Chef Jeff Joins Greyston’s Board of Directors
YONKERS, NY -- Greyston announced recently that Jeff Henderson, the nationally acclaimed chef, author, and motivational speaker, has joined its board of directors. Henderson’s remarkable personal story and experience in motivating others will enhance the board’s ability to guide Greyston in scaling its social justice mission in Southwest Yonkers and beyond. Greyston is a nonprofit social justice enterprise working to create job opportunities and provide services that enable self-sufficiency through the Open Hiring® business model. In addition to his professional accomplishments, Henderson is an ex-offender, having served nearly a decade in prison for dealing drugs. His personal and professional trajectory has made him one of the most inspirational African-American chefs in the country. Greyston Board Chair Andrew Yearley said, “Jeff is an extraordinary addition to our board. His personal story, his unique perspective, and his passion for mentoring others in conquering adversity will be invaluable in expanding Greyston’s workforce development and community wellness programming, and supporting Greyston Bakery’s continued growth.” He continued, “Jeff’s mantra -- ‘If you can see it, you can be it’ speaks volumes to the people we serve, particularly our Open Hiring employees. He is a role model who inspires all of us, and we look forward to collaborating with him in strengthening Greyston’s local footprint and advocacy efforts.” According to Greyston President and CEO Joe Kenner, “Quite simply, Jeff embodies everything that Greyston is about. He has overcome a humble beginning and life in prison by seizing opportunities for positive change, and personal and professional excellence. His story of self-transformation illustrates what Greyston has been saying all along - everyone has potential, everyone has talent, and, as a society, we need to give people a chance to thrive.” He added, “We are tremendously fortunate to tap into Jeff’s insight and experience as we work to create a more inclusive economy through Open Hiring.” Following his appointment, Henderson said, “It has been my passion to share my journey of redemption to help others to achieve their dreams no matter where they are in life. I was the Greyston baker; I was the Greyston workforce development client; and I know the power and value of what Greyston does for people who need help in reinventing their lives.” He went on, “People want to be accountable, they want to work, and they want to achieve, but they need the opportunity to do so. Greyston offers that, with no judgment, no questions. I am so pleased to join forces with an organization that puts our shared message in action.” In 2001, Henderson made history in Las Vegas, when he became the first African American named “Chef de Cuisine” at Caesars Palace. He eventually became an executive chef at several top restaurants, including Café Bellagio, where he worked until 2006. He also hosted the Food Network shows The Chef Jeff Project, Family Style with Chef Jeff, and Flip My Food with Chef Jeff. Most recently, Henderson has focused on speaking about personal and professional development, and sharing lessons gained during his redemptive journey from drug dealer to celebrity chef. With inspiring and street-smart recipes for success, he urges others to discover their hidden business aptitudes, make life-changing decisions, and secure professional and personal success. His path in finding his passion for cooking while incarcerated and turning his life around was documented in his New York Times bestseller Cooked: My Journey from the Streets to the Stove, and now is being turned into a major motion picture by the team that produced The Pursuit of Happyness. A resident of Las Vegas, Henderson joins six distinguished New York-area professionals who joined the Greyston Board of Directors late last month. They are: Candice Cook, managing partner at The Cook Law Group, PLLC, a published writer, noted philanthropist, and business strategist; Aleida “Ale’” Frederico, vice president and senior relationship manager, commercial banking at TD Bank, and chair of the company’s Regional Diversity Council for Metro New York; Marcus Glover, founding partner of the private equity firm M. Glover Capital, board chair of Defy Ventures, successful entrepreneur, and consummate story teller; John Jove, vice president/general manager of international sales at PepsiCo, Inc., leading an international sales team responsible for the development of PepsiCo’s beverage, snack, and nutrition businesses at Walmart International across Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia; Gabrielle Lesser, a philanthropist with an extensive professional background in strategic planning and marketing research gained through roles at Viacom, MTV networks and The Bank of New York; and Dr. Audrey Tomlinson, vice president, human resources and general services at Nippon Life Benefits, a Japanese insurance company in New York. Greyston is a nonprofit social justice enterprise working to create job opportunities and provide services that enable self-sufficiency through the Open Hiring® business model. We provide employment, and no-cost workforce development and community wellness programs to anyone in need to meet our combined social, environmental, and financial goals. In serving the people of Southwest Yonkers, New York, Greyston promotes inclusion, offers support to disenfranchised people, battles against systemic inequities, and advocates for a level playing field for all, regardless of their pasts. For 38 years, Greyston has opened its doors to those who ordinarily face rejection, providing individuals and communities struggling to prosper an opportunity to thrive. Today, we’re working to scale our mission through the Center for Open Hiring by sharing our experience at Greyston Bakery with business leaders, and guiding them in adopting the model in their organizations.