Welcome to Beautiful Journey, a powerful and uplifting podcast series presented by FirstGen, a Michelson Philanthropies initiative dedicated to empowering immigrant women through storytelling and programming that facilitates their pathways to success.


As one of FirstGen’s flagship programs, Beautiful Journey is hosted by Alya Michelson and combines two of her deepest passions—uplifting immigrant women and journalism. Beautiful Journey podcast features a mix of interviews that focus on lessons from courageous and inspiring women building their lives in a new country.

Through the art of storytelling, each month we will present the many different adventures, difficulties, successes, and lessons that these women have encountered throughout their beautiful journey. We will also discuss the phenomenon that despite the isolation and need to reach out for help, female immigrants tend to lean towards their national groups to feel secure and welcome, and this is an attempt to create a safe community. Each story will be as unique as the women being interviewed in order to present a raw and authentic experience for the listener.

Latest Episode

 Sylwia Wiesenber, founder of Bawdy Beauty

The Beauty of Entrepreneurship: Sylwia Wiesenberg’s Success Story

In this episode of Beautiful Journey, host Alya Michelson welcomes Sylwia Wiesenberg, a beauty entrepreneur and the founder of BAWDY Beauty, DOPE Naturally, and TONIQUE Fitness.

Sylwia’s story is one of resilience and determination. Born in Poland, she embarked on a global adventure to pursue her college education. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame, she built a successful career in finance and advertising before leaving it all behind to create her beauty line.

“We often hear about the challenges immigrant women face. But at Beautiful Journey, we also focus on the hope, the triumphs, and the inspiring moments that define their new life in America.”
Alya Michelson

Co-Chair, Michelson Philanthropies


A Journey of Empowerment: Lola Adeyemo’s Inspiring Story

With Lola Adeyemo

Lola Adeyemo was resolved to leave her home and close-knit family in Nigeria to earn a biology degree in the United States. Still, the lessons she learned in her beautiful journey were not the most obvious ones. From uncomfortable interactions in the grocery store to finding herself as one of the very few black women in her workplace (let alone a black immigrant woman), Lola tells Alya Michelson the story of how she found her voice and how she gained confidence in the perspective only she can offer to her colleagues and her field. Today, Lola is the founder of a business that is dedicated to making workplaces more welcoming to employees from all walks of life.
Lola Adeyemo, Founder & CEO of EQImindset
Alya Michelson, Co-Chair of Michelson Philanthropies


Born in Russia, Alya studied music and dance as a child and never lost her passion for the arts. As a young woman, she pursued a career in journalism, earning a degree from Moscow State University, and a master’s in economics from Moscow State Institute of International Relations.

Alya brings her classical training, life experiences, and talent to all her creative pursuits, including her newest venture: FirstGen, a storytelling platform that celebrates global citizenship by highlighting how the immigrant experience strengthens the American story. Harkening back to Alya’s journalistic roots, FirstGen celebrates the stories of America’s 23 million immigrant women—famous and unknown, artists and entrepreneurs, innovators and trailblazers.

While every immigrant woman’s story is different, they frequently share common experiences of arrival, integration, and renewal.