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Meet the Team

At Essence Pilates, our approach is what makes us the "go to" Pilates Studio in the Chicago Northshore area, and we have proudly continued that philosophy since 2004. We asked ourselves what is vitally important to our clients, and we arrived at a method that is efficient and effective. It doesn’t matter if you’re new to this or are just ready to take it to the next level. At Essence Pilates, we will help you get where you want to go.


Marilee P.


Located on the North Shore of Chicago in Deerfield, IL, Essence Pilates was founded July 2004 in Chicago" northside. Marilee started her classical Pilates training at The Pilates Center in Boulder, Colorado and finished her instructor certification from The Physical Mind Institute based in New York, New York along with completing the PMA certification in 2006.  In 2009 Marilee completed the Certified Master's Program from The Pilates Center of Boulder Colorado. Mother of two boys, Marilee has been a fitness instructor since 1995 and Personal Trainer since 1999.

Marilee is an avid cyclist and runner and has competed in 100s races across the country.  She has taught at many well-known health clubs in Chicago, IL and Boulder, CO. Marilee believes that if you have the will to go that extra mile there is a way and coaches those with the desire to run their first marathon. For 15 years, before a career change into Pilates, Marilee worked in the financial industry selling money management for large institutions. Pilates became a way of life for Marilee after trying to manage the aches and pains from her hobbies of cycling and running.

Marilee has completed 20+ marathons along with the Boston Marathon, six 70.3 Ironman's and the 70.3 Ironman World Championships in Las Vegas in 2013. Marilee is a Holistic Health Practitioner, which focuses on the bridge between western medicine and holistic medicine. 

  • Owner, Founder of Essence Pilates Studios

  • Owner, Founder of Support Our Soldiers Freedom, Inc.

  • Owner, Founder of EssenceRX

  • PMA®Certified Pilates Trainer

  • Holistic Health Practitioner 

  • Certified Cupping Therapist

  • YUR® Back Certified

  • TPC Master Instructor

  • Certified Homeopathic Consultant


Jackie G.

Senior Instructor

After 25 years as a dental hygienist Jackie began to develop back pain and after many consults with doctors and specialists failed to alleviate the pain Jackie decided to try pilates.  When Jackie realized the pilates was the only thing that alleviated her pain she decided to become an instructor so she could help others get the same relief she experienced.  Jackie hopes to help her clients improve their overall health and achieve the lifestyle they desire.


Jackie completed the Apprentice Program at Essence Pilates and earned her earned Pilates Method Alliance Certification in 2011.  She has continued her Pilates education taking many workshops specializing in the spine and pelvis.


PMA® Certified Pilates Teacher

Senior Certified Instructor

Certified Health Coach

Bodhi Certified Instructor

YUR Back Certified Instructor

Trigger Point Relief Therapy Apprenticeship 


Brittney M.

Senior Instructor


Jen G.

Senior Instructor

While pursuing a degree in Organizational Leadership Jen took a Mat Class at Essence Pilates and was hooked.  Jen is very active participating in marathons, tennis, biking, swimming and horseback riding.  Her interest grew when she saw improvements in these activities due to pilates.  Jen is excited to combine her gregarious personality and passion for teaching and exercise to help clients achieve their goals.


Jen completed the Apprentice Program at Essence Pilates and earned her Pilates Method Alliance Certification in 2015 .


PMA® Certified Pilates Teacher

Senior Certified Instructor

Brittney’s interest in pilates started after many unsuccessful attempts to correct the abuse her body took from 20 plus years of sports left her unable to run or workout like she was used to.  After much prodding Brittney decided, with great reservation, to try pilates to help with long term back issues. After all of the other failed attempts pilates got her back to running and working out at a higher level.  Brittney wants her clients to leave their session standing taller, feeling stronger and more relaxed.


After earning a B.A. in Physical Education and teaching and coaching for 8 years Brittney moved into the fitness world.  She has been a Certified Personal Trainer for 18 years and after going through the Apprentice Program at Essence Pilates and earned her Pilates Method Alliance Certification in 2018.


PMA® Certified Pilates Teacher

ACE Certified Personal Trainer

ACE Certified Therapeutic Exercise Specialist

Certified Senior Fitness Instructor

Stretch Certified

Myofascial Cupping Certified


Lisa F.

Senior Instructor

After several years as a client, Lisa’s interest in pilates grew and she decided to take the next step and become a certified instructor.  Lisa is passionate about teaching and loves seeing progress in her clients.  She always strives to make each session unique, enjoyable and challenging but still manageable for all skill levels.  Pilates has given Lisa a new awareness and understanding of the power of being strong inside and out.


Lisa completed the Apprentice Program at Essence Pilates and earned her earned Pilates Method Alliance Certification in 2011.  Lisa is always trying new learning opportunities to expand her knowledge of pilates and the human body, including finishing her First Generation Master Certification.

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Julie Fiocchi W.

Senior Instructor

Julie Fiocchi Waltz has worked in the health and wellness industry for over 15 years, starting her career as a massage therapist in 2008. Shortly after the birth of her first child, Julie fell in love with Pilates. She began the teacher training program through Essence Pilates in 2011 and became PMA certified in 2012. After taking a short break from work to be home with her babies, she is so excited to be teaching again at Essence. In addition to Pilates and Massage, Julie is a National Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coach through NBHWC. She is a lifelong learner and is always exploring ways to expand upon her credentials within the health & wellness realm.

In her free time, Julie loves being in nature and spending time with her 3 kids, husband, and their family pets.


Deanna N

Certified Instructor

Deanna practiced pilates casually over the years, but it wasn’t until she was faced with a c-section and diastasis recti recovery from her pregnancy that she joined Essence Pilates and experienced the rehabilitative benefits that Pilates has to offer. A former healthcare professional, Deanna re-discovered her appreciation for complete wellness—both physical wellness and the mind-body connection—and joined the teacher training program. Whether clients are new to pilates or have years of experience, Deanna teaches them to find greater awareness, alignment, and strength. 

Deanna completed the Apprentice Program at Essence Pilates in 2023 and is a NPCP Certified Pilates Teacher.  She lives in Deerfield with her husband, daughter, and two dogs. 

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