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Our Leadership

Kenneth O'Brien, NJ 2-1-1 Board President

Ken O'Brien Board PresidentKen serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Gemini Shipper Group a not for profit shippers association. Ken is the founding President of bigboxSMALLBOX / Orion Management Group, an analytics consulting and SaaS firm engaged in providing companies with innovative ways to leverage their data assets to improve performance and supply chains. Prior to founding bigboxSMALLBOX Ken spent twenty one years in the liner shipping industry with APL and Hapag Lloyd. He held various senior Trade Management and Operations roles including managing APL’s $3 billion Pacific P&L as Senior Vice President of the Transpacific Trade. Ken received his Bachelor of Science degree in Maritime Administration from Texas A&M and has a Master of Science degree in Business Analytics from the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University.  Ken and his family reside in Montclair, New Jersey.

Melissa Acree, NJ 2-1-1 Executive Director

Executive Director Melissa AcreeMelissa Acree is an accomplished professional with a rich and diverse background. Her career began in the public school system as a Special Education Teacher and soon transitioned to Training & Development in business. Her business exposure spans corporations, nonprofits, healthcare, accounting and retail organizations.

She joined the NJ 2-1-1 Partnership in January 2013 as the Staff Development and Training Manager. In this newly created position, Melissa standardized the new hire training, managed the AIRS certification process and developed SOPs for new initiatives with UWW, CDC and community agencies. She was promoted to Director of Business Development and Training, in July 2016, where her leadership ability, collaborative nature and strong interpersonal skills are being channeled with our United Way and state partners. Named to the position of executive director on May 1, 2017, she will continue the work of building relationships with existing and future stakeholders. Melissa has a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education from William Paterson and a Master’s degree in Applied Psychology from Stevens Institute of Technology.

Melissa is actively involved in her church as a lector and a member of the fundraising committee. As a mother, she has spent the past 16 years advocating for services and programs for her son who has autism. For enjoyment, she likes cooking, traveling, reading and participating in a variety of outdoor activities. Melissa and her husband, Doug, reside in Morris County with their three teenage children.

Janice Kaniewski, NJ 2-1-1 Chief Operating Officer

Janice Kaniewski Chief Operating OfficerJanice Kaniewski has over 15 years of experience and a strong work portfolio in private industry that included high-level management experience in process development, customer service, human resources, collections, budget and analyses. She joined our organization in 2013 to fill the position of call center director and built a talented pool of community resource specialists who are known for their ability to provide hope and help to New Jersey citizens who are searching for solutions to life challenges. She also supported special initiatives and worked closely with community partners to ensure that those in-need could access programs for which they were eligible. Janice was named Chief Operating Officer on May 1, 2017. In this capacity she will continue to oversee call center operations and the implementation of these specialized programs, among other responsibilities. 

Janice has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Management from the College of St. Elizabeth. Janice, originally from New York City, currently resides in Morris County. She enjoys spending time with her family and plays an active role within her community.