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Staff    Board    Advisory Council    Alumni Council

Staff

 

Staff member Arcie

Arcie Alvarez
Technology Center Coordinator
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Arcie joined Opportunity Junction in 2011. Arcie is the Technology Center Coordinator in our Antioch office. She is bilingual and brings 20 years experience in Administration and Customer Service. Arcie is proud to be an alumni as well as an employee of Opportunity Junction.

"I love working at the Technology Center. A place where people can earn confidence on computer skills as well as English as a second language and basic Spanish. My favorite part is when I see the participants receive their certificates with a big smile on their face."

 

Staff member Shannel

Shannel Arce
Outreach and Employment Specialist
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Shannel serves as our Outreach and Employment Specialist recruiting participants for our programs and working with partner agencies for presentations and referrals. She also works with employers helping them find the right fit for their employment needs. Shannel received her BA in Social Work from CSU Sacramento.

"My favorite part of working at OJ is when participants in our program accept a job offer. They are confident, grateful, and ready to succeed in their new administrative career!"

 

Staff member Karen

Karen Baker
Accountant
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Karen joined us in June 2015 as our Accountant. With over 30 years' experience in accounting including the last 14 years running her own bookkeeping business and a combined total of 14 years with 2 local CPA firms, she brings a broad foundation of experience to this position.

"The commitment here at Opportunity Junction is inspiring, and I am grateful to be a part of this organization."

 

Staff member Rich

Rich Berger
Director of Employer Engagement
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Rich is a veteran sales professional who joined us as Business Services Manager in October of 2011 and now serves as Director of Employer Engagement. Most recently the Vice President of Recruiting and Marketing at Harbor Lending, Rich spent most of his career before Opportunity Junction at Wells Fargo. He is a co-founder of the East Bay Professionals Network and a volunteer football coach.

"My favorite day at OJ is our Alumni Holiday Party. It's when we get to see our impact most. Our alumni are happy, confident, proud and so excited to share stories about their family and work. This event motivates me for my entire year."

 

Staff member Norman

Norman Cheng
Manager of Technology Training
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Norman joined our staff as Software Trainer and Analyst in 2009 after more than ten years as a corporate technical consultant and trainer. Norman also holds a B.A. in Social Work from San Francisco State University and has worked with at-risk youth as a counselor in San Francisco.

"Our clients are eager and motivated for change. It's a great privilege and joy for me to be one of the resources at Opportunity Junction to provide the tools and support they need to achieve their goals."

 

Staff member Christy

Christy Corrigan
Director of Counseling
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Christy joined our staff as Director of Counseling in 2015. A licensed psychologist, Christy has 12 years of experience in mental health serving children, adolescents, adults and families dealing with diverse issues including trauma, child abuse, addiction, and community violence. Christy has a B.A. in International Development from American University, and an M.A. and Psy.D from the Wright Institute in Clinical Psychology.

"I became a therapist because I love helping people make positive change, regardless of their history or their circumstances. At Opportunity Junction I get to be part of a team who shares that same passion, and we get to see the results of our work every time a participant finds a job."

 

Staff member Natasha

Natasha DeAlmeida
College and Career Counselor
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Natasha joined our staff in 2014 as the Career Counselor in our Antioch office and is now the College and Career Counselor for our Road Map to College pilot program. An Antioch native, Natasha joins our team with experience in Career Counseling and Advising at two Bay Area arts institutions. Natasha holds a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master of Arts degree from Mills College in Oakland in Educational Leadership with a focus on non-profit education.

"Everybody deserves the chance to become the best possible version of themselves. I enjoy being able to offer the positive support and guidance that will help my students with their college and career goals."

 

Staff member Alissa

Alissa Friedman
Executive Director
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Alissa has been with Opportunity Junction since 2001 and has served as Executive Director since 2003. Before joining the organization, she worked in software development for eight years, as an attorney for Morrison & Foerster for two years, and as managing partner of the law firm of Friend & Friedman for five years. In 2004, Alissa completed a fellowship with the Women's Policy Institute and helped draft and successfully advocate for S.B. 1639, the Education Works! bill. From 2005 to 2009, she served as a Commissioner on the Contra Costa County Commission for Women. Originally from Evanston, Illinois, she holds a bachelor's degree in physics from Harvard University and a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall.

"I get the deepest possible satisfaction from hearing 'I love my job' from an alum who pops in for a visit. I smile and reply, 'so do I.' My favorite times are when we're tackling a challenge, and each of us contributes ideas from our own perspective. There's the sense of shared purpose and camaraderie. From childhood, I've believed that this work represents the highest form of charity: helping others do for themselves."

 

Staff member Natalie

Natalie Georgia
Manager of Personal Development
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Natalie has taught life skills and provided case management services since late 2000, and is responsible for recruitment and outreach as our Manager of Personal Development. Ms. Georgia has studied computers and business administration at Los Medanos College and was one of the first alumni of the Job Training and Placement Program.

"I love working at Opportunity Junction because I get to witness the transformative power of change every day."

 

Staff member Eric

Eric Guzman
Career Counselor
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Eric is one of our Career Counselor working at the Bay Point location helping SparkPoint clients achieve financial stability having shifted roles from our Outreach and Employment Specialist. He is a recent graduate of San Jose State University with a B.A. degree in Psychology.

"I love working at Opportunity Junction because it allows me to interact more with the community that I grew up in. The best joy is when I see our programs significantly improve the lives of our clients and their families."

 

Staff member Melinda Johnson

Melinda Johnson
Administrative Manager
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Melinda, a resident of Antioch, recently joined our staff as Administrative Manager, drastically reducing her commute to her previous position as Human Resources and Accounting Manager at Cartelligent in Sausalito. Melinda has 20 years of progressive experience in small and start-up businesses as well as the non-profit sector.

"I am excited about the possibility of working for an organization where I can make a difference in the lives of others. Living in Antioch myself, I would delight in helping others in my and neighboring communities to gain the skills and confidence necessary to find fulfilling employment."

 

Staff member Joanne

Joanne Knaus
Manager of Alumni Programs
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"I came to OJ recently after leaving a teaching job. While I loved the impact teaching had, I felt very isolated in the classroom every day. Now I get to work closely with a whole group of people who love what they do. The staff here is incredibly talented, dedicated to the work, and we even make time for fun."

 

Staff member Lynn

Lynn Kwasny
Program Coordinator
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Lynn joined Opportunity Junction in 2013 and is our Program Coordinator working with the Job Training and Placement Program. Lynn has a degree from Ball State University in Indiana.

"I believe in second chances, new beginnings, and hope. Opportunity Junction provides a safe place which fosters personal growth and empowerment, along with essential workforce skills. I am grateful to get to play a small part in the betterment of families and the community through the life-changing work of Opportunity Junction."

 

Staff member Flor Lopez

Flor Lopez
Career Counselor
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Flor recently joined Opportunity Junction as a Career Counselor at the Bay Point location helping SparkPoint clients achieve financial stability. Prior to joining Opportunity Junction, Flor served as a Hiring Coordinator/Team Leader for Camp Augusta, a Research Assistant for Transforming Local Communities, and an Americorps Team Leader and Youth Mentor for the Kern County Superintendent of Schools. She holds a B.A. from the University of California at Santa Barbara in Sociology and Spanish, and she holds a Masters of Public Administration from Cal State University at Bakersfield.

 

Staff member Eva

Eva Luo
Acting Development Manager
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Eva joined our staff in 2015 as our Development and Volunteer Coordinator. Eva graduated from UC Davis with a degree in Managerial Economics. Prior to joining Opportunity Junction, Eva served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member in Arlington, Texas as a literacy coordinator.

"I have the best job. I am grateful to be part of an organization that strives for excellence and works to improve the lives of others. Nothing is more rewarding than that."

 

Rebecca Riley

Rebecca Riley
Sr. Development Officer
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Rebecca has been at Opportunity Junction since 2012 and serves as Senior Development Officer. After 25 years as a financial planner, Rebecca changed her focus to the nonprofit sector. She was previously employed as the Vice President of Major Gifts at United Way of the Bay Area and at Save the Redwoods League, responsible for planned giving and donors giving over $10,000. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from University of the Pacific.

 

Staff member Brianna

Brianna Robinson
Director of Programs
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Brianna, a former high school teacher, coach and administrator, joined Opportunity Junction in 2007 and serves as our Director of Programs. She completed the extensive Neighborhood Builders leadership program as the organization's Emerging Leader and serves as a representative on the Alcohol and Other Drugs Advisory Board for Contra Costa County. Brianna holds M.A. degrees from Temple University in both Educational Psychology and Educational Administration. She received her B.A. in English from Furman University.

"I love being part of an organization that truly impacts our community. We serve an area in great need, and I feel lucky to work here with the most dedicated and caring people I know."

 

Staff member Nicole

Nicole Sherman
Program Coordinator
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"The thing I like the most about working at Opportunity Junction is that it gives me the chance to give back to the community. I benefited from the programs here, and now I can help other people do the same."

 

Staff member Michelle

Michelle Wade
Program Manager
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Michelle joined us in 2014 as our Manager of Alumni Programs and now serves as Program Manager for our flagship Job Training and Placement Program. Michelle entered the career counseling field after more than 15 years in banking operations and management. She holds a B.S. in Human Resource Management from Devry University.

"Hearing the success stories of those we serve and the incredible barriers that they have overcome truly inspires me. These stories serve as proof that no barrier is insurmountable. I'm proud to be a part of an organization that supports others in achieving their personal and professional goals."

Staff    Board    Advisory Council    Alumni Council

 

Board of Directors

 

Board member Linda Best

Linda Best
Former President and CEO
East Bay Leadership Council

"I feel privileged to serve on Opportunity Junction's board of directors. The training and services OJ provides our clients truly change lives in a positive and transformative way. It is so rewarding to see these individuals obtain a well-paying job, gain self-esteem, be able to support their families and give back to the community."

 

Board member Bruce Baumgarten

Bruce Baumgarten
Talent Development and Learning Executive
CSAA Insurance Group

"Every success story I read and participant I meet reinforces the impact Opportunity Junction has on so many individuals and the community. OJ provides skills, confidence and hope to hard working people in various ways. It is an honor to serve on the Board of Directors and contribute to an amazing mission."

 

Board member Christine Bonifacio

Christine Bonifacio
VP, Program Manager
Wells Fargo at Work Program

"At Wells Fargo Bank, we know we are only as strong as the communities in which we serve, and I’m honored to serve on the board of Opportunity Junction, and hear the graduates’ stories of how the program has positively impacted their lives and the lives of their loved ones. It’s incredibly inspirational to see the dedicated staff at OJ work closely with each individual and help them achieve their goals. Thank you, Opportunity Junction, for making a difference and being the change we need to see in our communities."

 

Board member Bob Calkins

Robert Calkins
Community Development Program Administrator, Retired

"After spending over 33 years in the community development field providing funding to nonprofit organizations to help finance programs and projects that benefit lower income families, I am proud to have been appointed to the Opportunity Junction (OJ) Board of Directors in late 2015. For over 13 years, I have admired the work that OJ does in fighting poverty by providing its clients the hard and soft-skills training needed to become self-sufficient."

 

Board member Bob Coakley

Bob Coakley
Realtor
Windmere

"As a Board Member I find it an honor to be associated with such a high functioning organization that exists to improve our community by providing the opportunity for low-income individuals to become self-sufficient. It's heartening to meet program participants and hear stories of how OJ has transformed their lives and opens the door to an exciting future. The impact of its programs is deepened by the extensive follow-up and commitment to program alumni, which makes Opportunity Junction unique among peer non-profit organizations. Keep up the great work!"

 

Board member Jane Collett

Jane Collett
Co-Founder, Friends of Opportunity Junction

"It's rewarding to give my time to an organization that changes people's lives for the better. The confidence that is gained and skills that are taken into the community are life changing. All volunteer experiences should be this enriching."

 

Board member Jim Jones

Jim Jones
Owner
James Jones Consulting

"I enjoy being part of OJ Board due to chance to help people in a meaningful way. I have witnessed the positive impact the program has on people who take advantage of what is offered and dedicate themselves to changing their lives through acquiring skills that enhance employment and career opportunities."

 

Board member Richard Pagano

Richard Pagano
Agent
State Farm Insurance

"Since 2010 I’ve had several opportunities to work with Opportunity Junction representatives and job seekers – each time has been a pleasure. The candidates I’ve met in the OJ program are goal oriented individuals committed to providing a better life for their spouse, children, and themselves. OJ offers the hand up needed to improve necessary skills for today’s demanding job market. One of my passions is helping others elevate themselves, and it is an honor to have been asked to serve on a board whose focus is to help lift up those for whom they serve."

 

Board member Julin Perez-Berntsen

Julin Perez-Berntsen
Assistant Real Property Agent
Contra Costa County
Job Training and Placement Program Alumna, Class 30

"When you come to Opportunity Junction, it's not just skills and confidence. Hope never dies again."

 

Board member Adriana Ponce-Matteucci

Adriana Ponce-Matteucci
Office Manager
Rubicon Programs
Job Training and Placement Program Alumna, Class 38

"I believe that 'we are all a work in progress; but to progress you must put in the work.' I enjoy being on the board of an organization that shares this idea."

 

Board member Deb Rivera

Debra Rivera
Senior Director, Operations
Educational Testing Service

"I am honored to be a member of the board and help the community within which I have grown, lived and worked. Opportunity Junction (OJ) is aligned with my company's mission, as well as, my life, education, and career. I am grateful that there is somewhere for women and families to find their way to 'the self-sufficient' track."

 

Board member Jackie Seeno

Jackie Seeno
Land Development, Community Relations Manager, Owner
Cyrus Land Investments, LLC, A.D. Seeno Construction Co. & Discovery Builders, Inc.

 

Board member Brian Siebold

Brian Siebold
VP Senior Relationship Manager
BAC Community Bank

"One of my favorite quotes is from Stephen Hawking “However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at”. I believe this and as a Board Member, I am looking forward to working with Opportunity Junction in helping people achieve their goals. I have heard the stories of people that Opportunity Junction has helped. They have been truly inspirational and I look forward to hearing many more stories of success in the future."

 

Board member David Wahl

David Wahl
Workforce & Economic Development Manager
Los Medanos College

"I've admired the work of Opportunity Junction for many years and jumped at the chance to serve on the Board of Directors when the offer came along. Helping to lift East Contra Costa families to financial independence and self-sufficiency is one of the most fulfilling things I've experienced in my years of volunteer community service."

 

Board member Charlotte Will

Charlotte Will
Product Marketing Manager
Google Inc.

 

Board member Dr. Sean Wright

Dr. Sean Wright
Wright Start Family Chiropractic, Owner

"Opportunity Junction has created the model for 'teaching someone to fish.' The skills and knowledge learned by students in an atmosphere of love, family and expertise allows for growth of individuals to become self-sufficient, gain self-worth and strive to reach their goals and dreams. Whether you need help or you are willing to help come be a part of our family of service above self."

Staff    Board    Advisory Council    Alumni Council

Advisory Council

 

Iris Archuleta, CEO, Emerald HPC International, LLC

Keith Archuleta, Founder/President, Emerald HPC International, LLC

Jodi Avina, Director of Recruiting Operations, CFOs 2GO

Jacqueline Bhagavan, 2015 Mrs. California, Host, Complexion Kitchen

Hon. Susan Bonilla, Assemblymember, California State Assembly

Sandy Bustillo, Welfare-to-Work Manager, Contra Costa Employment and Human Services

Allan Cantando, Chief of Police, Antioch Police Department

George Carter , Business Services Representative, Contra Costa County Workforce Development Board

Val Davis, East County Advocate,

Aimee Durfee, Program Officer, Y&H Soda Foundation

Lester Ellis, Broker, Ellis Insurance Associates

Hon. Jim Frazier, Assemblymember, California State Assembly

Sue George, Director, Center for Teaching Excellence, Haas School of Business

Hon. Steven Glazer, Senator, California State Senate

Hon. Federal Glover, County Supervisor, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors

Ruth Goodin, Senior Foundation Director, Los Medanos College

Laurie Huffman, Professor, Los Medanos College

Jim Jakel, Founding Board Member,

Rick Kaiser, CPA, CFP, Temen, Kaiser & Cameron, CPAs, LLP

Christine Lambert, Regional Recruiter, Nelson Staffing

Angela Lowrey, Public Information Manager, Delta Diablo Sanitation District

Meryl Natchez, CEO (Retired), TechProse

Sharon Pappas, Principal, Antioch Area Community Fund

Nancy Parent, Former Mayor, City of Pittsburg

Ricardo Perez, DDS, Owner, Cosmetic Dental Spa

Juan Prieto, Family Development Specialist, California Human Development Corporation

Hon. Kevin Romick, Councilmember, City of Oakley

Timothy Silva, Community Development Manager, Wells Fargo Bank

Arne Simonsen, City Clerk, City of Antioch

Tonya Smith, Senior Communications Coordinator, Bayer, Opportunity Junction Alumni, Class 5

Tse Ming Tam, Vice President, Community Investment, United Way of the Bay Area

Hon. Tom Torlakson, Superintendent of Schools, State of California

René Tucker, Employer Liaison, EASTBAYWorks-Brentwood, Opportunity Junction Alumni, Class 8

Debbie Walls, Assistant Vice President, Umpqua Bank

Alma Williams-Palmer, Procurement Coordinator, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Opportunity Junction Alumni, Class 9

Staff    Board    Advisory Council    Alumni Council

Alumni Council

 

Composed entirely of alumni of our Job Training and Placement Program, the Alumni Council has input into the strategic direction of Opportunity Junction programs and has input on activities for Alumni.

The members of the Alumni Council are:

Alumni Council member Rebecka Amenta

Becky Amenta
Class 39

Alumni Council member Donald Buchanan

Donald Buchanan
Class 12

Alumni Council member Shaunette Buchanan

Shaunette Buchanan
Class 31

Alumni Council member Lily Lopez

Lilia Barajas Lopez
Class 32

Alumni Coucil member Maria Rigazio

Maria Rigazio
Class 23

Alumni Council member Leslie Serrano

Leslie Serrano
Class 23

Alumni Council member Nicole Sherman

Nicole Sherman
Class 29

Alumni Council member LaToya Shovan

LaToya Shovan
Class 43

Alumni Council member Lada Velichkov

Lada Velichkov
Class 40