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Chris Wilson murdered a man at age 17. He was tried as an adult and sentenced to life in prison. But what happened next is nothing short of remarkable.

While imprisoned, he wrote his grand plan and then got to work. He earned his high school diploma and associates degree, graduated from all of the vocational shops, and started a book club and a new business, all while behind bars. 16 years later, a judge granted him freedom. Now he runs several social enterprises, including a furniture restoration business and a construction company under the umbrella of Barclay Investment Corporation, which trains and hires returning citizens. And he’s a student at the University of Baltimore.

His story might sound too amazing to be true. But when you listen to his stories, you’ll come away with new insights about leadership, human relationships, and entrepreneurship. He shares some important lessons around building a board of directors and fostering trust with clients and the community. His “positive delusion” and sense of purpose is infectious.

Connect with Chris at For more information, photos, and links, check out the show notes at

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See the Forbes article which accompanies the episode here.



Chris Wilson’s website:
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About Chris Wilson

Born and raised in Washington D.C, Chris grew up under extremely difficult circumstances. At the age of 17, he was charged with a crime, convicted, and sentenced to natural life in prison. While imprisoned, he earned his high school diploma, graduated from all of the vocational shops, earned an Associate of Arts Degree in Sociology, from Anne Arundel Community College and taught himself to speak and write in several foreign languages. He became a mentor, started a career center, book club and after serving 16 years in prison, he has returned to society a changed man.

Chris is currently a University of Baltimore Student. He resides in Baltimore City and is the owner and founder of the Barclay Investment Corporation, a multi-service social enterprise, specializing in residential and commercial contracting work. Barclay works closely with local workforce and social service providers to connect unemployed Baltimore City residents with clients who are in need of a number of services. His other business ventures include The House of DaVinci, an antique furniture restoration and design company and Master Plan Productions, a social impact content development company.