Sep 6, 2018
What if we were all given an
unlimited amount of grace despite our shortcomings? Adam Martin is
the Founder of F5 Project, an organization that provides job and
housing opportunities to felons leaving the prison system so they
can have a sense of purpose and the confidence to re-enter their
communities. Today, Jennifer and Adam dive deep into how the social
stigma that surrounds felons effects their successful reentry into
society and how we can do better in providing equal job
opportunities to this untapped yet promising workforce.
- Adam Martin is dedicated to
helping others overcome the things he has in his life: alcoholism,
drug abuse, and a criminal background that includes 5 felonies. His
work on the F5
Project has been a
game-changer for many lives.
- Most felons are left with jobs
that barely get their bills paid. They are given lower wages,
higher expectations, and not enough room to succeed. With social
stigmas holding back several socio-demographics, especially the
vulnerable ones, Adam has one question: “What if we weren’t so
quick to judge and brand people as unworthy?”
- If you want a story about
reform, then Adam has one for us. After leaving the prison system,
he had worked at a car wash, served and waited tables at
restaurants - jobs that weren’t enough to support his family.
Despite the setbacks, he knew that wasn’t what he wanted to do the
rest of his life. Instead, he was going to find purpose and end the
- He eventually got a job at an
information technology company as an outside sales representative.
They hired Adam even after knowing about his past, but he didn’t
have the same advantages as the other employees. He didn’t have a
license, he didn’t have a car - the things that would enable him to
do his job efficiently. But that didn’t stop him from bringing in
the sales needed to get him noticed by the higher-ups. He took the
bus, he rode his bike, and he did everything he could to earn his
keep. His dedication paid off. By his first year, he had made the
company a million in revenue - an astonishing feat, even for
- This brings us to how social
stigma against felons hurt their opportunity for reform and
successful reentry into society. Hiring people always comes with
risks, but people aren’t just data. They are not just their
standardized test results and their previous life choices. These
individuals have hopes and dreams too.
- Most of the time, it’s because
we’ve marked them as failures that they have ended up identifying
themselves as such - this is not okay. Adam isn’t trying to get
every felon hired, but he does want to advocate for those who are
actually a good fit for businesses.
- Bad things can happen to anyone
and that can push people into making hasty decisions, but that
shouldn’t dictate that person’s opportunity to live a decent and
fulfilling life. Nobody is perfect, and people should be allowed to
grow and change for the better.
- Jennifer probes into how
employers can overcome their fear of hiring felons, so Adam shares
the 2 things he looks for in a potential hire: First, he wants
complete transparency from the applicant and to know what their
crime was, and second, what the applicant is doing every day to
ensure that they don’t go back to prison and how they give back to
the community. A shift in perspective is all it takes to make the
workplace a better place.
Want a little help creating your personal
Jennifer has a free resource for
The Personal Brand Workbook will help you figure out what your personal
brand is today and what you want to be known for in the future, as
well as how you want to impact the world.
Download it today!
Where to find Adam:
Adam Martin LinkedIn
Adam Martin Twitter
Adam Martin F5 Website
F5 Project Facebook
Rich Roll Podcast - John McAvoy