Staff Leadership


Sam Schaeffer  |
Chief Executive Officer / Executive Director

Sam Schaeffer is the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO), a New York-based nonprofit corporation that provides employment services to men and women with criminal convictions.  CEO was created by the Vera Institute of Justice in the late 1970s and has been operating as an independent corporation since 1996.  Mr. Schaeffer joined CEO in 2009 to replicate the program in jurisdictions beyond New York City. Over the last five years he has led the expansion of CEO to nine new cities, including four offices in upstate New York as well as three in California and two in Oklahoma. Prior to joining CEO, Mr. Schaeffer served as Director of Economic Development for U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York. In that position he oversaw all job creation and retention efforts, transportation and infrastructure policy as well as social policy. Sam graduated with a B.A. from Reed College, Phi Beta Kappa.

Brad Dudding  | Chief Operating Officer
Brad Dudding, Chief Operating OfficerBrad Dudding joined CEO in 1994. He oversees CEO’s financial, MIS, transitional job and human resource operations and works closely with the executive director on organizational strategy and management operations. Prior to joining CEO, Mr. Dudding worked at the NYC Office of Management and Budget, under the direction of Mindy Tarlow. Mr. Dudding also served as a Municipal Financial Analyst at the New York State Controller’s Office and was responsible for overseeing the budgets of New York City’s uniformed agencies.

Tani P. Mills  | 
Chief of External and Legislative AffairsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATani P. Mills is responsible for enhancing CEO’s visibility both in New York City and nationally, and for overseeing community and legislative outreach, publicizing CEO’s brand to key local, state and national audiences.  In addition, she directs CEO’s efforts to market and persuade large NYC businesses to hire CEO clients. Ms. Mills brings to her current position more than a decade of experience as Chief Program Officer of CEO, responsible for all facets of program services.  She began her career in senior administrative positions at the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation and then joined the Vera Institute of Justice in 1992.  Ms. Mills graduated from St. John’s University with a B.S. in Criminal Justice and holds a Master’s Degree in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Le’Ann Duran-Mitchell | Executive Director, CEO NYCunnamedFor the last ten years, Le’Ann Duran-Mitchell has been working with states and communities to address the challenges of increasing public safety and reducing corrections spending. Most recently, Le’Ann has led efforts at the Council of State Government’s Justice Center to assist policymakers and corrections practitioners to develop, implement, and monitor state-specific strategies to these challenges. Additionally, Le’Ann directed the National Reentry Resource Center where she was instrumental in launching a national approach to assisting hundreds of Second Chance Act grantees and the reentry field at-large.

Before joining the Justice Center, Le’Ann was the Administrator of the Office of Offender Reentry for the Michigan Department of Corrections and was responsible for managing Michigan’s Prisoner Reentry Initiative. National experts have recognized Michigan’s reentry efforts as one of the most advanced and comprehensive reentry initiatives in the United States. Le’Ann was instrumental in the project’s success, coordinating a grassroots approach to building community capacity to receive people released from the state prison system, as well as managing $50 million in annual appropriations for reentry services. Le’Ann received her B.S. from Texas Tech University with Highest Honors and her M.S. from Colorado State University.Samra Haider | Executive Director, CEO Nationalunnamed (1)Samra Haider most recently worked as Director of Small Business Services for Next Street Financial, a merchant bank which provides flexible financing and advisory expertise to small businesses and nonprofits in urban markets. In this role, she led select advisory engagements and oversaw Next Street’s brick and mortar activity, focusing on small business technical assistance. In addition, she managed a Technical Assistance Center in partnership with the City of New York which assists over 3,000 small business owners annually and helped deploy over $10M in financing since 2013.Samra joined Next Street from the Roberts Enterprise Development Fund (REDF), a San Francisco-based venture philanthropy organization that creates jobs and employment opportunities for people facing the greatest barriers to work, where she was Portfolio Director. Samra led REDF’s organizational presence in Southern California; including overseeing REDF’s expansion into the market and acting as the primary relationship manager for REDF’s Southern California-based portfolio organizations.

Prior to REDF, Samra was a Consultant with Oliver Wyman. She also worked as an Investment Banking Analyst for JPMorgan Chase. Samra holds a BA in Economics from Columbia University, an MS in Human Rights from the London School of Economics, and an MBA from the Wharton School.
 Gordon Miller | Senior Director of FinanceGounnamed (2)rdon Miller joins the Center for Employment Opportunities from The Correctional Association of New York where he served as their Director of Finance/CFO.  His key responsibilities included management of financial and strategic planning processes, maintenance of internal controls, and financial systems. He also oversaw the annual operating budget process, periodic forecasting, the annual financial statement and the audit production of the 990. 

Before joining the Correctional Association of New York, Gordon was the Budget Director at Safe Horizon and the Director of Budgeting and Financial Analysis at AFS-USA. Gordon earned his Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and his Bachelors in Business Administration from Adelphi University.  
Tim Williams  | Deputy Executive Director of CEO NationalTim's website image (1)Mr. Williams began his career with CEO in 2003 with the launch of a large scale multi-agency initiative on Rikers Island, and then as the Director of Transitional Employment Services.  Presently Mr. Williams serves as the Deputy Executive Director of CEO National where he oversees the launch and operation of new offices outside of New York City including Upstate New York offices in Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Westchester as well as offices to be opened outside of New York State.  Prior to joining CEO, he worked with the Vera Institute of Justice on a prisoner reentry demonstration project. Mr. Williams also developed and managed several programs concerning intimate personal violence in both community and jail settings. Mr. Williams has a research background, both as the MacClure Fellow for the Study of International Affairs based in Mexico, and at the Highlander Center in Tennessee. Mr. Williams received a Masters of Science in Social Work from the University of Tennessee.
Bill Heiser | Director of CaliforniabillBill Heiser oversees CEO’s operations in California.Bill joined CEO in 2010 to establish CEO’s presence in California, beginning with the Golden State Works Project in Oakland. He has over 7 years of experience in the reentry field. Prior to joining CEO Bill served as the Coordinator of the Community Safety and Justice Program at the Urban Strategies Council in Oakland where he managed a number of county-wide reentry and violence prevention initiatives. Bill also has an extensive background in reentry research and policy analysis having focused on this issue while serving as a research associate at both the Illinois Division of Mental Health and the Columbus Children’s Research Institute in Columbus, Ohio. He holds an M.A. from the University of Chicago and a B.A. from Hampshire College.
Mary Bedeau  | Deputy Executive Director of CEO NYCMary2With 21 years experience at youth development within the employment and training field, Ms. Bedeau began her career in workforce development at Vocational Foundation Inc in 1998. Prior to her current position, she was the Director for Replication Services for the WAY Program for Children’s Village in Dobbs Ferry, New York.  Previously, she successfully managed a long-term follow-up and sustained labor-force management program for disadvantaged youths that earned a PepNet award. Ms. Bedeau has good consensus-building skills and a strong belief in staff development and training. She believes in giving front-line staff the access to information necessary to improve their caseload management skills and in using program evaluation to ensure continuous improvement.
Thailia Elcock-Bowen  | Director of Human Resourcesnew_thailia_croppedAdministers compensation, benefits and performance evaluation programs, manages the orientation process for new CEO employees and oversees the Intake Department. Ms. Elcock-Bowen practiced law from 1992 to 1996, providing legal counsel to indigent clients. She began her career with CEO in February 1997 as a Life Skills Educator where she conducted orientation and Life Skills training course. In September of that year, she became the Assistant to the Executive Director and eventually served as a Program Coordinator where she helped to bring new programs on line. Ms. Elcock-Bowen earned her undergraduate degree in Africana Studies from Cornell University, and received her law degree from Vermont Law School.
 Alberto P. Gutierrez | Director of ParticipantalbertoTraining Alberto Gutierrez is the Director of Participant Training, which includes short pre-placement trainings in warehouse operations and forklift certification, OSHA 10, and basic computers skills, as well as a high school equivalency program and a longer term trades training program in partnership with Hostos Community College. Alberto came to CEO in 2009 with over a decade of corporate HR Experience, specifically in Learning & Development. Alberto and the training team are located at the CEO Training Center at 975 Kelly St in the South Bronx.