Blog Article 

 Glenn Martin: Success After Prison 

Michael Santos

Michael Santos

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Title: Success after Prison: Glenn Martin of GEM Trainers (2023)


  • Glenn’s incredible journey exemplifies the transformative power of resilience, determination, and a commitment to giving back. From a challenging upbringing to incarceration, he shows how adversity can lead to personal growth and societal change. Glenn’s insights on personal branding, team building, and community engagement inspire us to harness our unique stories for success. His story reminds us that greatness is measured not just by personal achievements but by the lasting impact we make in the world.


  • Students should gain insights into skill development, with a particular focus on honing communication, leadership, and team-building skills through Glenn’s experiences. By examining how Glenn effectively communicated his personal brand, led teams, and engaged communities, our listeners will learn valuable lessons on practical skill application. Furthermore, they will be encouraged to apply these skills in their own lives to drive personal growth, inspire change, and create a positive impact in their communities.

Lesson Requirements:

  • Watch the video that accompanies the lesson
  • Write a definition of each word highlighted in bold and written in italics
  • Use ten of the vocabulary words in a sentence
  • Respond to a minimum of three open-ended questions by following instructions at the end of the lesson.

Lesson Outcome:

  • Participants will increase their vocabulary by at least ten words.
  • Participants will improve writing skills and their ability to contemplate how their responses to open-ended questions relate to their prospects for success upon release.
  • Participants will add to their journal, demonstrating a self-directed, self-improvement pathway to prepare for success upon release.

Our team is thrilled to introduce Glenn, a remarkable individual whose life journey is a testament to the transformative power of resilience, determination, and an unwavering commitment to giving back to others. His inspirational story sheds light on the pathway we can take toward personal growth, social impact, and ethical leadership. From his challenging upbringing to his harrowing experiences of incarceration, Glenn illustrates ways in which we can turn adversity into an opportunity for positive and profound transformations.

In this lesson, Glenn offers invaluable insight into topics like personal branding, team building, and community engagement. He encourages us to harness our unique stories, hone our skills in critical areas, and adopt a productive outlook as we seek to rebuild our lives.


Born and raised in the disadvantaged neighborhood of Bedford Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, Glenn’s early years were marked by challenges. A shoplifting incident at 16 led him to the notorious Rikers Island jail, where he experienced the harsh realities of being treated as an adult despite his young age. In one jarring incident, another teenage prisoner stabbed Glenn in a fight over his jacket. The “predator versus prey” atmosphere at Rikers drove Glenn to question the treatment of justice-impacted youth, sparking his reform advocacy decades later.

Although his initial case was dismissed, Glenn regrettably found himself in a revolving door with the justice system. By his early 20s, Glenn faced a 20-to-40-year sentence for an undisclosed offense. Collaborating with an attorney, he reduced the sentence to nine years, ultimately serving six.

Such harrowing experiences led Glenn to develop astounding resilience and an eagerness to make the best of his circumstances. A corrections officer noticed Glenn’s scholastic aptitude and encouraged him to pursue higher education. Matriculating in a college program originating from the historic 1971 Attica uprising, Glenn acquired an academic degree, improving his odds of securing meaningful employment and rebuilding his life upon release.

Glenn’s quest for self-improvement went beyond earning a credential. He also:

  • Expanded his knowledge by regularly reading publications like The New York Times and Wall Street Journal. He even read the content backward to broaden his vocabulary and become more articulate in his communication.
  • Stayed future-focused, steering clear of petty conflicts. Emphasizing the importance of preparing for life beyond prison walls, he cautions our listeners to disregard counterproductive advice like “forgetting about the outside world.” Rather, we must prepare for success every day.  
  • Maintained self-respect, using negative comments from others as motivation to better himself rather than discourage him. Though he faced the indignities of incarceration, he never doubted his value.

After his release in 2000 at 30 years old, Glenn grappled with the stigma associated with his past. Even with a degree, finding work and housing proved daunting due to his criminal record. His determination led him to a public interest law firm where he started as a receptionist, earning a modest $16,000 in the expensive New York City landscape. He also faced the monumental task of repaying an $83,000 court-imposed debt. Preparing for the future was crucial, as Glenn soon thereafter had a son, Joshua.

Glenn adopted a strategic mindset to navigate the professional world. He pursued positions when he felt adept at most of the responsibilities, embracing the opportunity to learn on the job. This approach catapulted him up the ranks, leading him to earn several promotions that boosted his annual salary. Beyond monetary gains, the law firm also led him to network with highly influential business and political leaders. These connections enriched his understanding of policy, governance, and networking—all invaluable experiences that fueled his later success in nonprofit and entrepreneurial ventures.

Two of Glenn’s traits are apparent as he describes his career ascent: an unwavering work ethic and a results-oriented attitude. Though he initially faced financial challenges upon release, he persevered, walking miles to his job due to the lack of fare for public transport. He also had a clear definition of success even before his release: being debt-free, having stable employment with benefits, genuine friendships, and continuous progress toward his dream. Equally important was his ability to rebound from setbacks with tenacity.

His personal experiences also fueled his conviction that—contrary to popular belief—the prison system houses some of America’s best and brightest minds. His commitment to reforming the justice system led him to transition into the next chapter of his career: nonprofit management.


As I served a 45-year prison sentence, I pined to learn from role models like Glenn. I admire how he refused to let the bleak surroundings of prison break him. Rather, he used his circumstances as a wake-up call to achieve a better future and give back to society. We must learn from Glenn to see how we can make positive changes and atone for our past missteps.

Consider how Glenn transformed negative experiences into opportunities to fuel his resolve. As he was released from prison, an officer made a dismissive remark toward Glenn, saying that his “being there helped pay for his boat and that when [Glenn’s] son came there, he would help pay for his son’s boat.”

Rather than becoming deterred from that statement, Glenn considered it a challenge to prove the officer wrong. We can explore how his reaction to the comment aligns with the lessons outlined in The Straight-A Guide:

Attitude:When faced with the derogatory comment, Glenn’s attitude wasn’t one of defeat but rather determination. He worked hard to secure his career and lead a law-abiding life. Years later, he strove to ensure his son wouldn’t face incarceration, enrolling him in an elite private school.   We must follow Glenn’s example by facing challenges head-on. He proves that with the right mindset, we can defy expectations and provide a brighter future for our loved ones.
Aspiration:Despite the comment suggesting a grim future, Glenn aspired for more. His dreams of a better future for himself and his son illustrate this, serving as a reminder that no matter the circumstances, our dreams and aspirations can be the driving force behind our transformation.
Action:  In response to negative assumptions about his future, Glenn’s actions—like pursuing education and rebuilding his life—demonstrate his commitment to creating a positive trajectory. His journey reminds us that taking concrete steps toward personal growth and change is essential in breaking the cycle of repeated incarceration..
Accountability:  Glenn’s acknowledgment of his past misdeeds and active efforts to reshape his future demonstrate his sense of accountability. His story teaches us that taking responsibility for our actions and working towards redemption is a powerful path to self-improvement.
Awareness:  Glenn’s recognition of societal biases, yet choosing to believe in his potential, reflects his acute awareness. His journey underscores the importance of recognizing systemic challenges while believing in one’s ability to overcome them.
Achievement:  Despite societal expectations and negative predictions, Glenn’s achievements, from education to professional success, speak volumes. His story proves that, with resilience and determination, we can achieve greatness, defying the odds stacked against us.
Appreciation:  Glenn’s gratitude towards mentors and those who believed in him, even when faced with negativity, showcases his deep appreciation. It highlights the transformative power of support and mentorship, emphasizing the importance of a supportive community on the journey to success.

A tangible example of Glenn’s dedication and transformation comes from another anecdote. Upon his release, a mid-ranking corrections officer didn’t recognize Glenn, even though he had become acquainted with nearly all the facility’s incarcerated individuals. When Glenn pointed out that he’d been there for several years but had stayed out of trouble—thus never needing disciplinary meetings with the officer—the officer was visibly shocked. This moment made Glenn realize that he had indeed managed to rise above societal biases. Despite his years in prison, he had refined his behavior and attitudes to such an extent that nobody would associate him with his past.

In the end, Glenn’s story is a beacon of hope. It exemplifies the possibilities that can unfold when we adopt the right mindset, even in the most challenging circumstances. Let’s follow his example to surmount barriers we may encounter through a hunger for knowledge and a vision to see beyond our current predicament.

  • How does Glenn’s effort to triumph despite societal biases resonate with you and your personal experiences?
  • How do you believe Glenn’s work ethic and attitude led him to prevail despite adversity?
  • In what ways do you think Glenn’s resilience was a key factor in his ability to navigate and overcome the challenges of reintegration?
  • Which of the attributes from The Straight-A Guide do you find most relevant to your own journey, and why?
  • How do you feel mentorship can impact your personal growth and aspirations?


After departing from his position at the law firm, Glenn stood at a pivotal juncture in his life. A fervent passion for social justice directed him to collaborate with one of New York’s foremost reentry organizations. Glenn was more than just an engaged member; he spearheaded the organization’s advocacy and communications. Under his stewardship, the group flourished, with its annual budget soaring from $10 million to a commendable $22 million. But for Glenn, this was not the summit; it was only a foundational step.

Always an entrepreneur at heart, Glenn aspired to independently run a nonprofit. Yet he demonstrated patience; accepting advice from an influential benefactor to gather more expertise, he didn’t rush. He instead nurtured his vision, preparing for the day it would take flight.

And when that day came, it was nothing short of extraordinary. Within four years, his organization amassed a remarkable $43 million. Beyond the impressive figures, Glenn’s mission resonated at the highest echelons, even garnering attention from the President.

A campaign, labeled #halfby2030, sought to halve the U.S. correctional supervision rate by 2030. The endeavor was deeply personal. Glenn’s son, Joshua, would come of age in 2030, and Glenn was painfully conscious of the incarceration odds—one in three—facing young black men in America.

Yet alongside these feats, Glenn faced learning experiences. A pivotal interaction with his organization’s CEO taught Glenn a valuable lesson about leadership. In a meeting where Glenn’s voice dominated, the CEO pointed out a key oversight. It wasn’t a question of Glenn’s competence but his ability to empower others. True leadership, he learned, was not about being the loudest in the room. It was about giving everyone a chance to be heard, lead, and shine. For in the mosaic of voices and talents lies the true potential of a team.

Having absorbed these valuable lessons, Glenn again reshaped his career trajectory, founding a nonprofit consultancy named GEMTrainers. Beyond functioning as a business, it served as a conduit, transforming visionary ideas into tangible outcomes. What distinguished GEMTrainers from other consultancies was its unique foundation: a team comprised mostly of formerly incarcerated individuals. This choice exemplified Glenn’s dedication to inclusivity, empowerment, and giving second chances to deserving people. Offering services like performance coaching, marketing support, and fundraising, Glenn urged changemakers to present their endeavors in the best possible light.

Glenn’s emphasis on positive representation—whether for businesses or people—illustrates to us the importance of personal branding. Through personal branding, an individual strives to shape public perception by highlighting their unique strengths, values, and expertise. The most impactful people and organizations capture attention through compelling branding. Based on Glenn’s example, consider: What steps can I take to cultivate my personal brand? How can I craft a compelling story and project a positive image as I seek to rebuild my life?

With the consultancy firmly rooted and blossoming, he cast his eyes on a new horizon: the real estate sector. Contrary to the rags-to-riches tales that often adorn the world of real estate, Glenn’s ascent was methodical, deliberate, and grounded. He started by acquiring properties, one brick at a time, learning and evolving with each purchase. In just four and a half years, his portfolio boasted 90 properties—proof of his perseverance and strategic acumen.

Even with his success, Glenn never lost sense of his ethical compass. In a sector often driven by profit margins, Glenn ensured that his real estate venture echoed his lifelong advocacy. He intentionally opened doors for justice-impacted individuals and those in Section 8, challenging the status quo and reshaping perceptions. In his properties, the marginalized found a home, and society was gently nudged toward acceptance and understanding.

Today, Glenn wears multiple hats—a successful real estate owner, a mentor, and a beacon of hope for many. His story is a radiant example of how one can achieve success without compromising on values. It reminds us that with unwavering commitment, the right intentions, and a heart in the right place, we can indeed do well while doing good.

An admirable facet of his journey is his monumental accomplishments in the private sector. At the height of his nonprofit career, he earned an annual salary of approximately $150,000 annually. Now, he pens checks for that same sum, illustrating his financial transformation and an undeniable aptitude for business strategy, client engagement, and revenue generation.


Glenn’s journey provides invaluable insights into resilience, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a steadfast commitment to noble causes. Delving into his experiences, we recognize the vast potential each of us possesses, waiting to be realized through tenacity, a clear vision, and dedication. Glenn’s life narrative reveals lessons in personal growth, leadership, and positive transformation.

Building a Personal Brand for Success: Glenn’s path highlights the essence of an authentic personal brand. In all his ventures, from nonprofits to real estate and consultancy, Glenn emanated consistency, aligning his actions with core values and aspirations. A genuine personal brand is built on consummate professionalism, a solid work ethic, and a commitment to achieving results for others. By building a personal brand, our students can distinguish themselves as they seek employment and housing.

Storytelling through Personal Narratives: Glenn’s story emphasizes the profound influence of personal narratives. His tale, marked by challenges and life lessons, offers a vivid window into his purpose and motivations. More than just life chronicles, such narratives can help our students connect with advocates invested in their success. By preparing personal narratives, our students can document their journey, spread awareness of mass incarceration, and demonstrate their commitment to successful reintegration.

Growth through Listening and Accepting Feedback: A salient feature of Glenn’s journey is the pivotal role of receptive listening and embracing feedback. In a world where loud voices often drown out the rest, Glenn’s interaction with a CEO illuminated the virtue of humility in leadership. Accepting feedback isn’t a sign of frailty; instead, it showcases robust character and dedication to continuous growth. Meanwhile, our students can also stand to grow by listening and acting on the advice of people committed to their success.

Leadership as Empowerment: Glenn’s leadership style epitomizes empowerment. Instead of associating leadership solely with authority, Glenn leaned to enable others. True leadership provides others with the tools, opportunities, and confidence to flourish. By valuing every contribution and recognizing every skill, our students can become leaders capable of harnessing the collective strength of their team.

Ethics and “Doing Well by Doing Good:” Glenn’s venture into real estate reaffirms that success and ethics aren’t mutually exclusive. Even in a sector primarily profit-driven, he wove his commitment to social justice into the fabric of his business model. By providing other formerly incarcerated people with a livelihood, he proves that businesses can be both lucrative and ethically sound. Likewise, our students must also commit to giving back to others. We encourage listeners to create pathways that foster personal growth and contribute positively to society. Embracing such an approach ensures that their journey, marked by challenges, can transition into a narrative of resilience, contribution, and transformative success.

Glenn’s narrative offers more than just a chronicle of successes—it’s a manifesto for holistic success rooted in authenticity, ethics, and empowerment. His journey reminds us that while the paths to success are manifold, those paved with integrity, empathy, and genuine dedication are the most enduring and impactful. As we reflect on Glenn’s accomplishments, let us also introspecton how we can incorporate these lessons into our lives, ensuring that our pursuits, like Glenn’s, are not just about achieving greatness but also about amplifying goodness in the world.

  • How can you take advantage of your unique story and experiences for personal branding and career growth?
  • How can you incorporate the principle of “doing well by doing good” into your career or business, drawing inspiration from Glenn’s approach?
  • How can Glenn’s story inspire you to position yourself as a leader and advocate in your community?
  • How can you use your personal narrative, similar to how Glenn did, as a tool for advocacy, connection, and inspiring change?
  • How can strengthening your communication skills enable you to develop a forceful personal brand?


Glenn’s remarkable journey serves as a powerful testament to the human spirit and the capacity for transformation in the face of adversity. From the challenges of his early years in a disadvantaged neighborhood to his incarceration and eventual ascent as a successful entrepreneur and advocate for justice reform, Glenn’s story resonates deeply with anyone striving for personal growth, social impact, and ethical leadership.

His life embodies the principles of resilience, determination, and unwavering commitment to giving back to others. We should reflect on his ability to overcome societal biases and challenges, coupled with his dedication to “doing well by doing good.” His journey challenges us to look beyond our current plights and seek a better future. Bearing his example in mind, we can take advantage of our unique stories and experiences for personal branding, career growth, and positive change.

Each year, approximately650,000 people leave prisons and jails across the United States. Our mission at Prison Professorsis to ensure returning citizens earn their freedom by adhering to life lessons from changemakers like Glenn. To accelerate your learning, this lesson plan includes complementary documents based on Glenn’s narrative:

  • Glossary
  • Student Learning: Personal Branding & Personal Narratives
  • Student Learning: Skill Development
  • Appendix A: Related Reading and Resources
  • Appendix B: Supporting Organizations
  • Appendix C: Potential Careers

As you’ve learned from Glenn’s story, greatness is not solely measured by personal achievements, but by the lasting impact we have on the world. It is a call to action for us to intertwine our ambitions with purpose, creating legacies that resonate with success, integrity, and meaningful impact. His journey illuminates the path toward success, rooted in authenticity, ethics, and empowerment, and challenges us to walk that path with unwavering determination.

Now, take a moment to reflect on how you can incorporate these lessons into your life and ensure that your pursuits, like Glenn’s, are not just about achieving greatness but also about amplifying goodness in the world.”

Critical Thinking Questions:

Choose any of three questions below. Write a response for each of the three questions you choose. In your response, please write at least three paragraphs, with a minimum of three sentences each.

This exercise in personal development will help you develop better critical-thinking skills, and better writing skills. There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. We’re striving to learn how to think differently, and how to communicate more efficiently. Try to use some of the vocabulary words from this lesson in your responses.

  1. In what ways can Glenn’s experiences in the justice system shed light on the systemic issues within the criminal justice system and the potential for reform, and how can you contribute to these efforts?
  2. How does Glenn’s story illustrate the transformative power of education, and how can you apply this insight to your own pursuit of knowledge and personal growth?
  3. How do Glenn’s experiences at the law firm, where he networked with influential leaders, emphasize the value of building strong connections?
  4. In what ways can Glenn’s journey inspire you to strive for both personal success and societal impact, demonstrating that these two goals need not be mutually exclusive?
  5. How can Glenn’s example of adapting to the evolving demands of his career, as he transitioned from law to nonprofit management and eventually entrepreneurship, inspire you to be agile and adaptable in your own career path?
  6. How can Glenn’s life narrative inspire you to proactively seek out opportunities to make a positive impact in your community, just as he did through his advocacy and philanthropy?
  7. Beyond the specific attributes from The Straight-A Guide, what other personal qualities or characteristics do you think played a crucial role in Glenn’s success, and how can you develop or strengthen these qualities in yourself?
  8. How do you believe the concepts of personal branding and building a personal narrative can help you rebuild your life?
  9. In what ways do you believe Glenn distinguished himself from competitors as he sought employment after incarceration?
  10. How does Glenn’s approach to ethical real estate investment challenge conventional practices in the industry, and what ethical principles can guide your own endeavors and decision-making?
  11. In what ways do you believe Glenn serves as a role model in his current business pursuits?
  12. Other than those mentioned, in what ways do you believe Glenn’s story reflects our lessons from The Straight-A Guide?


  • Advocacy (n.) – The act of supporting or arguing for a cause, policy, or proposal.
  • Acquaint (v.) – To make someone aware of or familiar with.
  • Acute (adj.) – Extremely severe or intense.
  • Amplify (v.) – To increase in volume, size, strength, or extent.
  • Anecdote (n.) – A short and amusing or interesting story about a real incident or person.
  • Aptitude (n.) – A natural ability to do something.
  • Ascent (n.) – A climb or walk to the summit of a mountain or hill; an upward movement.
  • Atone (v.) – To make amends or reparation.
  • Beacon (n.) – A light or other visible object serving as a signal, warning, or guide.
  • Bleak (adj.) – Lacking in warmth, life, or kindliness; grim and depressing.
  • Benefactor (n.) – A person who gives money or other help to a person or cause.
  • Catapult (v.) – To hurl or launch (something) in a specified direction with or as if with a catapult.
  • Conduit (n.) – A channel for conveying water or other fluid; a tube or trough for protecting electric wiring; can also have figurative meaning.
  • Consummate (adj.) – Showing a high degree of skill and flair; complete or perfect.
  • Daunting (adj.) – Seeming difficult to deal with in prospect; intimidating.
  • Derogatory (adj.) – Showing a critical or disrespectful attitude.
  • Eagerness (n.) – Enthusiasm to do or to have something; keenness.
  • Echelon (n.) – A level or rank in an organization, a profession, or society.
  • Emanate (v.) – To issue or spread out from a source.
  • Empower (v.) – To give (someone) the authority or power to do something.
  • Ethical (adj.) – Relating to moral principles or the branch of knowledge dealing with these.
  • Facet (n.) – One side of something many-sided, especially of a cut gem.
  • Fare (n.) – The money a passenger on public transportation has to pay.
  • Feat (n.) – An achievement that requires great courage, skill, or strength.
  • Fervent (adj.) – Having or displaying a passionate intensity.
  • Flourish (v.) – To grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way.
  • Foremost (adj.) – Most prominent in rank, importance, or position.
  • Harness (v.) – To control and make use of (natural resources), especially to produce energy.
  • Harrowing (adj.) – Acutely distressing.
  • Holistic (adj.) – Characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.
  • Hone (v.) – To refine or perfect (something) over a period of time.
  • Introspect (v.) – To examine one’s own thoughts or feelings.
  • Jarring (adj.) – Incongruous in a striking or shocking way; clashing.
  • Livelihood (n.) – A means of securing the necessities of life.
  • Manifold (adj.) – Many and various.
  • Matriculate (v.) – To enroll as a member of a body and especially of a college or university.
  • Mosaic (n.) – A picture or pattern produced by arranging together small colored pieces of hard material, such as stone, tile, or glass.
  • Monumental (adj.) – Great in importance, extent, or size.
  • Notorious (adj.) – Famous or well known, typically for some bad quality or deed.
  • Pine (v.) – To suffer a mental and physical decline, especially because of a broken heart.
  • Plight (n.) – A dangerous, difficult, or otherwise unfortunate situation.
  • Profound (adj.) – Very great or intense; having or showing great knowledge or insight.
  • Redemption (n.) – The action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil.
  • Refine (v.) – To remove impurities or unwanted elements from (a substance), typically as part of an industrial process.
  • Rebound (v.) – To recover in value, amount, or strength after a decrease or decline.
  • Resolve (n.) – Firm determination to do something.
  • Resilience (n.) – The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
  • Robust (adj.) – Strong and healthy; vigorous.
  • Salient (adj.) – Most noticeable or important.
  • Stewardship (n.) – The job of supervising or taking care of something, such as an organization or property.
  • Stigma (n.) – A mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.
  • Surmount (v.) – To overcome (a difficulty or obstacle).
  • Tangible (adj.) – Perceptible by touch.
  • Undisclosed (adj.) – Not revealed or made known publicly.

Student Learning: Personal Branding

Our students face unique challenges and have distinct experiences that can be valuable in developing their personal brand. Here are guidelines tailored to their needs:

  1. Embrace Your Journey:
    1. Acknowledge the past: Understand that your experiences, while challenging, can provide a powerful narrative of resilience, change, and growth.
    1. Use your story: There’s power in vulnerability. Sharing your journey can inspire others in similar situations and bring awareness to issues within the justice system.
  2. Continuous Learning:
    1. Access available resources: Many communities offer educational programs for people rebuilding their lives. Look for these opportunities to further your knowledge.
    1. Seek tailored mentorship: Find mentors who have experience working as advocates or who have had similar experiences themselves.
  3. Engage in Storytelling:
    1. Highlight redemption: Narratives of personal growth and redemption can be powerful. Focus on the lessons learned and how they’ve shaped who you are today.
    1. Advocate: Use your platform to shed light on the challenges faced by people in your situation, promoting understanding and empathy.
  4. Network with Purpose:
    1. Connect with support groups: Joining groups or organizations tailored for people rebuilding their lives can provide networking opportunities and shared experiences.
    1. Offer mutual support: Build relationships where both parties can benefit, be it through sharing experiences, advice, or opportunities.
  5. Demonstrate Value:
    1. Emphasize soft skills: Skills such as resilience, problem-solving, and adaptability, often honed through challenging experiences, are invaluable in many settings.
    1. Provide a unique perspective: Your experiences can provide a unique viewpoint in discussions, projects, or collaborations.
  6. Consistency is Key:
    1. Transparency: While it’s essential to maintain consistency, it’s equally vital to be transparent about your past when necessary. This helps in building trust.
    1. Continuous self-reflection: Regularly assess your goals, brand messaging, and alignment with your values and experiences.

Remember, everyone has a unique journey. Embracing yours and using it to inform and inspire others can be an effective way to develop your personal brand, all while challenging stigmas and advocating for change.

Student Learning: Skill Development

Throughout his remarkable journey, Glenn demonstrated the effective use of math, communication, and critical thinking skills at various points in his career, illustrating how these skills were essential for his success. This supplementary content explores how Glenn used his skills in each of these areas. It also includes practical exercises to enrich your understanding and sharpen your competency in each area. 

Skill Area:Explanation:
Math Skills:  Budget Management: In his roles within nonprofit organizations and later in real estate, Glenn had to manage budgets effectively. He used math skills to allocate resources, track expenses, and ensure financial sustainability.Real Estate Investments: Glenn’s foray into real estate involved strategic property acquisition. He likely employed math skills to analyze property values, assess potential returns on investments, and make informed decisions about property purchases.Financial Planning: Glenn’s commitment to paying off his court-imposed debt and providing for his son required careful financial planning. He likely used math to create budgets, calculate savings, and manage his personal finances.
Communication Skills:  Advocacy: Glenn’s journey involved advocating for criminal justice reform and the rights of justice-impacted individuals. Effective communication was crucial in conveying his message, building support, and mobilizing resources.Networking: As Glenn moved up the ranks in his career, he interacted with influential business and political leaders. His ability to communicate effectively allowed him to build strong connections and leverage those relationships for mutual benefit.Leadership: Glenn’s leadership roles in nonprofit organizations and his consultancy required clear communication with team members, clients, and stakeholders. His ability to articulate a vision, set goals, and inspire others was vital for organizational success.
Critical Thinking Skills:  Strategic Career Choices: Glenn’s career choices, from transitioning to nonprofit management to starting his consultancy and venturing into real estate, reflected his critical thinking. He assessed opportunities, weighed risks, and made strategic decisions aligned with his goals.Problem Solving: Glenn faced numerous challenges in his life, including overcoming the stigma of a criminal record. His critical thinking skills helped him devise solutions, such as pursuing education, seeking employment, and eventually launching his own business.Adaptability: Glenn’s ability to adapt to evolving demands in his career showcased his critical thinking. He recognized the need for continuous learning and adaptation to remain relevant and successful.


Math Skills:

  1. Budget Management: Glenn needed to manage his finances effectively, especially when he had to pay off an $83,000 court-imposed debt. If he decided to pay off this debt in equal monthly installments over 5 years (60 months), how much would he need to pay each month?
  2. Real Estate Investment: Glenn acquired 90 properties in four and a half years. If he purchased an equal number of properties each month during this period, how many properties did he buy per month on average?
  3. Financial Growth: Glenn’s organization’s annual budget increased from $10 million to $22 million under his leadership. Calculate the percentage increase in the budget during Glenn’s tenure.

Communication Skills:

  1. Advocacy Challenge: Imagine you are an advocate for criminal justice reform like Glenn. Write a short persuasive speech (200-250 words) that Glenn might have used to communicate his message effectively and gain support for reform efforts.
  2. Networking Scenario: Put yourself in Glenn’s shoes when he networked with influential leaders. Draft an email or letter to one of these leaders, highlighting the value of your connection and proposing a mutually beneficial collaboration.
  3. Leadership Communication: As a leader of a nonprofit organization, you need to communicate a vision and inspire your team. Write a brief memo (150-200 words) to your team, outlining your vision and explaining how their contributions align with the organization’s goals.

Critical Thinking Skills:

  1. Career Transition Analysis: Imagine you are Glenn at the point of transitioning from a law firm to nonprofit management. List the pros and cons of this career move, considering factors like salary, job satisfaction, and alignment with personal values.
  2. Strategic Decision-Making: Glenn had to make several strategic decisions in his career. Given the information available in the narrative, propose a critical decision Glenn could have faced when managing a nonprofit organization’s budget and outline the steps he might have taken to make the best choice.
  3. Adaptability Scenario: Identify a specific instance in Glenn’s story where adaptability and the ability to embrace change were crucial. Describe the situation and how Glenn’s critical thinking helped him navigate it effectively.

This selection of books is tailored to assist justice-impacted individuals in rebuilding their lives and pursuing successful careers in the nonprofit sector, law, and real estate. These resources offer insights into personal growth, career development, legal education, and the fundamentals of real estate, alongside inspirational stories of resilience and achievement.

General Career and Personal Development
“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey Why Read: Offers a principle-centered approach for solving personal and professional problems, providing a path for living with fairness, integrity, honesty, and human dignity.   “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” by Angela Duckworth Why Read: Explores the importance of grit – a blend of passion and persistence – in achieving success, a crucial quality for anyone overcoming adversity.   “Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny!” by Tony Robbins Why Read: This book provides strategies and techniques for mastering your emotions, your body, your relationships, your finances, and your life.  
Nonprofit Sector
“The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life” by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander Why Read: Focuses on practices for bringing creativity, leadership, and optimism into one’s personal and professional endeavors, especially relevant in the nonprofit sector.   “Nonprofit Kit for Dummies” by Stan Hutton and Frances Phillips Why Read: A practical guide that offers insights into starting and managing a nonprofit organization, covering everything from writing a grant proposal to fundraising strategies.   “Social Startup Success: How the Best Nonprofits Launch, Scale Up, and Make a Difference” by Kathleen Kelly Janus Why Read: Provides key strategies for a nonprofit’s early stages, including testing ideas, measuring impact, funding experimentation, leading collectively, and storytelling.  
“Letters to a Young Lawyer” by Alan M. Dershowitz Why Read: Offers wisdom and advice on being a lawyer and the responsibilities that come with the legal profession, particularly meaningful for aspiring lawyers.   “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander Why Read: A compelling critique of the U.S. criminal justice system and its impact on people of color, essential for understanding the modern legal landscape.   “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee Why Read: Though a work of fiction, this classic novel deals with grave issues of racial injustice and moral growth, providing an engaging and enlightening perspective on law and ethics.
Real Estate
“Real Estate Investing for Dummies” by Eric Tyson and Robert S. Griswold Why Read: An easy-to-understand guide to real estate investing, providing practical advice on different ways to invest in properties.   “The Book on Rental Property Investing: How to Create Wealth and Passive Income Through Intelligent Buy & Hold Real Estate Investing!” by Brandon Turner Why Read: Focuses on building wealth through rental properties, a comprehensive guide for anyone looking to get started in real estate investment.   “The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America” by Richard Rothstein Why Read: Explores the history of how American cities became racially divided through de jure segregation, shedding light on significant socio-economic factors in real estate.  

Appendix B: Supporting Organizations

This appendix lists various organizations dedicated to supporting returning citizens, particularly those interested in training, employment, and career development in the fields of nonprofit, law, and real estate. These organizations provide resources, mentorship, training programs, and advocacy to aid in the reintegration process and professional growth.

General Support and Advocacy
The Fortune Society Focus: Broad support services including career development, education, housing, and health services. Website:   Prison Entrepreneurship Program Focus: Equipping individuals with entrepreneurial skills and opportunities for personal and professional development. Website:   Root & Rebound Focus: Offers legal services, advocacy, and educational tools to help transitioning individuals understand and navigate the rules and regulations impacting their lives post-release. Website:
Nonprofit Sector
REDF (The Roberts Enterprise Development Fund) Focus: Providing employment and empowerment opportunities for individuals facing barriers to work, including the formerly incarcerated, through investment in social enterprises. Website:   Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) Focus: Offers immediate, effective, and comprehensive employment services exclusively for individuals with criminal records. Website:   The Last Mile Focus: Training incarcerated individuals in technology skills to improve their employability and help them successfully reintegrate into society. Website:
Legal Action Center   Focus: Uses legal and policy strategies to fight discrimination, build health equity, and restore opportunities for people with criminal records, addiction, or HIV. Website:   National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) Focus: Provides advocacy, guidance, and training to legal professionals engaged in defending the rights of low-income individuals. Website:   Defy Ventures Focus: Focuses on transforming the lives of business leaders and others through their collaboration and entrepreneurship training. Website:  
Real Estate
All Square Focus: A craft grilled cheese restaurant and professional institute aiming to empower formerly incarcerated individuals through education, employment, and entrepreneurship, including in real estate. Website:   Homeboy Industries Focus: Offers training in various industries including real estate and construction, supporting formerly gang-involved and previously incarcerated individuals. Website:   Constructing Hope Focus: Provides no-cost construction skills and pre-apprenticeship training aimed at rebuilding the lives of people in the community, including those with a criminal background. Website:  

Appendix C: Potential Careers

This appendix provides an overview of job opportunities particularly suitable for justice-impacted individuals looking to build careers in the nonprofit sector, law, and real estate. These job opportunities are selected based on their accessibility, potential for growth, and the ability to make a significant impact in each field.

Job Opportunities in the Nonprofit Sector

Nonprofit Administrative Assistant

  • Responsibilities: Manage office duties, organize files, respond to inquiries, and provide support in managing schedules and coordinating events.
  • Key Qualities: Organizational skills, communication ability, basic computer proficiency.

Fundraising Assistant

  • Responsibilities: Support fundraising efforts, manage donor databases, assist in organizing fundraising events, and help in creating fundraising materials and campaigns.
  • Key Qualities: Strong communication skills, basic knowledge of fundraising strategies, and proficiency in database management.

Social Media Coordinator

  • Responsibilities: Manage and update the organization’s social media accounts, create content, engage with the community online, and track the effectiveness of social media campaigns.
  • Key Qualities: Creativity, understanding of social media platforms, good writing and communication skills.

Job Opportunities in Law

Legal Secretary

  • Responsibilities: Assist with preparing legal documents, scheduling, filing, and other administrative tasks in a law office.
  • Key Qualities: Attention to detail, strong organizational skills, basic knowledge of legal terminology.

Court Clerk

  • Responsibilities: Maintain court records, administer oaths, assist in the preparation of courtrooms, and manage juror lists.
  • Key Qualities: Strong clerical skills, understanding of court procedures, and good interpersonal skills.

Community Legal Advocate

  • Responsibilities: Provide support and information to individuals seeking legal help, particularly in communities with limited access to legal resources.
  • Key Qualities: Understanding of legal issues, empathy, communication skills, commitment to social justice.

Job Opportunities in Real Estate

Real Estate Assistant

  • Responsibilities: Assist real estate agents with scheduling, document preparation, client communication, and property research.
  • Key Qualities: Organizational skills, communication, basic understanding of the real estate market.

Maintenance Worker for Rental Properties

  • Responsibilities: Perform routine maintenance and repairs in rental properties, including basic plumbing, carpentry, and electrical work.
  • Key Qualities: Handyman skills, problem-solving, reliability.

Leasing Consultant

  • Responsibilities: Assist potential tenants with leasing processes, provide information about rental properties, and help in maintaining tenant relations.
  • Key Qualities: Sales skills, strong communication, customer service orientation, knowledge of the leasing process.

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