Nidhi Lucky Handa, Founder and CEO LEUNE
Female CEO and Founder of Leune, Nidhi Lucky Handa is raising standards for equity & inclusion, workplace culture, and industry representation. This week, Nidhi Lucky Handa will also be traveling to Barcelona, Spain to speak as a panelist at the IBCC, or International Cannabis Business Conference, on the topic discussion of keeping cannabis alive in the corporate workplace culture and how global industries can mainstream plant medicine in white-collar business culture.
1) What is your proudest accomplishment in the cannabis industry?
The culture in my company. My team works hard and loves hard- and it shows in their work and ultimately in the brand. I am the absolute luckiest leader on the planet to work with so many humans who are so kind, so conscious and so excited about the mission we share at LEUNE.
2) Do you feel that the cannabis industry has more opportunities for female-identifying people than other industries?
I think it has more opportunities period. For minorities, for women, for folks of all different walks of life, there are amazing opportunities and that’s what makes this industry so dynamic – it values innovative, forward-thinking over everything else. I think that dynamically creates opportunities for all kinds of minority groups including women.
3) Do you feel you have to work twice as hard as male colleagues or do you think the industry has moved past that?
Hmm – well, I was raised by first-generation Indian immigrants in a business family and groomed by someone who taught me to work smart vs work long – understanding your unique obstacles should be factored into that logic. As a WOC, adversity related to the minority groups I belong to is not a new thing for me – it’s been part of my experience since birth, so I guess I’m well adapted to participating in this world as someone that has a steeper incline to success than a lot of my peers. There’s still a lot of misogyny and racism present in the cannabis industry BUT I also think the rate of progressive thinkers entering the space is helping to counterbalance that dynamic challenge. So yes, I do think I have to work a bit smarter and perhaps even a bit harder than my white male peers, but that’s pretty consistent with my life experience.
4) What was your biggest challenge in business and how did you overcome it?
Here’s an unpopular thing to say and one of my biggest learnings building LEUNE – running a business often means getting comfortable with not making everyone happy all of the time. As a natural people-pleaser, this is a daily challenge. I wish I could say that it gets easier – but honestly, it doesn’t. Making decisions in the best and highest interest of LEUNE is my honor and privilege, however, it can be tough. Letting go of an underperforming employee for example, that’s never going to be easy or natural for me. The way I’ve handled that challenge is to simply ask myself the question: what’s in the best interest of the company? That one question always brings me back to center.
5) What have you or your company done to help give more opportunities for women?
Hire them! Promote them! Listen to them! It’s really that simple.
6) What are your personal goals for 2022?
To create more balance. It’s been a wild few years building this company and living through the craziness of our new world. While nothing in the LEUNE-iverse is slowing down (we’re scaling into new markets and moving quickly) – I’m making a concerted effort to get back to my own personal wellness rituals – meditation, self-care and of course, cannabis!