Throughout October’s Fair Trade Month, Fairtrade America is featuring Fairness Champions, people from all walks of life with a unique perspective on what’s ‘fair’. Dion Drew is a father and a baker at Greyston Bakery, the company that makes the brownies in your Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Dion speaks to the power of believing in others and a fair chance for all.
Fairness is a word I didn’t believe in until I joined the Greyston Bakery team.
Before coming to work here, I found everything in my life unfair, especially watching my mom struggle to take care of her children. I always say Greyston opened my eyes and my heart to the wonderful things in life and fairness is the most important one.
Without it, I would probably be back in jail or dead.
Fairness is Open Hiring™ – giving people a chance to do things they never believed possible. Greyston embraces all, no matter what barriers to employment they might have – language, a history of incarceration, homelessness, minimal education or job experience. Without question, you receive a job, training, resources to succeed inside and outside of the job, and an entire team of people who believe in you.
Everyone Deserves a Chance
Imagine growing up in a culture of struggle, in a city and among people that most of society considers doomed to fail. And then, imagine being welcomed with open arms, being told you are capable of making delicious brownies for customers like Ben & Jerry’s and Whole Foods Market, that you are promoted and become responsible for managing a group of 20 people.
I believe in Greyston, Open Hiring™, and my community. That is why I do more than my supervisory role requires every single day. I make sure that all new employees who enter the bakery know that they are on the right path and I always give a helping hand where needed. After all, some of us never believed we had a fighting chance. Fairness is empowering each other to reach new levels of success.
I have a five-year-old daughter, who I am incredibly proud to care for. We all have someone we want to make proud – ourselves, our families, our children, but we often need to be given a fair chance to do that. People, like me, who were incarcerated are rarely given an opportunity after serving their time. Without job prospects and with limited housing options, many return to prison, hopeless.
Many of my coworkers have a history, but they are smart, talented, hardworking people. If it weren’t for Greyston’s ability to see the potential in everyone, my coworkers and I would not have a job and a way to take care of our families. When treated with fairness, people really do grow and succeed.
Greyston and fairness go hand in hand. Join us by eating a brownie or sharing a brownie. And, if you are a company looking to hire, adopt Open Hiring™ practices. It is the right way to empower and lift a community. When you find yourself in the position to help someone, be happy, and feel blessed.
Remember, our purpose on earth is not to get lost in the dark, but to be a light to others.
Share this inspiring film about the work that Dion and Greyston Bakery are doing to provide others with greater opportunity.