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HBK CEO Honored by President Clinton with Global Citizen Award

On September 25, 2013, Hot Bread Kitchen’s Founder and CEO, Jessamyn W. Rodriguez was honored with a Global Citizen Award from the Clinton Global Initiative. This award was given to seven leaders based on their vision and scalable solutions to global issues. Other honorees include NYC Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, 6-year-old girls’ education activist Malala Yousafzai, social entrepreneur Bunker Roy, and South Sudanese bishop Elias Taban. Below are her remarks given at the reception:

Thank you President Clinton, and everyone at the Clinton Global Initiative for the Global Citizen Award. I take great inspiration from CGI’s willingness to think outside of the box and convene and award business, civil society, philanthropic, and non-profit leaders who solve enduring problems that we all face.

I also want to congratulate the other honorees tonight, whose work, at all levels across sectors, inspires our humble efforts.  Five years ago, I launched Hot Bread Kitchen out of my home kitchen to do three things:

1. Create stable jobs for immigrant women who, otherwise, faced informal work and exploitation.

2. Prove that the market can be powerful in effecting social change.

3. Br-educate New Yorkers about the contribution of immigrant communities.

Tonight’s award is proof that those efforts have paid off.

Our breads are sold throughout the country. Forward thinking partners such as Whole Foods Market, The City of New York, the Waldorf Astoria, and Columbia University— have responded to the opportunity to diversify their offerings and support  social change while feeding hungry clients. Philanthropies such as New York Women’s Foundation, Robin Hood Foundation, Citi Community Development and Capital One Bank, and The Rockefeller  Foundation have partnered to support our innovative growth.

Women from 17 countries have educated consumers by inspiring breads that we bake every day– 24 hours a day. Those same women take  English classes, learn key management skills, and the math necessary to become leaders in the culinary industry. We have baked nearly a million kilos of dough, that has been shaped into breads from Mexico to Morrocco. Iran to Poland.

Finally, we are changing the face of an industry—currently only 500 of 6,000 bakers in New York City are minority women. We are righting this inequity and filling those jobs with qualified women whose skill, passion and perseverance earn their families’ bread in the thriving culinary industry I dedicate this award tonight to the women and men of the world who bake bread that nourishes our bodies, souls, and provides the fuel to effect social change. I dedicate this award to colleagues and friends in East Harlem who work to create social change and organization like CGI who support them.