As an alumna of our Administrative Careers Training Program, Maro’Jene brings her passion and experience to our WIOA team. Prior to this role, Maro’Jene worked at Los Medanos College, participated on the Opportunity Junction Alumni Council, and was a volunteer supporting our annual gala.
“I love encouraging people and letting them know that a job/career is possible. I’m proud to work in a place where people can learn professional development and get the help they need to succeed.The best part of my job is seeing a client come in with a smile after they get a job!”
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."
Director of Development
Alexis joined our team as Director of Development in 2019 with a strong background in marketing and communications. After graduating from Azusa Pacific University with a Bachelor's in Psychology and a Masters of Business Administration, Alexis honed her marketing, communications, and social media skills in the banking and electrical construction sectors. At the same time, she helped a number of nonprofits launch websites and social media presences in her spare time. Now she can apply her talents full time in the non-profit sector!
Computer Skills Instructor
Alana has a long history with Opportunity Junction, first as a graduate of our Administrative Careers Training (ACT, formerly JTPP) program in 2011, then as a Volunteer Trainer in our evening Technology Center, and since 2014 as a Session Leader for the Do-It-Yourself Tax Assistance program. Meanwhile, Alana transitioned into teaching from the administrative field and served as an instructor in computer skills at Liberty Adult Education and Rubicon Programs. She is a credentialed Microsoft Office Specialist several times over and joined the teaching staff for the ACT in 2019.
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."
Ja'Nae joined our team as the Executive Assistant in November of 2019. Ja'Nae had most recently been managing multiple offices of Block Advisors (H&R Block). She worked her way up from Receptionist to Tax Preparer to Multi-Office Manager. Ja'Nae is a real go-getter and holds three (count 'em, three) Associates degrees from Los Medanos College (Business Administration, Accounting, and Liberal Arts).
Andrea has more than 11 years of grant and proposal writing experience and joined our team in 2019. Her work spans several sectors, including international development and medical research, and she is adept at grasping complex technical information. Her skills in proposal development were recognized by MzN International, which invited her to facilitate a four-day seminar in proposal writing. She holds a B.A. from Kalamazoo College in Political Science and a Master of Public Affairs in Comparative and International Affairs/Nonprofit Management from Indiana University.
President/Chief Executive Officer
Alissa has been with Opportunity Junction since 2001 and has led the organization 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 the University of California at Berkeley.
"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."
Cameron graduated with a BS in Psychology from Howard University in 2015. Since then, she has dedicated her life to supporting individuals in the pursuit of their passions. She is delighted to work with Opportunity Junction to make a change in the community.
"It warms my heart to know that every staff member has dedicated their life to helping people reach their full potential. I can’t wait to do my part to provide opportunities for individuals willing to work hard to succeed.”
Vice President 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 External Partnerships
After graduating from high school, Dionne Moeller pursued a career in healthcare where she spent 20 years. When she decided to change course and pursue a career in Counseling, she enrolled at Los Medanos College with plans to transfer to a four-year university. At Los Medanos, she earned an AA 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 really wanted to work helping people achieve their dreams and reach their personal goals just as she had. That’s when Dionne landed her dream job with Opportunity Junction where she now serves as the Program Manager of External Partnerships.
“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.”
Charles spent much of his professional life focused on helping people achieve self-sufficiency. Prior to coming to Opportunity Junction in February 2019, Charles worked as an Employment Services Specialist and Computer Skills Trainer for Goodwill Industries of the Greater East Bay. Bilingual in English and Spanish, he has a unique ability to quickly and personally connect with a diverse population.
“I truly enjoy working with Opportunity Junction because I have a passion to help those in need become self-sufficient. I get to make an impact on people's lives and see them obtain their dream jobs.”
Nadya Poveda joined our team in 2019 as the Program Coordinator for the Technology Center. Nadya is a seasoned administrative professional, having graduated from Opportunity Junction's job training program in 2008. Bilingual in English and Spanish, she provides a warm welcome for every person who comes into the Technology Center.
Vice President 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!"
Professional Development Instructor
Erica joined our team in 2019 as the Professional Development Instructor in our Healthcare Career Pathway job training program. Erica has a background working with children and adults with special needs, giving her insight into the challenges her students may face in providing empathetic care to their patients. She holds an A.A. in liberal arts from Diablo Valley College.
"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."
Janelle has recently joined our team as our new Program Assistant. Janelle comes with over 5 years of project management and customer service experience in the gym industry. When it comes to customer service, Janelle strives to make sure the customer has the absolute best experience and helping people brings so much joy to her life.
"If you're not making someone else's life better, then you're not making the best of your time. Your life will become better by making other lives better."
Lead 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."
Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator
Annabelle joined Opportunity Junction in February 2019 with several years of varied administrative experience. She previously worked as the Events and Training Coordinator for UCSF Office of Diversity and Outreach, giving her solid skills and enthusiasm for her new role as Outreach Coordinator. A recent transplant from San Francisco, Annabelle and her family now live in Pittsburg and she has eagerly committed to impacting the community through her work.
“I always wanted a job where I could make a difference. It is my passion to help people and it is rewarding working at Opportunity Junction. I love to see the outcome of our work: people getting jobs!”
Nolan joined our staff in October 2019 after 8 years of progressive experience in analytical chemistry in method development with Impax Laboratories. One of his proudest achievements during that time was leading a team of senior scientists, research associates, and scientists in the successful execution of a complex 32 part in-vitro bioequivalence study. That study required the automation of ~200,000 calculations, and resulted in a 600+ page bioequivalence study report with approximately 16,000 pages of appendix material. Drawing meaning out of our wage, demographics, and program data should be a piece of cake after that! Nolan holds a Bachelor's of Science with Highest Honors in Chemical Biology from the University of California at Berkeley.
WIOA Program Manager
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
Linda Best is the retired CEO of the East Bay Leadership Council, a private sector public policy organization and retired Executive Director of the Contra Costa Economic Partnership. She also serves on the board for STAND! for Families Free of Violence and the East Bay Regional Park District Advisory Committee. She received her BA and MA degrees from Stanford University.
"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
Bruce has been a member of the Opportunity Junction Board of Directors since 2016. He has served on varying committees and held different positions including Board Chair for the 2019-20 term. He has over 20 years’ experience in corporate talent departments (e.g., learning & development, leadership development, talent management, and talent acquisition) and a master’s degree in Training and Organizational Development and a MBA. Bruce has lived in East Contra Costa County since 2012 and some of his other volunteer work includes clearing Mount Diablo trails, helping landscape regional parks, and preparing food so it can sent where most needed.
"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."
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."
Information Systems Administrator
Tipping Point Community
Ken is an experienced technology professional dedicated to supporting mission-oriented organizations and individuals. He has been the architect of six end-to-end Salesforce implementation. He first got to know Opportunity Junction when researching possible options for sharing referral information between nonprofits' Salesforce implementations.
Tom C. Ramirez Construction Co., Inc.
Tom Ramirez is a retired Operations and Maintenance Supervisor for the Contra Costa Water District who is also an entrepreneur and business owner in the fields of construction and investment.
“I began supporting Opportunity Junction in 2014 when I was introduced to their work and attended their annual fundraising gala. I am excited to join the board of an organization of the highest quality that provides a successful path to a meaningful career and many valuable life skills for their students with continuing support for the alumni.”
Staff UX Design Researcher
Renee Reid is a Staff UX Design Researcher at LinkedIn with over 20 years of professional experience in various roles including Project Management, Customer Experience, Sales and User Experience. She is also the LinkedIn Campus Lead for the Black Inclusion Group BIG (an Employee Resource group (ERG), a Boys and Girls Club mentor, as well as a Professional Mentor with TechWomen, an initiative of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs created by the Obama Administration.
Tara D. Sanders
Manager, Workforce & Economic Development
Contra Costa Community College District
Tara Sanders is the Manager of Workforce and Economic Development for the Contra Costa Community College District. She enjoys her career working in higher education, as well as running a small consulting company. Her professional focuses are in strategic program planning and systems alignment. This has allowed her to event plan for hundreds, make investments in today's youth, as well as be a part of community transformation simultaneously. As a liaison between colleges and companies, she develops strategic partnerships focusing in workforce development. These partnerships include alignment with county and federal workforce systems (WIOA), developing internships, community collaborations and event/program planning and logistics.
Business Relationship Manager
Wells Fargo Bank
Justin Santiago has more than 20 years of experience in the banking field and is currently serving as a Business Relationship Manager for Wells Fargo while pursuing his Master’s of Business Administration. Justin brings to the board expertise in nonprofit finance and tax filings.
“I’m joining the Opportunity Junction board to help make a difference for people who want to better their quality of life and to give back to the community that I live in. I have a passion for helping others and feel a sense of accomplishment when we help a person succeed professionally and financially.”
President, Plateau Data Services
Attorney at Law
Cat also serves on the board for The 49ers Academy and is an advocate for teens who have aged out of the foster care system. She received her BS from Santa Clara University and her JD from New York Law School. She is also a licensed real estate broker.
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
Christine Bonifacio, VP, Program Manager, Wells Fargo at Work Program
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
Curtis McAdams, Relationship Banker, Umpqua Bank
Meryl Natchez, CEO (Retired), TechProse
Richard Pagano, State Farm Agent and Antioch Chamber of Commerce Executive Director
Sharon Pappas, Principal, Antioch Area Community Fund
Nancy Parent, Former Mayor, City of Pittsburg
Ricardo Perez, DDS, Owner, Cosmetic Dental Spa
Laurie Phillips, Diablo Valley College
Juan Prieto, Family Development Specialist, California Human Development Corporation
Deb Rivera, Senior Director, Operations, Educational Testing Service
Hon. Kevin Romick, Councilmember, City of Oakley
Jackie Seeno, Land Development, Community Relations Manager, Owner, Cyrus Land Investments, LLC, A.D. Seeno Construction Co. & Discovery Builders, Inc.
Arne Simonsen, City Clerk, City of Antioch
Tonya Smith, Senior Communications Coordinator, Bayer, Opportunity Junction Alumni, Class 5
René Tucker, Employer Liaison, EASTBAYWorks-Brentwood, Opportunity Junction Alumni, Class 8
David Wahl, Manager of Workforce and Economic Development, Los Medanos College
Charlotte Will, Product Marketing Manager, Google
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