Sarasota isn't just for retirees. The area continually proves to be a hub for the best and the brightest talents in everything from dance to finance—all under the age of 30. In an ongoing series throughout the year (and beyond), SRQ highlights under-30's who are doing big things, both in their own careers and within the community. 

Zen Master

Ashley Stewart, 29

Co-Owner/CFO Bliss Entourage

Quick Stats

  • 200-hour registered yoga teacher through Marianne Wells Yoga School.
  • Health Coaching Certification in Holistic Health from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.
  • Yoga teacher at the Yoga Shack, Soul Yoga Sanctuary and IMG Academy.

Your nickname: VaVa. Your brand tagline/personal philosophy in 7 words or less: Be courageous. Be happy. Be human. Would you rather be an inventor or a leader? Leader. I lead with the knowledge I have learned from my trainings and my own personal experiences. I have a passion for helping people find self-confidence and the best healthy lifestyle they can. Share your biggest ah-ha moment: Before I came to discover yoga, I was a very close-minded and private person. Through yoga I found greater confidence, became more open-minded, food-conscious and overall much happier. Once I became committed to a healthy lifestyle of yoga and nutrition, I realized I could constantly feel good. This is when I knew I wanted to share everything I had learned from my new lifestyle with others. Tell us about a time when things felt helpless but you knew you could pull through: Helpless is a strong word. There were times I have felt very challenged. Carving your niche in the yoga industry and starting your own business can definitely bring up a lot of situations that require patience. I’ve learned that in the end you have to be true to yourself when creating a brand for people to value and trust. My business partners and I started Bliss Entourage, which brings backgrounds of yoga, meditation, personal training, holistic health, business, marketing and nursing together. We thought starting Bliss Entourage would be a piece of cake, but we quickly realized we had to expand our knowledge into technology and law, which proved taxing at times, but being able to ask for help really reduced the struggle. How has Sarasota failed Millennials? The city can be slower to adapt to cultural changes and trends because it tends to favor the wealthy older generation rather than the young working force.  Your heart goes out to: The Humane Society, Nate’s Honor Rescue, Donte’s Den and Cat Depot.  Your most recent social media post? On Instagram via @ashleystewartyoga and @blissentourage, I share a lot of travel adventures (Peru, New Zealand, Costa Rica, etc.), food pleasers and yoga pictures to inspire people to do what they love. In Sarasota-Bradenton, we do too much_______ and too little ________: Too much expensive condo construction downtown and too little restaurants serving healthy options. What’s next? Continuing to work on my personal wellbeing and the growth of my self-empowerment company with my two business partners. This year we look forward to launching our own inspirational clothing line and retreats for people seeking an immersion to jumpstart a lifestyle change.

Prima Ballerina

Ellen Overstreet, 24

Principal Dancer, Sarasota Ballet

Quick Stats

  • Trained at the San Francisco Ballet School and Houston Ballet School.
  • Lead and featured roles at Sarasota Ballet include Ashton’s Enigma Variations, A Wedding Bouquet, Symphonic Variations, Les Patineurs, Birthday Offering, Illuminations, Jazz Calendar;Balanchine’s Apollo, Serenade, Emeralds, Rubies, The Four Temperaments; de mille’s Rodeo; Fokine’s Les Sylphides; MacMillan’s Concerto; Nijinsky’s L’après-midi d’un Faune.

Your nickname: Ella. Your brand tagline/personal philosophy in 7 words or less: One day at a time (I have to tell myself every day). Would you rather be an inventor or a leader? Leader. Share your biggest ah-ha moment: “2nd skin” jelly squares from Amazon are miracle workers for corns and blisters. Tell us about a time when things felt helpless but you knew you could pull through: I was rehearsing a challenging solo last season that was consuming every hour of the day it seemed. I couldn’t stop rehearsing it in my head and thinking about, even when I was away from work. I loved getting to rehearse it in such detail, but right before opening night it somehow felt I was going backwards, like I had lost everything I had been working on. Hours before the show, I had to redirect my focus, ask myself why I perform, why I dance. I had to stop thinking about corrections and let the music take me across the stage. I knew I needed to let myself enjoy. And I did. How has Sarasota failed Millennials? I wouldn’t say Sarasota has failed Millennials! There might be more elderly people than young people, but if you’re adventurous there are plenty of spots to discover and enjoy. Nightlife might not be up to par with other cities, but if you’re with good people, you can make the most out of any place.  Your heart goes out to: The Humane Society. I care about animal welfare and wildlife conservation to a great extent. Your most recent social media post? I posted several snaps on my SnapChat “story” featuring a Sunday afternoon at the pumpkin festival at Hunsader Farms complete with apple cider, fried Oreos, caramel apples, corn mazes and pumpkins. In Sarasota-Bradenton, we do too much_______ and too little ________: Too much driving and too little walking. What’s next? It’s hard to say as a ballet dancer what is next because with a career so heavily reliant on your body and your physical wellbeing. I want to continue to improve not only my technique but also my artistic abilities. I hope to never settle or become stale.