Profile on Incline Star Follies Board Member Wendy Mueller

8 Oct 2008 - 3:40pm

Mother, businesswoman and community volunteer who always finds time to take a walk and eat an apple every day.


North Tahoe Bonanza, Jean Eick

When asked about her hobbies, Wendy Mueller laughed, saying: “With working full time and two kids, who has time for a hobby?”

Working mothers everywhere can certainly relate to that feeling. But Mueller’s life has always been busy.

Born in the heartland
Mueller was born in Kansas City, Kan., but actually grew up and attended school in Colorado Springs, Colo.

During her senior year of high school, Mueller was selected to become a debutante, an old world tradition started in England. It has been a special tradition for young women in many cities throughout the United States since 1748.

Young women, invited to be debutantes during their senior year in high school and selected by a group of local women, are given training in philanthropic, civic and social responsibilities and then presented at a social ball as a debutante.
“They are selected based on the individual attributes of the young woman and her parents,” Mueller said.

Since 1967 this tradition, started by a group of local women in Colorado Springs, has raised more than $370,000 in support of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.
When a young woman is invited to become a debutante, there is only one round of selection. No one is selected as an alternate or replacement if someone is unable to accept. If one daughter in a family is selected as a debutante, all other daughters in that family also will be selected.

“My older sister was a debutante, so I knew that I would be one too,” said Mueller.
The spectacular debutante ball is held during the winter for young women who are freshmen in college. The event is held in the ballroom at the posh resort, The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.

During the summer months the young women must attend social and mannerism classes and other special events. For the ball, each young woman must wear a formal white gown.

“When the debutantes are presented to society they walk down with their father to do a curtsy and two young men follow,” Mueller said. “I was accompanied by my Swiss boyfriend, Stephen Kuster, and family friend, Brian Moon.”

When the debutante curtsies, the three men all bow. Because this is such a special old world tradition, Mueller would like to someday see the tradition come to Incline Village.

“My hope is that someday we will hold a debutante ball in Incline,” she said.

‘I had a big win’
During her high school years, Mueller played tennis. In fact, she was so good she finished third in the state tournament.

“I had a big win to get third,” she remembered.

For college, Mueller chose Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill.
“I was recruited for tennis on a full tennis scholarship. I liked the coach and my other teammates,” she said.

Mueller played tennis for all four years of college.

“I played no. 3 singles as a freshman, no. 2 singles as a sophomore and in my junior and senior year, played no. 1 singles,” she said. “It was the most wonderful experience. ... I also have a lot of respect for college athletes as it takes a lot of balancing.”

But college for Mueller involved working hard on academics as well.

“My defining moment in college was in one of my classes as either a freshman or sophomore. I took an accounting class and the teacher asked who wanted to be a CPA,” she said. “Maybe seven hands went up, but mine was not one.”

Even though she felt she did not have enough confidence to consider becoming a CPA, Mueller continued accounting classes and soon excelled.

By the time she graduated, Mueller was president of the accounting society, Beta Alpha Psi and Accounting Society, and received the awards of Accounting Senior of the Year and Outstanding College of Business Student of the Year.

“I’m very proud of these awards,” Mueller said. Today all of the awards are displayed in Mueller’s office.

Life in the real world
After graduating with a degree in accounting and aviation management, Mueller accepted a job with the accounting firm of Coopers & Lybrand in St. Louis. She had been thinking about going to work for McDonnell Douglas but chose public accounting instead.

“It is more encompassing to work in public accounting,” said Mueller.
When Mueller moved to St. Louis, she met her husband, JJ.

“He was working as a consultant with Coopers & Lybrand at the time and saw my picture on the wall,” she said. Later, when JJ took a job in Houston, she also transferred to the Houston office.

The couple were married in 1997 and both continued to work with Coopers & Lybrand until 1998, when they joined Acquisition Partners, Inc.

“That job brought us to Laguna Beach, Calif.,” Mueller said.

Again both Mueller and her husband worked for the same company.
“While living in Laguna Beach, we heard about a little place at Lake Tahoe called Incline Village,” Mueller said.

They located a Realtor in Incline Village on the Internet, and flew to Incline Village in January of 1999.

They met the local realtor, Shahri Masters, found a place that weekend and made an offer that was accepted.

“Our plan was to have the home here as a home base,” Mueller said.

But one day Mueller met a local that knew Bill Crandall, an Incline Village accountant.

“The next thing he called me and I went to work for him in Incline.”

Mueller worked with Crandall from 2000 until she left his firm in 2004. At that time she already had one child and was expecting her second.

“I started my own firm late in 2004,” Mueller said. “Now I have seven employees, and just started another company that is acquiring creditor debt through bankruptcies.”

An apple, and a walk, a day
In the midst of all her professional life, Mueller still manages to stay healthy.

“I always have an apple on my desk,” she said. “I take a walk a day and eat an apple a day.”

She wants to keep her own CPA firm small enough so that she is able to give her clients good service.

“I really enjoy Incline and working with the people,” Mueller said.

But she also serves the community by being on the board of the Parasol Community Foundation and is the Treasurer for The Incline Star Follies.

“I like them both,” she said. “I really enjoy the Parasol board.”

And Mueller really enjoys life in Incline Village.

“This is where we want to raise our children,” she said. “It’s nice to go into the grocery store and see people I know.”

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