For this group of women, that secret involves the success they wish to bestow on others. From taking steps to help individuals improve their mental health and well-being, helping families build their dream home, or hosting weddings for couples beginning their future together, all of them take pride in making an impact on others.
Founder and CEO of Windmill Wellness Ranch
Dedication and a passion for helping people get better by putting the patient first spurred Shannon Malish, founder and CEO of Windmill Wellness Ranch, to open the inpatient and outpatient facility which is unlike any other in its specialties of trauma, drug addiction, and mental health. With her background as a licensed clinical social worker, years of running 12 different inpatient and outpatient centers, and a personal connection of losing her younger sister to depression and anxiety — she decided to take things into her own hands. She now has methods for treatment to address underlying issues with therapy instead of placing, as she refers to it, “a band-aid over the problem.” The two-year-old Windmill Wellness Ranch is the only center in Texas recognized for treating co-occurring psychiatric disorders also known as dual diagnosis. She credits her staff of 60, which includes some of the best clinicians, psychiatrists, nurses, even a chef on site, in helping to carry out the holistic approach she envisioned when she set out on her journey.
The passion for its startup spills over into the types of programs offered at Windmill Wellness Ranch down to the look and feel of a patient’s experience while there. Located north of Canyon Lake, the Texas Hill Country is the ideal spot for the facility, because first and foremost she doesn’t want her patients to feel as though they are in a hospital. It looks and feels like a ranch with its sprawling 70-plus acres, 12 buildings for different activities, and hotel-type rooms for inpatient stays.
And the Ranch’s state-of-the-art programs for addiction, trauma, and the most significant area treated there — depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders — feature new approaches in treating these conditions. The iTMS treatment, is one type offered through her other business housed onsite, the Brain Frequency Center, and provides a non-invasive method at the front end of brain science. It is instrumental in treating conditions such as ADHD, autism, different neurocognitive disorders, and even people who suffer from sleep issues. She can personally attest to its benefits and success as her son underwent iTMS to treat ADD and observed those symptoms disappear with the treatment. With an astonishing success rate of 94% when combining ITMS treatment with therapy, it will eventually move people away from having to rely on medication.
For Malish, the reward of seeing broken families come together and people find their happiness is the culmination of her vision and perseverance as she says, “I’ve seen miracles happen here.”
Mortgage Banker, Sente Mortgage
For Rachel Mikulec, a seasoned mortgage banker (NMLS 456061) with Sente Mortgage, her years of working in the banking business are not just about the types of financing she can provide her clients, but it’s also about helping them be financially successful in thinking about their future. The Smithville, Texas native initially thought she would work in pharmaceutical sales when she first graduated from Texas State University, but she found her way to mortgage banking creating a niche in the custom home market. She and her team provide financing for a variety of loans including lot and construction loans to build a new home; FHA, USDA, and conventional loans; along with financing for commercial and investment properties to name a few. Her role throughout each step is the most rewarding part for her as she views it as an opportunity to teach the process of knowing the “why” behind choosing what is right for clients when building a home.
She transferred this same philosophy when building her team at her New Braunfels office explaining she brought members on board to set them up for success. Her willingness to go above and beyond for her team members and clients, from working weekends or hand delivering paperwork if needed, is part of a lasting legacy she learned from a young age. She credits her hard-working parents and a mentor, Richard Burdick, for instilling the importance of leaving behind a personal mark or contribution for others to remember and live by.
That very same consideration and emphasis on helping others succeed are what brought Mikulec to Sente Mortgage’s home office in Austin. When her youngest son was diagnosed with autism at a year and a half, she made sure to give him access to one of the best school districts for children with special needs. It was when he turned three that she moved herself and her two sons to the area to enroll him in the best early childhood program to meet his educational needs. She shares, “He became the leader on my journey in life.” Taking that step proved to be the right one as she has now built a solid reputation among New Braunfels area builders and agents as one of the best to work with in addition to being a top producer for Sente Mortgage three years in a row. Given all the success she has experienced, it pales in comparison to the success she is fortunate enough to witness among her clients when they take that step in making a home for themselves.
Chandelier of Gruene
Weddings are an introduction to a couple’s story; the beginning chapter of a lifetime together where no detail is too big or too small to include. At the Chandelier of Gruene, Myra Zunker and her family could not be more gracious in the role they play in bringing a couple’s wedding story to life with their warm, inviting, elegant, and expansive venue. Back in May of 2017, when they hosted their first wedding, Zunker treasured it coming to life as she recalled the days of selling weddings before even breaking ground with only a vision of what she intended to provide through pictures, samples, mock-ups, and visual markers of cones and stakes. She values being entrusted with one of the most memorable days for a family and strives to carry over the “foundation of love” she learned from her parents and in-laws, who each share over 60 years of wedding anniversaries.
Zunker first got the bug for working in the wedding industry years ago while working for a couple of different bridal boutiques, and it was when she was helping her oldest daughter plan her wedding when the idea for the Chandelier of Gruene began. As the sixth generation of family living in the area, they couldn’t quite find the right space large enough to accommodate their guest size. When her daughter made a joke about building a barn, things began to come together.
The road to building what it is today wasn’t easy, but after purchasing the property from a family friend and five years of planning and research, she and her two daughters, Chelsea and Haley, ensure the Chandelier of Gruene covers every detail of wedding day memories. The experience they provide couples is a family affair with her husband and sons-in-law often helping out as well.
The property boasts three different structures with the open-air chapel standing out as Zunker’s “pride and joy” with its antique church pews and bell tower. Lodging is provided with the original ranch home on site, and within the grand event hall is where you’ll find a blend of elegance with a Texas Hill Country feel. Several chandeliers are featured throughout the space, with the main one taking center stage at a substantial size of six feet wide by five feet tall. Incorporating these symbols of elegance into the business name is a nod to Zunker and her husband’s days spent at the famous dance hall the Crystal Chandelier as she fondly recalls good times as a married couple at the popular place. She now gets to be the one to provide a good time for a married couple’s important day in their lives, and the ultimate reward in that is to hear the satisfaction from the bride, groom, and their families at the end of the night.
By Jennifer O’Neill
Photography by David Teran