Archive for the ‘Board Members’ Category

We are pleased to announce that Annie Lord has joined the Dallas Advisory Board of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program!

“Annie brings a wealth of community development experience to PEP,” says Bert Smith, CEO of PEP. “She has a great passion for our mission and I am confident that her insights will particularly strengthen our efforts to launch, grow, and sustain businesses owned by our graduates.”

Annie serves as a Vice President – Community Development Officer at Citi. In this capacity, she stewards the community development efforts.

After attending her first meeting of Dallas Advisory Board, Annie remarked that: “PEP is an ideal partner to help cities. The organization has a proven track record of dramatically reducing recidivism and its associated costs to the public. PEP graduates become successful business owners, employees, and contributors to our society, and I am proud to support this transformation.”

Annie also organizes volunteer opportunities for company employees … and we are very proud to say that, even when 4-5 months pregnant, she was not afraid to volunteer in prison with PEP at Class 20’s Pitch Day!

Annie Lord - Citi

Citi’s Annie Lord volunteering at the Prison Entrepreneurship Program.

Prior to joining Citi, Annie served as the Executive Director for the South Florida Community Development Coalition, a 57-member organization dedicated to improving the performance of the community development sector in Miami, Florida. Annie also previously served in a leadership role at the Latino Economic Development Center, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that equips Latinos and other DC-area residents with the skills and financial tools to create a better future for their families and communities.

Annie earned her MPP (Master in Public Policy, Economic Development) from Harvard – Kennedy School. She previously earned a BA in Latin American History and Literature from Harvard University.

Please join us in welcoming Annie to PEP!

Steve Heussner Mogul Wealth

Steve Heussner, Chairman of Mogul Wealth, in prison during PEP’s Pitch Day event

The Prison Entrepreneurship Program is very pleased to announce that Steve Heussner has joined our Dallas Advisory Board!

Steven J. Heussner, CLU®, ChFC® is the co-founder and Chairman of Mogul Wealth Strategies, LLC in Dallas, Texas. He is responsible for coordinating a comprehensive 401K, wealth strategies and employee benefits practice.

Steve earned his BSE in Geological Engineering from Princeton University.

Steve has worked as an insurance agent and investment professional for over 24 years. He started his career in 1988 as an agent with New York Life, where he won numerous company and industry awards. He is the author of many published articles. He is an accomplished public speaker having given multiple presentations to industry and professional groups including New York Life’s Career Conference, the International Risk management Institute, the Construction Financial management Association, and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. He is also a life and qualifying member of the Million Dollar Round Table.

Steve and his wife, Risa, live in McKinney, Texas with their 2 children.

After serving as the keynote speaker at our Class 19 graduation,  Jeff Smith agreed to join our National Advisory Board. He brings a passion for our mission that is informed by his own stint in a federal prison, as he shares in his TED talk (below).

Jeff Smith is Assistant Professor of Politics and Advocacy in the New School’s Urban Policy graduate program, a consultant on affordable housing policy and prison reform, and a frequent public speaker on ethics in politics. Jeff served in the Missouri Senate from 2006-2009 as the nation’s only white state senator from a black-majority district. He is a columnist for City and State and a contributor to The Recovering Politician, a popular new blog for former legislators. He has appeared on CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and Current, and has been profiled by NPR’s “This American Life,” Harper’sThe New Republic, and several other periodicals. He recently gave a TED talk (see here) on prison entrepreneurship, and has published op-ed pieces for CNN, The AtlanticSalonInc.National JournalSalonPoliticoNew York MagazineBuzzfeed, the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Washington Examiner, and St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Steven Hausman triumph commercial

Steven Hausman, PEP Dallas Advisory Board memebr

One of our graduates’ favorite parts of the PEP program is the Integrity Selling component of our six-month Business Plan Competition.

This program was developed — and continues to be taught! — by the dynamic duo of David Rains (President and Founder of Commercial Finance Consultants, the leading recruiting and consulting firm for executive and senior management for the Factoring, Asset Based Lending and Trade Finance Industries) and Steven Hausman (President and CEO of Advance Business Capital and President of Triumph Commercial Finance LLC).

Steven was recently interviewed about his work with PEP by Andrew Rudin at Customer Think, a global online community of business leaders striving to create profitable customer-centric enterprises.

You can read the article here, or a portion of it below:

Unique Entrepreneurship Program Helps People Move Past the Hard Cell

Andy Rudin: In mentoring inmates for selling skills, what is the greatest challenge you have encountered?

Steven Hausman: So much to share and so little time. Given the logistical constraints, we lay out the foundation and challenge the men to apply these principles through practice.

Andy Rudin: On leaving prison, many former inmates must re-enter society carrying labels that are stigmatized. When they start businesses, what are the biggest selling challenges they typically encounter?

Steven Hausman: To be honest, I don’t know—but I can speculate. Every small business and/or start-up has more than a load of selling challenges. These guys have all those plus another full measure associated with their pasts. But, they’ve also been tested by a fire that’s hotter than most of us ever experience. I don’t bet against any of these men.

Andy Rudin: From this program, which outcome or achievement has been most personally satisfying for you?

Steven Hausman: Simply convincing them that selling is a not just an occupation but a life skill. Also, encouraging these men that effective sales communication has nothing to do with manipulation, but rather we honor people by presenting ourselves in a manner that the other person can receive.

Andy Rudin: Over the course of training inmates for effective selling, what have you learned that surprised you the most?

Steven Hausman: Not to judge any books by their cover.

Andy Rudin: In your program, you provide participants the opportunity to test their skills and role play. How do you coach individuals when they struggle? Are there situations in which you find a person “just won’t make it in sales”?

Steven Hausman: Again, we’re not trying to develop salespeople as much as impart basic selling skills that we believe can benefit everybody. So, no—each and every one of them can make it. Do they struggle at times? You bet. There’s always a fine line between criticism and encouragement. It’s like any message—best delivered in truth and love.

Andy Rudin: Top sales achievers are often characterized as patient and empathetic, and able to be highly persuasive verbally. But some of the people you work with have had a violent past, and may not have grown up nurturing these skills. How do you help inmates re-channel difficult behaviors when they are in selling situations?

Steven Hausman: It’s an issue we try to tackle head on in our very brief discussion of negotiations. By the time we see these men, their personal transformations are already manifest. Because of the incredible work that PEP has already completed, it’s no longer a “heart” issue—it’s all about life skills.

Andy Rudin: In 2007, Americans spent $49 billion on incarcerating people, which averages to an annual expense of $21K per inmate. In sales, we’re passionate about “making the business case.” What do you see as the greatest economic benefits of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program?

Steven Hausman: Easy question. PEP works. Incarceration is costly indeed, but it’s the exponential costs of recidivism that are broken. On a personal level, I’m in love with the real, substantive life change which PEP produces. The economic return on this investment makes the value proposition undeniable.

You might be wondering why this matters. After all, jail is jail, right? We need this program and others like it because few can argue that as a society, some of what we spend to incarcerate people could be invested more productively. Instead of paying over $21,000per person per year to incarcerate 2.3 million people, what if we re-purposed some of that money toward education to help some of them become fulfilled, taxpaying citizens?

“Most PEP participants were either dope dealers or violent criminals and many were in raised in disadvantaged situations where education and achievement were not modeled.”With a national prison recidivism rate above 60%, “we need to rethink prison as punishment and begin to utilize it as a place to the end the wicked cycle of crime and addiction.” PEP graduates have a recidivism rate of less than 5%. You do the math. The financial return that comes from every invested dollar provides enormous benefits to society, and a future for those who would otherwise struggle to find a pathway toward a better, more fulfilling life.

We just learned that our dear friend Melvin Maltz has been honored by Texas A&M with their 2013 Distinguished Alumnus Award! Check out the bio below from the award page … with a nice shout-out to PEP!

melvin maltz

Melvin Maltz, PEP Houston Advisory Board member

Melvin S. Maltz, Class of 1947, earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the Agricultural & Mechanical College of Texas. In 1944, he served in the U. S. Army Air Corps and was honorably discharged in 1946. He reentered A&M to finish his degree in 1948. As a student, he was Cadet Lieutenant of Squadron A, an athletic officer in the Corps of Cadets, and assistant sports editor for The Longhorn in 1946. He was also involved in the student chapter of the Institute for Aeronautical Sciences and the Houston Hometown Club.

After graduation in 1948, Maltz was commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the U. S. Air Force and was honorably discharged in 1953. He worked as secretary, director and vice president of Century Papers, Inc. from 1952 to 1976. In 1966, he was Industry Group Chairman of the Southern Division of the Paperboard Packaging Council.

Maltz and two partners formed National Inpack Corporation in 1976 and he served as president until the company was sold in 1985. He earned a Broker Securities license and licensed life insurance agent in the state of Texas in 1987. During that time he was a frequent member of the President’s Cabinet of the Acacia Group, earning qualification as a Life Member of the Million Dollar Roundtable. In 2005, Maltz became a member of Silver Fox Advisors and now serves as a senior account manager for the Lone Star Advisory Group, Inc.

Maltz has been an active Houstonian, serving as Masonic Master Mason in 1949, chairman of the Lombardi Committee for the Rotary Club of Houston in 1985, vice president of Congregation Beth Israel and president of Westwood Country Club in 1987. In 1949, he earned the Shriners Cripple Children Cross Crutch Award in recognition for his fundraising efforts for Arabia Shriners Hospital. He served on the Greater Houston Board of Directors for the American Cancer Society from 1974 to 1988—twice as its Chairman—and he was vice president of the Lone Star Chapter National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and director and vice president of Lighthouse Houston. He served on the Texas Division of the American Cancer Society’s Board of Directors until 2003. Maltz currently serves as a member of the Houston Advisory Board of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program mentoring prisoners in business principles.

He has also remained active at Texas A&M, having served as director and president of the Houston A&M Club from 1952 to 1955, Class Agent from 1957 to 1962, Chair of The Association of Former Students’ Board of Directors in 1973 and commencement speaker at Texas A&M in 1974. A member of the A&M Legacy Society, Maltz funded a President’s Endowed Scholarship in 1986. He served on the College of Science Development Council, the Planned Giving Council at the Texas A&M Foundation, and as chairman of the Board of Visitors for the Texas Maritime Academy, and vice president and president of the Sul Ross Group of The Association of Former Students. In 1970, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the Houston A&M Club. Maltz currently serves on the President’s Board of Visitors for the Corps of Cadets.

Maltz and his wife, Corky, live in Houston. They have seven children, one of whom graduated from A&M, and a grandson who also graduated from A&M.

John Harrell PEP

John Harrell entering prison through the “tunnel of love” at PEP!

As we mentioned a few weeks ago, we are honored to announced that John Harrell has joined PEP’s Houston Advisory Board!

John retired from Deloitte after 42 years, including 29 years as a partner. He primarily served as the lead client service and audit partner for public and private entities. For 4 years before retiring, John made regular trips to India where the U.S. Deloitte firm has a subsidiary.

He has been married to Diana, who is also involved in PEP, for 44 years. They have two children. They are both Master Naturalists where they enjoy their love of the coast through volunteering in wetlands restoration and other projects. John also plays golf and tennis, and is active in his church as well as Bible Study Fellowship.

John first came to a PEP in-prison event in 2011. He has since been to prison over fifteen times, and has rapidly become a vital part of every PEP class that has graduated over the past few years. His insights during our participants’ business pitches are always insightful, and he has made a tremendous impact on the aspiring entrepreneurs whom he has coached through our one-on-one events.

Welcome to the HAB, John!

nancy white at the PEP business plan competition

Nancy White attending a PEP Business Plan Competition!

As we mentioned last week, we are pleased to announce that Nancy White has joined our Houston Advisory Board!

Nancy is a native Texan who was raised in Fort Worth and Houston. She attended the University of Oklahoma and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in fashion design and a minor in marketing.

She started her professional career as a buyer with Foleys Department Store in Houston and then entered the public sector with the Houston Civil Service Commission where she developed and wrote promotional exams for the police and fire departments.  She then joined Timex Corporation in 1980 and enjoyed 24 years as Sales Manager covering a nine state area before retiring in 2004. Nancy was responsible for all sales and advertising for the major retailers and distributors with primary focus on the sports industry and sporting events.  During this time, she also served as a volunteer on the Special Children’s Committee with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for 25 years.

Since retirement, Nancy has been a mentor with Spring Branch ISD working with a young girl at Spring Woods High School for the past 4 years.  She also serves on the Board of Trustees for the CHRISTUS Stehlin Foundation for Cancer Research and have chaired their annual fundraising gala in 2004 and 2011 netting over $1million collectively.  She enjoys playing on two competitive tennis leagues and a golf league.

Nancy is married to Tim White, with whom she raised two daughters. This adventuresome grandmother has not not only been to prison, but she has made a solo flight in a single-engine airplane! She is a member of Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church and the Grace Fellowship Sunday School class, which is where she met Monte and Linda Pendleton 8 years ago.

The Pendeltons invited Nancy to attend PEP in 2012 ……and she has been returning to prison ever since! 

Welcome to the HAB, Nancy!

Mabrie Jackson in prison

Mabrie Jackson, President and CEO of the North Texas Commission, goes to prison for PEP’s Class 17 Business Plan Competition!

As we announced earlier this week, we are very pleased that Mabrie Jackson has also joined our Dallas Advisory Board along with Keith Bird.

Mabrie Jackson serves as the president and CEO of the North Texas Commission, a regional public-private organization with the mission to “collaborate with regional stakeholders to strengthen public-private alliances, advancing an economically vibrant region” in North Texas. She is based in Dallas, Texas.

Mabrie’s varied background is a strong asset for PEP’s Dallas Advisory Board. Prior to joining the NTC, her career included public service through a seat on the Plano City Council, roles with Fortune 500 companies and service as the interim President and CEO of the Plano Chamber of Commerce. Jackson is the first female President and CEO of the nearly 40-year-old North Texas Commission.

Accompanying her civic and political background, Jackson brings an extensive history of corporate experience. She worked at Microsoft Corporation for 13 years incubating award-winning, revenue-producing relationships with international, national and local technology companies. Prior to Microsoft, Jackson spent 10 years in financial services marketing for EDS. She worked in virtually every aspect of public relations, including media relations, marketing collateral, advertisements, promotions and special events.

In addition to her service on the Prison Entrepreneur Program Dallas Advisory Board, Jackson currently serves as a Governor’s Appointee to the Statewide Health Coordinating Council, on the Texas Association of Business Board, H. Wayne Hendrick Scholarship Board, University of North Texas President Search Committee, Vision North Texas Management Committee, the North Central Texas Council of Governments Clean Air Steering Committee, the Greater Dallas Asian American Chamber of Commerce Advisory Board, a member of the Advisory Council for the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas, The UNT Dallas Business Department Advisory Board, and the AT&T Performing Arts Center Communications Committee.  She is an active member and Paul Harris Fellow in the Plano Sunrise Rotary Club. Jackson previously served as President of the Collin County Child Protective Services Board, on the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee, the Assistance Center of Collin County Board, and as a member on several National League of Cities and Texas Municipal League committees.

Jackson is a graduate of Plano Senior High School and The University of Texas at Austin. While attending the university, she served as a legislative assistant in the Texas House of Representatives. Mabrie is married to Marshall Jackson, and they have two teenage sons.

The self-described “biggest PEP fan in the world,” Mabrie has described PEP as “the most impressive non-profit I have ever observed.” She has been a tremendous advocate for us, opening doors for our staff to give presentations to leadership groups all over Texas. She has been to prison multiple times, has helped us to recruit others to come to prison and has even spoken to several media sources about her involvement in PEP.

Welcome to the DAB, Mabrie!

mabrie jackson pep

Mabrie congratulating one of the finalists in PEP’s Class 17 Business Plan Competition.

We are pleased to welcome the following new volunteers to our Advisory Boards:

  • Keith Bird, Vice President Global Engineering & Manufacturing Strategy for Alcon (Dallas Advisory Board)
  • John Harrell, Retired Partner-Deloitte LLP (Houston Advisory Board)
  • Mabrie Jackson, President and CEO of the North Texas Commission (Dallas Advisory Board)
  • Nancy White, Retired – Timex Corporation (Houston Advisory Board)

To see the full list of our Dallas, Houston, Austin and National Advisory Boards, click here.

The Prison Entrepreneurship Program is able to operate with a lean staff thanks to the tremendous efforts of more than 650 annual volunteers. This includes hundreds of executives, entrepreneurs, bankers, MBA students and business leaders who join us throughout the year for our monthly in-prison events or who serve as remote Business Plan Advisors (editing business plans and conducting market research for our participants). Many others serve in roles such as mentors, teachers at our Tuesday evening “eSchool” program offered in both Dallas and Houston as well as hosts for our monthly family dinners at each of our three transition homes.

We are deeply grateful for all of their contributions.

However, the contributions of our advisory board members exceed those of all others. Almost all of them serve in multiple volunteer roles within our organization. But more critically, they provide tremendous support to our staff and our 7-member governing board. Through their contributions of time, talent and treasure, these advisors are tremendous resources for PEP.

Britanie Olvera Austin TexasHaving engaged with PEP the first time in 2008, I find myself not only advocating PEP, but embracing the PEP wings and philosophy: “Changing the Future by Reconciling the Past”. This phrase has meaning and value far exceeding ink on paper. I am passionately involved with PEP because I see it not only giving second chances, but renewing families, re igniting “fatherhood”, but also changing hearts on both sides of the prison wall. I give to PEP my time; my money and I have had the pleasure of hiring PEP graduates into my business. The residual result is an infectious change that spreads into communities; extended families and businesses, resulting in the best ROI I have encountered.

You can look at the tax base return to the taxpayer on many levels, the numbers, hands down tell the successful story of PEP and what it’s accomplishing, but when you look at the changed lives, saved souls and mended hearts, you see the true success of PEP. This unquestionably has a reverberating and lasting effect on our local and regional community, of which the full residual effect, monetarily and socially are difficult to capture in a financial statement. I have seen nothing else like it and I’m convinced it is a revolution. AMAZING WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE EMPOWER PEOPLE


Britanie Olvera
Building Team Solutions Inc
B.I.T Construction Services Inc

“Building teams and changing lives one staffing at a time”