As a former inmate at the Arizona Women’s Prison, I spent ten years in an environment that could easily strip one of hope for the future. But instead, it was within those very walls that I found a lifeline to personal and professional transformation: impact sourcing.
Through a for-profit company called Televerde — a sales, marketing, and customer experience organization that strives to help disempowered people find their voice and reach their human potential — I found an opportunity to learn, grow, and carve out a new identity that didn’t involve a life of addiction and crime. Without this lifeline, I fear I would have returned to what I knew — the old paths that led to bad decisions and self-destruction. The opportunity to engage in meaningful work and discover my potential is what saved me because it offered an alternative to that bleak trajectory.
Today, I am a manager in the same company that trained me in skills such as sales, marketing, and advanced technologies. This transformation wasn’t just about learning marketable business competencies but about finding my worth and realizing that my past didn’t have to define my future.
The Transformative Power of Inclusive Hiring
The untapped talent residing in overlooked places like prisons is a missed opportunity for many businesses. Dismissing individuals like me because of our past circumstances or ignoring regions marred by poverty perpetuates a cycle that negatively affects families, communities, and regions of the world and contributes to global issues such as poverty, higher crime rates, and the erosion of the community fabric. This approach limits a business’s potential growth, restricting its reach within the global market.
Instead, by embracing the potential in these overlooked talent pools, businesses can help foster a more stable, prosperous world, driving inclusive growth and stability on a global scale. It’s not just about giving individuals a second chance—it’s about tapping into unique perspectives and experiences that can strengthen and diversify businesses while creating a broader societal impact. Many studies, including those highlighting employment as a strong predictor of reduced recidivism, back this claim, lending credence to the powerful effect of this inclusive approach.
As someone who has lived through this transformation, I can vouch for the value individuals like me bring. We’re determined, resilient, and motivated by an unyielding desire to seize the second chance we’ve been given. We’re driven to succeed, eager to learn, and capable of contributing significantly.
Business Advantages and Social Impact of Empowering Overlooked Talent
By embracing impact sourcing, businesses can foster social good while benefiting from dedicated and eager employees. The viability of the Televerde model isn’t merely anecdotal. According to research by the Seidman Research Institute at Arizona State University, Televerde has yielded remarkable fiscal, economic, and societal results. The study found a substantial decrease in recidivism rates among Televerde participants, from an Arizona state average of 36% to a mere 5.4 percent.
Televerde’s purpose-driven model works for businesses too. Since 1995, the company has generated more than $12B in revenue for the world’s leading B2B companies. This proves that an impact sourcing model can work, with their workforce of currently and previously incarcerated women contributing significantly to their success.
Impact sourcing has proven to be a powerful strategy, bringing a multitude of benefits that extend beyond transforming lives and encompass several key business advantages. Case in point:
- Efficient operations and lower attrition can lead to cost savings. Furthermore, governments often incentivize employment in economically disadvantaged areas, a bonus for businesses.
- Greater diversity and inclusion in the workplace, fostering various perspectives that drive innovation and business success.
- Genuine alignment with corporate social responsibility values. In an era where consumers and stakeholders pay attention to a company’s ethical stance, impact sourcing is a tangible way to effect change.
- Improvement of services. Workers given this opportunity tend to be committed and motivated, resulting in high-quality work, strong customer relationships, and impressive results.
In essence, impact sourcing is a win-win that transforms businesses and individuals. It is time to embrace its potential and consider it in strategic planning.
A Message for Business Leaders: Harness the Power of Impact Sourcing
To the business leaders reading this, I ask you to consider the transformative power of impact sourcing. By investing in overlooked talent, you not only contribute to a greater social good but also to the growth and diversification of your own company.
Consider this: If Televerde hadn’t taken a chance on me, they would have missed out on a committed and passionate manager. How many others like me are waiting for their fair shot? As business leaders, the power to rewrite the narrative is in your hands. Will you give everyone the chance they deserve?
Learn more about my journey and other men and women like me.
Danna Tongate is the head of Demand Generation for Televerde, an innovative global revenue creation partner supporting marketing, sales, and customer success for B2B businesses worldwide. Televerde passionately believes in second-chance employment and strives to help disempowered people reclaim their voices, find and fulfill their human potential, and redefine their futures. Seven of its ten global contact centers are powered by a workforce of incarcerated women, making up 60% of its 600+ global personnel.