Building on purpose to create sustainable futures is the commitment that underpins Micro Focus’s sales and tele marketing company, Televerde.
With ten engagement centres, seven of which are staffed entirely by females incarcerated inside three U.S. prison facilities, Televerde believes in second chance employment and strives to help disempowered people find their voice and reach their human potential.
Having successfully supported our Vertica sales teams since June 2019, Televerde helps women in prison successfully re-enter their communities, reunite with their families, and build meaningful and rewarding careers.
Head quartered in Phoenix, Arizona, with European headquarters in Glasgow, Scotland, Televerde is powered by a business model focused on changing lives while delivering benefits to society and the economy. It provides sales training, education, and jobs for incarcerated women both while in prison and after they are released, helping them find their voice and reach their full potential.
A purpose-built company
Featured in the Micro Focus INSPIRE 20 podcast, Morag Lucey, chief executive officer of Televerde, explains that through leveraging untapped human potential, Televerde hires people who strengthen its purpose, ensuring a human touch in all they do for their customers, partners and one another. Since Televerde was established 25 years ago, more than 3,500 incarcerated women have completed its program, and of those the recidivism rate – the rate at which they are rearrested and return to prison – has been just 5.4%, compared to the national US average of 65-70%.
In June 2020, Televerde introduced the Televerde Foundation, dedicated to providing a strong support system to incarcerated women as they transition back into their communities and enter the global workforce.
“Everything we do is aimed at empowering people to become stronger and more confident, so they can transform their lives and create sustainable futures for themselves and their families. We are proud to have a diverse workforce built on integrity and compassion, and one that embraces each other’s unique backgrounds, perspectives and experiences.”
Partnering to harness social and economic benefits
At Micro Focus, embracing inclusion and diversity – not only within our own workforce – but in our approach to doing business with our customers, partners and suppliers is a key part of being a responsible and sustainable business.
In early 2019, Micro Focus teamed up with Televerde to support a lead generation project for our Vertica solution. Within four months the Televerde team had increased pipeline by 80% and helped us reach new markets and opportunities that we would not have achieved without their partnership. Today, a team of 30 women agents from Televerde are working with Micro Focus teams on campaigns to help drive pipeline and generate revenue. Of the team, 11 are inside the Perryville Correctional Facility in Arizona and 19 are inside the Madison and Rockville Correctional Facilities in Indiana.
Through partnering with Televerde, Micro Focus has played a part in helping women return to the workplace. After her release a year ago from the Perryville Correctional Facility, Micro Focus recruited Vivian, a Televerde graduate, into a sales position. Within eight months of her release, Vivian had purchased her own home and a car – and credits her accomplishments to the paid career opportunity, job training and ongoing professional and personal development she received from Televerde while in prison.
Sarah Atkinson, Director, Corporate Social Responsibility, Micro Focus, says: “With more than 40,000 customers globally representing various industries from healthcare to banking, it is critical that we harness diversity of skills, experiences and backgrounds to help our customers digitally transform and succeed in today’s fast-changing economy. From our recruitment efforts to the way we source and manage the suppliers we partner with, it’s important that every area of how we operate reflects our customers and the communities we serve. Working with Televerde as a partner further expands our diverse reach, helping to fuel innovation and grow our business while enabling us to make positive social and economic impacts.”
Overcoming challenges to achieve positive outcomes
While Televerde helps change lives, its work does meet challenges. Trying to do business in an incarcerated environment requires plenty of technology, from hardware to software, which must be secure and meet the approval of the Department of Corrections.
In addition to ensuring a highly secure work environment, Morag said sometimes women who join the program do not have previous business experience and therefore need training to help develop their business acumen. Building on this, through continuous learning and training programs, the women are guided in understanding the complex solutions Televerde’s clients bring to the market. “Another challenge we work to overcome is within society. In some cases, there is a sensitivity to working with incarcerated people and therefore it’s important for us to help our clients understand the nature of the program and the huge benefits.”
According to Morag, many of the incarcerated women she meets are victims of circumstance or their relationships. She believes they shouldn’t be defined for “the worst decision they made on the worst day of their lives”.
“They have potential – and that’s what I see every time I talk to our teams in Arizona or Indiana and soon to be in the UK. You see their potential and you want to harness it because there are a lot of smart people incarcerated, and there are a lot of people incarcerated. Being able to provide an opportunity for them to make a difference is incredibly powerful.”
Aligning profit and purpose
Morag believes that bringing together profit and purpose is what makes Televerde special. She says being able to produce extraordinary results for their customers in a way that has a profound societal impact is especially meaningful and creates an environment in which people want to come to work every day. And this sentiment is what Morag believes should be embedded into how companies approach inclusion and diversity.
“We have to broaden the definition of inclusion and diversity to capture the new challenges of working – and we have to develop an approach that focuses on solving real problems. We need companies to consciously pledge to consider and hire all qualified candidates regardless of their background or circumstances. I would love to see more companies expand their workforce strategies to include people with a criminal background, like Vivian.”
When asked how she stays focused in driving the direction and purpose of Televerde, Morag says: “It’s easy to get up and stay motivated when you’re making a difference very day.”
Televerde helps global B2B organizations generate demand and accelerate sales through a combination of strategic data solutions, marketing technology and highly skilled sales professionals. Since its inception in 1994, Televerde has been a purpose-driven company providing education and career opportunities for incarcerated women both while in prison and after release. Using this business model, Televerde has generated more than $8 billion in revenue for its clients.