Mike Brady: Hiring The Unemployable—And Making It Work

CEO, Greyston



Photograph by Toshi Tasaki

 I manage a team [at Greyston Bakery] of 100 people that most people would never hire…With this team of former convicts, addicts, immigrants, and the chronically unemployed, we make 35,000 pounds of brownies a day—and we do it by hiring anyone that comes to the front door of the bakery…Our dual focus at Greyston is making high-quality, profitable products but also helping to eradicate poverty in our community of southwest Yonkers…We cannot expect to continue to build our businesses and our economy on the backs of struggling communities. And we can’t expect business structures from 200 years ago to support our business and social needs today…I believe we need to update the business model to see how business can be used to solve some of the social problems we have today…A single brownie, over the course of Greyston’s history, has allowed 2,000 people to find work that may have never otherwise gotten a job. Those 2,000 people over time have put $15 million back into the struggling economy of southwest Yonkers. And we’re just one small bakery located on the outskirts of New York City. Imagine what could happen if other companies thought about implementing a social justice program at their businesses.” –excerpted from Mike Brady’s TED Talk, September 2014

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