Defy – Southern California

Defy Southern California was founded in 2016, and the chapter has already made significant impact on formerly and currently incarcerated people. Working closely with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Defy launched its in-prison program, CEO of Your New Life, at California State Prison, Los Angeles County in February 2016. Defy Southern California now serves seven facilities, and has a growing post-release program.

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Meet the Local Team

Andrew Glazier, Executive Director, President, and Interim CEO
Andrew currently serves as the executive director in Southern California. He also serves as Defy’s president and interim CEO. Prior to joining Defy, he worked at City Year Los Angeles for nearly 8 years in a variety of roles, most recently as LA’s senior managing director. Andrew received his Bachelor’s in International Relations from Pomona College, and his MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Sarah Bedy, Prison Programs, Director, Southern California
Sarah began her career as a community organizer in Toledo, Ohio, and prior to her work at Defy managed a program to strengthen the parliament and political parties of Macedonia at the National Democratic Institute in Washington, D.C. Sarah received her Bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of Michigan and went on to pursue a Master’s in Public Policy at George Mason University.

Quan Huynh, Post-Release Program Manager
Quan created his first company, Jade Janitors, over the span of four days, six months after he paroled from a life sentence in late 2015. In 2016, he was selected as a Peace Fellow while serving as Team Coordinator with the Alternatives to Violence Project. Most recently, Quan worked as a loan mitigation specialist at Alliance Capital Finance. Quan is pursuing a Bachelor’s in Business Administration at California State University, Fullerton. He received certification as an Addiction Specialist I & II from Palos Verde College.

Michelle Garcia, Event Manager
For ten years, Michelle worked as an Office Manager for Davilyn Corporation. Her responsibilities included resource allocation, staff training and supervision, implementation of office procedures, and customer support. Most recently, Michelle served as Regional Coordinator for Get On the Bus, an organization that brings children and their caregivers throughout the State of California to visit their mothers and fathers in prison.

Arnette Dunn, Prison Program Associate
Arnette brings to Defy seven years of counseling experience, which most recently includes serving as a mental health supervisor at Keeping Youth Journeying Onward (KYJO). Arnette received a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development and Family Studies from California State University, Long Beach, and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California.

Lena Ledbetter, Prison Program Associate
Lena brings 13+ years of professional experience to Defy which includes program management and implementation, case management, curriculum development, and workshop facilitation. Most recently, Lena served as the adult school instructor for the Grossmont Union High School District in San Diego. Lena received a Bachelor’s Degree in Child & Adolescent Development from California State University at Northridge.

Jeffrey Hughes, Prison Program Associate
Jeffrey brings 23 years of professional experience to Defy, which includes serving as a correctional officer, as well as counselor, parole agent, and field unit noticing agent for the California Department of Corrections. Most recently, Jeffrey served as college coordinator at California State University, Los Angeles. Jeffrey received a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice Management from Union Institute and University and a Master’s Degree in Practical Theology from The King’s University.


Where We Serve

Avenal State Prison: A minimum to medium security level correctional facility located in Kings County, California. Launched in February 2016.

California City Correctional Facility (CAC): A minimum to medium security facility located in Kern County, California. Launched in April 2016.

California Institution for Women (CIW): A women’s minimum to medium security prison located in San Bernardino County, California. Launched in February 2017.


California State Prison, Los Angeles County (LAC): A minimum to maximum security prison located in Lancaster, Los Angeles County, California.  Launched in February 2016

Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP): A maximum security prison in Delano, California. Launched in March 2017.

Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJD): A medium to maximum security prison in San Diego County, California. Launched in January 2017.


Post-Release

The post-release program for Defy Ventures Southern California started in July 2017. We’re building a community of support for our EITs where they will have a strong bond with people who genuinely care about their success and will not remember them for the worst thing they’ve ever done. Focusing on employment readiness, character development and entrepreneurship training, Defy Ventures Southern California is working with EITs to prepare them for success by connecting them with community resources, mentors and networking opportunities.


Local Impact


In Prison

  • Current Enrollment: 345
  • Cumulative Enrollment: 1252
  • Graduated: 597
  • Cumulative overall Retention Rate: 60%
  • Currently Enrolled Retention Rate: 97%


Post Release

  • Current Enrollment: 74
  • Recidivism rate: < 5%
  • Number of Businesses Founded: 5
  • Completed Post-Release Programming: 4


Local Board Members

Defy Ventures Southern California Board of Directors

  • Yves Sisteron, Managing Partner and Co-Founder, Upfront Ventures
  • Mike Su-Director, Product and Platform Content at Snap Inc.
  • Alex Israel- Mobility Entrepreneur
  • Sarah Christensen – Co-founding Partner, Per Capita Ventures
  • Mike Suster, General Partner, Upfront Ventures

How to Get Involved 

Contact: Michelle Garcia at michelle@defyventures.org. 

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