Technology Center Coordinator
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."
College and Career Counselor
Kaylan is a recent graduate with a BA in Human Development from Cal State East Bay. She will be working as a College and Career Counselor in our Road Map to College program. She attended Los Medanos College before transferring to CSEB, so she has walked the same path as many of our Road Map college students that are navigating the community college system. Before joining Opportunity Junction in 2018, Kaylan was a Facility Manager for a nonprofit Crisis Nursery in Concord. She has an Associate’s Degree in Child Development, and worked at LMC’s Child Study Center as well.
"My favorite part of working at Opportunity Junction is being able to help create positive change in the community I grew up in. I also enjoy working alongside passionate and dedicated individuals."
Professional Development Instructor
Carmela received her BS in Adolescent/Adult Psychology from Saint Mary's College of CA in 2000. Prior to OJ, she had worked at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Palo Alto for 16 years. As a financial counselor, she worked directly with patients and families in navigating through their health insurance and would act on their behalf with the different entities as needed.
“I am excited to work at OJ because it allows me to engage with, encourage, and empower people who are making important decisions in their lives and taking the steps to create a better future for themselves.”
Manager of Technology Training
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."
Director of Counseling
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."
Cynthia Dial is an experienced development professional who joined our staff in 2017 as Grant Writer. Her career in nonprofit development encompasses private and public grant management, as well as marketing and communications, major gifts, board development, media and special events. Cynthia earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from University of California at Irvine.
Whitney is a recent graduate with a BA in English from UC Berkeley. Whitney also has a rich background in counseling and has worked in various other capacities at other non-profits in the area. Her favorite part of non-profit work is helping her clients feel confident and motivated to reach both their professional and personal goals.
“Opportunity Junction is an amazing place to be because the organization truly cares about each client’s success. I love that they offer personalized support from the beginning to the end, never leaving the clients’ side until they reach their goals and are on the path to self-sufficiency.”
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."
Manager of Personal Development
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."
Manager of Alumni Programs
Kisty Jimenez recently joined Opportunity Junction in 2017 as our Manager of Alumni Programs. Prior to joining Opportunity Junction, Kisty was an Assistant Program Manager for a Job Services Program located in Solano County. Before that, Kisty worked for more than 10 years in the banking industry.
“To be able to continue to be a part of the success of others gain self- sufficiency is truly the most amazing feeling! It is the most rewarding feeling one could have to know that we are able to provide services and success to the local community!”
Director of Administration
An Antioch resident since 2015, Melinda joined our staff as Administrative Manager in April 2016. She became our Director of Administration in July 2017, managing all aspects finance, human resources, and facilities for the office. Melinda has 25 years of progressive administration experience in small and start-up businesses, as well as in the non-profit sector.
"I love working for an organization where I can make a difference in the lives of others. Living in Antioch myself, it means a lot that we help others in my and neighboring communities to gain the skills and confidence necessary to find fulfilling employment."
Program Manager for Road Map to College
Dionne, a resident of Pittsburg, joined Opportunity Junction in 2017 as our College and Career Counselor. She graduated from Los Medanos College with an AA in Liberal Arts with an emphasis in Behavioral Science and Social Science before transferring to Cal State East Bay where she earned a BA in Sociology and minored in Human Development. She now serves as concierge for students 18-24 years of age at Los Medanos College who are striving towards meeting their educational and career goals. Prior to joining Opportunity Junction Dionne worked in healthcare for more than 20 years, primarily in staffing and recruitment.
“I thoroughly enjoy working here at Opportunity Junction because it gives me an opportunity to make a positive contribution to the very community where I'm raising my own children. It brings me great joy and satisfaction to help give young adults a path to personal growth and self-sufficiency.”
Nazaria joined Opportunity Junction in 2017 as a Career Counselors in Bay Point helping SparkPoint clients achieve financial stability by finding fulfilling employment. She graduated from California State University, Sacramento where she earned a BA in Sociology. Prior to joining Opportunity Junction, Nazaria was a Job Developer for an employment services program located in Contra Costa County.
"I am excited to be working at Opportunity Junction because it allows me to help people in the community that I grew up in. It is rewarding to see the positive changes people make in their lives when they believe in themselves”
Director of Programs
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."
Business Services Manager
Shaun is an experienced professional who recently joined our staff as a Career Counselor. He previously served as a Placement Coach with The Workforce Development Board of Solano County, Recruiter/Staffing Manager with Robert Half, and also worked in the non-profit and gym industries. Shaun is very passionate in what he does and helping people on their professional/personal goals is his purpose in life.
"The best feeling I get is when I see my clients get out of their comfort zone, rediscover their skills/passions, and ultimately find their dream job!"
"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."
Outreach and Employment Specialist
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!"
Program Manager for the Job Training and Placement Program
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."
For the past 10 years, Patty has worked for non-profits who support people through life-controlling behaviors and situations including eating disorders, self-harm, substance abuse, depression, sexual abuse, and sex trafficking. She worked as a life coach supporting clients through accountability, encouragement and mentoring to help them become whole, productive, and thriving individuals.
“I love being a part of an incredible collective of kind people who are passionate about serving our community through the services provided at Opportunity Junction. I know we will continue to see our clients succeed and I am thankful to be a small part of a significant victory with each person we empower.”
Board of Directors
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."
Carol Ann Barber
Carol Ann Barber Consulting
"I am excited to be involved with Opportunity Junction and serve on the Board of Directors. The organization's mission is a perfect fit with my passion for community service as well as my professional experience in job placement and recruiting. Opportunity Junction provides a foundation for long term success not just in a work setting, but also in life skills.”
Director of Talent
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."
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."
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."
Bob has been a member of the Opportunity Junction Board of Directors since 2014 serving on multiple committees and holding numerous officer positions including Board Chair for the 2018-19 term. He was initially introduced to Opportunity Junction while leading the Thomas J. Long Foundation as Executive Director, and continued the relationship after leaving the foundation to pursue a career in real estate. Bob and his family have made East Contra Costa County their home since 2002, and has supported the community through his real estate business, and volunteer work with several area non-profit organizations.
“I have always been proud of my association with Opportunity Junction and the important role the organization serves in our community. Opportunity Junction is a proven leader in helping prepare participants across all of its programs for today’s entry level careers, and provides the skills required to achieve long-term economic self-sufficiency.”
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."
Senior Counsel, Environmental and Real Estate
Pacific Gas and Electric Company
"I have long supported and admired the work of Opportunity Junction and am honored to serve on the Board of Directors. The organization provides training and life skills that transform lives by developing the foundation for independence and self-sufficiency. The staff is incredible - determined and dedicated to working with each participant to ensure success. I look forward to working with OJ in continuing its mission to fight poverty in the East Bay."
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."
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."
Vice President | District Manager
"In my position at U.S. Bank, I see how Opportunity Junction makes possible happen in the East Bay, by creating a trained and ready workforce that ensures the prosperity of our communities. And through U.S. Bank's Community Possible grant making and volunteering program - where we support organizations like Opportunity Junction - we help people succeed in the workforce, small businesses thrive, provide pathways to higher education, and enhance their financial knowledge."
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."
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."
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."
Product Marketing Manager
Dr. Sean Wright
City of Antioch, Mayor
"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."
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
George Carter , Business Services Representative, Contra Costa County Workforce Development Board
Val Davis, East County Advocate,
Aimee Durfee, Chief Program Officer, JVS
Lester Ellis, retired 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
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
Arne Simonsen, City Clerk, City of Antioch
Tonya Smith, Senior Communications Coordinator, Bayer, Opportunity Junction Alumni, Class 5
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
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:
Lilia Barajas Lopez