On August 3, Green Market Report hosted its 2023 Finance Summit. At the Summit, the winners of the 2023 GMR Cannabis Finance Awards were announced.
The winner of the Top Chief Executive Officer was Sundie Seefried of Safe Harbor Financial (Nasdaq: SHFS), who has helmed the company since its debut in 2015. At that time, it was a wing of Partner Colorado Credit Union.
Seefried then oversaw the transition of Safe Harbor when it spun off as a separate business in 2021, and was at the helm when it went public via a special purpose acquisition deal in 2022 and began trading on the Nasdaq.
Seefried said the entire Safe Harbor Financial journey has been her proudest career achievement in the marijuana sector.
“Everyone in Colorado was at risk” doing business on an all-cash basis, Seefried recalled as her primary motive to launch Safe Harbor eight years ago. “First it was understanding an industry that was operating under the radar. One cannot bank what one does not understand. The businesses were, and still are, highly complex operations, making it difficult to bank.”
Hurdles were everywhere in the financial realm in the early days of Safe Harbor, Seefried recalled, and there were mountains of paperwork to ensure that all marijuana-related banking transactions were up to snuff with federal rules and disclosures that would keep accounts open.
But Seefried persisted and steadily grew Safe Harbor Financial to the point where the business has processed more than $12 billion in cannabis-related transactions in 20 U.S. states, according to the company’s website.
“Managing through 16 federal and state bank examinations in seven years was the most difficult time for my entire management team,” Seefried recalled.
Now that Safe Harbor has made it all the way to the major leagues of public trading on the Nasdaq, Seefried says the next industry milestone she’s looking forward to is “getting through the transition and growing the operation to bring additional value to shareholders that have invested in our company.”