Author Archives: defy1000

Photo credits: Tom Kubik

I’m writing to share some awesomeness with you and to thank you for having my back.

I’m so excited to announce that I was married to Charles Hoke on July 5th. We returned from our Ireland honeymoon, and are now digging out of boxes in our new apartment.

My heart is filled with gratitude. Many of you walked with me through my PEP resignation just four years ago. It was the closest my soul has ever been to death. I was visionless, but I promised God that if he brought me to the other side, I would live a life of compassion and service, using my experience to bring healing to others.

People believed in me and loved me back to life. I felt loved for who I am, not just for what I could accomplish as a leader. Despite insecurity and doubt, I gathered the courage to launch the Defy dream at the end of 2010, wondering whether you all would join our ranks as volunteers and donors. In our first year, we raised $780,000 to build a strong infrastructure so Defy could replicate nationally after proving our model.

Today, with my second chance to lead, we’re collectively giving Defy entrepreneurs-in-training a legitimate first chance to live up to their full potential. We kicked off tryouts for Defy’s third team of entrepreneurs last week and introduced a brand-spanking-new event: our Mocktail (fake cocktails!) Competition. These photos will leave you thirsting for our next one (August 10th!).

I could’ve never imagined reaching this point in my life. I am more deeply fulfilled than I’ve ever been. Thank you for encouraging me and for believing in me and in Defy’s vision. Thank you for taking action on Defy’s behalf and for your sacrifice of time and money. I hope you, too, celebrate our amazing results. Defy is beautiful proof of what can emerge when a small community rallies with passion.

With love and gratitude,

Catherine Hoke (formerly Rohr)

Yep, it’s true, my big day is this Friday, July 5th! I’m thrilled to get married, honeymoon in Ireland, move in with Charles, and the day after, launch Team 3 of Defy’s entrepreneurs!!

As you know, I’m not-so-shy about asking for support when it comes to Defy, because I know with every bone in my body that your generous financial contribution couldn’t be put to better use! In my honeymooning absence, would you please consider providing a scholarship gift to Defy to equip one of our scrappy underdog entrepreneurs to participate in our Tryout Bootcamp?

By July 31st, we need to raise $25,000, which will cover four weeks of training for 50 brand new Defyers as they participate in our super intense bootcamp. At $500 apiece, and we promise: competitive training and challenges including Mocktail Day, a NYC entrepreneurial scavenger hunt, “Taste of Defy,” Sales Expo, 30 hours of character development, and interviews with Defy executives. Want to see what we produce? Check out this two minute video of Defy graduate Trevor Scotland, founder of Brazzle (who was also a winner of Class 2’s business plan competition!), for some inspiration.

Would you join me in providing for as many $500 scholarships as you can before July 31st? Since the last thing I plan to do in Ireland is read email, Holly Thompson, who works with me, will gladly assume the role of Big Fat Whopping Scholarship Gift Aggregator!

Please email all good news to Holly (and feel free to copy me, so I can be sent off with Defy warm-fuzzies) at: As an extra special incentive to give, you’ll even receive my favorite wedding photo.

Thank you for your consideration!!

With wedding bells and whistles,
Catherine Soon-to-be Hoke

Defy was featured in (for the second time) yesterday!! We got to share how employers can win by hiring people with criminal histories. Will you please distribute through your social media networks?

Things aren’t exactly slowing down over here—we’re amped to launch TEAM 3 of Defy’s entrepreneurs-in-training (EITs)!!! Tryout Bootcamps start July 16th. Drawing inspiration from Shark Tank and The Apprentice, we’ll test applicants’ stamina, hustle, empathy, resilience, and leadership through back-to-back competitive challenges. We need YOU to roll up your sleeves and partner with staff as we pick the team. Come as a mock customer, judge or interviewer; we promise high intensity fun. We need more volunteers than ever to pull this off, so please email me if you’re in!

And heads-up seven-up! Please stand by and prepare your checkbooks for a summer wave of generosity! To do a stellar job of serving this fresh batch of adventurous-visionary-underdog entrepreneurs, we’ll need a team effort. Team 3 Scholarship Drive coming to an inbox near you shortly!


P.S. The article’s title wasn’t my wording. As I like to remind people, we’re all ex-something’s.

P.P.S. Holler if you’re interested in hiring a Defy grad!