Saturday, May 2, 2009
Seventeen Days Until My Release From Taft Federal Prison Camp
As I move into my final two full weeks of confinement, I’ve been thinking about my goal of building a speaking career. As I described in my book, Lessons From Prison, I aspire to help individuals navigate their way through troubles with the criminal justice system through consulting projects. As a public speaker, however, I also hope to contribute to corporate training programs. I’ve prepared six one-hour presentations that I will describe briefly here, and a bit more expansively in the days to come.
Although I present the titles of my speeches in no particular order, I’m convinced that each can add value to corporate training programs.
(1) Value-Centered Decisions
As a former financial professional, I learned the hard way that an abandonment of a personal ethical code can lead to serious career troubles, possible legal complications, and in some cases, imprisonment. By establishing a personal ethical code, and ensuring that all personal and business decisions comply with that code, individuals can lead more fulfilling lives. In this speech, I will describe my past, what I have learned by listening to other white-collar offenders, and share the ethical code that now guides all of my decisions.
(2) Aggressive Corporate Culture Within Ethical Context
In today’s hyper growth business climate, many corporate professionals operate from short-term perspectives. Rather than providing service to clients within ethical guidelines, some professionals lose sight of the value that comes with sustained relationships. When professionals pursue aggressive tactics to meet short-term targets, they sometimes put themselves and their businesses at risk. Through this speech I will contrast lessons I have learned from professionals who built careers in aggressive corporate cultures.
(3) Beware of Perils Ahead
In this 60-minute speech I describe how seemingly benign decisions can lead to severe problems later. When individuals convince themselves they operate from within an ethical gray area, they sometimes expose themselves to problems they cannot foresee. I offer descriptions of how such ethical gray areas lead to imprisonment for some executives.
(4) Exacerbating Troubles Through Denial
Many people remember reading about Martha Stewart’s legal complications. The initial act would not have resulted in imprisonment, but the lies, the cover-up, and the denial did. I interacted and interviewed many federal prisoners who complicated their own legal struggles through similar denials. In this speech, I educate audiences by telling their stories and my own.
(5) Confirming Adversity
We all face challenges in our personal lives and in our careers. Through this 60-minute presentation I offer my audience members a five-point strategy that will help them triumph over any type of adversity. This presentation will educate audience members through the use of examples and perspective.
(6) Lessons From Prison
In this 60-minute presentation, I walk those in the audience through my journey as a federal prisoner. I explain how making decisions from a supposed ethical gray area can lead to financial devastation, loss of reputation, separation from family and community. It will debunk misperceptions about country club prisons by discussing what I learned from others and my own experiences.