Meet a Mom: Meet Lisa! | Chicago North Shore Moms

Northbrook resident Lisa Novak has dedicated her life’s work to helping children and families! She is the co-founder of Illuminate Psychological Assessments, LLC, neuropsychological assessment practice in Wilmette. This highly rewarding but emotionally tough career, has her feeling so grateful “… for the moms who have trusted me with their own children and helped spread the word with their friends.”


Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in town?

I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. I moved to Chicago for graduate school in 2008 and have been in the Chicagoland area ever since. I spent my first several years in the city and then moved to Northbrook with my husband in 2015.


Child(ren) and Age(s)?

I have one son who is 16 months old.


Favorite things to do with your son?

Benji loves animals, so we have a blast going to zoos and farms (weather permitting!) to check out the animals. We also love taking him on any little adventures to the park, the Botanic Gardens, and Kohl’s Children’s Museum. At home, there’s nothing I enjoy more than snuggling with him and reading some good books. The Boynton Books are particular favorites right now.


Those are super places to take your son! What is your favorite family friendly restaurant(s) in the North Shore area?

We love the food and the atmosphere at Plateia Mediterranean Kitchen in Des Plaines. It’s a little ways out of the North Shore area but It’s particularly nice in the summer, when we can enjoy their beautiful patio.


One thing people would be surprised to know about you…

I usually surprise people with my Wheel of Fortune skills! I have a knack for word games of all kinds, but I particularly enjoy solving those puzzles with just a few letters on the board. I haven’t been selected to interview as a contestant on the show yet, but it’s on my bucket list.


Anyone special you’d like to thank for helping you through parenthood? 

Well I’d certainly be a much less functional human without my husband, and I thank my lucky stars for our partnership. When I’m upstairs taking care of bath time, he’s in the kitchen cleaning up the epic dinner mess. It makes it all feel more manageable to know we’re doing this together. And I need to give a quick shout-out to my parents, who have been so incredibly supportive and helpful, even from afar.


Ah yes, it’s so important to be able to delegate and rely on others to help! What is your best mom hack that makes life easier?
Toys in the car! Benji is not usually the biggest fan of car rides, especially when we’re stuck in traffic. I keep a stash of little toys and books in the back seat for his enjoyment, and I switch them up every few weeks to keep him interested. My other favorite hack is that I buy some fresh fruit (already cut up) right away when we get to the grocery store and I let him break into it right away. He gets such pleasure out of eating the freshly sliced cantaloupe or berries that the whole grocery trip is stress-free!


Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the corporate world? Please share!

I am the co-founder of Illuminate Psychological Assessments, LLC, a neuropsychological assessment practice in Wilmette. My business partner, Noelle Pontarelli, and I specialize in completing comprehensive evaluations for children, adolescents, and young adults. We have both been working in the field for many years, and we opened up this new practice in July of 2018. Our mission is to ensure that our clients get the personalized evaluations and tailored recommendations that they deserve! We work with clients with a variety of presenting concerns, including learning disabilities, ADHD, anxiety, depression, autism, and more. And we love collaborating with providers and schools in the community to make sure that our findings are used to help foster real change for our clients.


It must feel so good to be helping so many children and families. I’m sure ‘me-time’ is sparse but much needed. How do you get to pamper yourself on that rare occasion?

Does going to bed early count as pampering myself? There are times where there is truly nothing I enjoy more than to curl up bed shortly after putting Benji down and listen to an audiobook or catch up on some of my favorite TV shows. I also find spending time with friends to be very rejuvenating (I guess I’m a true extrovert)! So an evening at a wine bar with an old friend who I haven’t seen enough in recent months is quite a treat for me, as well.


How has the North Shore community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?

I truly could not have opened up this new practice without the support of both families and providers in the North Shore. The positive feedback that I have received about my evaluations from clients and referral sources gave me the courage that I needed to start this new adventure. Over the years, I have met so many incredible psychotherapists, pediatricians, psychiatrists, educational consultants, tutors, SLPs, OTs, and other wonderful professionals in the area. The confidence they’ve place in me to help get to the bottom of their patients’/clients’ struggles has allowed this practice to develop and flourish. And, of course, I couldn’t have done it without the Moms who have trusted me with their own children and helped spread the word with their friends.

You can reach Dr. Novak directly at:
[email protected]

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