Success Story: How Teresa Hodge, A Paroled Business Executive Is Taking Entrepreneurship To Prisons

by Duke Magazine

Teresa Hodge is an entrepreneur and a former business executive who served time in prison. She was imprisoned for mail fraud from 2006 to 2011. She realized how difficult it was for women in prison to reintegrate into society while in prison.

Because of her skill set, she knew it would be very simple for her to reintegrate into her society or community. However, she was concerned that the majority of the women she met in prison lacked the necessary skills.

“I sat in prison knowing that if I could simply survive being in prison if I could take enough strong skill sets, and if I could personally get over my guilt of coming to prison,” Hodge told Business Insider.
Most people in jail, especially women, do not always have the support of their families. Hodge, on the other hand, had her daughter Laurin Leonard by her side practically every time she visited. She and her daughter began thinking about how to aid people with criminal histories while doing time at Alderson Federal Prison Camp. Mission: Launch, a Baltimore-based nonprofit, was founded as a result of this.

“We were able to turn what could have been a permanently damaging time in our life and something that may have served as a wedge to push us apart into an opportunity to grow closer,” Hodge said.

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She founded the NGO Mission: Launch to assist former inmates after serving her sentence. Hodge and her daughter also wanted to start a business accelerator to train and grow entrepreneurship among ex-offenders. As a result, they founded R3 Score, a for-profit business.

“At the time, we didn’t realize how much you needed to be either independently rich or connected to money resources,” Hodge said, as she recognized that one of the most difficult aspects of beginning a firm is obtaining capital. “And that launched us on a quest to figure out how to access capital,” she explained. “So we kind of kept going down this path, and it was ultimately this path that lead us to R3 Score.”

Hodge took over as president of the organization, while her daughter took over as CEO of R3 Score.

Even though the two are primarily focused on assisting former inmates, they are now expanding their offering to include millennials, who are known to have poorer credit scores as a result of their spending habits.

According to the Michigan Chronicle, Hodge’s good acts have gained the notice of Aventiv Technologies, which has recently selected her as head of its board of directors.

According to the publication, Aventis Technologies is a “technology business that empowers restorative justice by pioneering the development and deployment of educational platforms as a rehabilitation tool for the prisoners.”

“I’ve made a personal commitment to reduce the devastation that prison brings to individuals and their families, particularly children,” Hodge added. “The reality is that our criminal justice system makes readmission extremely difficult. I’m excited to play a key part in assisting Aventiv in using its insider status to enhance outcomes for justice-involved families and establish the groundwork for systemic change. The event, which was formerly a part of the problem, is now a part of the solution.”

Forbes nominated her to its first-ever 50 Over 50 list of female business executives and advocates in 2021.

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