Behind the Scenes at Greyston

As everyone who has ever made brownies at home knows, a lot of different things have to come together for the brownies to come out with just the right flavor and texture.  So, too, a lot of things happen behind the scenes at Greyston to produce 35,000 pounds of brownies every day for Ben & Jerry’s. And because we bake brownies to hire people (rather than hire people to bake brownies) it is even more complex – and rewarding.

Greyston hires bakers without judging or asking applicants any questions; we call it Open Hiring™.  Beyond the brownies, the Greyston Open Hiring™ Model offers a solution to the entwined problems of poverty, jobs, and criminal justice.  Because the scale of these problems in America today is monumental, it is no surprise that there is also renewed interest in how Greyston runs a world class bakery and breaks down barriers to give people often excluded a second chance to work.

We were thus honored to have CNN turn to us recently to provide brownie treats to the invited guests at their first American Opportunity event in New York City, featuring Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz interviewed by Poppy Harlow.  Mike Brady, Greyston CEO, served as chaperone for the brownies!

Traveling without brownies this time, Brady will nonetheless again be with change-makers and thought leaders at the closing day’s events of the Clinton Global Initiative with sessions mirroring many elements of the Greyston Open Hiring™ Model: health, food, economic exclusion, shared responsibility, and social enterprises.

Brady’s partner at the previous TED@Unilever presentation, Dion Drew, Training Supervisor, participated in an IDEO Demo Day at its NYC gallery.  As part of a collaboration with Greyston, a team from IDEO had previously visited Greyston to research what kinds of digital tools might be invented to foster financial inclusion among the population that Greyston draws from for Open Hiring™.

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And the brownies will yet again be the featured treat at a dinner hosted by Unilever CEO Paul Polman to promote the UN Sustainable Development Goals among celebrities and global leaders from the business, advocacy, and the arts.   Specifically for this event, we created packaging to draw attention to the fact that there are solutions to poverty – whether viewed from the global perspective of the UN or from our perch in Southwest Yonkers, NY.

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While not (yet!) as prominent as the New York City locations mentioned above, we were very happy to host on the Greyston campus in Southwest Yonkers a senior team from Ben & Jerry’s to discuss closer collaboration around Open Hiring™.  The Greyston connection with Ben & Jerry’s goes back more than three decades to the founding of both companies.  Building on that history, we are very excited about new opportunities related to our planned Center for Open Hiring™ at Greyston.  As a collaborative learning space that evaluates, improves, and defines best practices, The Center will facilitate the widespread adoption of Open Hiring™ and support innovation in the delivery of community programs for employees and neighbors.  Stay tuned for more about that ambitious initiative.

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With an eye to the future, and to learn more about The Center and other initiatives at Greyston, listen to a live interview with CEO Mike Brady which will be will be broadcast on September 29th at 8AM via SiriusXM’s Dollars & Change program. This is produced with the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (channel 111).

While brownies are the Greyston signature product, there is quite a lot going on behind the scenes to make sure they come out not only just right, but also help create thriving communities.

Jonathan J. Halperin; Head, External Affairs

 

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