Since my release from federal prison in 2009, I have worked as a corporate ethics speaker and federal prison consultant.
I worked and pursued both fields because I had a great passion to help others. Speaking and consulting were two terrific ways to accomplish that goal. For transparency, I did not start out as a paid corporate ethics speaker. I estimate that I gave at least 50 free speeches during my first year before I was ever paid. Even though I was not paid it was still a win-win: I was providing value to those in my audience and honing my skills as a corporate ethics speaker.
In federal prison I was torn between focusing on ethics or prison in all of my writings. People who read Lessons From Prison will see the shift between ethics and prison consulting. I did my best to combine both of them into one book.
For many years my original site EtikaLLC.com focused on both my career as a corporate ethics speaker and prison consulting career.
At that time the Etika LLC site served it’s purpose. It enabled event organizers and potential prison consulting clients to review and learn about my experience and journey.
Several years ago, however, my plans and websites changed. Despite traveling to speak at incredible institutions, including The FBI Academy, New York University and scores of others businesses and universities, I wasn’t sure if I was having the impact that I wanted as a corporate ethics speaker.
My concern was not the effectiveness of the story or my ability to teach, but rather the impact I could really have in speaking for only 60 minutes or 120 minutes. I always wondered how significant of an impact I was really having.
Working as a federal prison consultant certainly requires much more time and energy than corporate speaking
It should require more energy. White Collar Crime cases can take years to unfold. During that unfolding process there are tons of things to do. Prison consulting is all about being slow and steady over a sustained period of time. The slowness and steadiness, I thought, would lead to better outcomes, that a short lecture. For that reason, I began turning away paid speaking events. I began focusing exclusively on prison consulting. That was September 2014.
I will admit it was not an easy decision to make. I was planning to get married and start a family. I was not really in a financial position to turn away events, but I did anyway. Ethically and professionally I was not comfortable taking money if I did not think I could truly impact people in the audience, as I was doing as a prison consultant.
Over the last several months, however, my feelings have begun to change. I began to get random calls and messages from people who had been in my audience over the last many years. These people range from executives at KPMG to students at New York University. These executives and students were telling me how the lessons I shared with them during my lectures years ago impacted them significantly. They told me that it helped them make better decisions in the business world and that they simply wanted to call and thank me.
About six weeks ago while walking through the LA zoo with my wife and daughter, I told my wife that I wanted to spend some time getting back into corporate speaking. I told her the feedback that I received from these people, admittedly people I do not recall, changed my perception. I told her that I might have been too hard on myself, and that perhaps I was having a greater impact than I thought.
After I returned home from the zoo, I immediately sent an email to my team at Yinc Marketing telling them that I wanted to create JustinPaperny.com to focus not so much on my federal prison consulting career, but my career as a corporate ethics speaker. For many years, JustinPaperny.com simply forwarded to EtikaLLC.com.
Audiences can learn from others who were just like me: good people who made some out of character decisions.
For that reason, I will be inviting some clients to speak with me at my corporate and university events. In fact, I’m planning to have my good friend and client Jonathan Schwartz speak with me at University of San Diego on June 20.
The feedback I received both in lectures and over the last few months, proves the impact you can have on someone should not necessarily be measured by how many hours you might spend with them. I’m excited to get back to the corporate speaking mix. I’m committed to helping others better understand the actions, motives and consequences of white-collar crime. I will share ethics and corporate compliance blogs on this site, as opposed to strictly prison consultant content. The prison content will stay on Etika and White Collar Advice.
I hope you find value in my blogs and videos about ethics, corporate compliance and white collar crime.