Best Job Ever: Taco Bell Foundation Director
Imagine a job that involves tacos that taste good, but also do good... Dream come true, right? Well, meet Jennifer Bradbury, the Director of the Taco Bell Foundation, whose job involves exactly that and more.
We caught up with Jennifer to find out more about her and how she landed one of the Best Jobs Ever at Taco Bell Corporate.
Question: How would you describe your job as the Director of the Taco Bell Foundation?
Jennifer Bradbury: My job is to oversee daily management of the Taco Bell Foundation as well as Taco Bell’s philanthropic efforts. It’s corporate philanthropy with a twist because the Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity. I’m lucky to get to manage an innovative charity that is seeing exponential growth with the resources and support of an incredibly fun brand.
Q: What did you study in school?
JB: I studied Sociology and Anthropology at UCLA and followed it up with an MBA at the UC Irvine Paul Merage School of Business.
Q: What kind of job experiences did you have prior to Taco Bell and how did you come into your role?
JB: My first job out of college was as an Event Coordinator for an event center. I worked on events the arena management company co-owned and operated. From there I managed the Anaheim Ducks Foundation working with the owners, players and their families on charity work in Southern California before moving to a high-end eyewear company and working specifically on running their global cause marketing efforts. I produced charity events tied to sporting events like professional surfing competitions and partnering with other companies to provide vision care to people in need around the globe.
Q: What does a typical workday at Taco Bell look like for you?
JB: I truly enjoy that I don’t have a typical day. I might spend my morning with education thought-leaders looking at trends in post-secondary education, have lunch with a group of local franchise leaders to update them on their local giving efforts and in the afternoon work with a cross-functional Taco Bell team on a new way to share our cause with customers.
Q: What is the most challenging part of your job?
JB: I take my role of being a good steward of our fundraising dollars very seriously. Our system, and our team members specifically, work incredibly hard to raise money for the Taco Bell Foundation so we can provide more young people with Live Más Scholarships and educational programs so they can pursue their passions and make a difference in our world. I want to make sure every dollar we raise is making a difference in a young person’s educational dreams.
Q: What have you helped create at Taco Bell?
JB: The Live Más Scholarship! Our flagship program provides scholarships ranging from $5,000 - $25,000 for young people to follow their passion at trade/vocational, two-year and four-year universities. We don’t look at grades, test scores or athletic ability, but instead ask students, aged 16-24, what their passion is and how they want to use it to make a difference in the world. But it’s even more than just a scholarship. We provide mentorship opportunities, network building, leadership, and personal brand workshops and access to a community of like-minded peers for all our recipients.
Q: Out of all the projects you’ve worked on at Taco Bell, which one has been your favorite?
JA: In 2016, we had the honor of participating in the Social Good Summit which is held during the United Nations General Assembly week and brings together global citizens and thought leaders to discuss and explore the world we want to live in by 2030. Two of our Live Más Scholarship recipients took the main stage and issued a call to action for all in attendance to examine their current operations and identify ways to create opportunities for local youth to pursue education, career and passion-driven goals.
Q: How do you stay true to the Taco Bell brand while being innovative when creating a collection?
JA: It’s about keeping the brand DNA in mind but always finding ways to evolve and innovate to stay relevant. The nonmarket-y answer: give our fans things they never knew they always wanted.
Q: What are you working on now at Taco Bell?
JB: It’s a busy season at the Taco Bell Foundation! We are finishing up our National Fundraiser which allows customers to support scholarships and educational programming by donating at the register. And we also just announced more than $4.5 million in Live Más Scholarships to 530 students. It’s been such a fun month of raising money and making dreams come true!
Q: What's next at Taco Bell that we can expect from you and the team?
JB: We love giving scholarship money to students, but we are building the career readiness programming that goes along with financial support. We’ve piloted summer workshops around the country that bring together 30-40 Live Más Scholarship students for a two and a half days to learn from mentors, build their personal brands and learn critical 21st-century skills. The students love it and we love watching their confidence explode in the months following their experience. We’re excited to formally launch programming that truly propels our scholars to be the best versions of themselves.
Q: What advice can you give to anyone with an interest in working in your industry?
JA: There aren’t a ton of jobs in corporate philanthropy/corporate social responsibility as typically only large corporations have dedicated headcount. When someone is interested, my first question is always, “what’s your why?” As in, why do you want to work in corporate social responsibility? Lots of times the answer relates to a desire to give back or make a difference in the world, and in that case, I recommend that they find a company or brand that aligns with their passion and where they can do what they are really good at doing. Lots of companies have robust volunteer programs that allow employees to make a difference and be involved in their community, and if yours doesn’t, there’s usually an appetite for someone to start it!
Q: Why is your job the best job ever?
JA: Because I literally get to change lives every single day. It’s just the best!
If you’re interested in a career at Taco Bell and working with people like Jennifer, click here to explore current job openings and apply.