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Tom Vozzo is the CEO of Homeboy Industries, the largest and most successful gang intervention, rehabilitation, and re-entry program across the globe. He left a lucrative career in corporate America, where he had helped grow a company from $50 million to $300 million to over a billion dollars in revenue as President of ARAMARK Uniform and Career Apparel Group.

Convinced there had to be a better way to define success, in 2012, Tom decided to become a volunteer, unpaid CEO of Homeboy Industries, a nonprofit built on compassion, empathy, and social justice.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • How leading Homeboy Industries changed Tom Vozzo
  • Tom talks about the harsh life of a former gang member
  • Why Homeboy Industries gets involved with different social enterprises
  • How people join Homeboy Industries
  • Dealing with insubordination
  • The Homeboy rehabilitation process
  • Tom talks about the next ventures for Homeboy Industries
  • How Tom helped a small company grow

In this episode…

Corporate America is filled with many opportunities, but they’re inaccessible to many who are just trying to make a decent living. Former gang members and ex-convicts are one of the worst-hit demographics. These people come out of prisons but remain incarcerated by the lack of opportunities for a do-over.

Fortunately, Homeboy Industries is changing the narrative by taking on people with the worst circumstance for recovery and helping them become productive members of society. A former President of a billion-dollar company is here to share why he quit his job to take up an unpaid role and help people turn their lives around. So, how did it all begin, and where is Homeboy Industries heading?

Listen to this episode of the Inspired Insider Podcast with Dr. Jeremy Weisz featuring the CEO of Homeboy Industries, Tom Vozzo. They discuss why Tom quit corporate America to take up an unpaid role, the tough life of a former gang member, how Homeboy Industries is making a difference, and lots more.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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Cofounders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as being the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90xAtariEinstein BagelsMattelRx BarsYPOEOLending TreeFreshdesk, and many more.

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Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.


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Episode Transcript

Jeremy Weisz 0:19

Dr. Jeremy Weisz here, founder of inspired, where we talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders and today is no other I’m going to introduce in a second Tom Vozzo of Homeboy Industries before I introduce Tom, formerly, Tom, I always like to mention other episodes, people should check out on the Inspired Insider, and we had Dave Durocher, who’s executive director of The Other Side Academy and these are other people here in this interview, how inspirational amazing this social enterprise organization is Homeboy Industries. So Dave Durocher, was actually Executive Director of The Other Side Academy, which is a he was he used to work at Deland Street for eight years where he rose to become the managing director. And this is when a judge gave him a sentence of 29 years in prison, and he got arrested 13 and was in and out of prison, you know, many, many times. And so he was faced with that decision. So listen to that one. Dr. Erica Miller is an inspirational speaker, entrepreneur. She survived the Holocaust and was in the Israeli Air Force. And she came out of that and grew a chain of mental health clinics over 40 clinicians, she talks about facing a Nazi guard is seven, it’s seven, in the brutality she witnessed in the camp. So check that out as well. This episode is brought to you by Rise25 at Rise25 we help businesses give to and connect to their dream 100 relationships and partnerships. And we do that by helping you run your podcast you know, we are an easy button for people to launch and run their podcast and for me on the number one thing in my life is relationships. I’m always looking at ways to give to my best relationships. I’ve found no better way over the past over decade to do that by profiling their company their story on the podcast shouting from the rooftops what they’re doing what they’re working on. So other people can discover it as well. So if you’ve thought about podcasting, you should I mean, go to Learn more, email us for any questions happy to answer them. So I’m excited to introduce Thomas Vozzo left a lucrative career in corporate America, and convinced there had to be a better way to define success. In 2012. Tom became the first ever CEO of Homeboy Industries, which is the largest and most successful gang intervention, rehabilitation and reentry program in the world. And Tom’s journey goes from helping grow a company from $50 million to $300 million to billion dollar revenues because his last corporate role as CEO of $1.8 billion ARAMARK uniform and apparel group, to now volunteer, unpaid CEO of a nonprofit built on compassion, empathy, social justice, and most importantly, check out the book, check out the book, The Homeboy Way: The Radical Approach to Business And Life and you go to They have lots of merch, also amazing T shirts, hats, and you know, by supporting what they’re doing there, you can make donations, you can buy merch, and much more. So you can do that. And just spread the word I want Homeboy Industries is doing so Tom, thanks for joining me.

Tom Vozzo 3:24

Thank you for having me, Jeremy.

Jeremy Weisz 3:26

You know, there’s so much to dig into here. And I just want to start off with there’s so many stories, right. And I want to start off with just a story from you know, I spent the weekend watching video after video about Homeboy Industries. And so I want you to share what comes to mind what’s a memorable story from when you first started, and we’re what’s changed you.

Tom Vozzo 3:53

Yeah, so look at Homeboy Industries, we have so many so many stories of people of how they’ve transformed their lives. They want to I love my time at home boy, and it’s you know, at home where we talked about being part of the community and to your comment on relationship is relationships that makes a difference to help people leave that gang lifestyle and leave a life of crime. And so when I came into Homeboy Industries, I came in as a as a volunteer former board member asked me to get involved and and I had time on my hands so I was volunteering and immediately they you know, holder guy with gray hair, you know Homeboy as a social enterprise businesses so they said hey, go help out in the businesses and see if you can help us there. And I’ll tell you more about how I got involved the Homeboy in a bit but the the story was we have a merchandise store. And when you just did a good job promoting we sell shirts and hats and Homeboy gear. And I remember going in in meeting Amos, who was a was what we call a trainee working on our in our merchandise store and Amos had just gotten out of prison probably like four or five months prior. And so I’m showing up and we have a manager of this We have two trainees running the store and in the manager was out a lot but Amos did a good job of stepping in when manager was out and running the store and never had worked elsewhere before, but had a good mind about things and was dedicated came in on Saturdays cleaned up store. Okay, so point of the story is that is my first month of being there. I come in the following Monday morning. And, and I say, well, where’s Amos? Well, turns out Amos got picked up by the police got put back into prison, not for a new charge that happened since he left prison for charge that happened 15 years prior. And so, here I thought this was my first really blast in my brain of Wow, here’s somebody working really hard I what I saw working really hard trying to turn their life around doing everything right, not making a lot of money, not scraping by taking care of their kids. And it’s something that happened 15 years ago, gets put back into back into prison. So now his life is on on a downward spiral once again. And you know, then it just shows me that for the folks. We work with former gang members, the felons trying to change your life, there are so many hurdles aside, he throws at them that oh, my gosh, he’s got to be a better way. He’s got to be changed. But that was like the first brush app. For me, experiencing the struggles of our population.