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Marissa McNeelands

Toast was born from a vision to shift the tech landscape and create a space where women can truly thrive. Witnessing the decline of women in tech, I wanted to change the narrative from merely talking about the issues to taking decisive action.

At Toast, we have two primary goals: partnering with companies dedicated to diversifying their tech teams and operating a membership collective that supports women in technology. Our initiatives include an AI-driven recruitment tool to eliminate hiring biases, extensive job hunt resources, and community-building efforts to combat the ‘lonely only’ syndrome faced by many women in tech.

Tell us about yourself?

I’m Marissa, Founder & CEO of Toast. With a decade in tech as a Data & AI Product Manager and a Master’s in AI, I’ve experienced the gender imbalance in tech firsthand. My journey has been fuelled by a passion to make the tech landscape more inclusive and equitable.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

I would tell myself that I am more resilient than I know and that by truly living my values, even the hardest of days can be handled with a sense of peace and fulfillment.


What problem does your business solve?

Toast addresses the critical issue of underrepresentation of women in tech. We solve the problem of gender disparity by providing a platform for companies to diversify their tech teams and for women to find mentorship and support in the tech industry.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

The inspiration for Toast came from first-hand experience trying to hire diverse technical teams. Our goal is to reverse this trend and build an ecosystem where women are empowered to excel in tech roles, breaking the cycle of underrepresentation.

What is your magic sauce?

Our “magic sauce” is our unique approach to combining systemic change in tech hiring with a robust support network for women in tech. We’re not just a company; we’re a movement focused on tangible change and community building.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

In the next five years, Toast aims to amplify our impact both nationally and globally. We’re launching U.S. operations in 2024, marking a significant step in expanding our reach. Our vision is to become the go-to platform for women in tech across North America, addressing gender bias not only in Canada but also in the wider tech landscape.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

The biggest challenge has been shifting industry mindsets to recognize and actively address gender disparities in tech. It requires changing long-standing practices and biases, which is a gradual but crucial process.

How can people get involved?

Anyone interested in supporting gender diversity in tech can get involved with Toast. Companies can partner with us to diversify their tech teams, and individuals can join our membership community.

If you’re a company looking to partner with us, email or visit to book a meeting with April, my co-founder, to discuss how we can help diversity your technical team. If you’re an individual looking to join our community and have questions, either head to our site,, or email us at