Executive Spotlight: Chris Driessen, Executive Vice President SLANG Worldwide

Like many in cannabis, Chris Driessen is just happy to be doing what he is doing in an industry that he is extremely passionate about. Currently the Executive Vice President of Sales & Business Development at SLANG Worldwide (“SLNG”), an industry leader in branded cannabis consumer packaged goods. SLANG, with its headquarters in Toronto, currently operates across 5 continents, including 10 states in the U.S. SLANG Worldwide has achieved over $250M in worldwide sales, with a SLANG branded cannabis consumer product being sold across the world 1 every 4 seconds.  

Full birth name: Chris Driessen

Title: Executive Vice President of Sales & Business Development

Company: SLANG Worldwide

Years at current company: Driessen assumed the role of Executive Vice President of Sales & Business Development this past January when Organa Brands, for which he was President, was acquired by SLANG International.

Education profile: Driessen acquired a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations from the University of North Texas’ School of Journalism

Most successful professional accomplishment before cannabis: Like many, prior to cannabis, Driessen was working in a job that he wasn’t finding personal fulfillment in despite his financial success. He considers his decision to “get out of Dodge” and into a fulfilling career his most successful professional accomplishment. Driessen worked in sales for the hospitality industry, specifically selling coffee machines. “Coffee machines are the thing that everyone has, but no one wants to buy or talk about until it breaks,” he remarked, “I felt the walls closing in around me,” Living in Denver, Colorado, he recognized he had a great thing going on in his own back yard, “I knew cannabis was my passion,” he says. After some soul searching, speaking with his family, he finally decided to make the foray into the cannabis industry where he had the opportunity to “put his skills on display”, and couldn’t be happier with his transition, especially with his recent success with his new role at SLANG.  

Company Mission: SLANG is a portfolio of branded cannabis consumer products that is a leading distributor of cannabis brands worldwide. The company operates on three core competencies: extraction, brands, and distribution. Driessen and his team recognize that within cannabis, there are so many demographics that can be appealed to, with no shortage of opportunity to market useful products to different kinds of people. SLANG seeks to reach all people with branded cannabis packaged goods that meet their needs and their lifestyle.

Company’s most successful achievement:  Driessen attributes the success of SLANG’s ability to aggregate world class brands for distribution into dispensaries over 5 continents, in 17 markets to the people and talent the company has collected.  “What makes SLANG unique is the people that have rallied under the banner of SLANG,” says Driessen, “These people are all hand-selected with a great deal of though into what puzzle pieces are going to fit together well. In putting together SLANG’s brands and the talent that represented them, the company focused on skill sets, and ensuring the individuals that were brought in had skill sets that were complementary to each other as they pursue their core competencies: extraction, brands, and distribution. “Leveraging gifts and skill sets has been what has allowed us to achieve what we have together,” says Driessen.

Has the company raised any capital (yes or no): Yes, although this is not a current focus of SLANG at the moment.

If so, how much?: The fundraising completed, to the tune of $66M CDN was to complement the transactions including acquiring and executing new brands prior to the company going public in January.  

Any plans on raising capital in the future? Driessen explains that SLANG is a company that raises money and uses it judiciously. While the company is nimble and is ready to ride with the twists and turns of the cannabis market, there are no big plans in the imminent future for a capital raise, but “our eyes are open,” he states.

Most important company 5 year goal: “Same thing it is today,” says Driessen, “We know who we are, and we stay in our lane.” SLANG will remain dedicated, now and in the future, to making world-class branded cannabis products. At the moment, SLANG doesn’t have plans to get into retail or create storefronts, “Right now, we’re all about building brand loyalty and brand awareness, and being able to execute that within the market.”

 

Anne-Marie Fischer

Anne-Marie Fischer

Anne-Marie Fischer is a cannabis educator and writer, engaged with cannabis brands and organizations across the globe. After serving the United States and global cannabis industries, she has recently returned home to Canada to serve the legal cannabis industry with education and engaging content.


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