Our Staff

Katharina Zunk

Vice President of Operations

Katharina grew up in the northeastern area of Pennsylvania and New England. She relocated to South Florida at a young age and experienced first-hand a life in addiction and shortly after surrendered to a life in recovery.

Katharina has dedicated herself to serving the recovery community. She always volunteers her time to pay it forward and shares her story in hopes of saving others from the throes of addiction that almost took her own life.

Katharina has an extensive background in substance use disorder and mental health treatment. This, accompanied by her clear understanding of the 12 steps and recovery, has allowed her relentless pursuit in helping individuals struggling with addiction. She strives to let every individual know that they are taking the very first step in a life-changing journey – emphasizing how important that first step toward their new life truly is.

Katharina’s extensive operational, clinical, substance use disorder and mental health background allows her to help not only those who are suffering, but also their families suffering as well.

Katharina has led many great teams in the behavioral health field. She specializes is facility start-ups, team building, turnarounds, CARF, Joint Commission and compliance with all state and accrediting bodies’ standards.

Shawn Henderson, MBA

Executive Director

A native of western NC, Shawn earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in health from Appalachian State University.  This is where she met her husband, Steve, before they married and moved to Raleigh, NC. While in Raleigh, Shawn worked in healthcare as a manager with Interim Health, Raleigh Orthopaedic, and WakeMed hospital.  While working, she obtained her Master’s Degree in Business through Averett University in Danville, VA.

In 2010, Shawn returned the mountains of Western North Carolina with her husband, daughter and son, as a manager with Mission Children’s Hospital in Asheville. She managed several inpatient and outpatient programs, and in 2012, she presented the work of one of the grant-funded programs to the NC Institute of Medicine. Community advocacy and volunteerism has been an important part of Shawn’s life, and she has held several community volunteer and board member positions.  She joined Silver Ridge in May 2019, and is working towards becoming a Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor.  In her free time, Shawn enjoys spending time with her family and dogs, and exploring the beauty of western North Carolina.

Brenda Birdsall

Brenda Birdsall, LCMHCA, LCASA

Primary Therapist

Brenda Birdsall has worked in the field of well-being and personal development for over twenty years.  She received her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Western Carolina University, and has worked with adults who struggle with substance use, depression, anxiety, trauma and numerous other mental health issues.  In her counseling sessions, Brenda utilizes a holistic approach that incorporates a variety of therapeutic modalities, including acceptance & commitment therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and Gestalt therapy.  She works collaboratively with clients as they recognize and develop their inner strength and experience healing within themselves and in their relationships.  Brenda supports clients to discover a true sense of purpose, reclaim their authentic self and live a more fulfilling life.  In her free time, Brenda has fun playing pickleball, golfing, biking, hiking and spending quality time with her family.

Mackenzie Wilbourn

Makenzie Wilbourn, LCMHC, LCAS, CSI

Primary Therapist

Makenzie (she/her) has been working in the field of addictions and mental health counseling since 2019 after graduating from East Carolina University. She received her master’s degree in clinical counseling, and a bachelor of arts degree in psychology. Although her primary area of expertise is working with patients diagnosed with substance use disorders, she has a special interest in helping patients work through mood disorders, anxiety disorders, behavioral addictions and trauma.

Makenzie enjoys working from a holistic model, integrating the mind-body connection while working towards a life in recovery. As a therapist, she views her role as supportive and collaborative. She hopes to join alongside patients to navigate recovery, meet their own unique needs and build a life worth living.

After graduating in 2019, she relocated to the Asheville area from Apex, NC with her husband and their cat, Izzy. She enjoys spending time outdoors exploring nature, reading and cooking healthy meals.

Giovanni DeStefano

Giovanni De Stefano, LCMHCA

Therapist

Giovanni De Stefano (he/they/them, two-spirit) is a LCMHCA who began their career in community health as a volunteer for a nonprofit organization engaging with people living with HIV.  He continued his work at the organization for 5-years as a medical case manager.  An interest in mental health, substance use, aging and chronic diagnosis guided them to explore the field of therapy.  Giovanni received a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling through the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. He was an intern in Silver Ridge in 2021 and is thrilled to come full circle and begin his career as a counselor in Silver Ridge.

Giovanni’s therapeutic approach is humanistic in that the focus is a holistic approach that acknowledges free will, human potential and self-discovery.  He is trained in acceptance & commitment therapy (ACT).  Their areas of interest include: addiction and the displacement of the self, human behavior in relation to plagues, mental health through the multicultural lens, and the intersection of chronic diagnosis, mental health, substance use and aging.    His simple philosophical approach is, “Anything is possible in recovery.”

Giovanni is a father to an adorable dog by the name of Tucker.  They enjoy writing poetry and reading in their free time.  A native of the Andes Mountains of Bogota Colombia, he feels at home in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Terri Owens, CSAC, CPSS, QP

Terri Owens, CSAC, CPSS, QP

Aftercare Counselor

Terri began working in the addiction field offering support as a Certified Peer Support Specialist. Today she continues to use her lived experience as a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor to help others understand substance abuse in order to live their best life as a person in recovery.

Outside of work, Terri enjoys spending time with her grandson & passing along the traditions of her native Appalachian roots.