In this episode of the Taking the Lead podcast, Christina Brady hosts Kate Leidy, CEO of Strively, to discuss the potential of previously incarcerated individuals in the tech industry. They delve into the complex issue of mass incarceration and the untapped talent pool it represents. Leidy shares her transformative experience volunteering at Soledad Correctional Facility in California, where she discovered the drive, savvy, and focus of the inmates, qualities she recognized as valuable in the tech sales industry.
Leidy’s company, Strively, aims to reduce prison recidivism by training incarcerated individuals for careers in tech sales, specifically for the Sales Development Representative (SDR) role. This role provides exposure to various aspects of a tech company, offering a comprehensive understanding of the industry.
However, placing these individuals in tech companies is not without challenges. Larger companies often have bureaucratic hiring practices that exclude candidates with prison backgrounds. Leidy finds more success with mid-market to startup companies, where there is less bureaucracy. Despite these challenges, Leidy emphasizes the importance of giving second chances and the value that these individuals can bring to the tech industry.