YONKERS, N.Y. – Mike Brady, president and chief executive officer of Greyston Bakery in Yonkers said that businesses that enact socially conscious policies can help the thrive and stop cycles of economic injustice.
“For years, we have been witnessing the decay of our communities from the loss of jobs, the ravages of drugs and the failure of prison to make better citizens of people,” said Brady, during a recently filmed TED Talk .
“Economists estimate that this is costing society over $500 billion a year. Enabling the cycle of poverty in our country does not make sense.”
Brady and Greyston Baker Dion Drew were invited to the TED@Unilever ’s global conference where a series of TED Talks were filmed on the benefits of social enterprises. Greyston Bakery is known for baking the brownies you find in Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
Greyston has an “Open Hiring” policy, which means they hire anyone who comes to their door.
“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 society would be healthier and boast consistently thriving economies,” said Brady in his TED Talk.
Greyston, which opened in 1982 and was started by a Buddhist monk, hires “hard-to-employ” and uses bakery proceeds to support affordable housing, child care, HIV, job training and community garden programs that affect more than 5,000 individuals.
“Greyston continues to lead change through its Open Hiring policy,” said Brady. “We want to challenge other socially just companies to join us in creating job opportunities for those with barriers to employment. The TED Talk was a great platform to inspire other change agents to take action.”
Drew told the TED audience how he was living proof that one can change their negative lifestyle into a successful and happy one when given the chance.
Drew grew up surrounded by poverty and eventually was arrested after selling drugs to make money to survive. When got out of jail, he went to Greyston.
“When I started as an apprentice at Greyston Bakery six years ago, I never would have thought that I would be giving a TED Talk,” said Drew. “I believe that if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. I hope everyone views our TED Talk as part of the solution”.
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