What ingredients go in to building a successful model for helping people in need? Jim Gibbons, CEO and President of Goodwill Industries International, Inc., discusses making lasting impacts in underserved communities with Food Network celebrity Melissa d’Arabian on this Add Passion and Stir. Goodwill Industries helps people reach their full potential through education, skills training, and leveraging business to have a sustained impact. “The power of goodwill isn’t the stores, it’s the stories of the people…It’s about dignity and the power of work,” explains Gibbons. For d’Arabian, poverty is personal. “I know what it is to be in a classroom hungry, and I know what it is to be in a classroom not hungry. I choose not hungry.” Her background echoes the Goodwill model. As a nine-year-old, she was getting free school lunches on an IOU system knowing she would never be able to repay her debt, when one day a secretary proposed that she help serve the school lunches in order to get hers for free. “That little gesture… really changed the trajectory of my entire life. I felt a sense of efficacy and belonging and pride. I went in there and put that hair net on every day with a sense of joy in my heart,” she says. Gibbons notes that her story speaks to hope. “When there’s a certainty that you’ll be nourished, you can then build on that hope… Absent that, all of the other stuff is really tough to overcome.”
As the first blind graduate of Harvard Business School, Gibbons has tackled his own challenges. “I hope that through my work and who I am that it offers a level of hope that no matter what your disability or barrier to opportunity is, you can overcome that. It takes a little bit of tenacity and… stick-to-itiveness.” Goodwill is a networked association of autonomous organizations and the model relies on each one having the authority and flexibility to meet the needs of their own communities. “What are the needs? What are other organizations in the community doing? How do you close the gap? What are the opportunities? … We’ve got to meet the individuals where they are so that the Goodwill programming can be made meaningful to them in terms of their life goals,” he says. Drawing from her own experience, d’Arabian notes, “That’s something we forget…people want to work, they want to belong.”
Share in this heart-felt and personal conversation about hope and helping people help themselves.
Resources and Mentions:
- No Kid Hungry (nokidhungry.org): Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is ending child hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day.
- Root Cause Coalition: The Root Cause Coalition is a national, member-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the root causes of health disparities by focusing on hunger and other social determinants leading to nationwide epidemic of preventable chronic health conditions.
- Jim Gibbons is the CEO and president of Goodwill Industries International, Inc since 2008. He earned his bachelor of science degree in industrial engineering from Purdue University. He then attended the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, where he was the first person who is blind to graduate with a master’s in business administration. Before joining Goodwill in April 2008, Gibbons served as president and CEO for National Industries for the Blind (NIB), a United States-based nonprofit organization that works in partnership with more than 88 associated agencies throughout the country to enhance economic opportunities and professional development for people who are blind. Prior to NIB, Gibbons was president and CEO of Campus Wide Access Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of AT&T. An employee of AT&T for more than a decade, Gibbons held leadership positions in operations, product management, and mergers and acquisition. He is a recipient of a 2015 Henry Viscardi Achievement Award.
- Goodwill Industries International, Inc. works to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by strengthening communities, eliminating barriers to opportunity, and helping people in need reach their full potential through learning and the power of work. Goodwill was founded in 1902 in Boston by Rev. Edgar J. Helms, a Methodist minister and early social innovator. Goodwill’s network of 161 independent, local Goodwills in the United States and Canada offers customized training and services for individuals who want to find a job, pursue a credential or degree, and strengthen their finances. Each Goodwill must be accredited, apply for membership and meet certain criteria established by Goodwill Industries International. Goodwills meet the needs of all job seekers, including programs for youth, seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities, criminal backgrounds and other specialized needs. In 2016, Goodwill helped more than 313,000 people train for careers in industries such as banking, IT and health care, to name a few — and get the supporting services they needed to be successful — such as English language training, additional education, or access to transportation and child care. Consumers rank Goodwill as the #1 brand doing the most good in the world for two consecutive years (2017 Brand World Value Index).
- Melissa d’Arabian is a celebrity chef, television host, best-selling author, speaker, writer and mom of four. She is an expert on affordable and healthy family home cooking, focusing on how to eat well, be a responsible consumer, and spend with purpose – all while putting satisfying family meals on the table every day. After winning season five of “The Next Food Network Star” in August 2009, Melissa premiered her inaugural cooking show “Ten Dollar Dinners,” which focuses on preparing delicious, budget-friendly meals. In addition, she serves as a reoccurring judge on Food Network’s primetime competition series, “Guy’s Grocery Games.” She is the author of two cookbooks, “Ten Dollar Dinners: 140 Recipes and Tips to Elevate Simple, Fresh Meals Any Night of the Week” and “Supermarket Healthy: Recipes and Know-How for Eating Well Without Spending a Lot.” Melissa also developed a strategic step-by-step program to combat the all-too-common picky eating issue, which she shares in the acclaimed FoodNetwork.com series “The Picky Eaters Project.”
- Ten Dollar Dinners is a daytime cooking series on Food Network hosted by Melissa d’Arabian. She shows viewers how to incorporate creative and tasty meals into their budgets by sharing her tried-and-true recipes. With countless tips to save time and money in the kitchen, she keeps her $10 promise in every episode: four people, 10 bucks, infinite possibilities. From approachable Parisian and Moroccan menus to sophisticated upgrades for everyday chicken and pork, Ten Dollar Dinners demonstrates home cooking at its finest.