20th November 2018
We mostly like to talk about beer. And bread. And saving the planet. But there’s another special element to Toast, and that’s our people. Team Toast are incredibly passionate, hard-working and, above all, great people to share a beer with (if we do say so ourselves). You might have met us at a sampling event or talk over the past three years. But you probably haven’t met some of the amazing people behind the scenes who volunteer their time to support Toast’s social mission.
Introducing … the Breadboard
We set up an Advisory Board in early 2016. Paul Lindley and Serge Kremer have been part of the team since those very early days. Paul is the founder of Ella’s Kitchen, author of ‘Little Wins’, and chair of the London Childhood Obesity Taskforce. Serge Kremer is CEO of Husky Commercial and co-founder of the fight wear brand Luta. They are both members of the Ashoka Support Network, a global community of innovative leaders who see entrepreneurship as the engine for economic and social development.
Our founder, Tristram Stuart is an Ashoka Fellow – a network of individuals championing new patterns of social good. It was through that network that we found Paul and Serge, and quickly won them over with the proposition of a beer that could change the world. Tristram is also the founder of the charity Feedback and author of ‘Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal’. He’s an incredible a social entrepreneur and an inspiring role model for the team. And perhaps surprisingly quite an expert on all things fermentation.
A commitment to gender diversity
In early 2018, we launched Equity for Good, an innovative social impact investment model. It publicly demarcates how the value created in the business will grow and perpetuate good in the economy. Investors in Toast made a legally binding pledge to reinvest any net capital gains in social enterprises or social impact investment funds, or to make a gift to a not-for-profit or registered charity.
As part of the funding round, we formally appointed Paul, Serge and Tristram as our directors, and made a legal commitment to board-level diversity. The investor agreement states that “the board is collectively to exhibit diversity and breadth of qualifications, experience and backgrounds. The company will strive for gender balance”. The funding round closed in June 2018 having raised £1.4 million.
Toast also became a Certified B Corp this year. Our journey to improve, measured by the B Impact Assessment, included a desire to improve the ratio of women at board level. At an operational level, the company currently employs 20 people in the United Kingdom and the United States, nine of whom are female.
Strengthening the Breadboard
We’re delighted to welcome two new non-executive directors to the board: Helen Jones and Emma Carrasco. They bring a wealth of knowledge, expertise and networks to strengthen our board as we increase our presence in existing markets and expand internationally.
Helen Jones has 35 years of experience building purpose-led brands, specialising in sales and marketing. She’s a non-executive director at Ben & Jerry’s, Halfords Plc and Vapiano SE. Her previous roles include five years as Group Executive Director at Caffe Nero Group Ltd, three years as Managing Director at Zizzi Restaurants and 14 years at Ben & Jerry’s, where she launched the business in the United Kingdom.
When Ben & Jerry’s was acquired by Unilever in 2000, Helen managed the transition and went on to lead the European expansion strategy and the subsequent roll out as Regional Brand Development Director. She was instrumental in securing Unilever’s commitment to the sustainable dairy program and the move to 100 percent Fairtrade certified ingredients across Europe.
Emma Carrasco has 30 years of experience in marketing, branding and communications. She’s the Chief Marketing and Engagement Officer and Senior Vice President, Global Strategy, at the National Geographic Society. Before joining National Geographic in 2016, Emma spent four years as Chief Marketing Officer at National Public Radio and was previously Executive Vice President at República, a strategic and creative agency in Miami. Emma was inducted into the Direct Marketing News ‘Marketing Hall of Femme’ as one of the top 15 female chief marketing officers in the United States and was named one of Ad Age’s ‘Women to Watch’.
The National Geographic Society pushes the boundaries of exploration to further understanding and empower us all to create a healthy and more sustainable future. One of the ways they do this is by supporting bold individuals like Tristram Stuart (Tristram is a National Geographic Explorer). Emma believes our innovative approach to beer making is a powerful example of the ingenuity and outside-the-box thinking that we need to address the barrage of challenges facing our planet.
Join us in raising a Toast to our awesome Breadboard!