HIRING ANNOUNCEMENT: Two New Dynamic Team Members Join GOSO


Social Justice Nonprofit Getting Out and Staying Out (GOSO) Hires Two New Dynamic Team Members to Oversee Organizational Growth
and Program Expansion for Justice-Involved New Yorkers

Sonya Shields and Abbi Robinson-Hobson

EAST HARLEM, NY— November 30, 2020—At a time when transforming our justice system is more crucial than ever, criminal justice reform nonprofit Getting Out and Staying Out (GOSO) is pleased to announce two dynamic, experienced new hires in leadership roles to expand GOSO’s programming and advocacy for justice-involved individuals.

GOSO’s new Chief Operating Officer Sonya Shields brings to the role 25 years of experience in non-profit development, communications and community engagement at NYC institutions including Brooklyn Community Services, the New York City Anti-Violence Project, Astraea Foundation and Keep a Child Alive. Through her work with Cause Effective, a non-profit growth partner consulting group focused on organizations working toward social change and equity, Shields has provided workshops to hundreds of nonprofit leaders and fundraising coaching under COVID to the grantees of the Robin Hood Foundation, New York Community Trust and UJA-Federation.

Abbi Robinson-Hobson, who comes to GOSO with 20 years of business and financial management experience with for-profit and non-profit entities, will serve as Chief Administrative and Finance Officer. Prior to GOSO, Robinson-Hobson designed and managed budgets, drove expense reduction and increased revenues primarily in the areas of digital, marketing and sponsorship at American Express, Showtime Networks and the National Basketball Association.

Robinson-Hobson managed diverse businesses and teams in sports, film, television, media, marketing, branding, facilities, human resources, venture capital and held accounting and auditing roles at global firms PriceWaterhouseCoopers and at Eisner Amper, where she provided professional services for non-profits including Planned Parenthood and City Harvest. She started her business career in an accounting role at 40 Acres and A Mule Filmworks, Inc with Filmmaker Spike Lee’s production company.

Shields will oversee GOSO’s teams across the nonprofit’s array of programs and manage both communications and development as the organization moves into its new location, 2283 Third Avenue. Plans include the launch of a targeted growth campaign and an expansion of the organization’s effective programs providing life-changing services to justice-involved participants.

In addition to managing GOSO’s finance, funding and compliance divisions, Robinson-Hobson will oversee GOSOWorks, the nonprofit’s workforce development program. The GOSOWorks team places program participants with committed employer partners and plans to increase direct placements over the next several months. A new curriculum is under development that includes workshops to challenge participants’ thinking by exposing them to a broad breath of soft and hard skills workshops, to meet the requirements of today’s demanding employers. GOSOWorks now actively exposes participants to seven career industries and plans to increase the total number of industries to also include healthcare, home care, technology and transportation in early 2021.

“It is a pleasure to welcome Sonya Shields and Abbi Robinson-Hobson to the GOSO team as we expand our program and bolster efforts to advocate for change to our justice system,” said GOSO President and CEO Dr. Jocelynne Rainey. “With over 45 years combined experience in senior and executive positions at both nonprofit and for-profit companies, Sonya and Abbi bring the expertise and vision needed to grow our organization and extend critical programming to participants at a crucial time for this work. This experience along with their commitment to social justice will increase our advocacy and expand our reach to more justice-involved people across the city.”

“I am thrilled to be utilizing my experience expanding the reach of major NYC non-profits to serve more justice-involved people and bolster criminal justice reform efforts at GOSO,” said GOSO Chief Operating Officer Sonya Shields. “GOSO actively advocates for the transformation of our justice system and does crucial work on a daily basis to connect clients to jobs, career readiness, educational programming, mental health services and many other needed resources. I look forward to helping GOSO grow their excellent programs for justice-involved young people in need of a strong network of support and advocacy.”

“I am excited about the opportunity to use my broad experience in business and finance to play a key leadership role in GOSO’s mission to aid justice-involved individuals,” said GOSO Chief Administrative and Finance Officer Abbi Robinson-Hobson. “Now more than ever, GOSO’s services are essential to the growth and development of the young people they serve, and I look forward to help lead GOSO’s expansion and growth.”


About Sonya Shields:
GOSO COO Shields has led development, marketing, branding, communications, government affairs, volunteering, video production, and special events for top NYC non-profits. Shields is also the lead facilitator for the Cause Effective Fellows Program: Advancing Leaders of Color in Fundraising to build a pipeline of people of color in the development field. Shields’ leadership in development, marketing and communications for the Brooklyn Community Services as their Head of External Affairs and Advancement, played a key role in the organization receiving the 2017 New York Nonprofit Excellence Award. Prior to her work at BCS, Shields held the position of Director of Development with organizations such as the National LGBTQ Task Force, NYC Anti-Violence Project, Astraea Foundation, and Keep a Child Alive.

Shields serves on the Advisory Council of the Gender & Family Project, Board of Directors of the American LGBTQ Museum, Nonprofit New York’s Nonprofit Excellence Awards Committee and on the Lead the Way Faculty with the Center for Research and Policy in the Public Interest at the New York Women’s Foundation. She received a B.A. in Public Relations from Howard University in Washington, DC.

About Abbi Robinson-Hobson
GOSO Chief Administrative and Finance Officer Abbi Robinson-Hobson has managed diverse businesses and built successful teams in sports, film, television, media, marketing, branding, facilities, human resources, venture capital and nonprofits including providing professional services for Planned Parenthood, City Harvest and Times Square Church.

Robinson-Hobson started her business career working as an accountant at 40 Acres and A Mule Filmworks, Inc with Filmmaker Spike Lee and held accounting and auditing roles at global professional service firms PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Eisner Amper. Robinson-Hobson later designed and managed budgets, drove expense reduction and increased revenues primarily in the areas of digital, marketing and sponsorship at American Express, Showtime Networks and the National Basketball Association.

Robinson-Hobson serves on Brooklyn’s Community Board 3, is the Treasurer for Bridge Street Development Corporation’s Board of Directors; and is the Bedford Stuyvesant YMCA’s gala committee chair. She is a member of The Brownstoners of Bedford Stuyvesant, Inc., the Black MBAs, and the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) and founding member and Vice Chair of the SC Johnson School of Business Johnson Recent Alumni Council at Cornell University. She is also a native of the Republic of Panama and reasonably communicates in Spanish. Robinson-Hobson completed her Bachelor of Science in Accounting at Brooklyn College and earned an MBA from the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University.

About Getting Out and Staying Out (GOSO):
GOSO is a reentry, youth and career development nonprofit organization that serves justice-involved young men, aged 16 to 24, citywide. GOSO’s goal is to help participants achieve their employment and educational goals, while avoiding further involvement in the criminal justice system. By providing access to education and vocational training, employment, and individual and group counselling since 2004, GOSO has helped thousands of young men gain financial independence and become contributing members of their communities. GOSOWorks, a wage-subsidy program, connects GOSO participants to employment opportunities with local businesses around New York City. Utilizing funding from the City of New York, GOSO screens, interviews, and places participants who have completed the Two-Week Job Readiness Curriculum in internship-to-employment (I2E) opportunities. A GOSOWorks internship is often the first employment experience for many participants, and it helps them use and develop the personal and professional skills needed to succeed in life. 70 percent of young people who complete internships through GOSOWorks attain employment. GOSO provides additional programming for participants, including vocational training, High School Equivalency classes, and Peer Navigator opportunities, and runs Stand Against Violence East Harlem (SAVE), an anti-gun violence program guided by the principles of Cure Violence, which leverages the experiences of members of the community to do outreach, including people who have been directly affected by gun violence. SAVE outreach workers and violence interrupters are trained to mediate conflicts on the street and work to de-escalate disputes before crisis or violence erupts. SAVE connects individuals to extensive networks that provide job training, employment opportunities, mental health services, and legal services that lead to long-term violence reduction. For more information, visit www.gosonyc.org.