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Meet our team

Katie Watts, M.S. ED.  |  she/her
Executive Director
Katie worked in public education as a special education teacher, outdoor education teacher, instructional coach, and a principal before joining the team at Adventure Works as the Executive Director. Her varied experiences include leading wilderness trips for youth, facilitating corporate team building, and professional development workshops in mindfulness, equity, social emotional learning, and leadership.  She loves all things outdoors including rock climbing, hiking, biking, backpacking, canoeing, cross country skiing, and camping.  She believes in people's potential for transformation and the power of community to bring about change and healing.
Shannon Kaecker, MSW, LCSW  |  she/her
Clinical Director
Nanette Shepardson, LPC, CADC  |  she/her
Nanette found her true passion while obtaining an MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Adler University: To help others as they work through the traumatic events that have determined their present distress. She specializes in trauma, grief, and substance use difficulties; focusing on treatment modalities that support the belief that we all have the innate ability to heal ourselves. As a therapist, she merely provides the catalyst for clients to discover their unique individual strengths, resilience, and capacity to heal. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), with Certification in Alcohol and Drug Counseling (CADC), and is currently in training for certification as a Somatic Experience Practitioner (SEP). Aside from loving the work that she is grateful to be doing at Adventure Works, she loves her three Burmese cats, Bulletproof coffee first thing in the morning, hot yoga, and all things outdoors.
Chris Mrofcza, M.S. ED., LPC  |  him/him
Chris became a counselor after growing through his own personal experiences with mental health counseling and because of his passion for experiential and expressive experiences. In addition to his part-time availability with Adventure Works, Chris serves within the community as a full-time high school counselor. His specialty is working with young-adult and student-aged clients to improve their sense of self-efficacy through creative and empowering therapeutic experiences.
Natilee Morey  |  she/her
Front Office Lead
Natilee graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in spring 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. In the future, she plans to pursue a master's degree in professional counseling and to specialize with youth. She is passionate about connection and building relationships, and takes pride in being empathetic, compassionate, and warm in all aspects of her life. She loves the outdoors— her favorite activities include hiking, swimming, and sledding!
Brianne Maksimovic, MSW  |  she/her
Bri maintains a curious and playful presence in working with individuals and groups. She is a passionate learner and utilizes the outdoors to create intentional opportunities for growth and healing for her clients. She has a special interest in working with family trauma. In Bri's spare time she enjoys reading, traveling, trail-running, canoeing, and backpacking!
Chloe Carlson, M.S. ED.  |  she/her
Chloe is passionate about healing and finds relationships, nature, and adventure to be catalysts for meaningful change. Chloe utilizes connection with the environment and intentional experiential interventions to encourage positive growth in youth and families. Chloe has a special interest in complex trauma, focusing on the body/brain connection. In Chloe's spare time, she enjoys yoga, hiking, and camping with her family. Chloe's favorite activity is taking long walks with her dogs though the woods.
Beth Hanson  |  she/her
Billing & Administrative Manager
Beth brings her experience in marketing, event planning and office administration to Adventure Works. Because of her love for outdoor adventures and youth, she has long admired the mission of Adventure Works and is thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of their team. Having grown up on a family farm in rural Shabbona, she believes there is no better place to have one's spirit renewed than to be outdoors enjoying the beauty and magic of nature.  She enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, kayaking, hiking, biking, walking, dancing, gardening, museums, theater, concerts, festivals, art and all plants. Her bucket list includes visiting all of our great national parks.
Jahleel Shepherd  |  he/him
Marriage & Family Therapy Intern
Jahleel is pursuing his MS in Marriage and Family Therapy. He wants nothing more in life than to help people foster healing and inner hope through creative methods/exercises, critical thinking, and narrative reconstruction. He believes there are no limits to how individuals, couples, families, or children achieve their goals. Jahleel is open-minded in learning new ways to gain therapeutic skills and strategies to aid populations helping professionals serve.
Grace McCutcheon, MSW  |  she/her
Grace's desire is that all would know their intrinsic value. She is incredibly thankful to work part-time at Adventure Works utilizing nature and play to accompany others as they grow in self-knowledge and health. Rollerblading and hiking are her favorite activities during free time. Before Adventure Works, she worked with adolescents in a partial hospitalization program, after school program, and with families and adults as a caseworker. 
Shannon is passionate about working with individuals and families, and believe it's an honor to join and share in their story to work towards their goals. She believes in the worth of all individuals and in their ability to heal. She has experience and additional training in working with youth with trauma. She has experience working with a number of different systems, like juvenile justice and child welfare. When she is not working, she enjoys drinking coffee and playing with her rescue dog.
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Mary McFarland, MSW  |  she/her
Social Work Intern
Mary graduated last May from Aurora University with her Bachelor's in Social Work, and is currently attending Aurora University to obtain her Master's in Social Work. Mary hopes to become a therapist and to continue living out her passion of working with children. Mary says that she is happiest when she is outdoors, so being able to intern at Adventure Works is a bonus!
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Daniel Lada, BSW  |  he/him
Social Work Intern
Daniel learned about social work in highschool and once he experienced his first class in college he knew that it was something he wanted to go into. He has always had a drive to make sure to do the right thing along with finding the best solutions to those who may be struggling. He has always loved the outdoors as there are so many opportunities to go out and be one with nature. He graduated from Aurora University with a BSW in social work and a minor in Criminal Justice.
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