About Us

“I am here because I believe strongly in the products and programs I’ve created and have been using in my practice for years. I’ve watched as students’ lives have changed for the better and, most importantly, they begin to feel successful and actually believe in themselves. This is what motivates me to keep on keepin’ on, and now I am working to share all of these fabulous resources with the world!”
Lisa Marsicano, MAT is an executive function skills specialist and coach. As a leading expert in the Chicago area on executive function skills development, she provides trainings, materials and consulting services for students of all ages. Lisa is the author of “A Manual for Student Success: Practical strategies for how to REALLY do better in school,” as well as a line of student planners and student success manuals (the School Success Plan, Quiz and Test Success Plan and EFfective Writing Success Plan).

Lisa holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois and a Master of Arts in Teaching (secondary education; biology and psychology). She previously taught high school biology as well as junior high math and science, and has received additional training through Rush Neurobehavioral Center and JST Coaching & Training.

She believes that developing executive function skills, effective study methods, general coping strategies and the ability to self manage and regulate are essential for both academic and non-academic success in life. Her approach is largely solution focused as she guides clients through identifying underlying pieces and discovering what actions to take and processes to employ so they can excel.

Lisa’s passion for executive function skills development was born out of a desire to help students, many of whom were previously written off as lazy, unmotivated, resistant, or difficult, to figure out what it really takes for them to be successful and take action towards achieving their goals.

As a mother of three, Lisa credits her children and her experiences as a parent with helping her realize the importance of figuring out what truly works for each individual student and being consistent, but flexible. As a result of her constant awareness and management of the strengths and unique challenges of each of her children, she employs many techniques to help them amplify their strengths and find creative ways to compensate for their weaknesses. In efforts to contribute and share her expertise and reach as many families as possible, Lisa frequently provides trainings and professional development for schools and parent groups across the Chicagoland area.

FUN FACTS ABOUT LISA
  • Lisa used to have streaks of bright pink hair- if you saw her in 2016 or have watched our School Success Course you might have seen it!
  • In college, Lisa once had more than 10 pets living in her college apartment at the same time- her own lab , a rottweiler foster, 2 puppies, a cat and litter of kittens, a chinchilla and an aquarium full of fish.
  • She plays Pokemon Go! Ask her about how she got into it- the reason might not be what you think.

“I have had the privilege of working with families and students in many capacities over the years. I am passionate about helping individuals make plans and create routines that are truly meaningful. I love seeing my students experience those little “wins” that encourage them to keep trying and growing. I also enjoy sharing these practical tools with other professionals and helping them incorporate EF into their own work.”

 
 

Katie Allen, LSW comes to us with a wealth of knowledge and expertise in various areas of executive functioning, self regulation, attention related concerns and more. By trade, Katie is a licensed social worker, and brings that experience with her to complement the work we do.

She completed her Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies at Indiana University and her Master of Social Work at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.  Katie has spent the last fifteen years working with families and students in various capacities to develop the skills necessary to manage and become successful.

She lives in Downers Grove with her husband, four children and various furry friends. Fun fact about Katie, which highlights her ability to relate and coach firmly, but gently, is that she spent three years working as a Doula!   She is also a bit of a renaissance woman in that she seems to know a lot about a lot of things. Her personal experience with managing the challenges of executive functioning deficits and ADHD with her loved ones makes her a great addition to our team.

FUN FACTS ABOUT KATIE

  • Katie was 41 weeks pregnant when she attended her last delivery as a doula- 3 weeks further along than the mom that was delivering!
  • Last summer she caught an 18 pound king salmon while on a fishing charter for her daughter’s birthday.
  • Katie is a crazy plant lady-she has tropical plants in her garden that she digs up and brings in every winter, and she swaps plants with friends, neighbors and others on facebook.

 

“I understand the challenges and frustrations families face when a child struggles with executive functioning skills. I have been there – both professionally and personally – and I feel strongly about helping adolescents to improve these skills and helping all of you to find peace of mind. It is teaching and coaching that brings me the greatest satisfaction that life offers! I am truly blessed!”

 
 

Mary Jo Ramicone is a teacher and coach by trade, and at heart. She attended Regis College in Denver, Colorado, majoring in Political Science and Communication. She has her Master of Communication from Northwestern University, and has been a Professor at Morraine Valley Community College since 2001. She has been a para for students with special needs, coached presenters on how to speak with hostile audiences, and worked on developing easy-to-understand explanations of complicated science in her work.

Mary Jo was raised in La Grange Park, and now lives with her four wonderful children, a dog, a cat who adopted them, and various other animals. In her spare time, she is a volleyball coach, a speech team coach, and Girl Scout leader at her children’s grade school. Mary Jo has had much experience, professional and personal, in working with children and young adults with additional needs and executive functioning challenges, and we are excited to have her on board.

FUN FACTS ABOUT MARY JO

  • Mary Jo plays competitive volleyball.
  • Though her kids are older, you might still catch her watching the Disney channel when no one is looking.
  • She collects bobble-heads.

 

“My passion lies in supporting others to reveal the strength they already possess to do those things they thought they couldn’t.” 

 
 

Cember Sandow comes to us highly qualified with a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois and a Master of Arts in Psychology from Pepperdine. She has worked with adolescents and young adults with respect to the development of executive functioning, life skills and self-management/regulation for nearly ten years.

In her last position, her focus was to support young individuals in overcoming barriers through education and skills training in order to self regulate and advocate, set and reach goals, and provide a foundation from which to build momentum in everyday tasks.

Cember lives in Woodridge with her husband, almost 3-year-old daughter, and their 12-year old cat. Her hobbies include good food, cooking, fitness and being outside – running, hiking, working on her lawn, and gardening. She has spent prior summers working as a trained clinician delivering treatments focused on child and adolescent populations on the spectrum, with ADHD, and dealing with general learning difficulties.

FUN FACTS ABOUT CEMBER

  • Cember grew up with a dog that had the same name as her! 
  • Her dog, Cember, only had one eye.
  • She was actually supposed to be born in December, (from where her name was derived) and being the only girl, her name was already picked out despite when she would be born…however she was stubborn and waited until January.