How an Ex-Con Founded Her Dream Business While in Prison

Updated: Apr 21


Today I’m excited to share with you the story of a woman whose path has led her from addiction and a prison sentence to becoming the founder and CEO of a noteworthy Canadian entrepreneurial venture.


Emily O’Brien is the brainchild behind Comeback Snacks—a specialty popcorn company that challenges the status quo.


After being sentenced to a four-year jail term stemming from her battle with addiction, Emily set out on the mission to get clean, transform herself, and make her time in jail as meaningful as possible.


Having fostered an entrepreneurial career before her sentence, Emily birthed the idea for Comeback Snacks (formerly ‘Cons and Kernels’) which is a popcorn brand that uses high-quality, health-conscious ingredients to create unique flavours inspired by the ones Emily found and curated while in prison.


Through her trailblazing efforts, Emily is an example that positive change can happen within correctional institutions with passion, drive, and a positive mindset.

Aware of the hardships of being incarcerated, Emily is driven to help remove the stigma surrounding people with prior convictions, as well as giving them opportunities for reintegration through training, empowerment and education.


In this episode, Emily and I talk about second chances and the mindset it takes to come back from a devastating detour. She also gives us a behind-the-scenes look at how she created her business while still in prison, and offers some advice for women who may be too ashamed or too afraid to share their own story.

Here are my Top 10 Takeaways from today’s conversation with Emily:


1. Everyone deserves a second chance.


2. Always be on the lookout for new inspiration, because you can find it in the most unexpected places.


3. Make the most of the sources you have, rather than focusing on the ones you don’t have.


4. Find collaborators who can help move you and your business idea forward.


5. Having a mission can help fuel your business, even on the days when you feel like giving up.


6. Your personal struggle is the key to making an impact; never discount the power of your own story.


7. Coming back after a personal trauma or tragedy always begins with healing.


8. The more we take the time to listen to other people’s stories, the more rich our lives will be.


9. Sharing our own story can be scary, but it can also bring freedom.


10. If you don’t own your story, someone else will.


Check out the full episode here!


I hope you’ll take a moment to share this podcast with others who may be interested – because when you do, we’ll be able to impact even more women and help encourage them to share their story.

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