Friday, November 15, 2019

STEP TO THE LINE by Leo Novsky

On May 16th of 2019, I saw Ruth Utnage step to the stage in her graduation "dress", pick up a microphone, and spoke eloquently about her time with Defy Ventures WA.  She said "Since I've been in prison, I have developed a new addition: Achievement. I've developed new expectations for myself, and that is to consistently move ahead... and [graduating from Defy] is the first time that I have been able to look at my mom and say: 'Mom, I am doing you proud'."

As I heard those words, tears welled up in my eyes and my heart filled with wonder at this work that we are doing in prisons.  As Ruth spoke, I saw for the first time that bringing Defy into Monroe Correctional Complex does more than just teach employment skills, more than just show our Entrepreneurs-in-Training (EITs) how to create and build a valid business plan, more than even creating a community of like-minded, hard-working, inclusive individuals determined to hustle harder and defy the odds.  As Ruth spoke, I saw the very fabric of our community, frayed by poverty, addiction, and incarceration, being repaired.

6 months later, Ruth is now one of the Peer Facilitators at our second CEO of Your New Life Class and I want you to know that she is effectively spreading her addiction to Achievement to 64 new EITs, ready to hustle harder, defy the odds, and doing our community proud.
If you want to learn more and support Defy Washington, go to  To read about it, go to

Defy the odds,
Leo Novsky

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