It started when Catherine Hoke, founder of Defy Ventures, asked: “What if you were only known for the worst thing you’ve ever done in your life?” The 1,500 attendees of Brooklyn Beta, a popular tech conference, fell silent with the question.
How do ex-convicts get past their troubled beginnings? The stigma of conviction? The judgment of others? Can former criminals really change their hustle? Is it possible for people to make a 180-degree turn, change their habits, and start over? Defy is finding the answers by helping ex-convicts start their own businesses, and giving them a chance to change their path and repave their future.
So, what does that have to do with us? We’re not criminals. We’ve led privileged lives and make a living as creatives. But Catherine’s mission struck a chord with us.
So we decided to get involved. To talk to Defy Ventures graduates and hear their stories. To use our talents to make sure as many people as possible are inspired by what organizations like Defy are doing. And, maybe most importantly, to add depth and meaning to an often commercial or superficial virtual world.
Over the months that passed, the stories kept resonating in our heads. Defy graduates didn’t have the opportunities we did. But they now have the power to impact the lives of the next generation.
By bringing these positive role models into the spotlight, we have the chance to contribute to something real. Something good. Something that goes far beyond appearance, all the way to inspiration.
Listen to these stories. We think they’ll inspire you too.