Defying the Odds
By Johnny R. Byrd
Criminal justice, race, and...humanity. What do they all have in common? People. Sometimes we forget that people are at the center of every major societal issue. Perhaps ...just perhaps...if we kept that in mind, couldn't we then have a rational and substantive discussion seeking to raise people up rather than arguing for the sake of winning an argument? This time around, we're talking prisons and race with Paul Lamb of Defy Ventures. Paul Lamb has over 25 years experience as a consultant, nonprofit executive, and entrepreneur. He is currently the Executive Director of Defy Ventures of Northern California, which provides entrepreneurship training, career development, and personal development to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated men and women. Paul has built several successful nonprofit organizations and social enterprises in the areas of youth, workforce development, and digital inclusion. His business background includes positions as Director of Programs at the US-China Business Council in Washington, D.C., a business analyst for Ernst & Young, and a marketing consultant for both U.S. and Asian firms. Paul is also an author, blogger, and radio commentator and his Op-Eds have appeared in a broad range of media outlets including NPR, the San Francisco Chronicle, CNET, the Huffington Post, and the Christian Science Monitor. He also been featured in books such as “The Networked Nonprofit” and “Finding Your Passion: The Easy Guide to Your Dream Career." Paul was a 2007 winner of the Knight Foundation 21st Century Media Challenge, was named the 2005 University of California, San Diego Alumnus of the Year, and was awarded the California Governor’s Technology & Innovation Award in 2002. Paul was a “Next Generation Fellow” with the American Assembly at Columbia University and was a founding Board member of the Social Enterprise Alliance SF Bay Area Chapter. He currently serves on the Board of the BitGive Foundation and is an advisor to the California Emerging Technologies Fund and Mannabase – an organization providing Universal Basic Income through cryptocurrency.