Wellness House Staff


Jeannie Cella, MS, LCPC, President, Chief Executive Officer


Jeannie Cella has been the Executive Director of Wellness House since September of 2000 and has recently become President, CEO.  Prior to holding that position, Jeannie served in multiple roles within Wellness House,  beginning in 1990 when she worked as a student intern while working toward her Master of Science degree in Counseling Psychology at Benedictine University. Throughout her tenure at Wellness House, Jeannie has served as Program Coordinator, Associate Director of Program and Program Director. Currently, Jeannie is also Treasurer of the Cancer Health Alliance of Metropolitan Chicago—an alliance of independent cancer support organizations in the Chicagoland area.



Gaye E. Preston, Director of Finance & Operations


Gaye joined Wellness House in October of 2014 as the Director of Finance and Operations.  Gaye’s responsibilities in finance and operations include accounting, financial management and reporting, risk management, facilities management and information technology.  Gaye comes to Wellness House with over 20 years of experience in this role in non-profit organizations.  Gaye received her Master’s in Management studies from the Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management. 



Lisa Kolavennu, LCPC, Senior Director of Programs


Lisa is a licensed professional clinical counselor.  She holds a Master of Arts Degree in Counseling Psychology from Loyola University of Chicago. Lisa joined the staff of Wellness House in 2007 as the Director of Program Evaluation and became the Director of Programs in 2008. As the Director of Programs, Lisa oversees all of the programs at Wellness House, including development, evaluation, and outreach activities. Prior to Wellness House, Lisa worked in both hospital and community settings with individuals with chronic health issues. Lisa currently is a member of the American Psychosocial Oncology Society.


Michael Williams, PsyD,  Senior Oncology Support Counselor


Michael is a licensed clinical psychologist who has worked with people with cancer and their families since the early 1990’s at both Wellness House and in hospital settings.  Michael facilitates weekly support groups including the Wednesday evening Cancer Support Group for men and women with cancer, the Friday morning drop in group Living with Recurrent and Metastatic Cancer, for men and women whose cancer has returned or spread-adult family members are very welcome in this group, and our Bereavement Groups. He also facilitates the monthly Leukemia and Lymphoma Networking Group. 


Jenna S. Kiel, Psy.D, Support and Family Programs Manager



Jenna is a licensed clinical psychologist; she received her degree from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology in Chicago.  She joined the Wellness House staff in 2016 and oversees the Support and Family Programs.  Jenna has several years of experience in working with individuals who have been impacted by cancer as well as those who have experienced other traumas.  She is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR); she also utilizes mindfulness and other forms of meditation in her direct work with participants.  Jenna is currently a member of the American Psychosocial Oncology Society.



Tracy Lester, MS ACSM/ACS CET, ACE Health Coach, RYT, Wellness and Education Programs Manager


As Wellness and Education Programs Manager, Tracy oversees the Healthy Living, Stress Management and Information and Education programs at Wellness House.  Tracy joined Wellness House as Healthy Living Program Coordinator in 2011.  She became Healthy Living Program Manager in 2013 and Wellness and Education Programs Manager in 2015.  Tracy is an ACSM/ACS Certified Cancer Exercise Trainer, ACE Certified Health Coach and Registered Yoga Teacher with a Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology from Illinois State University and a Bachelor’s degree in Community Health Education from the University of Illinois.  Tracy’s past career experience includes working as a Wellness Program Manager, Corporate Wellness Coach, Fitness Coordinator and Yoga Instructor.


Amanda Woods, MS,  Oncology Exercise Specialist


Amanda graduated with a Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology from Benedictine University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science from Elmhurst College.  Amanda joined Wellness House in 2013 as the Healthy Living Program Associate.  In addition to teaching several exercise classes, Amanda is responsible for the Exercise, Fitness Assessment, and Mind Body Movement Programs at Wellness House.  Amanda’s past career experience includes working in a hospital setting in Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation as well an outpatient physical therapy rehabilitation aide.


Jeri Lau, ACSM/ACS CET, CETI CES Oncology Exercise Specialist


Jeri came to Wellness House in 2005 upon completion of her certification as an Oncology Exercise Specialist through the Cancer Exercise Training Institute. She brought with her an idea to start an exercise program called Pink Ribbon Fitness to help empower people dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis. With the success of this program and the growing exercise program at Wellness House, she was offered the opportunity to facilitate many other exercise classes of varying levels. Since 2005, Jeri has worked as a contractual employee and in 2015 joined the Wellness House staff full-time as an Oncology Exercise Specialist. In addition to teaching exercise classes, Jeri is responsible for conducting fitness assessments and exercise consultations. Outside of Wellness House, Jeri works as an ACE/NASM- certified personal trainer and ISSA Specialist in Senior Fitness.


Angela Dennison, RD, LDN, Oncology Dietitian



After spending time at Wellness House as an intern, Angela joined staff, in July 2016. Angela graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from Benedictine University. Angela came to Wellness House with over 10 years of experience in the natural and organic food industry with experience running wellness programs, hosting cooking classes and offering community presentations on healthy eating. As the Oncology Dietitian, Angela will provide one on one nutrition consultations, cooking classes and on-going nutrition support and education. She is a firm believer in the healing properties in food and incorporates a strong message of focusing on nourishment.


Jadyn Chipman, Oncology Exercise Specialist



Jadyn first came to Wellness House in May 2016 as an exercise intern while finishing her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from Illinois State University. Following her internship, she joined staff as a part-time Oncology Exercise Specialist, in August 2016. She has past experience teaching group exercise classes, conducting fitness assessments, and facilitating research studies on the effectiveness and reliability of physical activity monitors. She has a passion for educating and supporting others to live a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle.


Valerie Piazza, RN,MA, LCPC, C-MI, Senior Oncology Support Counselor


Valerie's strong belief in providing a more holistic approach to patients diagnosed with cancer led her to obtain a Master’s in Counseling in 2005 after working for 30 years as a nurse. Having worked at The University of Chicago Hospital’s Breast Center for 7 years, coordinating the care of newly diagnosed women, she is able to understand and incorporate both the physical and psychosocial aspects of working with her clients. She believes that treatment should include not only physical care, but also emotional, psychosocial and spiritual dimensions in order to heal and live fully wherever one is in their cancer journey. She works with people diagnosed with cancer, caregivers and bereaved individually, in addition to facilitating a variety of support groups.


Chelsea Yoo, MS, CCLS, Oncology Child Life Specialist


Chelsea received her Master's Degree in Child Life from Bank Street College of Education in New York, NY and is a Certified Child Life Specialist.  In her role at Wellness House, Chelsea will support children and their families impacted by cancer through youth groups, parent education, individual family consultations and bereavement support. 


Maigenete Mengesha, Counseling Psychology PhD, Oncology Support Counselor


Maigenete is a counseling psychologist.  She holds a Masters in Counseling Psychology and a PhD in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin Madison.  Her dissertation focused on the role of spirituality in the relief seeking experience of women with depression.  Maigenete joined Wellness House in April 2014 as a Program Associate.  She will be facilitating weekly Support and Networking groups.  Maigenete operates from a multicultural, humanistic, and systems approach in working with cancer patients as well as family and loved ones in an effort to offer healing though the cancer experience.  Prior to Wellness House, Maigenete worked with a racial and ethnically diverse population in community mental health, hospital and behavioral health settings with individuals, couples, families and groups with a range of psychosocial, psycho-oncology, and physical health issues.  Maigenete is a member of the American Psychology Association.


Dana Donahue, LCSW, Oncology Support Counselor


Dana is a licensed clinical social worker who obtained her Masters Degree in Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University.  She has over 18 years of experience working with children, families, and adults in a variety of settings including child welfare, community mental health, and hospitals. At Wellness House, Dana provides individual and family counseling, parent consultations, and facilitates several support and bereavement groups. 


Ellen Nieman, LSW, Oncology Support Navigator



Ellen joined Wellness House in February 2016 as the Oncology Social Work Navigator.  She earned a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Saint Louis University, and a Master of Social Work, and Master of Pastoral Ministry from Boston College.  In her role, she will provide information and support to participants as they enter programs at Wellness House and she will provide connections to community resources as needed.


Kelli Mitchell, Program Development Specialist



Kelli joined Wellness House in April 2015 as Program Development Specialist. In this role, Kelli develops and maintains relationships with community partners in order to advance the Wellness Beyond Walls program initiative and to increase awareness of and referrals to Wellness House programs. Kelli identifies and assesses community organizations for collaboration potential and develops and launches plans for program partnerships.

A dynamic and engaging communicator and natural-born connector, Kelli’s diverse experience prior to joining Wellness House includes communications, sales, marketing/advertising, graphic design and education. Kelli holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Visual Communication from Northern Illinois University.


Nathaniel Tann, Oncology Education Associate



Nathaniel joined Wellness House as an Oncology Education Associate in August 2015. In this role he will support and facilitate informational and educational events, work closely with the Wellness Tune-Up program, manage the Wellness House Library, and support the Healthy Living Program staff. Nathaniel has a background working in health department and hospital settings before joining the Wellness House staff. He has an interest and passion for community outreach and empowering individuals to achieve wellness in their lives. Nathaniel graduated with a master’s degree in public health from the University of New England and a bachelor’s degree in psychology and biology from Goshen College. 


Development & Marketing

Mary Kreller, Director of Development & Marketing



Mary brings a variety of for-profit and not-for-profit experiences to her role as Director of Development and Marketing. She has broad corporate experience in a major healthcare company including partnership and relationship building with oncology patient support and advocacy groups. She has served as President of the Board of Directors at an organization providing academic and social support to Chicago high school students. Mary is currently working towards a fundraising professional certificate through Northwestern University.


Annie Palubicki, Manager of Special Events & Annual Giving


Annie is a development professional with a decade of experience in the non-profit sector.  She completed her undergraduate degree at Ball State University and earned her Master’s degree from DePaul University. Prior to joining the Wellness House team in January 2015, Annie worked for international organizations on annual giving campaigns, and she spent four years at another cancer organization managing their walk program.  She enjoys engaging volunteers and participants in events and development.  Annie manages the Walk for Wellness House (May), the Wellness House Ball (October) and the annual campaign.


Alice Fillers, Development & Marketing Assistant



Alice joined Wellness House in November 2015 as Development and Marketing Associate. She brings four years experience in non-profit database administration with a focus on Development and fundraising support. Alice also has a corporate background as a Business Analyst in the financial services industry where she handled federal monetary electronic data exchange, and client technical support. At Wellness House her duties include donation processing, donor correspondence and record keeping. Alice provides team support to Development and Marketing, Special Events and Annual Giving, and is motivated to help Wellness House reach fund its raising goals.


Caly Meyers, PhD, Volunteer and Human Resource manager



As the Volunteer Coordinator/HR Manager, Caly organizes and supports volunteers across programs. Caly also champions the staff at Wellness house: recruiting new people, training staff, and providing development opportunities.  Caly joined Wellness house in 2016. Caly holds a BA in Psychology from Illinois Wesleyan University, a MA in Clinical-Counseling from Chicago School of Psychology, and a PhD in Community Psychology from National Louis University. Before joining the team, Caly worked as a Recruiter for a marketing agency, as a Mental Health Counselor, and as a Program Development/Evaluation Associate for various community organizations. Caly’s focus is on building supportive communities, within Wellness House and for our volunteers.


Beth Possley, Program Associate


Beth joined Wellness House in 2004 after working at Jenny Craig for 13 years. She became interested in Wellness House after forming a chapter of a foundation for cancer research in memory of a friend. Beth has held positions in Development and Administration and currently assists in Program. In her current role, she manages and maintains the Wellness House database in addition to providing program support. Beth has a Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics.


Barb Kilkus, Engagement Coordinator



Barb has a BS in Medical Dietetics from University of Illinois at the Chicago Medical Center.  She has a varied background working in different healthcare and corporate settings always with a focus on service excellence.  Barb is thrilled to be able to apply her talents and skills to the Engagement Coordinator position.  She will be responsible for administrative support for participants and staff.  She looks forward to combining her efforts with the talented volunteer staff to warmly welcome all who come thru the Wellness House doors.


The Courtyard

Marna L. Slawson, Courtyard Manager


Marna graduated with a B.S.N. degree from Alverno College, and an M.B.A. with emphasis in non-profit management from North Central College, Naperville, Illinois. Before joining Wellness House Marna served as the Executive Director at Cancer Support Center, Director of Administration and Assessment at Wellness House and Chief Operating Officer of Medicare Services, Crescent Counties Foundation for Medical Care. Marna’s responsibilities include managing the Courtyard volunteers and day to day operations.

Wellness House 131 N. County Line Road Hinsdale, IL 60521   Phone: (630) 323-5150   Fax: (630) 654-5345
Hours: Monday-Thursday 9:00 a.m. - 8:30 p.m., Friday 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Saturday 8:30 a.m. -11:30 a.m.
Copyright 2012 Wellness House, All Rights Reserved Wellness House is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

Wellness House Program Sponsors:

Bear Necessities
Chicago Board of Trade
The Coleman Foundation
The Donald P. and Byrd M. Kelly Foundation
The Greer Foundation
The Grover Hermann Foundation
Illinois Children's Healthcare Foundation
The Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation
The Perlman Family Foundation