photo of Ken Oliver

Ken Oliver


Ken Oliver is Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility at Checkr, Inc., and the Executive Director of the Checkr Foundation, Checkr’s 501(c)(3) corporate foundation. Checkr’s mission is Building a Fairer Future of Work by designing technology for all, while its foundation seeks to reshape the narrative and provide pathways to sustainable employment for the 80M Americans who suffer from an arrest and conviction record. Ken's professional expertise spans the landscape of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ), record clearance, talent development, talent sourcing strategy, change management, and public policy. His proximate leadership is informed by lived experience after having been sentenced to life in prison for joyriding. During his close to 24 years of incarceration, he served nine years in solitary confinement for reading a book by former Black Panther Party member, George Jackson. With the support of Stanford University and corporate law firm Mayer Brown, Mr. Oliver successfully filed a civil rights lawsuit against the state, which led to his release in 2019. Upon reentering society, Mr. Oliver quickly established himself in the legal field, first as a paralegal at a public interest law firm and later as a state policy director. In 2020, he co-founded and became the Executive Director of a nonprofit organization focused on providing justice-impacted individuals with career pathways in tech and the knowledge-based economy. Under his leadership, the organization secured a $28.5 million investment from the State of California to establish a unique residential tech training campus for justice-impacted individuals.

Ken's insights and contributions to the field have been recognized and featured in publications such as Newsweek, Fast Company, Forbes, Inc., the New York Times, and others. He also played a role in shaping California Governor Newsom’s 2021 Future of Work Report.

Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.

Events featuring Ken Oliver
Events featuring Ken Oliver