What would it be like if you were known for the worst thing you’ve done? Or known for the worst thing you never did? Don’t we all need second chances?
In 2004, Catherine Hoke toured several Texas prisons and discovered that many of the incarcerated men she met possessed strong business acumen, sales skills, and entrepreneurial qualities. She also found that many gangs and drug rings are run similarly to corporations —with bylaws, bookkeeping functions, marketing strategies, and quality control programs. Following these realizations, Catherine Hoke founded two of the most successful and disruptive nonprofits in corrections: Prison Entrepreneurship Program and Defy Ventures.
Her efforts have inspired 7,000 executives, entrepreneurs, and investors to volunteer as mentors and employers. Over 5,000 incarcerated people have graduated from these programs, and in doing so, many have earned Baylor University MBA certificates. The programs reduce violence and have produced industry-leading recidivism rates of less than 7% and 5% respectively.
Most recently, Cat launched a company called Hustle 2.0. Hustle 2.0's vision is to be the first self-sustaining, for-profit company delivering life-transforming education to millions of justice-involved Americans. To produce the most cutting-edge product, Cat established a computer lab within California's Pelican Bay State Prison, one of the most notorious prisons in America. In doing so, she is bringing together the most talented incarcerated people along with leading professors, industry experts, and correctional leaders to contribute to the program.
Cat inspires audiences to use failure as a catalyst for innovation and reinvention. Cat will challenge you to ‘step to the line,’ forgive yourself and others, and move forward by making a difference.
Seth Godin published her best-selling book, “A Second Chance: For You, For Me, and for the Rest of Us,” a powerful reflection on the struggles and triumphs of her journey, and her graduates’ journeys.
Fast Company named Cat one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business.” Forbes named her on “40 Women to Watch Over 40.” She received the MDC Partners Humanitarian Award.
View The Power of Second Chances TEDx Talk
View Catherine Hoke's website