Journal Entry 


Picture of Michael Santos

Michael Santos

This morning I enjoyed talking with Melinda. In approximately one month, Melinda will surrender to serve an 18-month sentence in federal prison. Rather than allowing that crisis to define her life, she has recalibrated, doing an exceptional job of preparing for success. 

Prison isn’t easy for anyone. Yet if a person begins to prepare for success early, the person can evolve the release plan. I admire Melinda for taking ownership of her predicament and working to launch the next phase of her life. 

During our conversation, which I recorded on video, I showed her the value of the new platform we’re building: Prison Professors Talent. The platform helps people on a micro level; on a macro level, it furthers our efforts to advocate for policies and laws that will incentivize the pursuit of excellence. 

We want citizens, employers, and administrators to see why it makes sense to profile people preparing for success upon release. Melinda is ahead of the game. Even though she will not begin serving her sentence until August 20, she has already written her first biography, 15 journal entries, and a release plan.

This strategy will become an asset for Melinda in the months and years ahead. She can rely on her profile to influence people who make decisions regarding her liberty or career. Those people may have insight into her crime, but they’ll also know about her extraordinary and compelling efforts to reconcile with society. Melinda shows that she isn’t going to hide from her past. Instead, she works to make amends and prepare for success.

When Melinda surrenders to serve her sentence, our platform will have new tools she can leverage. For example:

  • The home page will feature exceptional student profiles. Our system will feature the most active students.
  • Our “Impact” page will show the number of donations we’ve made to justice-impacted people and to support institutions.
  • Each profile will include a “My Tribe” button to show how each person works to teach others how to prepare for success.

By getting involved early, Melinda will have a more mature profile. She will use her profile to open new opportunities. It will show her case manager, her future probation officer, and her future business partners how she has prepared. When she concludes her sentence, the profile she builds will put her in an outstanding position to work with our nonprofit. 

Melinda’s transparency validates a commitment to excellence. She’ll be able to say: 

  • “I never ask anyone to do anything that I didn’t do.” 

That statement builds credibility. It will convince others that she is trustworthy, because she can show has she has worked to make amends. She can become an ambassador of our nonprofit, and if things work out, she can work with us to build collaborative relationships with others.

I’m looking forward to featuring Melinda in the new workbook we create. I hope to finish the project before she surrenders to begin serving her sentence,.

As always, we prompt our readers to question what they can do today to begin preparing for success on the other side of the journey. For an example of excellence, visit Melina’s profile on Prison Professors Talent.

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