proving that you can have and enjoy a luxurious lifestyle and still be spiritual. In fact, the soul is abundant, so it’s impossible not to experience abundance in every area of life when you learn and implement Elle’s teachings.
- Bryce Fauble
Bryce Fauble is the CEO of Vulgar (@sorryitsvulgar), the most eye-catching clothing brand in the market today. Bryce is a 21-year-old college dropout. At a young age, he knew he wanted to own a company. When he was still in high school, he started early with drop shipping. Recently, he was introduced to an amazing company, BE Factor. Within BE, Bryce worked as a Forex/Stock/Crypto trader and independent brand promoter, who was always looking to connect and bring wealth to others. Clients can shoot him a DM on Instagram for more info about joining the team and changing their life. Bryce is also a website creator and designer for small businesses. He is always looking to connect and grow!
Instagram: @brycefaubel; @sorryitsvulgar
- Jennica Griffin
Jennica Griffin is a Tulane University Honor Roll student and model. She began college in the year 2016 while working part-time. Her goal was to major in healthcare and business management. Her passion for knowledge and research grew into maintaining honor roll status. She always had a penchant as a kid for modeling hair, makeup, clothes, and nails. At the age of 20, she landed a spot to model in a hair magazine. As she met people, other opportunities came, like modeling for clothing boutiques and doing entertainment shows. Her beauty draws attraction; she even went into sports modeling. She enjoys her life cooking, cleaning, and being involved in the workforce.
- Mark Juncaj
Mark Juncaj (@marksuperfit) is a spokesperson, fitness model, an aspiring minister, public speaker, addiction mentor, and author who is currently working on launching his new clothing and accessories brand, Faith and Fitness, which demonstrates both living a spiritual life and being fit at www.marksuperfit.com. Mark is looking to grow his IG in the millions and be an inspiration to them like his mentor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnston.
- Jubee Vilceus
Jubee Vilceus is the CEO of Yellow Tail, a company quickly gaining traction as a leader in the EdTech space specializing in Linux and AWS cloud computing. Linux For Jobs focuses on helping people with no IT background break into IT. The company optimizes for results, not scale.
Yellow Tail is not a jack of all trades; instead, it trains people to become Linux System Engineers and AWS Cloud DevOps Engineers. For over 7 years, they have helped their clients with top-notch engineers as dedicated instructors.
- Dr. Mario Garcia, Jr.
Spearheaded by world-class professionals in coaching and NLP master practitioners, Neuro Strategic Coach® is recognized as a powerhouse and is a global coaching organization on a mission to equip leaders, entrepreneurs, and organizations with skills for delivering impact, sustainability, and results. It was founded by Dr. Mario Garcia, Jr., a master certified coach, international speaker, and trainer who has 30 years in the personal and leadership development industry.
Dr. Mario was joined five years ago by his son, Mario A. Garcia, Director of Training and Operations. This father and son team is currently celebrating the institute’s 20th years of life-changing programs. The recognition awarded to Neuro Strategic Coaching Institute is not solely due to its wide range of offers. Its signature programs have also contributed to its rise in the industry.
- Erica Rodriguez
Erica Rodriguez is a destination wedding and lifestyle photographer. When asked what she likes about being a photographer, she always goes back to this: celebrating life and your story. It was her first son who inspired her, but tragically, at two and a half years old, their world was shattered when he passed away.
Suddenly, every image became invaluable, and it is his son’s story that inspires her to celebrate love through every season. Erica has had the opportunity to travel the world photographing incredible clients. Her work can be found in Vogue, Brides, People Magazine, and more!
Facebook: Erica Melissa
LinkedIn: Erica Melissa
- Diana Price
PAINTED CITIZEN, founded by artist extraordinaire and groundbreaking American entrepreneur Diana Price, Painted Citizen, is a unique company that turns the magic of a performance-art experience into high-end fashion apparel. Price has an innate talent for adorning the female form and creating dazzlingly unique, super-elite streetwear.
- Dr. Douglas Steinbrech
Dr. Douglas Steinbrech is a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons under the American Board of Medical Specialties. Dr. Steinbrech specializes in minimally invasive aesthetics. He incorporates this philosophy into all of his surgical and non-surgical techniques. He has been selected as one of America’s Top Plastic Surgeons by the Consumers’ Research Council of America. He is one of the few only surgeons in the world who dedicates his practice solely to men. Forbes calls Dr. Steinbrech, “The Go-to Surgeon for Men.” Learn more at www.maleplasticsurgery.com.
- Stephanie Pierucci
Stephanie Pierucci is a leading expert on manifestation, which means that she helps people materialize their thoughts into happier, healthier lives with neuroscience tools.
Listed as one of the Top 20 Mindful Leaders to Watch in 2021, Stephanie is the founder of the Manifesting Secrets program, helping people unlock self-healing and manifest prosperous lives. She is also the co-founder of Brain Flow Yoga, a practice that combines gentle movements with manifestations and self-healing tools.
Stephanie lives with her five-year-old son, and together, they love camping, rock climbing, hiking, and skiing in Aspen, Colorado, where they live.
- Lakshmi Natarajan
Lakshmi Natarajan is the founder and owner of Travel Plus Them. Her passion for travel was fueled by her childhood trips to India. Lakshmi has two decades of global corporate professional experiences across marketing, sales, and consulting. This included roles in Europe and Australia, which further increased her passion for immersive cultural experiences. She has been to over 60 countries.
After her second child’s birth, Lakshmi desired to create a life where she could prioritize her career, motherhood, marriage, and passion for travel. Lakshmi also wanted her children to experience and appreciate the world’s diversity and inspire other moms on their journey through travel or from home.
She said, “We are living in a time where our future generation needs to learn about the world and all its people so they can appreciate the beauty of all that surrounds them.” Travel Plus Them helps people experience the world and raise inclusive global citizens from home.
- Jean F. Payen
Jean F. Payen is an actor, model, and brand ambassador from Brooklyn, New York. Jean has repped fitness and normal apparel brands such as Krusaders, Loyal Fitness, and Habits 365. As an actor, he’s been featured on shows for Investigative Discovery and NBC. Jean’s goal is to use his platform to gain more opportunities in the acting and modeling world in the hopes of becoming a more known name and make it profitable. By doing so, he hopes to inspire others to better themselves and know that “where you are in your life doesn’t have to be your endgame and you can have the life you want if you work hard enough to make that dream a reality.”
- Dr. Christopher Stepien
Dr. Chris Stepien is the Clinic Director for Barefoot Rehab in Denville, NJ. Barefoot Rehab is a permanent pain relief clinic specializing in helping suffering people who have had more than six months of pain and seen at least three doctors or therapists without relief.
Barefoot Rehab reverses their patient’s musculoskeletal age by decades. It serves as the only clinic in New Jersey certified to find and fix the most common cause of chronic pain and tightness almost no one talks about—adhesion. Dr. Chris incorporates holistic living consisting of diet, meditation, stress management, emotional processing, and shamanic work to leave no cause of chronic pain unturned. Learn more by visiting their website.