Meet the BreadAbilities Business Resource Group at Bread Financial™
Whether delivering customer-centric strategies, enhancing communications, monitoring interactions or solving customer pain points, Senior Director of Customer Experience Julia Cay plays a pivotal role in executing Bread Financial’s mission to provide simple, smart financial solutions for all by ensuring the company creates exceptional experiences.
Having spent the majority of her career helping financial institutions of all sizes connect with consumers and keep them coming back, Julia believes exceptional customer experiences start with the associates who deliver them.
“I was excited to join a customer and associate-centric organization that wanted to take its experiences to the next level,” she said. “I also saw the culture Bread Financial had built and that associates were at the heart of its decisions. I firmly believe a great associate experience helps create a great customer experience.”
In addition to creating exceptional experiences, Julia is also committed to ensuring associates have the tools and resources to be successful. So, it comes as no surprise that she was a pivotal piece in the launch of BreadAbilities, a Business Resource Group (BRG) dedicated to providing education, support and empowerment to individuals with differing abilities, both visible and invisible.
“It was actually an associate on my team who inspired me to start the conversation around the concept of BreadAbilities, and I was excited to learn it was already something our executive leadership team was looking to prioritize,” she said. “When we were working on our mission and goals, we purposefully did not want to use the word 'disability.' Being our authentic selves and finding the courage to communicate our struggles and needs is when a disability becomes an ability. We wanted to lift people up and help them understand their differences are strengths. Everyone deserves to have a positive experience when they come to work.”
When we were working on our mission and goals, we purposefully did not want to use the word 'disability.' Being our authentic selves and finding the courage to communicate our struggles and needs is when a disability becomes an ability."
Julia Cay - Senior Director of Customer Experience, Bread Financial
Since its inception in 2022, the BRG has grown to more than 250 members and recently wrapped a month of activities recognizing National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Learn more about the BreadAbilities in the Q&A with Julia below.
What is the purpose of BreadAbilities and what are its goals?
The purpose of BreadAbilities is to advance education, support and empowerment for associates with differing visible and invisible abilities, including physical abilities, neurodiversity, mental health and caregiving. No two people are the same, and the BRG is a place where associates can openly share what makes them unique, find more people like them and help foster a more empathetic and inclusive culture. We also provide education and resources for our peers, partners and communities to highlight different abilities. Our goal is to provide a safe space for associates to share, learn and collaborate - when we’re happier and understood, we can thrive professionally and personally.
Why are you so passionate about BreadAbilities and what it stands for?
I struggle with my own mental health issues, and it is something I have to work on every day to live a happier life and enable a successful career. It takes a lot of work, and I feel fortunate that I was able to find tools and strategies that work for me. Members of my family haven’t been as successful, and I wonder what it might have been like for them if we were able to break the stigma around mental health earlier and had the education and resources we have now. We go to the dentist to get our teeth cleaned every six months and get annual checkups, but we’re not investing in our mental health the same way. I’m still on my journey, so I’m passionate about learning to appreciate our differences, driving a healthier mindset and breaking the stigmas around mental health.
Additionally, my nephew is high on the autism spectrum and non-verbal, so I am continually learning what I can do to support my family and my own awareness of the neurodiverse community. I was also unexpectedly a caregiver for my mother-in-law in her final days. It was an experience I wasn’t prepared for, but BreadAbilities gave me a space to learn and talk about what I was going through.
What is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) and what events took place?
National Disability Employment Awareness Month honors the past and present contributions of individuals with disabilities as well as inclusive laws, policies and practices that preserve the rights of those with disabilities. At Bread Financial, we celebrate associates of all abilities and provide additional education and resources highlighting the importance of a supportive, inclusive workplace.
For example, we hosted a career development workshop and also invited associates to learn more about our partnership with My Possibilities, a Texas organization that provides training and employment opportunities to enable the independence of adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. Additionally, Columbus associates had the opportunity to volunteer with Canine Companions and participate in the Out of the Darkness Community Walk for suicide prevention.
What can associates interested in joining BreadAbilities expect?
Currently, we have more than 250 members, and each member belongs to one or more focused community: physical abilities, caregivers, mental health and/or neurodiversity. We distribute a monthly newsletter in addition to the variety of events we host throughout the year, and we meet as a full group quarterly and each community meets monthly. Our meetings are a time for associates to come together and share their stories and resources. People have been so open and courageous to share their journeys and it has been impactful and empowering for associates.
About Bread Financial™
Bread Financial™ (NYSE: BFH) is a tech-forward financial services company providing simple, personalized payment, lending and saving solutions. The company creates opportunities for its customers and partners through digitally enabled choices that offer ease, empowerment, financial flexibility and exceptional customer experiences. Driven by a digital-first approach, data insights and white-label technology, Bread Financial delivers growth for its partners through a comprehensive suite of payment solutions that includes private label and co-brand credit cards and Bread Pay™ buy now, pay later products. Bread Financial also offers direct-to-consumer products that give customers more access, choice and freedom through its branded Bread Cashback™ American Express® Credit Card and Bread Savings™ products.
Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Bread Financial is powered by its 7,500+ global associates and is committed to sustainable business practices. To learn more about Bread Financial, visit breadfinancial.com or follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.
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