WHO WE ARE
Founded in 2017, we exist to build a loving society in which hope is restored, every life is honored and economic opportunity is a right, not a privilege. Utilizing entrepreneurship as a tool for connection and transformation, we provide the best opportunity for people to embrace their inner entrepreneur and leverage their strengths in a whole new light. Initially developed as a state chapter under Defy Ventures, a national organization, Defy Colorado has since become an independent 501(c)(3) organization that operates independently from Defy Ventures Inc.
Defy Colorado believes in legitimate first chances, no matter how late in life that chance arrives. We believe in partnership, not pity. From the very beginning of our program, we refer to every person who participates as an Entrepreneur-in-Training (EIT), helping these individuals shatter perceptions by providing an opportunity for enhanced self-efficacy. And when people believe they can be better, they do better.
In the state of Colorado, it costs roughly $39,000/year to incarcerate just one individual…
…our eight (8)-month, in-prison program, CEO of Your New Life, costs $1,300 per EIT.
Stacey believes fiercely in challenging perceptions and in the power of transformation. Growing up in an entrepreneurial household, with a father who took full advantage of his second chance in life after recovering from addiction, Stacey has always been inspired to facilitate transformation in the lives of others. Stacey received a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Colorado State University and a master’s in social work from the University of Denver. Prior to joining Defy Colorado, Stacey provided mental health and substance abuse treatment to men on parole and probation.
Hired on as our Post Release Manager, Ismerai McCarragher quickly moved into the role of Program Manager and eventually Program Director. She oversees Defy Colorado’s programs, including weekly classes with EITs (Entrepreneurs in Training) at Colorado State Penitentiary, Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility and LaVista Correctional Facility. She has experience in business, psychology, programs, and human development. Ismerai graduated from Colorado State University with her Bachelors of Science in Psychology. She spent time working with adolescents with criminal histories and substance abuse. This experience led her to obtain her Masters of Art in Child and Family Development from Denver Seminary.
Senior Operations Associate
Nick has been with Defy Ventures Colorado from the very beginning—starting with DVC’s first cohort at Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility. He has a background in IT and web development, having spent nearly eight years leading a website that generated $10-16M in revenue for the state of Colorado annually. Having attended the Bachelors of Marketing program at Metropolitan State University of Denver, he looks forward to matching his technical skills with his deep understanding of the struggles Defy’s graduates face upon release.