You are eager to join Defy as our Executive Director in Los Angeles, working to develop and execute strategies that achieve aggressive fundraising goals and facilitate ambitious growth. You are an experienced, resourceful, and strategic startup leader, with proven skills to cultivate local individual, foundation, and corporate support as an effective pipeline to sustained growth. You are capable of leading the continued evolution of Defy’s life transforming work on the West coast. You are dynamic, entrepreneurial, and relational, and are most satisfied when your work has deep, meaningful impact.
We look for the following when evaluating new teammates:
You will be entrusted with your own share of massive responsibility.
You will have the support of teammates who look out for you and want you to succeed.
You will make a difference in the lives of America’s biggest underdogs.
Although Defy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, we take pride in our application of corporate best practices and operate as a lean, results-oriented startup. This high-impact opportunity is perfectly suited for a professional looking to transition out of the corporate world. Many of our most successful employees come from for-profit backgrounds.
About Defy Ventures
Defy’s is driven to level the playing field and to bring redemptive opportunities to America’s biggest underdogs. Our hatred of injustice fuels our impatience. We have a plan to scale to 21 new Chapters in the next six years, and to serve 10,000 incarcerated men, women, and youth in the next three years.
America is touted as the land of opportunity and second chances—a land of liberty and justice for all. But this isn’t the case for the 100 million Americans with criminal histories, who remain permanently stigmatized. Today, 30% of 23-year-olds have records.
Defy Ventures is a national entrepreneurship, employment, and character development training program that recognizes the potential in many former drug dealers and gang leaders to become successful, legal entrepreneurs. We “transform the hustle” of our formerly incarcerated Entrepreneurs-in-Training (EITs) by offering intensive leadership development, Shark Tank-style business pitch competitions, executive mentoring, financial investment, and startup incubation. We build a life-giving, authentic community between EITs and our executive volunteers as they bond in their humanity through their collaboration along the entrepreneurial journey.
Leveraging technology, we’ve created a “blended learning” model that holds the promise of scaling globally to revitalize the most underserved communities. We combine video-based training with in-person mentoring and events. Our online instructors include underdog-loving influencers like Randy Komisar (Kleiner Perkins), Tim Draper (Founder, Draper Fisher Jurvetson), Duncan Niederauer (CEO, NYSE), five Harvard Business School professors, two Stanford Business School professors, and Seth Godin (marketing guru).
Since its founding in 2010, Defy has served 2,000+ EITs across 18 states and 20 correctional facilities, and engaged 4,300+ executive volunteers. Defy has incubated 166 of its graduates’ companies, which in turn have created more than 350 employment opportunities for people in their communities. Grads report a 95% employment rate, and Defy’s recidivism rate to date is less than 5%. (Nationally, 76.6% of people are rearrested within five years of release.)
Defy has earned the trust of funders like Kapor Center for Social Impact, Silicon Valley Bank, Peery Foundation, Porticus Foundation, Sorenson Impact Foundation, Techstars Foundation, Google, eBay, TD Bank, Capital One, Bloomberg, LinkedIn, Yelp, and American Express. Defy has been showcased in national media including The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes.com, The Harvard Business Review, and Tech Crunch.
Defy’s Founder and CEO, Catherine Hoke, is an Ashoka Fellow, and was named by Fast Company as one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business. Defy is her second chance; here is a 4-minute video of Defy’s founding story, produced by Sheryl Sandberg’s Option B team: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5fn3VIpDBs