About Andre Norman
Andre Norman is the reason to believe in second chances.
His tenacity and passion for people led him to start his transformational program, The Academy of Hope, a program designed to reduce institutional violence in prisons by providing an intense level of intervention while also creating a positive environment for the inmate population and staff. But this wasn’t always his calling.
Nearly two decades ago, Norman was not only serving a 100-year sentence in prison, but he was also running all the gang activity within the facility. After an epiphany in solitary confinement and a lot of hard work, he was released, GED in hand, having served just 14 years.
Since then, Norman’s mission has been to teach individuals and corporations how to turn any situation around. His solution-based recovery efforts have impacted regions, including Honduras, Bahamas, Sweden, Guatemala, Liberia, and Trinidad. He has lectured on multiple TEDx stages, as well as Harvard University and London Business School. And, his innovative strategies against gang activity and inmate manipulation has improved correctional systems across the U.S.
Through his various notable affiliations — Genius Network and YPO, just to name a few — Norman continues to spread the word about how real transformation happens. In 2020, Norman released his first book titled “Ambassador of Hope: Turning Poverty and Prison into a Purpose-Driven Life.” He also is developing various training manuals to help better serve companies and corrections.
BREAKING THE BARS: TURN YOUR PRISON INTO A PURPOSE-DRIVEN LIFE
From an early age, Andre witnessed domestic violence, was a victim of the Boston Busing Crisis and was fatherless by the first grade. Raised by a single mom with six kids, Andre’s mom did her best to keep things afloat, leaving Andre with too much idle time. By the age of 9, he learned a lesson that would define his life and land him in prison by 18.
When you quit on everything positive, all left behind is negativity, which leads you to one of two places: prison or the graveyard. Being allowed to quit and give up at such an early point in his life ultimately led him to prison and realize that everyone there had the same mindset he did.
Andre shares the journey from the prison yard to Harvard graduate to become one of the most called upon international speakers and top social justice consultants in this defining keynote. He reveals what is behind the curtain of his success, and it all started with his time in solitary confinement serving a 100-year sentence.
Cultivating your purpose – Living a life without a dream is impossible
The importance of mentorship, a “second voice” – How to find it and craft yours
Finding self-belief- You are your own best resource
The transformation mindset- Learning the tools it takes for historical change
From Prisoner to Professor
From illiteracy to gang activity, Andre’s childhood prepared him for nothing less than a life of crime and violence. Nearly two decades ago, Norman was serving a 100-year sentence in prison, but he was no regular prisoner. A natural-born leader, he rose to be the top gang leader within the facility, running all the daily gang activity. After an epiphany in solitary confinement, Norman made the decision to turn his life around. He had a simple dream to attend Harvard University and become successful. Over the next 8 years, Andre worked 20-hour days to make this dream a reality. He taught himself how to read, then to study and understand the law, and then volunteered to participate in anger management groups. After winning his appeal and being armed with a GED and a dream, Andre walked out of prison in 1999, after serving 14 years.
How to experience transformation to embrace life
Move confidently toward a balanced and fulfilled existence
Enjoy rich and meaningful growth
Andre Norman is the reason to believe in second chances.
Having survived rock bottom, Norman knew he could help others do the same. He pulled from his life experiences and created The Academy of Hope and set out on his mission to teach both individuals and corporations how to turn any situation around. His solution-based recovery efforts have impacted regions, including Honduras, Bahamas, Sweden, Guatemala, Liberia, and Trinidad. He has spoken on multiple TEDx stages. In addition, his innovative strategies against gang activity and inmate manipulation have improved correctional systems across the U.S. Norman also superseded his goal to attend Harvard University. In 2015 — nearly 25 years after leaving prison —he was given a Fellowship at the prestigious institution.
You are enough
We must learn how to appreciate the tough circumstances to grow
Creating meaningful personal change
Inspiring Your Leaders
Known to many as "The Ambassador Of Hope", Andre Norman's experience and expertise is what empowers him to speak about and create training programs for families in crisis, substance abuse and teen drinking, re-entry, ex-offender, gangs, prison reform, and mentoring. Andre travels to schools, churches, and community centers around the world to serve as a mentor and friend to youth and community members alike. He has been a main contributor in working with groups at social risk in the countries of Honduras, Bahamas, Sweden, Guatemala, Liberia & Trinidad sharing his gifts and light with the lives he touches.
This model is all about leadership
Leaders grow over time, along with the pressure for organizations to change
How you navigate visible crises can be hugely beneficial
How to Bring Your Differences Together for Strength
Andre went from the prison to the parole office to the juvenile center, talking to a room full of young black boys about why they were locked up. Turning his experiences into programs, he created the Violence Interrupters & Proven Risk Youth model. Andre was a contributor to the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, created by President George W. Bush. He has become one of the nation’s leading experts in gang and prison violence intervention.
Today, Andre Norman is a sought-after advisor for companies dealing with social justice issues taking him to calm the chaos in Ferguson, Missouri, and leading the efforts of change with community engagement & leadership. Andre’s skills are called upon to bring peace to the streets, helping city and state governing officials experiencing violence in their jurisdiction.
In his most called upon keynote, Andre Norman addresses why leaders do not see change, movement, or transformation in their organization. Advising on how to see results with diversity and inclusion programs and shining a light on how to achieve with bringing these programs into a company, leaders will walk away with an actionable plan moving their teams forward towards overall goals and inclusion.
Understanding why leaders do not see change, movement, or transformation in their organization.
How to see results with diversity and inclusion programs.
Walk away with an actionable plan moving their teams forward towards overall goals and inclusion.
What People Are Saying…
"Andre’s matter-of-fact and honest message forces the audience to challenge their current values and beliefs to live a life of integrity, dignity and selflessness."
"One of the most inspiring speakers I have ever heard. Our event attendees could not stop talking about Andre."
We hired Andre for our sales team and not only were they fired up after his talk, they had actionable items that we have seen turned into productivity and sales for the company"
"Be the change you want to see in others. Believe in Second Changes"
- Andre Norman
"Ambassador of Hope"
Andre Norman’s early life put him on a path to prison. Raised in poverty and surrounded by dysfunction, Andre gravitated to his neighborhood gang. His choices there led to time in juvenile detention, and eventually a maximum-security prison, with sentences totaling over 100 years. During that time, Andre became one of the most dangerous gang leaders in the Massachusetts prison system.
Then came the epiphany. Just before Andre was to be crowned “King of the Prison,” he had a realization—that he was about to become the “King of Nowhere.” He decided that there had to be a way out. He chose to seek success through education, setting his sights on what others said was impossible—attending Harvard University.
Now, as the Ambassador of Hope, Andre leverages his unique experiences to deliver a message of inclusivity and positive change. Whether you work in the boardroom or the mail room, if you need that “second voice” of inspiration to be the change you seek, Andre will help you discover and achieve your purpose in life.