Since I graduated from college back in 2014, I’ve had incredible opportunities to work in a variety of industries with colleagues that I admire and respect, many of whom I still count as friends. I’ve worked for several organizations now, both large and small, that have encouraged me to grow personally and professionally along the way, and if you asked me what I would change about the last seven years, my answer would be very little. I know that many people don’t feel the same way about their career journey, and I am grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had.
Despite all of that, I have felt for a while now that something was missing, and that I was not where I needed to be. As I made my way from one company to another, I never found the right fit in terms of alignment to my own principles, and the causes that are dear to me. I had spent so much time developing skills and advancing my own career goals, but to what end? Could I really find that missing piece, an organization that I felt was making a difference in the word, not only for their customers but for our society?
The answer is yes, and I’m very excited to tell you about them.
Starting a new journey
I first learned about Televerde from a mentor and former manager from my time at Avaya, Kellie Walenciak. She had moved on to Televerde as their Head of Content and Corporate Communications not long after I had moved on from Avaya, and I was interested in their mission and business model from the first time she explained it to me.
Televerde is not your average sales and marketing solutions company, not only because they provide remarkable service and value to their customers, but because they are actively enabling incarcerated women to improve their lives while delivering that service.
You may be wondering how sales and marketing solutions tie in with helping incarcerated women – allow me to explain. Eight of Televerde’s 11 call centers are staffed entirely by women incarcerated in Arizona, Indiana and Florida correctional facilities. Later this month, a ninth prison-run center will open in Her Majesty’s Prison Styal in the UK. By hiring these women, Televerde’s business model provides them the opportunity to transform their lives through valuable work experience, training, networking, education opportunities and more.
Then, through the Televerde Foundation, Televerde’s nonprofit arm, the company further empowers their Televerde graduates with the skills needed to build meaningful and rewarding professional careers and successfully reintegrate back into their communities, all while helping to end the stigma around hiring formerly incarcerated candidates. They call this the PATHS Program: Prepare Achieve and Transform for Healthy Success.
When you look at this business model, you may ask “why?” The simple answer is because it works and it works well, for everyone involved.
The incredible women working in Televerde’s call centers are rockstars who refuse to be defined by the mistakes of their past and have a high drive to succeed and build a better future for themselves and their families. They are humble, motivated and eager to learn, becoming experts in whatever subject matter on which they are trained. This translates to outstanding customer experience for Televerde’s clients and their customers. And when they are released from prison, Televerde graduates are ready to reenter their communities and the working world with marketable skills, strong support, and a path to success laid out in front of them.
It may be hard to believe how successful this model actually is, but the data doesn’t lie – our national three-year recidivism rate is about 70 percent. For Televerde graduates, it’s an astonishing 5.4 percent. A recent study by Arizona State University Seidman Research Institute confirmed these findings. Few other programs can claim that much of an impact, and it goes to show just how important support, opportunity, and a focus on rehabilitation can be for the success of formerly incarcerated people.
I am so proud to join Televerde’s Corporate Communications team and help them amplify their story and highlight the remarkable work they are doing to drive change in a part of our society that often goes overlooked.
In joining Televerde, I have found the missing piece to my career satisfaction puzzle – a company whose values align with my own. The women working in Televerde’s call centers, along with many in our country’s incarcerated population, deserve not to be defined by the worst day in their lives – they deserve another chance, and I am honored to work for a company so focused on making that a reality.