December 1, 2016
Changing the lives of inmates, Defy Ventures recognizes that many former drug dealers and gang leaders can become successful, legal entrepreneurs. Defy “transforms the hustle” of currently and formerly incarcerated men, women, and youth by providing entrepreneurship training, intense character and personal development, job placement, executive mentorship, startup incubation, and “Shark Tank” style pitch competitions with prizes of up to $15,000 in startup capital per business. Leveraging a blended learning model, Defy combines the scalability, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of video-based training with life-transforming opportunities for growth through in-person coaching and mentoring. Defy empowers “Entrepreneurs-in-Training” (or “EITs”) to launch successful careers and businesses and break generational legacies of poverty and incarceration.Defy has proven its ability to generate transformative change with chapters in Omaha, New York City, and the San Francisco Bay Area, and is now poised for national growth and replication. Over the next three years, Defy’s goal is to replicate its program in five additional cities and in 50 additional correctional facilities, which will allow them to serve over 10,000 EITs and their loved ones.
The Defy numbers are impressive
Defy Ventures graduates have a 3.2% recidivism rate (the rate at which they are re-incarcerated) against a national 5-year average of more than 75%. The 3-year recidivism rate in California for comparison is more than 50%. Defy has graduated 1,100 prisoners upon release who have created 150 businesses that now employ 350 people – many of them ex Defy Graduates.
Charles Hoke is Defy’s Vice President of Growth and oversees all of Defy’s outward-facing initiatives and programs, including fundraising, volunteer and donor relations, and strategic growth initiatives. After playing football and obtaining his MBA at the University of Alabama (Roll Tide!), Charles moved to NYC to work in financial services. He started his career at Sterne Agee as a High Yield Research Analyst and later worked in High Yield Sales & Trading. Charles served as one of Defy’s most active volunteers until 2014 when he left finance behind to join the Defy Ventures staff. His passion for problem solving, underdogs and fighting injustice attracted him to the opportunity to help redeem one of America’s highest failure rate industries. It also attracted him to the woman he married: Defy’s founder and CEO, Catherine Hoke.
Neil Senturia has re-invented himself several times in his relentless pursuit of entrepreneurial success. Currently, he is the CEO of Blackbird Ventures, an investor in high growth potential companies. Neil’s diverse endeavors range from writing sitcoms to technology, with a stint as a real estate developer in the middle. He has been CEO of six technology companies, three in software, one in material science, one in media and most recently clean tech. Neil has taught new venture creation as an adjunct professor in the MBA program at San Diego State University and has served on the board of directors of SDSU’s Entrepreneurial Management Center. Currently, he teaches entrepreneurship at UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering von Liebig Center for Entrepreneurism and Technology Advancement.
He is a contributing writer for The San Diego Union Tribune and his insightful articles can be read on his blog site “I am There For You Baby.”
His numerous honors include winning the Microsoft Retail Application Developer Award twice, the Arnie Karush award from the San Diego Software Industry Council, CONNECT’s Most Innovative New Product Award in software, and CONNECT’s Lifetime Contribution Award in Technology. Neil graduated from Tufts University with a B.A. degree in English and received a masters’ degree in cinema from New York University. He was a Fellow at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles.
January 25, 2015The iymoney.com family sends its condolences to Gretchen Gross and her children on the passing of Jerry Gross, show guest in June 2012, and the first announcer for the San Diego Padres in 1969 and the San Diego Rockets in 1967. Jerry always told it like it was and he will be dearly missed. U-T San Diego ... Read more
January 23, 2015The show welcomed Lane Elliott who is the Senior Vice President of our newest sponsor, California Republic Bank, the nation’s 3rd best performing community bank in 2012. Mr. Elliot received his B.A. in Accounting and Finance from California State University Los Angeles, and has since gone on to obtain his California Real Estate License as ... Read more
January 17, 2015A new year brings new tax code regulations. The show welcomed returning guest and sponsor, Joel Grushkin of Cost Segregation Initiatives (CSI). This was an important show for commercial property owners who want to minimize their tax liability. Mr. Gruskin is the regional director for CSI. CSI is a real estate specialty consulting firm providing cost ... Read more
January 10, 2015The show explored the issue of senior care. Richard and Joe were joined by Liam Dunfey, Major Gifts and Planned Giving Manager, and Melissa Stinson, Senior Day Supervisor at St. Paul’s Senior Homes & Services. This establishment was founded in 1967 by St. Paul’s Parish to aid senior citizens in San Diego with limited financial ... Read more
January 3, 2015Patrick Clark has proudly served our country, enlisting in the Marine Corps out of high school where he was instilled with the values on integrity, honor and leadership that serve him well today. His education at the Marine Corps Finance school taught him government financial appropriations, analysis, and monetary auditing. Continuing his education at the ... Read more
December 27, 2014Driven by his parent’s expectations for higher education, and his love of airplanes Dr. Jeffery Kirsch began his career in the physical sciences receiving a Bachelor degree in Science and Engineering (B.S.E) from Princeton University in 1962. From there, he obtained a M.S.A.E from the University of Southern California (USC) in 1963 and continued on ... Read more
December 19, 2014Byron Georgiou earned his undergraduate degree in political science from Stanford University in 1970 and his JD from Harvard Law School in 1974. He began humbly his career humbly working on behalf of farm workers in the late 1970s for the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board. He has had a long career in the private ... Read more
December 12, 2014The guest was Rear Admiral Leendert “Len” Hering Sr. (U.S. Navy retired), the Executive Director of the Center for Sustainable Energy. Len grew up in Portsmouth, VA, and received his B.S. degree in meteorology and oceanography from State University of New York Maritime College. He continued his education after beginning his 32-year career in the ... Read more
December 5, 2014Dr. Dave Clayton of the Total Health Center earned his BS from the Stevens Institute of Technology, an MBA from Columbia University, his MD from New Jersey Medical School, and a certification in fitness from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. After 13 years in the field of internal medicine, he began to re-assess how ... Read more
November 28, 2014U-T San Diego featured photos and short comment about the 9th Annual O’side Turkey Trot on front page of the North County U-T Local section. The Thanksgiving morning was record-setting all around, with more than 10,000 participants (over 7,500 were for the 5K alone). The 5-mile record set last year by Lukas Verzbicas of 25:16 ... Read more