Shaping: Houston
Telling the stories of the bold individuals who are shaping and influencing the culture of Houston.
Shaping: Houston
Author: Sponsored Content - Houston Area Cadillac Dealers
Published: 6:05 PM CDT April 11, 2016
Updated: 11:51 AM CST November 12, 2019
COMMUNITY 5 Articles

From fashion designers to restaurateurs, musical ensembles to entrepreneurs, Shaping:Houston tells the stories of those who are influencing the cultural landscape of Houston.

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Shaping: Houston

COMMUNITY
Chapter 1

Julie Friedman

A mom on a mission, Julie Friedman turned her search for quality sensory therapy into a rapidly growing business. See how she’s mixing up stimulating sensory play with Young, Wild and Friedman.



Chapter 2

Veronica Solomon

With hard work, dedication, and stacks of fabric books, Veronica Solomon is creating unique and memorable interiors in West Houston. See how she's transforming both living spaces and lives with Casa Vilora Interiors.



Chapter 3

Mike T. Brown

The tech startup scene doesn’t have many black faces, but Mike T. Brown and his Win-Win startup look to change that. A self-made entrepreneur, see how he's using gaming to make donating to charity more fun and engaging.


Chapter 4

Christina Wells

Ready or not, Christina Wells is coming to show that anyone who believes in themselves can make it in showbiz. See how this singer/songwriter is inspiring the world with her powerhouse voice and heartfelt message.

Chapter 5

Jenny Sanchez

Fueled by her love of dance and the desire to inspire people through health and fitness, Jenny Sanchez left a successful career in oil and gas and founded Dance House Fitness. See how the Houston-based "Fitista" is empowering people to become the best version of themselves.

Carlos Salazar

As a child, Carlos Salazar's family moved to the U.S. in hopes of finding a better life in the land of opportunities. See how he shares that message of hope and hard work with his students through his educational book Yo Soy Americano. #ShapingHouston


Mike Malkemes

Mike Malkemes is on a mission to combat poverty and gang violence by empowering children to realize their fullest potential. See how he's bringing life-changing early childhood education to Houston's Third Ward at Generation One.


Estela Cockrell

Estela Cockrell is a lawyer turned entrepreneur, and at the heart of everything – a mom on a mission to make clean living easier. See how she is making it easier for others to buy clean products and purify their lives with Switch2Pure.

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Estela Cockrell is on a mission to make it easier for others to buy clean products and purify their lives.

Morgan and Andy Sommer

Morgan and Andy Sommer left their traditional careers behind to pursue their shared dream of bringing an “artisan outpost” to Houston. See how these partners in life and business are lifting up the maker community at Forth and Nomad in the Heights.

Grant Pinkerton

Grant Pinkerton knew early on he had a passion for making first-class barbecue for his friends and family. See how this Texas-born and bred Pitmaster is serving up mouthwatering brisket, sausage and sides at Pinkerton’s Barbecue.

Rachael Volz

Through hard work and dedication, Rachael Volz worked her way up from the reception desk at A Fare Extraordinaire to become Owner and CEO. See how this fourth-generation Houstonian is using her fire and passion to reimagine the luxury event planning industry and make moments that last a lifetime.

Robert Jucker

The son of Polish immigrants, Robert Jucker has kneaded his historical family establishment, Three Brothers Bakery, into the folds of an ever-changing food world. See how this fifth-generation baker is remaining true to his roots while serving up some of Houston's finest baked goods.

Zach Ruhl

Zack Ruhl has never let anything hold him back – not even a birth defect that left him without the use of his legs. See how this adaptive CrossFitter is shattering both expectations and bench-press records at the same time.

Libby Koch

Libby Koch started performing music while in law school, but she never imagined it would become more than just a hobby. See how this lawyer-turned-musician is treading her own path in the Americana music scene using her classic country voice.

Ryan Baird

Their signature product may be Outlaw Bourbon, but there’s nothing criminal about Yellow Rose Distilling. See how co-founder Ryan Baird brought Houston’s first legal whiskey distillery to life.

Gilbert Perez 

Where many people see a teardown, designer Gilbert Perez sees opportunity. See how the founder of Bungalow Revival is restoring the roots of the Historic Heights neighborhood one home at a time.



Veronica Rademacher



Gaurav Khandelwal

Immigrating from India to the US in 1997, Gaurav Khandelwal did everything from sell kitchen knives to deliver pizza to pay for his undergraduate degree in computer science. See how his hard work lead him to create one of Houston’s fastest growing tech companies, ChaiOne.













Work Hard, Live Well – that’s the mantra Travis Weaver has lived by since he set out to create Manready Mercantile. See how this Texas native is bringing locally crafted, high quality goods and apparel to Houston’s historic Heights neighborhood.













What started off as a creative outlet to decompress from her daily life as a NICU nurse, turned into an treasured career designing hand-made, custom jewelry for women of all ages. Now, see how Jennifer Welker is weaving her way into Houston’s fashion scene with Golden Thread.













After an illness left him legally blind, Charlie Hardwick’s career as a graphic designer not only continued, it flourished. See how this innovative artist took adversity head on to create remarkable designs, posters and more at Uncle Charlie Art.













When Judy Camarena took over the family business in 2004, she set out to breathe new life into a renowned Houston franchise. See how she is putting her unique spin on traditional Mexican cuisine at Taquerias Arandas.













Rassul Zarinfar is shaking up the way people experience beer at Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. See how this poet-turned-entrepreneur is putting his own creative spin on the craft beer scene in Houston












Manabu Horiuchi

Following his profound passion for cooking, Chef Manabu Horiuchi (Chef Hori) came to the United States without knowing a word of English. See how this renowned Chef is shaking up traditional Japanese cuisine in Houston at Kata Robata Sushi + Grill.













Denise Hamilton














Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram 













Danielle Johnston

At age 19, Danielle Johnston's world was shaken when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and soon after lost her mother to cancer. Now a 10-year cancer survivor, see how she's helping others in their fights against cancer at Texas Children's Cancer Center.













Onyii Brown











Anat Ronen

Embarking on a daring career in a new country, Anat Ronen took a leap of faith to find safety and security for her family. See how this muralist is painting a bright and vibrant future for the City of Houston.










Zeljko Pavlovic 

A profound love for music and family drove Zeljko Pavlovic to succeed when the world was crumbling around him. See how this incredible instrumentalist created a place for musicians of all ages to develop and thrive in the Vivaldi Music Academy.











David Buehrer