From Cell Block to Corporate America: Inspirational Women (Part 1)
From Cell Block to Corporate America: Inspirational Women from Sales, Marketing & Tech (Part 1)
March is Women’s History Month, and to honor the occasion, we are putting the spotlight on our incredible Televerde Graduates. We asked several of our inspirational women to tell us more about themselves, their work, and their journey with Televerde. As graduates, each of them began their current careers working for Televerde while they were incarcerated. Their lives have changed considerably since those first days on the job. Each of these women have since taken on new roles and greater responsibility at Televerde as they work on living their best lives outside of prison.
Today we share our conversation with Tina Stine, Inside Marketing Manager.
Tell us about your journey with Televerde, Tina.
How did you first learn of the company?
I found out about Televerde 20 years ago on my third trip back to prison. My roommate at the time worked for Televerde, and she told me I needed to apply for a job there and get my life right. I remember her saying that I needed to stop making prison an option and then she gave me an application to fill out. She was right, so I put in my application and I was hired in the very next hiring class.
What was your educational background? Did you have prior business experience?
Before I was incarcerated, I had my high school diploma and no business experience.
What were you hired to do for Televerde? Was it challenging to get started at the company?
I was initially hired to be a teleservice agent and as soon as I started, I went into an intensive training program. I had to absorb a ton of new information very quickly. It was incredibly challenging. Going in, I was essentially starting from scratch – I didn’t know the first thing about complex software sales much less what an ERP (enterprise resource planning) system was.
Was there ever a point where you wanted to quit? What kept you focused, motivated and on course?
I never wanted to quit – I never even considered it. The support I received from everyone at Televerde was something I couldn’t imagine giving up. And when I say everyone, I mean it – from my managers and colleagues up to our former CEO, Jim Hooker. They believed in me when I had absolutely no belief in myself.
I knew I wanted to give back to the people who gave me the chance to be my best self and showed me that I am much more than the sum total of my mistakes. Knowing that I could pave the way for the next person that needed a chance is what kept me motivated and focused.
What support sustained you while you were incarcerated? Was there a particular person or group of people that had an impact on you?
Working side by side with my Televerde colleagues in the office and socializing together outside of work hours gave me something I could really look forward to every day. The guidance and support I received from Christina Coppola and Michelle Cirocco motivated me to continue learning and growing. And I still cherish all the opportunities I had to work closely with Dawn Coppens and Jim Hooker.
Tell us about your career progression and what you do now.
I returned to Televerde in 2015 as an Inside Marketing Representative (IMR) supporting our largest client, SAP. I did really well in that role, which led to me being promoted to Inside Marketing Manager for SAP.
When I took on this new role, I was asked to build a brand new IMR team in the Mid-Market. I’ve now been leading that team for the past two years, and I’m really proud of the work we’re doing. It has been such an amazing opportunity and an honor to lead a team of IMR’s supporting one of Televerde’s largest clients.
Can you share one major highlight from your journey with Televerde?
Hands down, it’s becoming a leader and having the opportunity to build my own team. I wanted my team to be as diverse as possible. I really wanted to gather all of the people transitioning out of prison in Arizona and Indiana and bring in external candidates with sales backgrounds as well. Having all of those different perspectives is incredibly valuable to our team.
One of the most special moments for me since taking on my current role was extending a job offer to Timm Wroe, a rep on my team. At the time, he was recently released from the Arizona Department of Corrections after 25 years of incarceration. I saw so much of myself in Timm immediately. I can recall saying to myself, “I have to have Timm” right after I met him. It wasn’t just about having him on the Mid-Market team, I knew he would be a great addition to the Televerde family as well. His total transparency and the way that he spoke during our interview really stood out to me. I knew he just needed a chance, and I was thrilled to add him to the team.
I am the product of second chances and being in a position to pay it forward has enriched my life beyond measure. Second chances matter for everyone, regardless of gender, and I want to do my part to not only pay back all that was done for me, but to foster a future focused on inclusion and opportunity for everyone.
The United States is becoming more aware of the problems with the prison system and there have been some small steps taken over the years to fix them. How important are second chances and what do you want people to know about women in prison?
Second chances are extremely important. Offering a second chance to someone affected by incarceration doesn’t just help them. It benefits their family and community as well.
I would not be here today had it not been for Televerde. The resources, training, and most importantly, the continuous and enthusiastic support I’ve received changed my life.
As for what I want people to know about women in prison – we are resilient, and we have addressed the issues that brought us to prison. All we want is a CHANCE – a chance to live our best life now and rebuild.
Tell us something fun or interesting that has happened to you while on this journey of transformation.
One of the most personally meaningful parts of my journey happened just last year. I was signed with Prison Break Records as their very first recording artist and recorded my first album in 2021. Music was a huge part of my life growing up and it’s something I’ve always loved, so this has truly been a dream come true for me.