The Cannabis Women’s Empowerment Society, founded by CEO of Kalogia Simone Cimiluca-Radzins, held a workshop in Santa Monica on Sunday to address women in a program entitled “Reaching Financial Freedom” in the cannabis industry.
One issue that hit close to home for the audience was the lack of licenses being awarded to women in the newly legal California market. Public Affairs Official Elizabeth Ashford said, “Cannabis is supposed to be better with more opportunity for women, but where the women’s businesses in California? Of the 143 licenses awarded in Los Angeles, only 16 went to women.
This statistic hurt especially because women were overwhelmingly involved in advocacy for licenses, but as Ashford noted, they weren’t getting the benefits of their hard work. She and other noted leaders in the cannabis scene were giving women financial advice about running their businesses.
Khadijah Adams, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of C.E. Hutton said that one of the biggest mistakes that female entrepreneurs make is that they try to be perfect first. C.E. Hutton is a minority-focused business development and management company. “Just get out and do it,” she advised the audience. “Don’t wait for it to be perfect. Men don’t wait.”
Adams also told the crowd that they had to have a crystal clear vision of where they wanted to go. She did note that people need to be willing to tweak the plan, but they will always need the plan. In addition to that, she had advice about choosing a team for the company.
“You have to look for three things in choosing your team. They have to be loyal,” Adams said. “You have to ask for references and check them twice. You also have to make sure they have the rights skills for your particular needs.”
Ashford, who has worked with Senator Kamala Harris (when she was Attorney General) and was Governor’s Brown’s Chief Deputy Press Secretary. Has strong words of advice for the women in the audience. She told them to “Inflect Down.” Meaning not to end sentences with a questioning tone. Men rarely speak that way and people mostly react favorably to the sense of confidence.
She went on to tell the women not to apologize all the time and instead of saying ‘you’re sorry’, women should “unconform.” In other words, make the world conform to you.
The event was filled with women who seemed very positive and willing to listen to what it will take to maintain their positions within the cannabis industry.