Breanne Grainger’s Story with an Inclusive Employer

We are delighted to work with our member Gabi & Jules to spotlight Breanne Grainger’s story about working with an inclusive employer.

Watch the video with ASL and Captions:

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About the ‘Spotlight on Disability in the Workplace’ Series

Presidents Group created a series of short films promoting accessible employment opportunities in British Columbia. Restating the case for inclusive employment, the video series is an awareness campaign about accessibility and inclusion in the workplace.

We are profiling people with disability living and working in BC who love what they do!

The aim is to promote the benefits of accessible and inclusive workplaces as well as services available to improve and encourage inclusive hiring across BC. The films hope to celebrate diversity, break barriers and stereotypes and inspire others to pursue careers they’re passionate about.


Transcript For This Video:

[Narrator] Words appear: Presented by President’s Group. A young brunette woman wears a grey hoodie with the Gabi & Jules Handmade Pies and Baked Goodness logo. She is captured artistically through the tall grass, walking towards her workplace in Port Moody, BC. The grey wooden exterior is accompanied by bright pink accents including a large rectangular shaped sign in black letters indicating the cafe name: Gabi & Jules: Handmade Pies & Baked Goodness. Below the cafe name is a retractable garage door with a white tint. Immediately in front of the closed garage door is a pink Gabi & Jules tent with a picnic table. The outdoor seating area has tall green bushes and shrubbery with neon pink umbrellas linked together, creating a covered pathway.

The woman enters Gabi & Jules. She sits in front of a variety of store shelves. Words appear with her name, “Breanne Grainger,” and her title, “Assistant Kitchen Manager, Gabi & Jules.”

[Breanne] Gabi & Jules is known for not just our handmade pies, but I think specifically we’re known for our crostatas, which is a personalized pie. When I’m baking, I feel immense joy.

[Narrator] The camera pans over a rack holding a variety of fresh baked crostatas, including Strawberry Ginger Peach and Blueberry Earl Grey. A young woman with short blonde hair begins to speak, wearing the same grey company hoodie as her colleague. A row of the bakery’s jam jars are visible in the background. Her name and title appear on screen, “Megan Kok, Kitchen Manager, Gabi & Jules.”

[Megan] I couldn’t do this without her because she’s such a huge support system for me. She’s my second set of eyes. The kitchen comes to life when she’s here.

[Narrator] Scenes of Breanne and Megan smiling and laughing while working with piles of dough in the bakery kitchen. As Breanne speaks, further glimpses of moments spent in the bakery fade in and out of view. Colleagues are seen smiling and working together with various ingredients and thin, circular pieces of dough.

[Breanne] I identify as having a disability with severe anxiety and depression. As I laugh through that, it’s something that I kind of didn’t realize I have until probably my early twenties when I started realizing maybe my feelings were not invalid and I wasn’t just tired and maybe there was something more to it.

[Narrator] Breanne, Megan, and a woman with long dark hair wearing a pink plaid coat sit at an outdoor table smiling and laughing. Then, Megan continues speaking within the bakery setting once again.

[Megan] Lisa and Patrick have a personal connection to inclusive hiring from their older daughter Juliana, and they’ve been a really great wealth of knowledge and support.

[Narrator] The other woman at the pink picnic table is Lisa Beecroft, Gabi & Jules co-owner. She begins speaking from within the Burnaby location of Gabi & Jules, wearing a pink knit sweater. As she speaks, we see glimpses of Lisa working as a barista at this location, crafting caffeinated drinks for her customers.

[Lisa] You don’t have to look far to find someone you know, family member or friend, that has a disability, it’s very prevalent. I mean, if you look at autism specifically, one in 63 kids is now being diagnosed with autism.

And it’s like if we don’t find ways to make our society more inclusive, what happens to those kids? I really you know, I struggle when I watch the the journey as far as, they’re going through school. And, Juliana’s going to be going to high school next year and knowing how everything is going to change for her there. I don’t want there to be this cliff that ends up being there for most kids when they get to the end of their high school journey.

It’s like it would be amazing if there’s all these opportunities for employment that don’t currently exist as they should, and as they need to be.

[Narrator] Lisa gazes fondly at photos of her two young daughters, Gabriela and Juliana, on her phone. The camera pans out to the street outside the Burnaby location, with the company’s signature bright pink umbrellas and sign visible from across the street. Then, Breanne is pictured while speaking in front of the store shelves once again.

[Breanne] I know it’s pretty easy for some people, myself included, to throw on a happy face because it’s easier for me to smile and not have to deal with other people managing my feelings versus me managing my own self.

[Narrator] Next, we follow Breanne in slow motion as she walks her small dog brown and white dog with pink bows on its harness, on a long wooden pier at Burrard Inlet’s beloved Rocky Point Pier. Now wearing all black with a long denim jacket, she holds hands with her partner, a bearded man wearing a blue top and black jacket. In the background, tree leaves are changing colour for the fall season and a light fog has descended.

When I was just about to turn 30, I decided I was finally going to talk to someone. The more I talked about it, the less I felt it inside. I still feel it. I still feel it every day, but I can manage it better. And I know that I have better tools and I have a better support system.

[Narrator] Megan begins to speak and is once again visible in the Port Moody bakery.

[Megan] At Gabi & Jules we want to make sure that you’re happy and healthy while you’re working here, and so we’ll find the best place for you.

Whether that’s on the line in high production or if that’s too much, then okay, can you make cookies? Can you scoop cookies? Grinding butter? Customer work. Maybe that’s too much. Okay, well, what about packaging? There’s always a place for someone here.

[Narrator] A variety of peoples’ arms and hands in blue plastic gloves are gathered around a worktable making dozens of crostatas, one after another. Brianne forms a circle of dough around a fruit filling while others speak and work around her.

[Breanne] I have never felt comfortable going to employers to tell them I’m not feeling okay.

Whereas here I can talk to my employer, I can talk to my coworkers. I can let them know I’m not having a good day. And whether that means I need to work on a task by myself or if I just need to take a day to myself.

My team is very supportive of not just myself but anyone else who’s going through any type of issues in their life. Personal, mental or physical.

[Narrator] Megan, Breanne and Lisa sit outside, talking and drinking coffee out of Gabi & Jules white coffee mugs. While Lisa speaks, we see her in a variety of settings again, both seated and acting as a barista.

[Lisa] Over the years, as we became known as an inclusive employer, we started to attract people that wanted to work for us and it wasn’t just people that had autism, for example, it was just they saw the opportunity to be in a space where they would be accepted.

And I really didn’t know until we were doing the Pledge to Measure where we surveyed all of our staff as far as number of people that have a disability that work with us.

And I was really quite shocked when 40% of people who work for us self-disclosed as having a disability, which really blew my mind.

I was like, Wow, that’s incredible. The fact that we’re creating that space is amazing, but also the fact that they feel comfortable to disclose that because when you talk to a lot of businesses people are afraid to just share that, thinking that that’s going to have a negative impact on their employment.

So the fact that we’ve created that safe space for people is really quite awesome.

[Narrator] Breanne and her partner are on a bench on the pier, overlooking the blue water with the crisp fall fog around them. She cuddles her small dog on her lap, who appears happy and excited with its tongue out.

[Breanne] The best thing about Gabi and Jules is they want to work with you, not against you. They want to give their team the tools that they need to succeed.

[Narrator] Scenes of Lisa and others at the Gabi & Jules bakery counter, serving coffee and baked goods to customers. Lisa is visible through the display window, ensuring customers can read the tags for the freshly baked items.

[Lisa] In B.C., most employers are small businesses, so if we want to make this change in our communities, we need small businesses to get on board and to be part of creating these opportunities and really shifting the way that we look at employment.

At the end of the day, having a job gives you purpose. It gives you a place of belonging. And I think that everyone needs that.

[Narrator] A view of the Gabi & Jules pink and black logo on a sign outside the bakery. Fade to white. Words appear. Presidents Group. Funding provided by the Government of Canada through the Canada-British Columbia Workforce Development Agreement.