JudgedScreenshot 2014-05-13 08.55.36

A few months ago, when Catherine Hoke, founder of Defy Ventures, spoke at CreativeMornings, she asked: “What if you were only known for the worst thing you’ve ever done in your life?” I remember how that question hit me in the gut. It’s a powerful one.

And she has built her calling around that question. She runs Defy Ventures to help ex-convicts get back on their feet, write a new promising chapter of their book. She wants to prove that it is in fact possible for people to make a 180-degree turn, change their habits, and start over! Defy is helping ex-convicts start their own businesses, and giving them a chance to change their path and repave their future.

My studiomates Bas and Hanne were so struck with Catherine’s mission that they offered to help her document and celebrate Defy Ventures graduates, let them tell their stories. And today, Judged.co went live.

Listen to these stories. I know they’ll inspire you too.

5 Comments leave a comment below

  1. Jamel’s story is so compelling. I am a small business consultant by trade but I also work with creatingjobs.org – an organization that provides mentorship to business owners in Haiti and Honduras. The goal is to alleviate poverty by growing their businesses locally and creating jobs. We have recently started a cohort domestically in FL where I live and the organization resides. I can see this being a great fit for future development in our work. Helping ex convicts start and grow businesses who can eventually become mentors in poverty stricken areas like Haiti and Honduras. Thanks for posting this! Another awesome find from Swiss-miss.com.

  2. That site touched me in so many ways. I didn’t see a place to leave a comment there so I came back here. First, the site is beautifully done so I congratulate the ppl you work with that helped create it…impressive in both skill and kindness. The stories touched me SO much too. I could hear the pain in their voices and am amazed with the growth and realizations they have made. I wish there was some way I could help promote their businesses…I know people in NY…all I can do is pass along the website and hope more and more ppl see it. Thank you for sharing.

  3. What a gratifying post. There is no reason on earth that a person should face a lifetime of remorse for mistakes made. Restorative justice – may we all be a part of helping each other pick up the pieces and move ever forward. It’s good for everyone. Bravo – huge applause to everyone involved in this project.

  4. What a beautiful project. Really… I’m speechless.

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