Nichol Holwege is the founder of Maple Lake Academy. Maple Lake Academy is a private residential treatment center working with adolescents on the autistic spectrum. Maple Lake Academy has a fully accredited high school on campus accredited by Cognia. Maple Lake Academy provides small classroom sizes allowing each student one-on-one time and attention as needed in the classroom. Maple Lake Academy individualizes its approach to each student based on their needs and the need of their family. Each child is different. As our clients learn and grow within the program, our desire is for them to gain independence and learn the skills they need to be successful once they leave our program. Our students become experts on their diagnosis and learn where their areas of struggle are, what they need in order to find success, and learn to use their words in order to advocate for others. Our students learn that their ways to success may look different to what others are doing. Our students may be with us for 12 to 18 months. Maple Lake Academy offers academics, therapeutic services, 24-hour residential support, group therapy, recreational therapy, equine therapy, and medical services.
Where did the idea for Maple Lake Academy come from?
Maple Lake Academy originated back in the early 2000’s when Nichol Holwege and Dr. Patti Hollenbeck-Dial were working together with adolescents in a residential treatment setting. Most of the clients were neurotypical. Dr. Hollenbeck-Dial who was working as a therapist at the time had a handful of students on her caseload that needed a more specialized program in order for them to be successful. As she began to study more and learn to read psychological testing, it was apparent that many of her clients were diagnosed with Aspergers, now known as autistic spectrum disorder. After several attempts to structure such a program within this residential setting it became clear that it was not feasible. Nichol and Patti began discussing the need for a residential treatment program for adolescents with Aspergers. A safe place where adolescents could learn and grow amongst a peer group with peers who were u=nderstanding and a staff on site with specialized training on how to work specifically with kids on the spectrum.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Nichol and Patti spend much of their day working with the management teams at Maple Lake Academy. Patti is over admissions of new students and Nichol oversees the day to day operations within each department at Maple Lake Academy.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Maple Lake Academy has a team of people that meet weekly to discuss new ideas as well as maintain the current operations that are in place. This team looks at what is going well, and what areas are in need of improvement or redesign.
What’s one trend that excites you?
One trend that Maple Lake Academy is seeing is the great success they are having with their clients. Many who have discharged the program are doing well and maintaining success with the new skills and insights they have learned while attending Maple Lake Academy.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Maple Lake Academy is open, honest, and straightforward.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t take things too personal.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Take time for self care.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Listening and seeking information has helped Maple Lake Academy grow. All of our clients are different and have different needs. Maple Lake Academy has always had the goal to help clients succeed.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Maple Lake Academy is part of an industry that has been under high scrutiny over the last several years. It has been difficult at times being put into one category or box. Each program is different. True there are some programs that aren’t great programs, but there are some that do great work and truly love what they do, and love their students. Maple Lake Academy is a program that truly cares and loves their students. Because of the great support of its current and past clients Maple Lake Academy has been able to overcome those challenges.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
A pair of shoes. Comfortable shoes make all the difference, especially on those long days where you are on your feet alot.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Love Microsoft Teams.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Five Dysfunctions of a Team. This book has some great insights into how a team should be, and requires each team member to do their part. It isn’t just up to a few people to make change or be the change, but everyone together. If you don’t have awareness of the areas your team is weak then you will struggle. This book helps each team really take a look at where their areas of weakness may be.
What is your favorite quote?
“One small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.”
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.