Melissa feels driven to help people find their inner drive for change. She enjoys showing individuals and families that they can change their perceptions, and as a result, make new and different choices for themselves. The process of walking along side an individual or a family as they find themselves empowered to make change and redefine themselves, essentially walking through the fear and unknown by tapping into their inner resources is a remarkable process to witness and finds the reward in helping people find the compassion, courage, resilience, creativity and wisdom that we all possess.
Melissa attended Illinois State University, receiving her undergraduate degree in Recreation and Park Administration, and going on to become a Recreation Therapist. After working with multiple special populations, including HIV/AIDS impacted families, pediatric wards of the state and children at the Jewish Community Center in Louisville KY, she became weary of working when everyone else was recreating. In 1993 she went to work for Catalyst Benefits, Inc. in Northbrook, where, among other positions, she was the National Director of Marketing and Business Development. In this role, Melissa travelled the country and worked with hospital aging affinity programs on how to better serve their aging population. As a prolific public speaker, Melissa addressed large groups of aging adults on the topic of long term care planning. She trained, supervised and managed a national team of experts on case management, long term planning and family intervention.
While working full time at Catalyst, Melissa became involved with the nationally recognized woman’s organization, Woman Within. It is here she began her training in conflict resolution, communication skills and empowerment. In 2007 she began serving a two-year term as President of Woman in Circle, the local chapter of WWI. Through her involvement with this organization, Melissa found her calling as a facilitator for change; leading trainings and workshops on communication, conflict resolution and process work.
In 2009, Melissa received a graduate degree in Counseling from National Louis Universty and began a full time career as a clinical counselor. Melissa takes great pride in enjoying the most difficult of cases. Although she has clinical training with sex offenders, domestic violence offenders, trauma, substance abuse and personality disorders, the primary focus of her practice is on adults, relationships, couples counseling and divorce. In almost all of the work she does with families, her conflict resolution skills have been a key factor in the parties working through their issues and coming together to reach resolution.
Melissa received her Mediation training from Northwestern University, and her Collaborative Law training from the Collaborative Law Institute of IL. Along with being a Counselor and a Mediator, she is a Collaborative Law fellow serving as a Divorce Coach in the Collaborative Divorce process. Melissa is also an Adjunct Professor at her Alma Mater, National Louis University.
She is fully committed to changing the way divorce happens and leaving families in tact. Melissa enjoys co-mediating with professionals who share her philosophy and for which she has great working relationships.