oneTRUEzone Staff


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.


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 • Research Associate

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. Alayne also holds an MA in Higher Education Administration at Teachers College and gained residential life experience at Barnard College. She has 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 Communications Associate, Amy is able to promote and support an organization that gives students the tools they need to uncover a career they love. Amy also works as a high school and college English teacher, and she has 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.


allisan emes • Administrative Manager

Allisan is a motivated and driven person who will stop at nothing to get the job done. She was the owner of a busy outpatient surgical center but spent many years unhappy in her chosen career. After realizing she wasn’t truly fulfilled in her career, she shifted her path and began volunteering her time in many several organizations. Her success in her volunteer roles includes surpassing fundraising goals, planning large events, and successfully growing an organization by obtaining doubling the participation. Through her personal experiences with her career and her volunteer experience she is able to relate to students looking for a successful and fulfilling career.


Nicole Bushta • Director of Outreach

Nicole loves to help others be their best selves. The mission of oneTRUEzone resonated with her because she never felt like she had a clear path or was even asked what she wanted to do with her life. She graduated cum laude from Villanova University with a BA in communications and accepted the first job offered to her in advertising sales. Her career path changed several times, each time leaving her unfulfilled, until she discovered her gift of “ensuring improvement.” She never made the connection that helping others is what brings her happiness and what she is best at doing.  With oneTRUEzone, Nicole focuses on developing new relationships between OTZ and high schools, higher education institutions, nonprofit organizations, and corporate partners.  She’s excited to be utilizing her gift to connect with people and help more students.