What a distinct privilege it was for Greyston Bakery’s President, Mike Brady and baker, Dion Drew to participate in a TED @Unilever Talk on September 17th highlighting the myriad benefits associated with social enterprises.
TED @Unilever represented an opportunity for a host of speakers from within the innovation-driven wellness company, Unilever, and from other socially conscious companies to share groundbreaking work and moving stories. Mike and Dion were amongst a host of inspirational speakers, covering issues ranging from sustainability to body image, public health, education, and food justice. We were honored to share ideas with such passionate leaders.
Mike’s call to action highlighted societal ills resulting from hunger and poverty: injustices that are taking a toll on our social and economic climate. Not only do people suffer through the cycle of poverty, but the often overlooked reality is that businesses and the larger economy suffer as well. Mike indicated that if more businesses modeled themselves after Greyston, with open-hiring policies and individualized support to all employees, and if businesses chose to be cognizant of environmental impact, opportunities for the marginalized would burgeon and our society would be healthier and boast consistently thriving economies.
Dion’s heartrending personal story allowed people to see the pulse of Greyston Bakery: our bakers and their personal successes. Dion overcame countless obstacles, growing up impoverished and influenced by crime in his neighborhood, and was finally incarcerated for selling drugs to survive . Upon his release from jail, Dion reached out to Greyston Bakery, making his mother proud and supporting his daughter in an ethical and fulfilling way. There were few dry eyes in the crowd as Dion finished his speech with an appeal to everyone in a position to make a change, to do so. Dion reminds us that when people are given the chance, they can truly make a difference in their own lives and in their communities.
We hope Mike and Dion’s talk reached other businesses that can implement similar hiring policies with a holistic view on employees. If this talk raised questions, feel free to reach out to us to learn more about how Greyston, a for-profit bakery, is run!