The Bread Project announced today that the transition from Pamela Calloway as its Executive Director to Usha Gongal as its Interim Executive Director will be effective next month. The transition, initially planned for July 1, was accelerated by the pause in programs due to COVID-19. Pamela will continue her service to The Bread Project as a member of the Board of Directors. Board President Scott Miller expressed gratitude to Pamela for her tireless work and dedication to moving the organization forward the past two years, and in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, and offered highlights of her significant accomplishments:
- Expanding the Bakery Bootcamp training, with assistance from strategic employment partners, from a 3-week, 60-hour program to a 4-week, 130-hour program
- Strengthening partnerships with the City of Berkeley, Whole Foods Market, Alameda County SNAP Program, Tipping Point Community, East Bay Community Foundation, RSF Social Finance, and the Lesher Speaker Series
- Launching an Alumni Association for our graduates, assisted by Junior League of the East Bay, and supportive services for those hardest hit by COVID-19 and unemployment
- Securing new Board members and experts to lead Board and staff in examination of the business model and organizational design, and helping to grow and professionalize the staff
- Retaining and expanding our funding base with foundation, corporate, government, and individual donors and special events
- Improving the organization's accounting and financial management, human resources, administration, and kitchen and building operations
When Pamela was interviewing for the Executive Director position, a little-known fact is she completed the Bakery Bootcamp, giving her a unique perspective for improving the organization and working with cohort participants, graduates, and employers. The Board is happy to report this tradition is continued by her successor. Usha Gongal is also a Bakery Bootcamp graduate who came to The Bread Project as a student seven years ago, became a part time employee following graduation, and joined the team full time two years ago as Production Manager and more recently as Operations Manager. A native of Nepal, she is an internationally acclaimed entrepreneur, 'green' manufacturer, and scholar dedicated to improving the lives of women through meaningful self-sufficient work. She is Founder and Proprietor of Young WoW Craft in Nepal, an organization that employs 35 women and produces, markets, and distributes natural, fiber-based cloth and clothes from Lokta Paper globally. Usha speaks six languages and has a wonderful combination of spirit, passion, and direct experience for helping the unemployed acquire new skills and jobs. She will be assisted by a capable staff: Gram Gould, Chef Instructor; Veronica Barron, Employment and Graduate Services Director; and Lynn Luckow, Development and Strategy Director.
During this pause in Bread Project programs due to COVID-19, Usha and the Board and staff are remaining active and optimizing this time by focusing on three key areas: 1) reaching out, helping to stabilize and serve The Bread Project's existing base of 2,000 graduates who need food and sanitizing supplies, assistance with unemployment, and kickstarting new job searches, 2) understanding the impact of COVID-19 in the baking and food services job market and clarifying The Bread Project's strategic mission and role post pandemic, and 3) creating the appropriate infrastructure and funding to support the needed programming and services going forward into 2021 and beyond.
Pamela, Usha, and the Board and staff wish to thank The Bread Project's many funders, volunteers, and supporters who have contributed to the organization's success over the years and especially now in its 20th Anniversary year. If large gatherings are permitted in five months, a special evening is being planned to celebrate this milestone on Monday, September 14. Stay tuned for details. Please join the Board in thanking Pamela for her significant contributions and welcoming Usha to her new role!
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
Scott Miller, President
The Bread Project
Board of Directors