Catherine Hoke


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As the first female wrestler on her high school boys’ team, Cat owns the school record for getting pinned the most and fastest. Her bruises and losses prepared her to come alongside others who need to be “scraped off the mat,” shined up, and put back in the fight.

Cat’s underdog spirit led her to launch three groundbreaking organizations: Hustle 2.0, Defy Ventures, and Prison Entrepreneurship Program In 16 years, 8,500 incarcerated people have graduated from her programs. Her efforts have led 7,000 executives, entrepreneurs, and investors to volunteer as mentors and employers. The programs reduce violence and have produced industry-leading recidivism rates of less than 8%.

Cat was named a #MakeTechHuman Agent of Change by WIRED and Nokia for being one of “17 Global Influencers Expanding Human Possibility Through Technology.” She has received the MDC Partners Humanitarian Award on behalf of Defy Ventures and was included in Forbes’ 40 women to watch over 40 She was also named by Fast Company as one of the 100 most creative people in business and received an Ashoka Fellowship. 

Best author’s book


A Second Chance