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Lead Operator at Greyston Bakery

Shawna Swanson is an employee at Greyston Bakery and
a single mom of five children. Her eldest child, who was born prematurely at 24 weeks, has Cerebral Palsy and is deaf. She was put on bed rest during her second pregnancy and was unable to return to the workplace for a while after that birth. Being responsible for five children with no financial support, she was forced to make ends meet by doing bit-jobs and received some government assistance, but it was not easy.  She felt trapped with few options. Shawna considered the unthinkable - giving her children up.

Then she found Greyston. 

After all the rejection she had faced, Open Hiring at Greyston Bakery sounded too good to be true. She went to the bakery expecting to go through the same process of completing an application only to be turned down because she needed more experience or training. But there was none of that. She simply put her name on a list and got a job – no questions asked. Greyston saved her entire family. She feels like
a new person; confident in herself and excited for her future. Best of all, she can really set an example for her kids, and in turn, have her kids be proud of her. She is very grateful for the better life that Greyston has given her.



Greyston is a world-class commercial operation bakery, producing 40,000 pounds of award-winning brownies daily for customers such as Ben&Jerry’s and Whole Foods Markets.
In 1982, Greyston not only introduced a delectable brownie, they also provided help to those facing barriers to employment. Unlike other businesses, Greyston requires no resumes, no background checks, no interviews. They have the understanding that a job is just the first step toward self-sufficiency, and they offer workforce development.

Since then, when people say, yes, I want to work; they get a yes right back.


“Greyston’s Open Hiring model is the latest in a long list of ways that Yonkers businesses change the world we live in for the better.”
— Mayor Mike Spano, City of Yonkers


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