Working Against Systemic Racism, We Will Not Be Passive
We Looked Inward Before We Spoke Out
Throughout our journey as a growing startup that launched in 2017, we intentionally embraced diversity as one of our core values. That value stems from the belief that the best ideas are inspired by the mashup of a diversity of thought and experience. While the spirit and intention of diversity is part of our DNA, we have been too passive and not leveraged our platform to actively drive change.
We must do more. It’s clear and necessary for our company and the cannabis industry in general, to make room for Black voices. We’re in an industry that was built on the decriminalization of cannabis while far too many Brown and Black people are incarcerated for trading in the same industry. The cannabis industry today does not represent those who have given up so much before us.
Today, we start to change that conversation.
Because actions speak louder than words, here’s what we are doing.
- Increase representation of BIPOC at all levels of our organization - with black representation the priority. We will hold ourselves accountable by implementing diversity targets for recruitment and retention. We action this by formalizing these practices into board-approved policies to which our management team must answer. We have a ripple effect on our ecosystem by then selecting partners and suppliers that share those same values.
- Toast will continue its work with the NYU Stern School of Business and with the NYU CannaBusiness club it helped found last year. Our focus has been to encourage future senior leaders to balance business and social justice in this new frontier industry: to drive inclusive prosperity while helping to alleviate the historic damage caused to the Black community. Our executive chairman, Chris, teaches at NYU Stern and will be leading an experiential learning course for MBA students on a challenging and very topical stakeholder management project for the Last Prisoner Project (LPP).
- We will launch a paid internship leadership program in the third quarter for BIPOC candidates who have directly been impacted by cannabis prohibition. Interns will receive mentorship and career guidance from the leadership team and will also be introduced to other leaders in the industry to further grow their network and assist in placing them either at Toast or another company in a leadership role.
We are listening, growing, and evolving.