Catherine Hoke

Founder; Author "A Second Chance", Hustle 2.0, Defy Ventures, Prison Entrepreneurship Program

Cat founded two of the most successful and disruptive nonprofits in corrections: Prison Entrepreneurship Program, and Defy Ventures. She recognized that many incarcerated people share similarities with legal entrepreneurs. She created training, incubators, and financing programs that have equipped 350+ graduates to launch businesses. Cat built executive mentoring, job placement, and transformational character development programs. She runs Shark Tank-style pitch competitions in and out of prison.

Her efforts have led 7,000 executives, entrepreneurs, and investors to volunteer as mentors and employers.In 14 years, 5,000 incarcerated people have graduated from these two programs, and in doing so, earned Baylor University MBA certificates. The programs reduce violence and have produced industry-leading recidivism rates of less than 7%.

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 in 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 on 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.

Twitter – @Catherine_Hoke | @DefyVentures



Past Appearances

Knowledge @Wharton: February 23, 2018

Host Dan Loney is joined by Susan Schurman (Distinguished Professor, Department of Labor Studies and Employment Relations School of Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers – the State University of New Jersey), Catherine Hoke (Founder; Author “A Second Chance”, Hustle 2.0, Defy Ventures, Prison Entrepreneurship Program), William Brucher (Teaching Instructor in Labor Studies and Employment Relations, Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations), Daniel DiSalvo (Associate Professor, City University of New York), Peter Conti-Brown (Assistant Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics, Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania), Lisa Cook Ph.D. (Associate Professor Economics and International Relations, Michigan State Univerisity), John Paul MacDuffie (Professor of Management; Director of the Program on Vehicle and Mobility Innovation (PVMI), the Wharton School; Wharton’s Mack Institute for Innovation Management), and Eric Orts (Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics and Management; Director, Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership, Wharton) on the Friday, February 23, 2018 edition of Knowledge@Wharton.Read More

Air Date: Friday, February 23, 2018


On Wharton Business Radio

Career Talk: October 4, 2018 Episode Featured ImageCareer Talk: October 4, 2018

Host Dawn Graham is joined by Catherine Hoke (Founder; Author “A Second Chance”, Hustle 2.0, Defy Ventures, Prison Entrepreneurship Program) on the Thursday, October 4, 2018 edition of Career Talk.

View Episode