Helene Naftali • Principal and founder
Helene Naftali had a single ambition when she founded oneTRUEzone. She wanted to create a vehicle to empower college students to discover the career they were meant for, one that could lead to a life of happiness and professional fulfillment.
Helene found a significant gap in the career services available to young adults, and one that she was more than able to fill. Her passionate concern for the success of each young person is fueled by many years as a practicing psychotherapist. Additionally, as Senior Vice President of Investments for a major financial services firm, Helene also has 25 years of experience in helping families and individuals plan their financial futures. Early in her financial career, Helene was responsible for setting up training for new advisers to show them how to increase their success rate in counseling families on their financial futures. While balancing motherhood and two careers, Helene went on to spearhead workshops guiding people that were considering financial careers on how to determine if their hearts and minds were in fact dedicated to this path. It was this experience that served as a wake-up-call for Helene that her oneTRUEzone is to reach out to the many young adults needing help in making college count, and in finding a career that will truly make them happy.
As a compelling public speaker, Helene has given numerous motivational talks in educational and corporate settings on topics ranging from career planning to high finance. In light of Helene’s many successes, she remains modest and down to earth, and is very well respected in her community. Her genuine concern for the well being of the individual is her ever-present guiding light and passion. Her warmth and enthusiasm enable her to unlock the yearnings of young people, and help them find their oneTRUEzone. Helene holds a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Binghamton University, and also a Master’s Degree in Social Work from New York University. Helene, her husband and two daughters live in northern New Jersey.
Carolyn sharaway • director of philanthropy and community partnerships
Carolyn approaches life and work with an energetic and passionate attitude. She truly loves developing resources by building relationships and helping others make a difference in the nonprofit sector. She believes education, along with health, is fundamental to living a fulfilling life.
Her 15 year career in the nonprofit sector began in direct service to underserved populations and was the catalyst to pursue fundraising as a career. She developed her skills in institutional advancement for health and education organizations which led to management of multi-year, sustainable fundraising and development projects that included campaigns; event planning and implementation; major donor cultivation and solicitation; resource development; database management, communications and more.
Carolyn volunteers on the Board and provides fundraising counsel for The Brookdale Park Conservancy, a volunteer-run, nonprofit organization dedicated to maintaining and improving Brookdale Park which borders the towns of Montclair and Bloomfield in New Jersey.
Carolyn earned a bachelor’s of science degree in Psychology from Stony Brook University and a Master Degree in Nonprofit Management from Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy in New York City.
Diane Mitchell • School Administrators Association of New York State • Principal of the Year 2013
Diane Mitchell is the curriculum designer and consultant for oneTRUEzone. She comes to oneTRUEzone with a diverse and extensive background in education, having taught at the elementary, secondary and college levels. Diane is currently a middle school principal in the Clarkstown Central School District in New York. She holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from the State University of New York at Oneonta, a Master’s degree from Fordham University in Special Education, and a Doctoral degree from St. John’s University in Educational Leadership. Diane has published several articles on students’ learning styles and their implications for education. Diane resides in Rockland County, NY with her husband and three sons and enjoys running marathons.
Diane has discovered that her oneTRUEzone is creating educational alternatives, which is what brought her to oneTRUEzone.
Alayne Birnhak • Director of outreach
Alayne is thrilled to serve as OTZ's Director of Outreach. She graduated, cum laude, from Brandeis University with a BA in Sociology and American Studies. Co-curricular leadership roles during her second and third years at Rutgers School of Law-Newark led her to realize her love of helping others make the most of their time inside and outside the classroom. She decided that she would rather spend her days advising students than advising clients.
After clerking for the Honorable Mark Falk, a United States Magistrate Judge, Alayne headed to Columbia University so she could complete the MA program in Higher Education Administration at Teachers College and gain residential life experience at Barnard College. She then spent several years at The Graduate School of The Jewish Theological Seminary, most recently as its Director of Recruitment and Admissions, and at Bank Street College of Education, where she was an Associate Director of Graduate Admissions. She also earned an MA in Jewish Studies with High Honors from Gratz College and works in several capacities in Jewish education, another one of her passions. Alayne feels very fortunate to put her gift of unlocking potential to good use in so many ways!
Amy Stermer • communications associate
Amy’s primary goal is to help students succeed, and she’s able to accomplish this in several ways. As the Assistant to the Director of Philanthropy and Community Partnerships with oneTRUEzone, Amy is able to promote and support an organization that gives students the tools they need to uncover a career they love. As a high school English teacher, she works with students to find the best way to express themselves and understand the world around them. And as a college instructor, she teaches students valuable writing and research skills to help them get ahead in both academia and the workplace.
In addition to working in education-related jobs, Amy has also been a freelance writer, a performing musician, and an award-winning documentary filmmaker. She is also a volunteer head coach with Girls on the Run Hudson Valley.
Amy holds a BA in English and Communication from the State University of New York at Buffalo and an MA in English Language and Literature from the University of Maryland College Park, and she holds a State of Michigan Professional Education Certificate in English and History (6-12) through the Graduate Teacher Certification program at Grand Valley State University.