Ken Oliver

Executive Director,

Wednesday, June 8
Opening Plenary | 8:45–10:00 AM


Ken Oliver is the Executive Director of, a philanthropic arm created to connect people and businesses through fair chance employment initiatives — activating opportunities to transform lives, strengthen communities, and drive economic growth. In 1997, at the age of 29, Ken was sentenced to life in prison under California’s three-strikes law for joyriding as a passenger in a stolen car – his third non-violent felony. He spent 23 years behind bars, 8 of them in solitary confinement, for reading a book by former Black Panther George Jackson. Through the efforts of Stanford Law School’s Three Strikes Project and Corporate law firm Mayer Brown,  Ken was released from prison in 2019. Recognizing that unemployment for justice impacted individuals is 5 times higher than the general US population and that access to living wage employment is a main factor in decreasing recidivism, Ken is now using his lived experience to advocate for Fair Chance hiring through his work at

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