Talent Outside the Box: Fair Chance Leadership Lessons

2021 Talent Conference & Expo
Attendees will expand their understanding of inclusive workplaces and gain valuable leadership lessons for business and community resilience.

This panel discussion will take a deeper look at the potential in Fair Chance Employment, the growing movement to open doors for 1 in 3 adults of working age in the U.S. with a criminal record. Executive-level panelists with lived incarceration experience will reflect on leadership lessons and transferrable skills for coping with the uncertain and unpredictable times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Never has this been so relevant as in the current time of recovery, when adaptiveness and innovation are business survival traits. HR leaders in attendance will have the opportunity to rethink biases about applicants and employees with criminal records, expand their vision of Fair Chance Hiring's business impact, and gain tools for advancing the Fair Chance conversation in their companies.

Learning Objectives:

  • Make connections between personal resilience and adaptive leadership, as applied in the workplace.
  • Broaden understanding of the experience of incarceration and re-entry, equipping you to challenge stigma and bias.
  • Learn strategies for building an inclusive organizational culture that values diverse experience, including the 1 in 3 Americans impacted by a criminal record.
  • Gain insights for identifying and developing high-potential employees from “nontraditional” talent pools.
Date(s) & Time(s): 
Wednesday, August 25, 2021 - 9:00am to 10:00am

Elizabeth Speck, Ph.D.


Elizabeth Speck is the Founder and Principal of MindOpen Learning Strategies, a training, consulting, and coaching firm that helps people and organizations learn new ways to work in order to achieve social justice goals. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Development from Fielding Graduate University and an M.A. in Drama Therapy from New York University. She uses her unique background to create transformative adult learning experiences that lead to measurable business results and social impact. Prior to founding MindOpen, Elizabeth most recently led large-scale organizational and systemic change efforts as Chief Learning Officer for the Workforce Professionals Training Institute in New York City, and Senior Training Director for Safe Horizon, the nation's largest victim assistance organization. Elizabeth's doctoral research studied the workforce entry and career advancement experiences of formerly incarcerated professionals.


Tarik Greene


Tarik Greene is the Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of M.A.D.E. Transitional Services where he oversees development of transitional services programs and strategic initiatives and partnerships. Tarik worked as the Offender Workforce Development Specialist (OWDS) and Assistant Disability Program Navigator at Rockland County’s One Stop Resource and Employment agency.

Tarik’s extensive experience includes working with people who self-disclose diagnosis related to disabilities, and/or with people who are eligible for re-entry services. His responsibilities have included conducting intake and assessments of potential clients, assisting with the development of re-employment training plans, providing quality employment referrals and successfully placing people in employment programs.

Tarik is passionate about creating an interactive and enjoyable business environment, which supports meeting the needs of business partners, colleagues, and clients while ensuring that clients are held accountable for personal self-improvement and professional self-development. Tarik successfully engineered and implemented the Ready, Set, Work! A program

at Rockland County’s One Stop agency and the Rockland County Correctional Center. He was also Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Liaison in Rockland County, to the Work for Success Statewide Program.in 2015
Under his leadership, Tarik has undertaken several initiatives, including:

Created and implemented Rockland County’s first Second Chance Job Fair focused on hiring formerly incarcerated individuals

Training Department of Labor & Workforce One staff to certify as offender employment specialists

Creating viable community partnerships with agencies such as ACCES-VR, Division of Criminal Justice Services, National Institute of Corrections, Office of the Mayor in Nyack NY, STAQ College, and the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office.

Serving as a contributing member of the Rockland Employment Network

Serving as a board member of the Rockland County Executives ATI Advisory Board

Serving as a critical member of the Rockland County Judicial Committee for Youth, designed to provide first-time youth offenders with alternatives to incarceration.


John Valverde


John Valverde is the President and CEO of YouthBuild USA. He joined YouthBuild in 2017 after decades of work as an advocate for creating access to opportunity and removing barriers for formerly incarcerated and low-income people.

John began working with imprisoned individuals in 1992 to ensure access to HIV/AIDS counseling, high school equivalency instruction, alternatives to violence programs, and college education. In 1995, responding to the gap created by the elimination of TAP and Pell funding for people in prison, he led an initiative to develop and deliver a college-level certificate program, the Certificate in Ministry and Human Services. Today called Rising Hope, this program continues in several New York State prisons. In 1998, he co-founded Hudson Link for Higher Education, the first privately funded accredited college program in New York’s prisons. More than 450 students in prison have graduated from Hudson Link, which has grown to serve five prisons with six college partners.

In 2009, John worked with a team at the Osborne Association to create New York City’s first green jobs training program exclusively for people with criminal records. As Osborne’s Executive Vice President, John launched, managed, and led programs including children, youth, and family services; substance abuse treatment; workforce development; community benefit projects; financial literacy; health and wellness services; housing; alternatives to incarceration; mentoring and leadership development; and social enterprises. John has led teams that offer multiple evidence-based interventions, with a trauma-informed approach, to distinct populations that range from very young children to the elderly.

As a steady and persistent advocate for creating access, John has worked with city, state, and federal agencies to develop and operate proven job readiness and placement programs. He forged Osborne's first relationships with labor unions and has served on the Board of Pathways to Apprenticeship that supports individuals from traditionally underserved communities gain access to apprenticeship programs.

John often serves as a keynote speaker at important and related events to share his personal story of transformation and second chances. As a young man who was incarcerated at 21, John’s work to accept responsibility for his actions and commit to making amends started him on a journey of redemption that allowed him to imagine and build a new future. Though he was incarcerated for almost 16 years, John is now recognized as a proven leader and example for people affected by the criminal justice system. John’s personal and professional life embodies the work of YouthBuild and is a powerful representation of its mission. He is the proud recipient of the 2018 Brian S. Fischer Achievement Award from Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison. This award is presented annually to a formerly incarcerated leader who has made an impact by advocating for positive change in the world.

John is a graduate of Aspen Institute’s Sector Skills Academy and a 2018 Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow. John received his Master of Professional Studies in Urban Ministry from the New York Theological Seminary and holds a Bachelor’s degree in behavioral science from Mercy College.

Ethical Practice
Global & Cultural Effectiveness
Leadership & Navigation
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