Our Long, Hard Fall from the Fortune 500

Surviving the Great Recession Meant Complete Career, Life Reinvention

February 2016

Editor’s Note: Nearly everyone has a Great Recession tale to tell. Eight years since the U.S. economy tanked, some are still struggling. Others have successfully reinvented their financial futures, in part because of diligence and innovation–in part because it was do or die. In this Reporters Inc. original, one Midwestern woman recounts her family’s fearful fall from economic security, the search for answers that could sustain them, and their eventual success in regaining a firm financial foothold. She’s asked us to refrain from identifying her.

The financial crisis of 2008 created an epic storm throughout our nation, and my husband and I knew we might be affected. Nevertheless, it was quite a shock when the turbulent waters of the crisis came right to our front door.

I’d been reading the papers. I knew what was happening in the financial services industry, but somehow I thought my wonderful husband wouldn’t lose his job. He was a vice president in charge of operations at a Fortune 500 company in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He’d been responsible for saving millions of dollars through operational improvements for the company. He never once missed work–he only allowed himself to be sick on weekends, and only weekends when he wasn’t at work. He’d won awards for being (more…)

Kim Whiting and Mikael Webb during a 2015 prison visit in San Diego.

Kim Whiting, MA, MBA, is a psychotherapist, organizational consultant and author (Life Sentence, Life Purpose: A Memoir). She publishes streetlifetostraightlife.com in collaboration with prisoners; t’s dedicated to opening eyes and minds, and inspiring ideas for social and prison reform. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband and two children.

In Search of Truth

Why Wrongful Conviction Claims of Some May Never Be Truly Believed

February 2016


One of my favorite people in the world is a 31-year-old African American convict in southern California. He’s serving a life sentence in a maximum-security prison for double rape and battery with severe bodily injury. Mikael Deandre Webb was convicted of this crime five years ago. On paper, he’s the convict stereotype, the type of man we fear and the type of man “tough on crime” lawmakers have in mind when they design their heavy-handed laws.

As for me, I’m a married mom, a white professional, 20 years older than Mikael. And, I’m a survivor of rape—double rape, in fact—and so I’ve never viewed Mikael through idealistic or naïve lenses. My three-year friendship with him is non-traditional to say the least (and some would use far less positive (more…)