“I was a four-time loser before I realized I was in the wrong game.” That was the first line of the autobiographical story that appeared on the back of every loaf of Dave’s Killer Bread. “Four-time loser” refers to his four prison sentences for crimes ranging from burglary to armed robbery to drug dealing.
He once shared abandoned houses with cockroaches on the streets of Detroit and now he lives in a luxurious high-rise penthouse. His story epitomizes transformation.
Dave Dahl found success following fifteen years of incarceration by helping to turn his family’s bakery business into the now famous Dave’s Killer Bread, which has become a cult favorite across the nation.
During his years at the helm, Dave’s Killer Bread offered jobs to the formerly incarcerated—a demographic of people who have an incredibly difficult time finding employment. Although Dave and his family sold the company in 2015 for $275 million, Dave’s Killer Bread continues to be a “Second Chance Employer” and is the largest organic bread company in America.
Today Dave continues to inspire others through his story of struggle and redemption.
Connect with Dave and learn about the Against the Grain podcast on Facebook.
In this episode we discuss, among other things:
- The secret to hiring the most loyal employees
- How to gain free publicity from doing the right thing
- How to grow a cult following around your brand
- The magnetic power of vulnerable storytelling
Takeaways from this episode:
- Sharing all sides of a story—the good and the bad—enables people to see themselves reflected back, and offers greater connection between the teller and the listener.
- You can expand the standard definition of a “diverse workforce” by becoming a Second Chance Employer, and opening your talent pool to formerly incarcerated employees. Considering each candidate and what they can bring to your business. Impacting people’s lives, and their communities, by providing second chances through employment.
- Dave’s Killer Bread
- You can learn more about Dave’s Killer Bread’s Second Chances program here.
- “Out of Prison & Out of Work: Unemployment among formerly incarcerated people” is a 2018 report prepared by the Prison Policy Initiative which found that the unemployment rate for formerly incarcerated people was over 27 percent.
- “Indicators of Mental Health Problems Reported by Prisoners and Jail Inmates, 2011-12” is a 2017 report prepared by the Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics which found, among other things, that 37 percent of state and federal prisoners had been diagnosed with a mental health disorder prior to their conviction.
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