Journal Entry 

 From Cell to CEO 

Picture of Michael Santos

Michael Santos

 From Cell to CEO: Leadership Lessons Learned in Confinement

In the journey from incarceration to inspiration, every step, every day, and every interaction holds a lesson in leadership. My 9,500 days across various levels of the prison system taught me invaluable lessons about personal development, resilience, and leadership. These lessons are not just mine; they are for every individual who seeks to turn their period of confinement into a launching pad for success.

 The Classroom of Confinement

Prison, often perceived as a place of limitation, can paradoxically become a rich learning environment. In my journey through high-security to minimum-security facilities, I encountered a diverse array of individuals, each with unique insights and experiences. These interactions became my classroom, teaching me about the human spirit, resilience, and the power of perspective.

 Finding Mentors Everywhere

Leadership lessons in prison don’t always come from the expected sources. They can be found in the stories of fellow inmates, the guidance of certain staff members, or the pages of a book. I urge all participants in our course to seek out these mentors, wherever they may be. Their wisdom can be a guiding light, illuminating the path to personal and professional growth.

 The CEO of Your Life

The most crucial leadership role you will ever hold is that of being the CEO of your own life. This means taking charge of your journey, making strategic decisions, and steering yourself towards your defined goals. Your time in prison is an opportunity to lay the groundwork for this role, to build the skills, mindset, and vision needed to succeed upon release.

 Our Course: A Beacon of Hope

Our course, “Preparing for Success after Prison,” is designed to support you in this transformative journey. We invite you to share your progress and aspirations with us at [email protected]. By including “Request a Book” in your email subject line, you can access our resources, subject to availability:

1. Earning Freedom: Conquering a 45-Year Sentence

2. Success after Prison

3. Prison! My 8,344th Day

4. Release Plan 2024

5. Preparing for Success after Prison

 Challenge: Your Leadership Blueprint

Reflect on the leadership lessons you’ve learned or observed during your time in confinement. Create a “Leadership Blueprint” for yourself, outlining how you will apply these lessons in your life post-release. Consider how these lessons can help you in building enterprises, advocating for reform, or simply leading a fulfilling life.


The path from cell to CEO is paved with lessons of endurance, adaptability, and vision. As you navigate through your journey, remember that every challenge faced is an opportunity to learn and grow. Embrace these lessons, and let them guide you towards becoming the CEO of your life, leading with purpose and passion.


Michael Santos  

Founder, Prison Professors Talent

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