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Meet Our Team!


Bonnie O'Brien

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.  


Elvia Asencio

Case Manager, Licensed Social Worker

Elvia is an NYU Master's Program graduate and NJ licensed social worker. Helping others brings joy to her life, and advocating for the most vulnerable, invisible and voiceless communities is her calling. Elvia is passionate about community service and advocacy. She has experience working with diverse populations, including older adults, minorities, formerly incarcerated, and homeless individuals. Using a client-centered approach, she strives to offer clients the opportunity to explore their complex and unique stories in a safe, empathetic, and non-judgmental environment while focusing on attainable goals.

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Emily Shinn

Case Manager

Emily graduated from Fairleigh Dickenson University with a master’s degree in forensic psychology. At FDU, she learned the importance of addressing individuals’ mental health concerns, especially within the forensic population. She recognizes the stigma that those who have been previously incarcerated face and is dedicated to creating an accepting and supportive environment for our clients. As a case manager, she is devoted to helping clients find their strengths, overcome challenges, and move toward a bright future.

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Tiffany Laterra

Employment Specialist, MSW

Tiffany is a graduate of the Ramapo College Advanced Standing Master's in Social Work Program, passionate about serving the underserved in urban and suburban communities.  Her commitment to serve and advocate for people who have been impacted by the criminal justice and carceral system as well as those experiencing homelessness is fueled by her belief in each person's deep value and unique story. She cares about mobilizing and encouraging indviduals and communities using person-centered, evidence-based, and holistic approaches, and hopes to empower those she meets to thrive and walk in dignity. 


Karen Brocklehurst

Assistant Director

Karen has been working at Transition Professionals for seven 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 has a variety of responsibilities including grant writing, seeking new interns & volunteers and special projects.

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Michelle Essery

Administrative Assistant

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.

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Amanda Littlehale

Reentry Specialist, Case Manager, MSW, Special Projects Manager

Amanda is a graduate of the Ramapo College of New Jersey Master's Program with a degree in Social Work. She works directly with our clients in order to assist them in their journeys to find jobs, housing and other resources needed throughout their reentry process. She is driven to make positive impact within the community that we serve and inspires others to pursue their passions. 

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Hannah Barletta

Employment Case Manager

Hannah grew up in New Jersey and is a graduate of Montclair State University with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. She has been volunteering for many years and plans to get her master’s in social work. Hannah is the Case Manager for the new Job Opportunities for Building Success Program, working closely with individuals who need training and placement upon release. She is excited to be able to help others find a fitting career and fulfill their potential. 

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Jonathan Baumgarten

Job Developer

Jonathan has been helping diverse populations such as the blind and visually impaired, the homeless and previously incarcerated with interview skills, resume development and job search skills. Prior to his career in workforce development, Jonathan worked in the advertising and marketing industries. He is passionate about helping people getting sustainable living-wage jobs.

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