Leadership Team

Shelly Vanover

Executive Director

Shelly Vanover is the Executive Director of Urban Balance and manages the day-to-day business operations of the practice.  Shelly’s primary focus is upholding Urban Balance’s mission to provide accessible and affordable mental health services while building and maintaining the scalable business architecture that supports Urban Balance’s talented clinicians and the communities they serve.  Prior to joining Urban Balance in 2010, Shelly worked in private equity and wealth management. In her spare time, Shelly enjoys spending time with her son, playing the piano and traveling.

Alison Thayer, LCPC, CEAP

Director of Clinical Operations

Alison Thayer is the Director of Clinical Operations for Urban Balance. She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and a Certified Employee Assistance Professional. With nearly 20 years of experience in the mental health field, she is responsible for the day-to- day clinical services provided by UB’s psychotherapists and clinical interns. She oversees hiring, policies and procedures, quality and strategic initiatives, and all clinical supervision programming.

Alison joined Urban Balance in 2011 as a psychotherapist in effort to attain the work/life balance she was encouraging her clients to strive towards. She has held a wide variety of leadership roles in all of her work settings, ranging from being a corporate trainer as her side job while in graduate school, overseeing 13 programs in a community based mental health agency, and eventually working up to the role of managing the clinical services, nationally and globally, at the world’s largest provider of employee assistance programs. Through these experiences, Alison’s track record includes reducing staff turnover, increasing the quality of services, and most importantly, maintaining a positive, healthy and productive workforce. As a former university professor and trained in Critical Incident Stress Management services, she has provided consultation to small businesses, Fortune 500 companies, and the US Secretary of Treasury.

Andria Emerick Brown

Intake Manager

Andria Emerick Brown received her BSW from Lindenwood University. Upon graduation, she focused on crisis intervention and completed her internship at a domestic violence shelter. She has experience working with the developmentally disabled and severely mentally ill populations, as well as working as a case manager for a private adoption agency. Since her start at Urban Balance in 2010, she has worked to develop the Intake Department. She understands that finding the right therapist for each individual can sometimes be a challenging process, and her primary goal is to provide efficient services; helping potential clients to feel comfortable and heard while searching for "the right fit". She prides herself on excellent customer service and does her best to meet all clients' needs.

Samire Manuel

HR Generalist

Samire Manuel is the HR Generalist for Urban Balance.  Samire obtained her BA in Sociology from DePaul University in 2013 and her MBA with specialization of Human Resources Management from American InterContinental University.  Upon graduation she found a passion for helping others in the workplace through hands on training and different initiatives.  As HR Generalist Samire is responsible for full-cycle recruiting, staff onboarding/offboarding, and benefits management.  In her spare time, she enjoys making candles and traveling to new destinations.

Lisa Streitmatter

Office Manager

Lisa Streitmatter is the Office Manager for Urban Balance.  A jack-of-all-trades, she ensures that the offices function smoothly for the comfort of all Urban Balance staff and clients. Lisa was hired at UB in 2016 after many years of experience as an Office Manager and Executive Assistant.  Since then, as Urban Balance has expanded, so has her reach.  Lisa is responsible for purchasing and vendor relationships and provides support to every area of leadership at Urban Balance.  In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their many animals (2 dogs and 2 cats).

Taejah Vemuri, LPC, MPH

Director of Communications and Marketing

Taejah Vemuri is the Director of Communications and Marketing at Urban Balance. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and has a Masters in Public Health. Taejah handles onboarding and offboarding of staff, website updates, responds to all marketing inquiries, distributes marketing materials, and organizes internal and external networking and training opportunities. She is also responsible for promoting all of Urban Balance's services and locations as well as maintaining the company’s presence on social media. 

Taejah joined Urban Balance in 2017 as a clinical intern while pursuing her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology at Northwestern University. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Northwestern University and a Masters in Public Health from the University of Michigan. Prior to her work at Urban Balance, Taejah was the coordinator of an HIV prevention research study at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In this role, she was responsible for recruiting and retaining over 400 adolescent participants, as well as conducting mental health risk assessments in the community, probation centers, and detention facilities. She has experience and substantial skills in networking, coordinating and planning events, social media engagement, as well as working in the community.

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