One aim of the Emerging Texas Strong podcast is to amplify the work and contributions of the business owners and experts who generously share their advice, years of experience and perspectives.
Below you will find a profile of each guest of the pod along with information on the companies they run, links to business webpages and a listing of the services they provide.
Guest Profiles: Season 2
Patricia Mihanda, JEB Homes
TOP PRODUCER KELLER WILLIAMS Patricia Mihanda is considered a sought-after real estate expert throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area—and worldwide. Originally from Africa, she lived in Baltimore, Maryland for over 15 years before relocating to Dallas, Texas. Mrs. Mihanda, who also has degrees in Aviation Management and International Business, speaks four languages and has traveled to more than 30 countries in four continents. She worked for many years in high-level administration at the World Bank in Washington, DC and has vast real estate experience, including international clients. Her varied experience and ability to relate to people all over the world is an asset in real estate, as no two clients’ needs—from buying and selling to relocation—are ever alike. She understands local market conditions and the challenges her clients may encounter in their real estate journey. “My clients’ satisfaction and peace of mind are what drive me,” Mrs. Mihanda says. She finds great joy in serving the needs of buyers and sellers whether they are a first-time, move up, or international buyer or investor. SPECIALIZATION Frisco, Dallas-Fort Worth and Surrounding Areas DESIGNATIONS, AFFILIATIONS & AWARDS Keller Williams Luxury International Agent of the Year at Keller Williams Frisco, 2019 1st Place Individual Units at Keller Williams Frisco, 2019 2ndPlace Individual Units at Keller Williams Frisco, 2020 1st Place Individual GCI at Keller Williams Frisco, 2019 & 2020 Gold Capper at Keller Williams Frisco, 2019 Platinum Capper at Keller Williams Frisco 2020 3600 Preston Road, Ste. 100| Plano, Texas 75093
Real Estate Agent, Whether you are a first-time, ‘move up’, an international homebuyer, an investor in search of income-producing properties, or ready to sell with no headaches… I focus on your needs from your first call to the closing table. There’s a LOT to do and know about when you purchase or sell your home. Having someone you trust that has expertise in all the areas involved takes the worry away. Multilingual in French, Swahili and Lingala, I am actively working in the Frisco and surrounding communities, know their amenities well and stay abreast of the local sales activity. I offer the value-added services of home-staging and translation to all my clients.
Discover more at: JEBHomes.com
Bobby Lee, co-owner The Big Texan Steak Ranch
Bobby Lee is the co-owner/operator of the world famous Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo,Texas. He and his brother Danny grew up at the restaurant which their father R.J. Lee opened in 1960 on Route 66. This iconic Landmark Legend restaurant is best known for it’s 72oz Steak eating challenge, pioneered by the Lee’s in December of 1960.
Bobby and his brother have have embraced the responsibilities of being second generation operators and over the past six decades have grown the Big Texan to a world wide sensation.
Sixty one fabulous years later, the restaurant has expanded into a western style motel, RV resort, brewery, concert venue, gift shop, 72 oz live stream sensation and twelve longhorn limousine providing free pickup from all local hotels. Annual customer counts exceed five hundred thousand per year.
Bobby Lee has served on state tourism committees, he has been appointed to several State advisory boards and has been a featured speaker at numerous restaurant, marketing and entertainment conventions/trade shows.
Currently the Big Texan, is continuing a strong 4-6% annual growth rate, both brothers are preparing their families for training and succession of the next “Lee” generation of family ownership.
Discover more at: BigTexan.com
Riley and Monday have performed and produced together for the past twenty-five years. They have directed clowns for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus and been featured clowns in circuses worldwide. They founded the non-profit organization, Laughter League, whose mission is to improve the lives of the families they serve through the transformational power of laughter. They provide healthcare clown services at pediatric hospitals throughout the United States and produce community circus projects across North Texas with the mission of creating ‘circus for everyone’.
The Laughter League’s: mission is to improve the lives of children and their families through the transformational power of laughter. Our nonprofit primarily serves sick children and families in healthcare settings. We also present educational shows to schools and libraries, and public performances to local communities. The Laughter League brings magic, joy, delight, smiles and the healing power of laughter to these settings. As a result, kids and families experience normalcy, relief, and connectedness as they laugh together again and begin to experience hope, which helps them heal.
Byron Smith, co-founder of XSpace
Byron is a Sydney-born entrepreneur now based in Austin, TX with a successful family business background in commercial real-estate – his most recent venture is XSpace in which he is co-founder and lead-investor. He’s also active in the automotive-technology industry as co-founder of artificial intelligence company Ai Automotive Inc and advanced materials company P1 Graphene Solutions Ltd. Byron has successfully led multi-million dollar funding rounds, executed marketing strategies, built sales teams, developed financial models and spearheaded business development for the ventures he’s involved with. Prior to co-founding XSpace he received his Bachelor of Economics from Macquarie University, Sydney and his MBA from Cass Business School, London. Byron’s first start-up experience was with the original team that built RA Motorsport Pty Ltd from business plan into Australasia’s largest motorsport dealership and still has an active interest in the start-up space. After five years in London and then five years in New York, Byron currently resides in Austin, TX.
XSPACE IS CHANGING THE WAY WE THINK ABOUT SPACE. WHETHER YOU ARE RIGHTSIZING, LOOKING FOR A PLACE TO BUILD YOUR BUSINESS, SCALING YOUR INVESTMENTS OR SIMPLY FOLLOWING YOUR PASSION: XSPACE OFFERS MULTI-USE CONDOS THAT SUIT YOUR NEEDS. ALL WITH COMPLETE EASE OF ACCESS, FLEXIBLE USAGE AND A COMMUNITY OF GREAT PEOPLE LIKE YOURSELF. IT’S FREEDOM EXPRESSED ON YOUR TERMS.
Discover more at: XSpacegroup.com
Laura Del Villaggio, owner of Milli Starr
Laura Del Villaggio earned a Certificate in Millinery from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York in 1999 and her millinery business, Milli Starr, was established in Austin, Texas in 2004. Laura possesses over 25 years experience in fashion history, design, and construction and has worked as a milliner, in addition to a clothing and textile consultant and conservator, vintage dealer, retail manager, and theater costume designer. Millinery has been her full-time focus since 2012 and she enjoys making hats for clients, as well as teaching both group and private millinery classes.
Milli Starr offers bespoke services, designing one-of-a-kind award-winning millinery for special events such as weddings, races and galas. Milli Starr is known for exquisite craftsmanship and a vintage-inspired elegance that complements a modern wardrobe and combines wearability with sustainability. Original hats have been spotted in print publications, on the runway, stage, and screen, and at the Kentucky Derby, Dubai Cup, Royal Ascot, etc.
Discover more at: MilliStarr.com
Guest Profiles: Season 1
Lori Schneider, owner The Cupcake Bar in Austin, TX
Prior to launching The Cupcake Bar in 2007, Lori spent more than 15 years in the catering and event industry, ran her own catering company, received culinary training from Le Cordon Bleu, and earned degrees in nutrition and food science from Texas A&M University. When she’s not busy with the business, Lori loves to travel, try new restaurants and spend time with her husband and little man.
The Cupcake Bar specializes in providing virtual event and sweet experiences to guests of all ages! We offer virtual decorating classes, client and team appreciation gifts, branded gifting, dessert and gift pick up, deliveries and shipping! Post COVID we will be excited to bring back our interactive dessert experiences to LIVE events!
Discover more on their website: www.thecupcakebar.com
Amelia Raley and Valerie Ward, co-owners Sweet Ritual in Austin, TX
Founding Sweet Ritual in 2011, Amelia & Valerie have become leaders in the local business community, founding and supporting groups of businesses focused on vegan food, responsible entrepreneurship, and local marketing. Valerie has a BA in American Studies from UT Austin, has worked as a manager for several successful small businesses in Austin, and is a mentor at Capitol Factory. Amelia has a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arkansas, an MFA in Photography from The University of Oregon, and an M Ed from Texas State University.
Sweet Ritual is committed to making the best dairy-free ice cream and providing an unparalleled customer experience in a way that is sustainable financially, socially, and ecologically to the benefit of the company, its employees, our community, and our planet.
Place an online order for pick-up: Sweet Ritual Online Menu
Discover more at their website: SweetRitual.com
Armando Seledon, CSEP, CTA, Visit San Antonio
Armando has been in the events industry for over 12 years, He has experience as a corporate and social event producer, designer, planner also has a vast knowledge of marketing, social media and branding expertise specializing in events businesses. He owned a floral and design business for 5 years. Armando is one of less than 550 Certified Special Events Professionals (CSEP) in the world and one of 3 in the city of San Antonio. Armando now works as a Destination Experience Manager for Visit San Antonio and provides business and brand coaching for event professionals in the weddings, social and corporate world. ArmandoSeledon.com
Visit San Antonio is the marketing arm for the City of San Antonio. We garner conference and convention business as well as tourism and leisure travel for the city.
Discover more at: www.visitsanantonio.com
Oliver Steck, Musican Austin TX
Oliver has been a musician, actor, and an entertainer his entire life. Located in Austin, Tx, he plays with dozens of bands in different styles, and as a solo entertainer.
Oliver Steck Entertainment is about giving you the entertainment you want or need, delivered. Weather it’s wallpaper music as you dine with a loved one, a singing telegram written and delivered in song to someone’s door, or leading a parade down your street, Oliver Steck Entertainment is ready to do provide entertainment. “My goal is to make people’s lives at least a little better, for at least a little while.”
Discover more at: Oli-Steck.com
Linsey Lindberg, AOE owner & founder, is an entertainment veteran. As a touring variety artist Linsey performed for 15 years in over 15 countries at special events, festivals, circus, cabaret, TV and shows around the globe. Linsey holds 5 Guinness World Records for feats of strength and has been a recognized icon for women’s empowerment. Linsey was named to More Magazine’s Top 50 Fierce Women List alongside such notable women as Opera Winfrey, Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga & Ariana Huffington. Today Linsey calls San Antonio, Texas home and is the managing owner, head costumer and visionary for Artisan Oddities.
Artisan Oddities & Entertainment, Central Texas
Artisan Oddities is the most celebrated specialty entertainment agency in the South West. From our costumed entertainment and an in-house costume shop, to our dedicated sales and production team, AOE is the go-to for immersive entertainment that stands leagues beyond the rest. Known as “The Vogue of Entertainment,” our uncompromising commitment to quality, style, and forward-moving creativity means that we are on the vanguard, setting pace for high-end entertainment. When you desire entertainment that is both exciting and out of the ordinary, AOE is the trusted source for quality and delivery.
Discover more at: ArtisanOddities.com
Hayden Lockaby is Senior Director of Business Development at RED VELVET, a full-service live & digital experience agency based in Austin, Texas. She has more than 20 years experience of cross-category experience in integrated media channels including traditional, social, experiential, events and business-to-business.
Red Velvet is a full-service creative events, experiences and activations agency calling Austin, Texas home since 2002. RED VELVET partners with corporations to create international award-winning event experiences of all shapes and sizes. The team’s strength is in listening to clients’ goals and translating those into incredible interactive & creative event experiences – enjoyable for the planners and memorable for the attendees. No event too small (and no budget too large!).
Discover more at: RedVelvetEvents.com
Dr. Stephie Althouse has 20+ years of C-level leadership experience, a Ph.D. in chemistry, a sharp analytical mind, and a caring heart. She acts as a Thinking Partner to business owners and CEOs and guides them to increased revenues and profits. Her Brilliance Extraction process allows her clients to scale their companies fast. It is also vital for business sustainability and for transferring ownership.
“I always welcome a call to see how I can be of help!” – Dr. Stephie
We leverage your brilliance and make it immortal. We work with innovative CEOs and founders who want sustainable growth and profit and who need time-saving tools for scaling their companies. We also guide business owners who want to ensure their legacy and create an exit strategy.
For listeners of the Emerging Texas Strong Podcast mention your heard Dr. Stephie on the show and receive one free 30-minute consultation; we also offer the kick-start month for Brilliance Extraction for only $1500 (50% off from starter package) – ETS listeners get access to this offer for all of 2021; discounts for the Top-Notch CEO community and the Brilliance Club are 10% for one year! You can get the offers that are not on our webpage by calling us at 760-707-9977.
As we evolve from a thinking economy to an emotional economy…we need both IQ and EQ.Marcel Brunel, Brunel Group, LLC
Your Mindset + Your Skillset = Your Craft
I wake up everyday and attempt to be grateful, proud, and excited. The biggest thing about me is that I was born and built to enable others to ensure that the best day they have ever had…is one that is still out ahead of them. We all have living problems…let’s help each other find living answers.
Brunel Group, LLC
Emotional intelligence is safely exploring the invisible that eventually makes the visible difference. Self awareness, others awareness, and intentionallity better enable people, working, together. Everything looks good on paper until people get involved. How are you showing up? People. Pressure. Personality.
Discover more at: The Brunel Group.com
Shane is the Director of Loyalty & Business Development for the Texas Travel Alliance where he oversees all aspects of Membership and Partnership opportunities for the organization that works to strengthen travel in Texas. Shane has spent most of his career in the travel and tourism sector, working for three different cities in Texas before his current role, where he worked to drive tourism and conventions to those communities. In his side-hustle time, Shane and his husband Thomas are converting a 100+ year-old family homestead into a wedding venue in Rockne, Texas.
Texas Travel Alliance
The Texas Travel Alliance is the primary advocate and voice for the Texas travel industry, representing a diverse membership of Texas travel destinations, accommodations, attractions, transportation, travel publications and support businesses. We deliver exceptional value through member-driven public policy initiatives, networking opportunities, and professional development, all designed to strengthen our members and position the industry for success today and in the future
Discover more at: TTIA.org
Brad Wuest is President and a third-generation co-owner of Natural Bridge Caverns. He is very involved in the travel industry serving on a number of boards and currently serves as the President of the International Show Cave Association. Brad is an avid caver always looking for the path less traveled to discover new underground passages and go where no man has gone before. All the while, his main role is Dad to three young ladies and one rambunctious son, he hopes they all will take interest and love the cave life as much as he does. He could not do any of this without the love and support of his beautiful and intelligent wife, Lexi, who serves an important role at the caverns in addition to keeping the children corralled.
Natural Bridge Caverns
Natural Bridge Caverns is one of the largest show caves in the United States located in San Antonio, Texas with over 300,000 visitors each year. Discover more under the earth’s surface, take a cave tour with state-of-the-art lighting, ancient formations still in the making, from the tiny delicate soda straws to the gigantic columns, it is Naturally Amazing. Above ground, find your way through our 5,000 square foot maze or soar through the sky on our zip rails on the Twisted Trails Adventure Course.
Discover more at: naturalbridgecaverns.com
Laurie has been president and co-owner of Ultimate Ventures, a DMC Network company, in Dallas/Fort Worth for 28 years. In 2020, she and her business partner launched Ultimate Kits™, a turnkey resource providing curated and custom virtual meeting kits as well as various themed corporate kits to create connections with customers and employees. Laurie serves as Chair of the Texas Live Events Coalition, founded in response to the 2020 pandemic, as well as on the leadership councils of both VisitDallas and the Texas National Federation of Independent Business.
Ultimiate Ventures & Ultimate Kits
Whether you are meeting face-to-face, virtually, or hybrid, our “Ultimate Suite of Services” has you covered. Ultimate Ventures (UV), a premier destination management and corporate events company in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, offers a full range of services including special events, team-building, group excursions, and transportation logistics. Our sister company, Ultimate Kits, collaborates with you to create event-quality experiences in a box that ship right to your audience’s doorstep.
Listeners of the Emerging Texas Strong podcast can mention they heard Anthony on the podcast and receive Two, additional hours for your wedding, business, or other event.
Discover more at: ChristianEllisImages.com
I’ve dedicated over 10 years to creating super dope videos and photographs. I am most passionate about maintaining positive relationships with clients. I am a geek when it comes to lighting.
Christian Ellis Images
We offer polished, professional cinematography and photography services. We work with a variety of clients: broadcast, weddings, small businesses, and events.
Discover more at: sasbdc.org
My name is Amir Lang, I’m a business Advisor with the Small Business Development Center at UTSA. I have 2 years of experience working with farmers and agricultural companies prior to my current job of working with entrepreneurs and small businesses here in San Antonio, Texas.
Small Business Development Center
in San Antonio
Since 1987, UTSA SBDC has given back to the business community and helped to shape the economic future of entrepreneurs by facilitating the creation, expansion and retention of businesses through no cost, one-on-one business advising and workshops. We assist with obtaining access to capital, and referrals to other valuable resources for prospective and existing business owners.
Small business owner looking for positive ways to thrive!
Best Western Regency Inn & Suites and The Texas Lodge
Hospitality in Texas! We want your stay with us to be like home away from home!
For listeners of the Emerging Texas Strong Podcast mention your heard Meena on the show upon check in, for special treat!
Caring for Texas for more than
As the leader of the workers’ compensation market, Texas Mutual is committed to building a stronger, safer Texas. We were created in 1991 to offer a stable, competitive source of workers’ compensation. Our mono-line focus has allowed us to excel in the industry. We exist to protect businesses, promote safe environments and help ensure Texas workers get home safely to their families.
More than 70,000 policyholders trust us to care for their 1.5 million workers. We take this very seriously and have a relentless dedication to provide the type of coverage and services that honors their trust. No matter what the future brings, our goal is to provide a seamless, best-in-class experience for employers and their workforces.
The company provides a stable, competitive source of workers’ compensation insurance for Texas employers, acts as the insurer of last resort, and helps to prevent on-the-job injuries and illnesses and minimizes their consequences.
We will build a stronger, safer Texas by being the model provider of workers’ compensation insurance through innovative, responsive partnerships with our customers, communities and each other.
Integrity: We, as responsible stewards of the company’s mission and assets, adhere to high ethical standards.
• Service: We provide excellent service to our customers.
• Safety: We put employee safety first.
• Respect: We treat each other and our stakeholders with dignity and respect.
• Effectiveness: We use our resources effectively.
• Teamwork: We work together to achieve common goals.
• Innovation: We encourage initiative and embrace change in a dynamic business environment.
Discover more at: TexasMutual.com
Our Diversity Promise: One of the founding principles of the Emerging Texas Strong podcast is that a rising tide lifts all boats. We stand by this commitment by ensuring that we bring a diversity of voices and perspectives to the conversation to represent the many backgrounds, sexual orientations, religious affiliations, sex, race, national origin, disability status, sexual orientation and any other diverse characteristic that we find in business owners in the great State of Texas. We believe that not only is this project enriched by the input of each contributor, but also that the collective representation of diverse business owners and experts will encourage young emerging entrepreneurs and professionals as they set out on their own journeys’ to become the future leaders of Texas.