My guest this week is Thomas Vozzo, CEO of Homeboy Industries, the largest and most successful gang rehabilitation and re-entry program in the world.
Tom has served as the first-ever CEO of the nonprofit since 2012. He has led the organization forward, bringing his business expertise and vision to implement a strategic and mission driven development plan for the organization that has resulted in growth all around.
He has cultivated Homeboy’s portfolio of job-training businesses (e.g., Homeboy Bakery, Homegirl Café, and Homeboy Silkscreen & Embroidery) and increased revenues from Homeboy Industries’ enterprises in order to decrease the organization’s reliance on donations and government funding, as the organization receives less than 5% of annual funding from any government resources.
Most recently, he has helmed Homeboy Industries’ acquisition of Isidore Electronics Recycling, rebranding the full service, certified B Corporation as “Homeboy Recycling,” and establishing a new job creation stream that supports the organization’s comprehensive, free rehabilitative services. The venture marks the first of its kind in the electronic waste industry where a for-profit entity is leveraged to both provide jobs and generate revenue for a not-for-profit organization.
4:18 – Thomas 101 Homeboy is based in Los Angeles and helps gang members change their lives. He wants to help people heal. Before Homeboy, Thomas was in the corporate world and ran a $1.8 billion business. His values didn’t line up with the corporate world. 9:01 – Running businesses He came in and used business techniques to improve certain areas. But Homeboy changed him as well. Homeboy is a chance for people to get a job. They give people a lot of latitude. They need to teach people how to work. 13:53 – 10,000 people a year They’re first and foremost a human services agency. 10,000 people come through Homeboy’s doors every year to get some type of service and help. They help take tattoos off people’s faces for free since it hinders them getting jobs. 16:09 – How Homeboy has change Thomas Thomas came to Homeboy wanting to help, but he had the hubris of a company executive. There really are two Americas – the America that Thomas and most of us live in … and then the plight of the really poor, the demonized. 22:22 – Poverty in America Poverty is America has not changed much People aren’t in gangs because they want to be in there. It’s because it’s ingrained in them from a young age. 28:15 – Clients became managers More than half of Homeboy’s management team members are former clients. 32:53 – Homegirls Thomas tells the story of a client who was friendly and polite but had a hard life. She had health issues and debt and turned to prostitution to make money. 44:04 – What Thomas has learned When he talks with people, he tries to find out what’s behind their frustration, anger and pain. 46:50 – Get to know you Favorite meal at Homegirl Café – Carne Asada tacos with hot sauce What actor should play him in movie? Steve Carrell Most played music? Bruce Springsteen and classical music FEATURED QUOTES We need to teach people how to work along the way.
We’re first and foremost a human services agency. Ten thousand people come through Homeboy’s doors every year to get some type of service and help.
There really are two Americas – the America that I live in … and then the plight of the really poor, the demonized.
CONNECT: https://homeboyindustries.org/ https://www.amazon.com/Homeboy-Way-Radical-Approach-Business/dp/082945456X ABOUT THOMAS VOZZO: Thomas Vozzo left a lucrative career in corporate America convinced there had to be a better way to define success. In 2012, Vozzo became the first-ever CEO of Homeboy Industries, the largest and most successful gang intervention, rehabilitation and re-entry program in the world.
Each year, thousands of former gang members from across Los Angeles e