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Marissa McNeelands | Canada | Inclusive Workforce For Tomorrow

Founder & CEO at Toast | Conversational AI Products

Host of the Dear Data Podcast | Women in Tech | Women in AI

Marissa McNeelands's journey is a dynamic blend of passion for tech, AI innovation, and a commitment to empowering women. She embarked on her career in product management and conversational AI, swiftly rising to become the Founder & CEO of Toast, a groundbreaking women's collective in tech. With a Master's degree in Management, specializing in AI from Queen's University, Marissa's expertise is vast. At Toast, she fosters gender diversity by partnering with companies to connect them with talented women, ensuring they find inclusive workplaces. Her visionary approach includes developing AI-driven technology to eliminate hiring biases, making the tech industry more equitable. She succinctly describes Toast's mission: "We help women in tech get the jobs they want and the pay they deserve by flipping the hiring dynamic on its head."

Marissa's influence extends to the Dear Data Podcast, where she hosts inspiring conversations with women leaders in data and AI, furthering her mission to uplift and support women in tech.

Her previous roles at Scotiabank, PwC Canada, and ATB Financial honed her skills in AI and product leadership, leading to notable achievements like the award-winning AI-driven chatbot at Scotiabank.

Looking ahead, Marissa envisions a shift in the tech industry towards skills-based hiring, fostering a gender-diverse workforce in Canada. She advocates for recruitment processes that genuinely value diverse experiences and perspectives, moving away from outdated 'golden ticket' systems.

Marissa highlights the critical role of a diverse workforce in preventing biased decision-making in AI technologies, ensuring fairness and equity.

At Toast, Marissa leverages AI to build an inclusive workforce for tomorrow. The AI-driven approach identifies a diverse range of candidates by focusing on their skills and potential, eliminating biases and promoting equity in hiring processes. This ensures that opportunities are accessible to all talented women in tech.

Looking to the future, Marissa is excited to expand Toast's programming based on their first year's lessons and extend their reach into emerging tech hubs in the US in 2024. Her story is one of innovation, leadership, and unwavering dedication to creating opportunities for women in tech, embodying the spirit of resilience and progress.

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