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Chris  Wilson

Chris Wilson

Entrepreneur, Advocate & Mentor

Biography

Growing up in Washington, DC, Chris Wilson was surrounded by violence and despair. Watching his family shattered by trauma, his neighborhood beset by drugs, his friends dying one by one, he feared for his life — and took to carrying a gun. One night when he was 17, Chris was cornered by two men. He shot toward one of them, killing him. A year later, at 18, he was sentenced to life in prison, with no hope of parole.  Read More >

While behind bars, Chris embarked on a remarkable journey of self-improvement — reading, working out, learning languages, even starting a business. At the age of 20, he wrote a list of things he intended to accomplish or acquire; he called it his Master Plan. He revised it regularly and followed it religiously. And, in his 30s, Chris Wilson did the impossible: he convinced a judge to reduce his sentence. He came out, six years later, determined to teach others the selflessness, work ethic and professional skills that led to his second chance. Today, Chris is a speaker, advocate and social entrepreneur who employs citizens returning from prison — a hand up for those who, before him, were too often crushed by our unforgiving parole and release system. Read Less ^

Speech Topics

The Master Plan

Growing up in a tough Washington, D.C., neighborhood, Chris Wilson was so afraid for his life he wouldn’t leave the house without a gun. One night, defending himself, he killed a man. At eighteen, he was sentenced to life in prison with no hope of parole. Read More >

But what should have been the end of his story became the beginning. Deciding to make something of his life, Chris embarked on a journey of self-improvement–reading, working out, learning languages, even starting a business. He wrote his Master Plan: a list of all he expected to accomplish or acquire. He worked his plan every day for years, and in his mid-thirties he did the impossible: he convinced a judge to reduce his sentence and became a free man. This is the inspiring, instructive, and ultimately triumphant story of a man who use used hard work and a master plan to turn a life sentence into a second chance. Read Less ^

Books Saved My Life

At the age of 17, Chris Wilson found himself serving a life sentence for murder. He had no education, no direction and no hope. In this inspiring and uplifting keynote, Chris shares how he discovered a love for reading while behind bars, and how it eventually led him to earn his high school diploma, a college degree, learn multiple languages and create a purposeful life outside prison walls.

Mass Incarceration: A Broken System