Courtney Ackerson studied forensic psychology at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology and graduated with her masters degree in 2010. Being a big fan of Iowa, and particularly Des Moines, she moved back to her home town of Urbandale after graduation. She has since worked for Orchard Place as a PMIC therapist, supervisor of community based services, and outpatient therapist. She has worked in group private practice with New Beginnings Counseling Services as an outpatient therapist in their office and in two Des Moines elementary schools. Currently she is working for Telligen as a quality improvement specialist for home- and community-based services. She enjoys volunteering, community development, traveling and being creative in her free time.

Past President

Kacey has worked as a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) since earning her Master’s from Drake University in 2010. She served as a school-based counselor and eventually as Clinical Director for an accredited mental health and substance abuse agency until 2014 when she opened a play therapy place in rural Iowa. In 2017, Kacey was appointed Executive Director of the IA Chapter of Children’s Advocacy Centers, but returned to private practice in early 2019 as an independent consultant, grant writer, and training facilitator. Throughout her career, Kacey has served in both urban and rural settings across many of Iowa’s “frontier counties”. Her significant involvement in the nonprofit sector, and her position as IMHCA’s Government Relations Chair for nearly 5 years before stepping into the role of President has fueled her passion to advocate on behalf of underserved Iowans and the providers that strive to support them. Since 2011 she has worked to identify legislation and government policy that could significantly improve Iowa’s mental health delivery system and is dedicated to continuing those efforts as she works to educate our Senators and Representatives on the concerns and barriers facing counselors today.

President Elect


Kristten graduated from Iowa State University in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology. She went on to graduate from Drake University in 2003 with a Master’s in Education in Community Counseling. She has been providing mental health and substance abuse services since 2000, working in a variety of settings and roles. Kristten is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). In 2008 she founded Creative Counseling Services in Ames, IA where she provides substance abuse and mental health services.


Public Policy Chair

Public Policy Co-Chair

Renu Suddapalli is currently a student at Drake University, pursuing a Master of Counseling degree with a focus in Clinical Mental Health and Clinical Rehabilitation. She graduated from Iowa State University in 2017 with a bachelor’s in Economics and History. She currently works in Ankeny providing behavioral support services for children with Autism. Renu is passionate about advocating for the counseling profession and serving the needs of her community. In her free time, she enjoys reading, drawing and spending time with friends and family.

Membership Chair

Dree is a graduate of University of Northern Iowa’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. She has a passion for serving individuals through mental health services, and believes in our responsibility to advocate for our community’s needs. Dree looks forward to using her skills and passion to serve as IMHCA’s Membership Chair, advocating for issues in Iowa and supporting member needs. When she is not working as a Mental Health Counselor, Dree enjoys spending time with her two fantastic dogs, reading, and traveling to new places.

Networking and Communications Chair

Kyla is a recent Drake University graduate with an M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Through working with individuals receiving special needs services and at-risk youth, she developed a passion for client advocacy. With a background in community outreach, Kyla is eager to combine experience and passion to help advance the profession of mental health counseling and mental health advocacy issues in the state of Iowa. She is a native of rural Iowa, now living in the Des Moines area. She spends most of her free time drinking caffeine so she has energy to keep up with her kids!

Conference Committee Chair

Rebecca received bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Biochemistry from the University of Northern Iowa in 2008. She completed her master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Drake University in 2014 and has been providing outpatient therapy services with New Beginnings Counseling Service since. Building upon a passion to continue to learn and develop therapeutic skills for her clients, Rebecca became certified in EMDR in 2017 and a Registered Play Therapist in 2019. She is trained in AutPlay, TheraPlay, and DDP. Rebecca began providing supervision in 2019 with the goal to help future counselors in developing their own areas of expertise and continuing to pursue professional development. Rebecca is excited to expand and share her love for professional development in her role as Conference Committee Chair.