Today you will meet Sandy Rodriguez who is the Sr. Manager of Prison Programs for Defy Ventures. She oversees the in-prison programs at six correctional institutions in southern California. Sandy’s goal is to provide an excellent program to entrepreneurs in training (EITs) while simultaneously maintaining a transformative relationship with the prison and the reentry community. Sandy is proud to continue her work as an advocate for her community in dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline. She strives to be an anti-racist abolitionist who recognizes that her upbringing as a child of immigrants in Southeast Los Angeles is directly tied to her professional career in the criminal justice field.

Show Notes

Sandy is completely others centered. She genuinely cares and does everything in her power to help make life better for those around her be it her family, her community, or those she touches through her work. 

What a wonderfully unique vantage point Sandy brings to each situation she encounters. It was the positive influence of her community in her own life that taught her who she was and grounded her. She's witnessed the benefits of it in her own life and sees the lack of it in the lives of others and desires to cultivate that deeply held value. Speaking of values, I was deeply convicted by her courage and self-reflection in re-evaluating her own value system at the onset of her work with the incarcerated. This is what makes her so good at her job. She knows who she is and who and what she represents, so somebody's actions can't change that about her. Personally, I think it was the strength, love, and inclusion of the community she grew up in that ultimately led to these life convictions that everyone is worthy of respect despite where they are in life.

I really appreciated Sandy's favorite quote by Ghandi. But I also see Sandy's life being a beautiful example of something else Gandhi says, "In a gentle way you can shake the world." She certainly has with her unwavering love, education, and support of the EIT's in her care through her work with Defy Ventures. May we all find our place to shake the world as Sandy has.

Favorite Quote: The true measure of any society can be measured by the way they treat their most vulnerable populations

Defy Ventures
FB - @DefyVentures
IG - @defy_ventures

What is Gramercy?

Stories from those who live and work on the margins of society.