Success Following Prison – Can It Happen?


As many know who read my blogs – I am a convicted felon, having served time in federal prison. I am not proud of that fact, but it is a fact that I cannot change. Rather than hide that fact, I have elected to be open and honest – hoping that my experience might benefit others who are recovering from a life changing experience.

Recently, I received a response to an earlier blog and responded accordingly. Then it hit me, perhaps I should blog the comment and response so that those who are new to the business ethics blog might benefit.

So the question is: Can you achieve success following prison? Perhaps an even better response might be how can you achieve success following any substantial life change?

Here’s the comment I received:

    1. hi as i was doing research on motivational speaking and i came accross your site which i happen to appreciate. i also did some time behind bars about 7 years back and went through the system of rehabilitation programs. i participated in different programs where speaking was part of a daily routine. i stood out and was asked to voluntarily participate in speaking out for the youth in schools and as an assistant for a psycologyst professor who at the time was the conductor of a sensativity group conducted weekly at the inpatient rehab program i was assigned to. since i have changed my life around following the straight and narrow road to happiness and success hoping to reach it and remain there.i ask you if speaking and sharing my experiences with others advising audience about choices in life and put mine as example so they dont make same mistakes i made in life, can this be profitable? if so what kind of fees a speaker like myself can ask for? what advice if any do you have for someone like myself whos trying to make a living staying on the positive side of the fence and trying to help the next fellow american in the best way possible.i have to say i admire your success and i am glad i came accross your site since it has boosted a great amount of inspiration. thank you in advance for your time and wish you the best.

      truly yours,
      edison a. salinas

  1. chuckgallagher Says:
    January 3, 2008 at 9:33 pm editMr. Salinas,First my best to you. I understand the struggles that recovering from our past can involve. It is not easy, but can be done. As I often say, every choice has a consequence. We might make mistakes, but we are not mistakes. By the seeds we sow we will reap a harvest and that harvest can be extraordinarily positive. It’s all in the seeds we sow.

    On to your questions. Anything one chooses to do can be profitable if your intention is right. If your motivation is the money, then by my experience, it might be more difficult as your motivation may not be focused in what is in your highest and best good. I find that as a professional speaker my motivation is to help others. As such, while I am paid to speak, I often will speak for free or a reduced charge if I feel it will benefit the group asking. For example, I recently spoke to Baylor University MBA students at no charge. Could they have paid – sure – but for me it was my way of paying it forward.

    Regarding speaking fees – they range from free (you won’t make much money that way) to well over $10,000 per event. My fees fall in the middle range and as the founder of the Choices Foundation – often I will speak for a donation to the foundation.

    Advice for making a living staying on the positive side of the fence…well, that one’s easy. Make the right choices. Do what is legal. Do it better than anyone else. Make a commitment to be your best and better than others. Often people say that immigrants sure seem to do well in business here in America. Why? Answer is easy, they want it bad. As a convicted felon you have to want it bad in order to succeed. That is what separates the good from the best.

    As a closing thought for those who are aspiring speakers…if you want to be good in that arena…consider the following: (1) what ever you do you have to pay your dues. It won’t come easy; (2) make sure your message is clear and you have the skill to deliver it; (3) make the investment of your time, energy and talent into being the best and you chosen career; and (4) know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that if you’re following the path of your destiny you will succeed – beyond whatever obstacles are in front of you.

    My best to you!

Today I am a Senior Sales Executive in a public company. Likewise, I serve as a Motivational Keynote Speaker – primarily in the business ethics and sales arena. I have been asked often – how can one be an executive in a public company as a convicted felon? The answer is simple – if you feel that are defined by your past – then you will be. I don’t choose to feel that for myself. Every choice has a consequence and by my experience, I elect to make choices that yield positive results.

If you have questions…please respond. If your company is interested in securing my services as a business ethics speaker feel free to visit my web site:

3 Responses to Success Following Prison – Can It Happen?

  1. Susan says:

    Hello, my name is Susan, I also have been incarcerated. I did approx. 14 years straight, not that I stayed “straight” for the time. LOL Yep experienced that “gay for the stay” stuff. Anyway, I did a great deal of time and I must admit that this life changing experience has currently led me to places today I would never have dreamed of within the Dept. of Corrections. After serving this time, I currently travel to different institutions, speak on criminality, as well as oversee a group once a week within the women’s facility. I am yearning to expand the outreach. I know that my purpose in life is to give back, encourage, and show there is hope when things appear completely hopeless. I entered the DOC environment without any education, self-respect, or enthusiasm for life. Today, I know that my goal is to work with female offenders/ex-offenders. I would like to expand on this do you have any suggestions?

  2. Damien White says:

    I share my story after being convicted for attempted bank robbery. I am now a motivational speaker and I have a book publish title Poems from Prison to Success. The best way to find out more of my speakings and my book is to Goggle Poems from Prison to Success.

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