Hello and welcome to the Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation Blog!
When I came on board as CEO of Dave’s Killer Bread in 2013, I was excited by what I saw as a tremendous growth opportunity, a brand with the potential to go national and attract an enormous consumer following. With an exceptional team of passionate people and a product that is absolutely best in class, we achieved our goal and continue pushing the boundaries on what we can do. It’s just the beginning of what I know we can accomplish.
At the very start I had the opportunity to meet and hear the stories of the 200+ employee-partners that play a myriad of roles in the baking, selling and distribution of Dave’s Killer Bread. The things I heard and witnessed in those first few weeks helped me realize that I was not just a CEO of a wonderful organization but a leader at the helm of an amazing vehicle for positive social change. Their stories of tragedy, redemption and transformation blew me away and continue to inspire me on a daily basis. Many of our employee-partners have weathered staggering adversity and injustice, and many have paid a significant price for their past choices by spending years in prison.
In many respects the Second Chance philosophy I inherited was a diamond in the rough. The social value it represents is Herculean in nature. And there is no question that by providing individuals with criminal backgrounds a living wage job, there is a positive impact on the individual, their families and our community. I have witnessed first-hand employee-partners who have decided to turn their lives around by digging deep within themselves, exposing their vulnerabilities by asking for help, and willingly being held accountable as workers and as citizens. Conversely, I watched good people who were clearly on the right path - individuals who were on the verge of breaking through - fall backwards. Witnessing these “falls from grace” was truly troubling for me and for our leadership team. We reflected long and hard on the why and came to realize that simply offering a living wage was not enough. We realized that to create true positive lasting change we needed to provide our employee-partners the proper support to succeed.
So over the past 18 months we have worked hard to develop programs that provide tools for success. We have learned a great deal and we strive to continue to learn. It is a journey; one full of insight, inspiration and an incredible sense of fulfillment. With the Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation we are taking our commitment a bold step forward, sharing our commitment to Second Chance employment with a national audience to inspire other businesses to join along.
The desire to reduce recidivism and rebuild the lives of those who were formerly incarcerated is growing into a national conversation and we are honored to be one of its champions and leaders. The Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation gives us an opportunity to set a high standard for Second Chance hiring practices, so that employers can see how this work can be done effectively and seamlessly in their organizations. Our Second Chance playbook, workshops, employers’ network, and annual summit will provide the resources and information employers of all kinds need to integrate Second Chance values with expert guidance and proven models of success.
Dave’s Killer Bread is strengthening our communities by offering the formerly incarcerated an opportunity: an opportunity to grow and evolve as productive human beings; an opportunity to become part of a community both inside and outside our company. Every day we have the good fortune to witness the impact of our decision to hire candidates with criminal backgrounds, and I can tell you it is no less inspiring for me now than it was on my very first day. Honest work, living wages, and a supportive workplace can mean everything to a person who wants to turn their life around. It is a rewarding experience regardless of what role you play in the story. be it as a leader providing support or an individual seeking to create positive lasting change. Dave’s Killer Bread believes in giving Second Chances, because we know if done right it not only works but it creates phenomenal results. It is a story that is so inspiring that we aim to tell it to as many people as we can across this amazing country.
We invite you to join us in celebrating the greatness that exists inside everyone.