A Letter From our Founder - Bonnie O'Brien
Since 2014, Transition Professionals' team has been dedicated to improving the lives of individuals transitioning from jail back into society. Over the past years, we have worked with over 1500 people, primarily in Northern New Jersey. They have been assisted by us through connections to resources, counseling, and direct support. We help over 300 men and women each year in rebuilding and transforming their lives. Our dedicated staff works everyday to end recidivism and provide second chances.
Legal and financial barriers to finding housing, homelessness, a history of drug and alcohol addiction, mental health illness, unemployment, poor credit, lack of education, and other factors compound the challenge to successfully reenter the community. Helping people stay off the streets, away from gangs and drugs, and giving them a purpose has saved hundreds of our clients from giving up altogether.
We believe that support is critical in helping people to not only survive but thrive in the community after incarceration. By helping the homeless get housed, the jobless get jobs and the marginalized ex-offender get back on their feet, Transition Professionals helps to curb crime, reduce stigmatization, and enrich our local economy.
We see positive proof daily that constructive alternatives to incarceration allow individuals to find new pathways in their lives. Every penny, nickel, and dime is used by Transition Professionals to help our clients who may very well be your neighbors, family members, or friends.
Thank you for your continued support.
President and CEO
Get to Know our Team
John started working with Transition Professionals in 2014. After retiring from PSE&G as an instructor and safety coordinator, he
found Transition Professionals and was immediately drawn to the organization's mission and values. He is responsible for operations and infrastructure of our office as well as coordinating volunteers who provide upkeep and service in our facility. John also coordinates the NA meetings on Sundays where 50-70 people attend each week. He helps pick up our donations and works one on one with some of our clients. He is deeply involved in the Bergen County community and helps in anyway that he can.
Michelle has been with Transition Professionals since our conception and remains the hub in our wheel. She is responsible for the "voice" that people hear when they call and the friendly face they see when they come to our office. She manages our files, accounting and calendar and is our biggest asset to the organization.
President & CEO
Bonnie is a tireless, passionate advocate for people who have been incarcerated and need help and guidance with reentering their communities. She has been involved in re-entry since volunteering at the Bergen County Jail teaching job readiness skills in the 1990’s. She was President and owner of Placement Professionals and two Norrell Staffing offices. She served three years as President of the New Jersey Staffing Association. For more than 20 years, Bonnie has been an instructor for the Society of Human Resources. She founded Transition Professionals in 2014 as a 501(c)3 not for profit and has built a robust, client-driven organization of volunteers and college interns. Currently, she is a member of the Association of Re-Entry Professionals, Criminal Justice Specialists and the New Jersey Advocacy Network. Bonnie has a BS in Business and a Paralegal Certification from Fairleigh Dickinson University as well as numerous Human Resource industry certifications.
In 2017, Bonnie was the recipient of the $50,000 Russ Berrie Making a Difference Award for “her passion to improve the lives of individuals transition from incarceration back into society”.
In 2019, Bonnie was awarded the Celia Weisman Award from the Bergen County Human Services Advisory County.
Alcohol & Drug counselor
Anthony began as a client of Transition Professionals and is now a certified substance abuse counselor. He obtained a four-year degree from New Jersey State University in Psychology. Today, he uses his first-hand experience to help our clients turn their lives around.
Karen has been volunteering at Transition Professionals for three years. She comes from a 40 year long career in not for profit management working with people with disabilities as well as directing programs in housing, employment, and community integration in a variety of organizations in Florida, Oregon, and New Mexico. She served as chair of the Florida Rehabilitation council for three years, working closely with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation in planning and developing state-wide programs and services. Karen has also served as the chair and as a member of various other state and local disability-related organizations. She is a New Jersey-certified teacher. Now, Karen holds weekly groups in the Bergen County Jail, writes grants, and assists Bonnie in all other projects.
Dr. Richard Stiga, Ph.D.
Richard joined Transition Professionals after retirement from a career in both the New York and New Jersey prison systems.
He served for 15 years as the Unit Director at Avenel (ADTC) where he lead the clinical supervision of a team of social workers and psychologists treating incarcerated sex offenders. Prior, he worked as the Clincial Supervisor at Rikers Island and as Chief of Mental Health at the NYC Correctional Health Services. There, he worked with the most difficult to manage inmates in the NYC Corrections System. Dr. Stiga has trained under many notable leaders in Forensic Psychiatry, Psychology, and Psychotherapy.