Tulio Cardozo is founder of Collaborative Benefit and a business analyst at KickLabs in San Francisco. His story in his own words:
I am a Business Analyst at KickLabs in San Francisco, an awesome place with awesome people to learn from. I am also a formerly incarcerated person. Currently I am an alumni member of The Last Mile and the first of many “free” success stories to come from this program. I am also the founder of Collaborative Benefit.
I’ve been able to do and be where I am because of a lot of supportive people. Overcoming challenges was something that I had to learn how to do. My previous choices lead me to lose everything that I thought was once valuable including the skin off my own back. I’ve had new realization about life. Kids take choices, adults make decisions.
A good while ago someone taught me to ask myself, “What do I need to do here and now?” and then showed me how to apply and reapply that towards my life decisions. I’m very thankful for that lesson, it was the insight which showed me the value of our group experiences and how they can help each of us.
Since then, I’ve been a student; of life, books, people & the “self”.
I’m founding Collaborative Benefit because I believe that people who have been incarcerated and have learned that same lesson can benefit from a chance to share their experiences and return home empowered with the tools and drive to be valuable to society. I’m interested in helping people who don’t take choices anymore but rather made the decision to “Be the change you want to see in the world.” That means helping employers and communities be that change. That means helping people who are passionate about making a pivot in their lives and be that change too. In whole, that’s why this is called “Collaborative Benefit,” because we are all a part of that change we want to see.
Collaborative Benefit is an employment network designed to connect employers with distinguished leaders identified in top level reentry programs like The Last Mile. Our screened candidates have been qualified by completing the complete pyramid of rehabilitation including; high-technology training, academic development, life skills, personal growth, addiction recovery counseling, transformational work, victim impact and offender accountability awareness, as well as family reunification. Our member network is breaking stereotypes and bringing value back into our communities… Before they’re even released.
As a formerly incarcerated, I decided to start this network when I experienced for myself how difficult it was to have that initial conversation with a potential employer. Even for a person who’s done the work, become a leader, is supported, and paid it forward; that initial conversation is very difficult to have. For most, it’s a nerve-wracking challenge to adequately articulate their transformative process. The conversation is full of terms and names that mean nothing to the average employer.
Collaborative Benefit is key to solving that challenge, I believe in this because it’s been my own biggest challenge. How do I introduce, promote, and control my own personal brand. How do I tell you, “I am an individual who happens to be more than the poorest decisions of my life.” How do I tell you that I realize that this has nothing to do with your company and that… “I’m here to bring you value, not a life story.”
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