Defy of Northern California

Defy Ventures’ Northern California chapter was founded in late 2014 through the support of Google.org. In 2015, Defy NorCal launched its in-prison program, CEO of Your New Life, in partnership with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. In 2017, Defy NorCal launched its post-release program.

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Meet the Local Team

Carrie Simon, Executive Director

Carrie currently serves as Executive Director for Defy of Northern California. Prior to joining Defy, Carrie served as Director of Business Development at Farmland LP, a sustainable agriculture impact investment fund. Carrie’s career in the for-profit world included serving as a Partner at MKP Capital Management and founding Washington Wine 9, a concierge service focused on travel to Washington State’s wine country. In 2007, Carrie founded IR2 Inc., a fundraising and communications strategy firm. She later worked as Director of Business Development at BBR Partners, where she was charged with new business development strategy and enhancing systems and infrastructure. Carrie received a Bachelor’s from UC Santa Barbara and a Master’s of International Affairs from Columbia University.

Rebeccah Lanni, Post-Release Program Manager

Amanda Wiggans, Prison Program Manager


Where We Serve

Pleasant Valley State Prison: Opened in 1994, Pleasant Valley State Prison (PVSP) is a 640-acre (260 ha) minimum-to-maximum security state prison in Coalinga, California and is designed to hold 2,308 individuals.

Valley State Prison: Valley State Prison was constructed and dedicated in 1995. The original name for VSP was Valley State Prison for Women (VSPW) with a design capacity of 1,980. In January 2013, the conversion from a female to male prison was successfully completed and the name changed to Valley State Prison or VSP.

Correctional Training Facility Soledad: CTF is a Level I and II, General Population prison consisting to three separate facilities in Soledad, California. The prison was built in 1946 and has a total design capacity of 3,312.


How to Get Involved 

Contact Carrie Simon at [email protected].

Find more information and a list of upcoming events here.

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