Meet The Team

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Clinical Team

Wellness Team

Administrative Team

Everybody deserves to feel like they have a place in this world and simply bee.  Our philosophy is to approach each client with authenticity and humility because we know everyone is fighting to find their best self. Everyday we sit alongside our clients and we find ways to accept life as it is, all while aiming for change that feels good and true. Our therapists specialize in cognitive strategies to navigate the paradox of change and acceptance all at the same time.

Meet The Clinical Team

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Audrey Grunst
Katie Klein
Eric Stevenson
Jacqueline Ritz
Kerry Ramirez
Annie Peck
Angel Arnold
Jennifer McAdams
Brittany Polacek
Emily Plesnicar

Audrey Grunst, LCSW CCM

Owner, Adolescent & Adult Therapist and Mental Performance Coach


Audrey Grunst is the owner and therapist at Simply Bee. Audrey earned her MSW at Loyola University Chicago in 2011 and is certified in Change Management from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. Audrey combines over 10 years of clinical experience with her business background to help others improve mental health including anxiety, perfectionism and performance. She is the owner of SHEBE, online community for female athletes and was the former mental performance coach for Northwestern Women’s Volleyball Program.
She presents on a variety of issues including emotional intelligence and anxiety management. Audrey has presented at over 100 different schools, nonprofits, and conferences.
Audrey has extensive training in skill based therapy including Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Exposure Response Prevention (ERP), Family-based Therapy for Anorexia, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). She uses these skills in her strategy formula to promote change.
Prior to Simply Bee, Audrey was a director at Eating Recovery Centers. While at ERC Insight, Audrey build several programs and managed a team of over 20 employees and two locations. She participated in a three-year study with University of Chicago, measuring the outcome of eating disorder treatment using FBT and DBT. Audrey was also a Division I volleyball player at Loyola University Chicago.
Athletes Mental Health Performance
Eating Disorder
Mood & Anxiety Disorder
Public Speaker
Speaker at AMLE National Conference. View full CV here.

Katie Klein, LCPC

Child, Adolescent & Young Adult Therapist

Katie is a Licensed Professional Counselor and earned her Master’s in Counseling and Art Therapy at Adler University. Katie enjoys working with children, adolescents, and adults utilizing both talk therapy and art therapy. She specializes in working with mood and anxiety, depression, LGBTQ+, behavioral issues, Adlerian parenting, self-esteem, and ADHD. She is passionate about supporting parents by utilizing Adlerian Parenting approaches.
Katie believes in providing a non judgmental and safe space for clients to work on becoming their best selves. She implements CBT, Art Therapy, Humanistic Therapy, and Person Centered Therapy tailored to each client’s unique needs. She believes that the therapeutic relationship fosters true growth and understanding of oneself to feel confident and capable to make positive changes in one’s life.


Co-Presenter of (free) Webinar: Supporting Transgender Youth


Anxiety Disorders
Behavioral Issues
ADHD/Differently Abled Learners
Adlerian Parenting

Eric Stevenson, MA, LPC

Mental Performance Coach

Adolescent & Young Adult Therapist

Eric is a licensed professional counselor who earned a Master’s degree in Counseling with a Specialization in Sport and Health Psychology from Adler University in Chicago. Eric is also a certified mental performance coach with the Association for Applied Sports Psychology (AASP).  Eric works with both athletes and nonathletes focusing on topics such as Anxiety, Depression, Self-esteem, Perfectionism, Sports Performance, Men’s Issues, and Life Transitions.  Eric’s strengths include working with reluctant clients and guarded teens.  By creating a warm and welcoming environment, utilizing humor, connection, and empathy, Eric is able to establish a relationship with the client allowing them to feel comfortable and to open themselves up to the therapeutic process.    
Eric uses a collaborative approach; seeing himself as a guide for his client’s work rather than doing the work for them.  Eric’s goal is to empower clients to become their authentic selves, increase their emotional intelligence, and live happier and healthier lives.  
Eric utilizes clinical approaches such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT), Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), and Mindfulness.
Co-Presenter of (free) Webinars: Professional Performance & Tips For Frustrated Parents 
Men’s Issues
Sports Performance
Life Transitions

Jacqueline Ritz, MA, LCPC

Adolescent, Young Adult & Adult Therapist

Jacqueline Ritz earned her Master's degree from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology/Argosy University, in Chicago. She believes the most essential element of therapy is developing a trusting, therapeutic alliance in order to facilitate change. Jacqueline specializes in integrated treatments for addressing co-occuring disorders. Jacqueline utilizes relational DBT/mindfulness-based techniques, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure prevention therapy and she offers genuine compassion, honesty, humor, along with a trauma informed care approach to treatment.
Prior to Simply Bee, Jacqueline worked as an outpatient mental health therapist at Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, serving those struggling with mental health issues as well as psychiatric disorders in the community. She also worked at Family Guidance Centers, assisting those with substance use and psychiatric disorders after completing her internship with Rosecrance Treatment Center, working as a substance abuse counselor.
Experienced in providing psychoeducation, group facilitation and evidence-based approaches, she provides an authentic desire to facilitate change that focuses on living in the present and staying positive minded She incorporates an existential philosophy for living a meaningful life and improving the quality of life for her clients. She believes having a sense of purpose is essential for stable mental health and welcomes the opportunity to help people discover who they truly are.
Major Depression
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Bipolar Disorder
Mood Disorders
Life Transformation
Relationship Issues
Substance Use Disorder

Kerry Ramirez, LCPC

Child, Adolescent & Young Adult Therapist

Kerry is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and earned her Master’s in Counseling and Art Therapy at Adler University. Prior to Simply Bee, Kerry has experience providing therapy in community mental health and in-patient mental health hospital facilities.  She combines years of clinical experience with her community-centered background to encourage holistic and collaborative care with providers. She specializes in working with anxiety and avoidant behaviors, depression, self-harm, disrupted attachment, behavioral issues, Adlerian parenting, and self-esteem. She is passionate about supporting families by integrating care and utilizing creativity to ensure clients are supported.
Kerry believes in providing a non-judgmental, creative, open environment for clients to express themselves. She implements CBT, Art Therapy, Adlerian Therapy, and Motivational Interviewing tailored to each client’s unique needs. She believes the goal of psychotherapy is to build a trusting relationship by learning each client’s story - their background, their current experience, their strengths, and their challenges. Then the work begins in order to use these strengths to help craft a new story, where they are able to face the challenges and begin shaping a new future.
Co-Presenter of (free) Webinar Discussion: Renewing Optimism


Anxiety and Avoidance
Attachment Disorders
Behavioral Issues
  Adlerian Parenting Family Therapy

Annie Peck, LPC 

Adolescent, Young Adult & Adult Therapist


Annie is a Licensed Professional Counselor who earned her Master's  in counseling with a focus in Art Therapy from Adler University in Chicago. Annie utilizes both talk and art therapy , and enjoys working with children, adolescents and adults.
Annie specializes in working with clients experiencing anxiety, mood issues, depression, behavioral issues, eating disorders and self-esteem. Annie has experience and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Adlerian Therapy, Art Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). She strongly believes in helping her clients become their best selves and offers a safe space that ensures each client can reach their fullest potential.
Behavioral Issues
Eating Disorders

Angel Arnold, LPC

Child, Adolescent & Young Adult Therapist

Angel is a creative and passionate Licensed Professional Counselor with a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Trinity International University. Most of her work has been for non-profits specializing in trauma and violence-related areas as well as OCD/Anxiety.

Angel loves working with all ages groups, particularly those who have struggled with OCD, anxiety, depression, anger management, mood swings, self-injury, defiance, bullying, low self-esteem, and parent and child conflict and communication problems, as well as issues related to stressful life transitions, relationship issues, abuse, neglect, and traumatic events through individual therapy and group therapy.

Angel predominantly draws from Person-Centered, Exposure Response Therapy (ERP), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Trauma-informed Therapy as she partners with her clients to help them discover the best ways to find and live out their most authentic selves.


Co-Presenter of (free) webinar discussion: 3 Ways to Improve Your Financial Mindset


Domestic Violence
Exposure Response Therapy (ERP)
Life Transitions



Jennifer McAdams, MA, LCPC, CEDS-S

Adolescent, Young Adult & Adult Therapist


Jennifer is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist and earned her Master’s degree in Clinical Professional Psychology at Roosevelt University.  Throughout her more than 10 years in the field, Jennifer has focused her work with individuals from adolescence through adulthood.  She has expertise in both higher levels of care and outpatient settings.  Jennifer approaches each client holistically; working with them closely on identifying values, goals, and guiding them towards living a valued life.  
Treatment modalities include: Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Exposure Response Prevention, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Emotion Focused Family Therapy, and Family Based Therapy.   
Eating Disorder
School Refusal

Brittany Polacek, LPC

Child, Adolescent & Young Adult Therapist

Brittany is a Licensed Professional Counselor and earned her Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh.

Brittany enjoys working with clients from a variety of ages and backgrounds. She has been working  in the mental health field with children, adolescents and families since 2014. Brittany works with clients who experience anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, family conflict, academic and employment achievement concerns. She utilizes clinical interventions such as play-assisted therapy, sand-tray interventions, art-assisted therapy and traditional talk-therapy.

Brittany strives to incorporate theoretical principles in counseling such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Positive Psychology and Trauma-Informed practices. She collaborates with clients to create a safe environment for learning, growing and healing.
Family conflict
School Refusal
Life Transitions



Emily Plesnicar, MA in Clinical Mental Health

Child & Adolescent Extern Therapist


Emily graduated from Roosevelt University in 2021 with a Master's degree in Clinical Mental Health. Emily enjoys working with children and adolescents. She has four years of experience working with clients with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), anxiety, ADHD, work/school refusal, and depression. Prior to Simply Bee, Emily did her clinical internship as a therapist at New Connections Academy. She also has experience as an Applied Behavioral Analysis therapist working with ASD. 
Emily believes it is important to build a trusting relationship between the therapist and client by taking the time to listen and understand in a non-judgmental space. Emily has a collaborative approach when working with her clients while incorporating mindfulness.  
Autism Spectrum Disorder 
School Refusal

Meet The Wellness Team

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Stephanie Smith, M.A., M.Ed., IIN Certified 

Resident Health & Nutrition Coach

Stephanie grew up outside of Boston and now resides in the Chicagoland area with her husband and two daughters. She has been an educator for over fifteen years and has experience as a teacher, a coach, and an administrator. Since an early age, she's been interested in the connection between nutrition, performance, and mental health. She studied holistic nutrition at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and is a certified IIN Health Coach who is passionate about helping children and adults live their happiest and most vital lives through health and wellness. 
Stephanie's education includes a Master of Arts from Dartmouth College and a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from American College of Education. In addition to working as a health coach, she currently teaches sixth grade.
Speaker at AMLE, ASCD & PAMLE National Conferences

Stephanie Bersh, RYT 200 Certified

Resident Yoga Instructor

Stephanie Bersh is the resident Yoga Teacher at Simply Bee.  She has been practicing yoga for the past 15 years and teaching the past four years. Stephanie is Hatha certified with a strong foundation in basic postures for grounding and increased flexibility, gentle yoga for relaxation, and restorative yoga for releasing tension in the mind and body.  She is a registered yoga teacher with the Yoga Alliance.
Stephanie’s teaching style is dedicated to alignment, safety and growth.  In each yoga session, Stephanie strives to create a welcoming and un-intimidating environment to allow clients to receive the health and relaxation benefits of yoga. Clients are guided to feel safe to travel within, to reconnect with their bodies, and to find strength and courage on and off the mat.  Sessions focus on simple practices such as breathwork, body movement, journaling, relaxation, and meditation.
Stephanie is also a certified facilitator for Embody Love Movement (ELM). She leads ELM workshops for tweens, teens, and adult women. In these workshops, Stephanie delivers interactive content in conjunction with yoga to empower women of all ages to reconnect with their bodies and practice self love and self compassion. 

Meet The Administrative Team

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Kate Kelley, MSW

Manager of Community Education

Kate Kelley earned her Master's Degree in Social Work from University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2011. She previous worked at a non-profit community center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin serving LGBTQ+ youth ages 13-24; as well as in an elementary school in Madison, Wisconsin as she trained to become a school social worker.
Prior to joining Simply Bee in 2019 Kate worked in the promotional product sales field as a Director of Strategic Accounts. In that position she focused on leadership, relationship building and gained a lot of insight into the operational side of running a business. Those lessons married with her foundational understanding of the importance in networking and mental health advocacy are what led her to join the Simply Bee team as the Manager of Community Education. Kate is excited to help expand the footprint of Simply Bee while working to serve the community. It is her goal to partner with businesses, healthcare professionals and schools to work together in mental health awareness and education.
Feel free to reach out to Kate anytime at [email protected] if you would like to discuss our referral network program or schedule an upcoming workshop, speaking engagement or partnership opportunity with the Simply Bee team.

Madeline Pekala

Executive Assistant

Madeline graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in Child Development in 2016. Madeline is an advocate for all children to have access to physical and mental wellness education.

Previously, Madeline worked in the music industry as an Executive Assistant. She takes pride in her keen organizational and project management skills to help a business run more efficiently.

In her spare time, Madeline enjoys going on runs with her dog, baking up a storm in the kitchen, reading, and discovering new music. Madeline is thrilled to be able to grow with the Simply Bee team and make a positive impact on the community.

Keri Eckert

Client & Employee Coordinator 


Keri received her B.A. in  Psychology in 2010 from Metropolitan State University of Denver; and is currently working on her MA in Industrial-Organizational Psychology at Roosevelt University. After completing graduate school, she plans to pursue a career in executive coaching and management consulting. 


Before Simply Bee, Keri worked in Human Resources, primarily in recruitment and selection roles. She has seven years of cumulative experience coordinating teams, employee relations, full-cycle recruiting, and talent management to foster growth initiatives and accelerate work processes. Keri is excited to support and be a part of the continued growth with the Simply Bee team.

Jacqui Widmark

Intellectual Property Manager


Jacqui graduated from University of California, Santa Barbara in 2019 with a degree in Sociology & Applied Psychology. She is passionate about Simply Bee's mission to provide accessible mental health & wellness resources to all communities and people.


Prior to joining Simply Bee in 2020, Jacqui worked as an Office Administrator in the real estate industry and combines this experience with her academic background to support the educational operations at Simply Bee. She strives to use her organizational skills and creativity to keep Simply Bee's media resources relevant and impactful.


Outside of the office Jacqui is an avid reader, runner, dog lover and traveler - she is always looking for new places to explore. She is excited to continue to learn and grow with Simply Bee as a part of a community of people dedicated to spreading the message of holistic wellness.



Cindy Smith

Content Manager

Cindy earned her undergraduate degree in Public Relations and English from Illinois State University. She has over 20 years of content development, editorial and visual design communication experience. 
Prior to Simply Bee, Cindy spent five years as a freelance writer and 15 years working in the consulting industry, most recently with Hewitt Associates (now Alight Solutions). In her role as Communication Consultant, she worked with clients on their health and wellness and retirement benefits communication needs. Cindy is an expert at taking complex topics and making them understandable, relatable and actionable. 
Cindy has three elementary-age daughters and values the importance of mental, physical and spiritual health for adults and children. She is passionate about the power of the written word and is excited to create engaging and educational wellness content for the Simple Bee community.