Lisa Beecroft: Bringing Inclusivity To The Workplace

Small Business Canada

Lisa and Patrick Beecroft started their cafe, Gabi & Jules after their elder daughter Juliana was diagnosed with autism. They wanted to create an inclusive environment that provided opportunities for individuals with autism and diverse abilities where they felt they belonged.

The Coffee Industry Story 

The Beecrofts has been in the coffee industry for over a decade, with the opening of their Caffe Divano in 2008. It was envisioned as a space where community members felt at home. Caffe Divano provides an exceptional experience of hand-crafted beverages and food made daily from scratch using simple, natural ingredients. Later they extended operations to two other stores marking their presence in Coquitlam, Port Moody and Burnaby. 

In 2015 they launched their next venture, Gabi & Jules Handmade Pies & Baked Goodness, which sold pies at the Coquitlam Farmers Market. What started as an offshoot of their original business became an instant hit. The following year they opened a brick-and-mortar store at 2302B Clarke Street.

The Gabi & Jules cafe is unique as an inclusive workplace that employs many individuals with autism. They also ensure to use of all-natural, real ingredients and change their menu with the seasons. In addition, all of their baking is done in a collaborative environment, inclusive of individuals of all abilities. These steps have helped their business create connections with customers and between customers. 

Their inclusive and diverse workspace has employed individuals in positions ranging from bakers to baristas and many others. Despite the pandemic forcing changes in their operations, Gabi & Jules has kept their commitment to creating exceptional pies and baked goodness in a collaborative environment inclusive of all abilities.

Leading With Kindness Story

Gabi & Jules is a socially responsible enterprise that strives to create a positive change in the community, including their involvement in charitable giving and being accessible employers for individuals with disabilities. 

Since founding Gabi & Jules, Lisa has been actively working to make employment in British Columbia more diverse. She strives to raise awareness and combat the stigma around the employability of people with disabilities by creating a diverse workforce at G&J.

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Since 2017, Lisa Beecroft has been a member of the President’s Group. A 2021 poll conducted by Presidents Group’s Annual Pledge to Measure showed that 42% of the G&J workforce identified as having a disability. The results shed important light on how crucial it is for businesses to build an inclusive culture in the modern workplace.

Lisa currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Presidents Group to create more inclusive hiring practices in BC. G&J also donates $1 from each pie sold to local autism organizations for their help and support.

The Quality Ensuring Story 

Gabi & Jules also offers corporate gifting with memorable items worth enjoying and sharing with family and friends. Their handmade, quality items can be packaged in a gift pack, gift basket or pie box at affordable budgets. 

Gabi and Jules have been recognized for their quality work and are recipients of the Untapped Workplace Inclusion Award 2020, Spike Business Inclusive Excellence 2019 and Spike Business Technology & Innovation 2016. 

Lisa Beecroft and her team are on a path of constant innovation, expanding their repertoire of products to include savoury pot pies, bake-at-home mixes, soups and bread. They continue to innovate and try new things, offering each week a ‘Feature Pie Saturday.’ 

Gabi & Jules deliver emission-free throughout most of Metro Vancouver and bring their goodness right to your door. For more information on their products, visit their website at

Small businesses should ensure to bring inclusivity and diversity to their workplace and among employees. To read more on these businesses, subscribe to CanadianSME Small Business Magazine For the latest updates, visit our Twitter page at @canadian_sme.

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