Mimi Lam, Co-Founder Superette
1) What is your proudest accomplishment in the cannabis industry?
I’m super proud of taking a risk on myself and starting Superette. The journey of going from an idea in our heads to building a living and breathing tangible brand is incredibly validating. And we haven’t made it easy for ourselves! Not only is our business operationally complex and highly regulated, but we have also carved our own path, rejecting the status quo of cannabis retail and cannabis brands. Seeing the brand resonate with our customers around the world makes it all worth it. And because of Superette, I have been able to truly work with the best in the business – from the budtenders that represent the backbone of our business to everyone I am so lucky to collaborate with at head office. A company is nothing without its people. Even more so than Superette as a brand, I am proud of Superette as a team.
2) Do you feel that the cannabis industry has more opportunities for female-identifying people than other industries?
I don’t think the cannabis industry necessarily has more female-identifying opportunities, so much as females are in a position to identify and approach opportunities that are being overlooked. In the early days of legal cannabis in Canada, there was a lot of hope for female and minority representation, relative to other industries. However, I think the reality has been different especially when it comes to specific roles and in leadership positions. I believe in creating the future we want to live in, so I am optimistic and will continue to fight for representation and for creating opportunities for female-identifying people and minority groups.
3) Do you feel you have to work twice as hard as male colleagues or do you think the industry has moved past that?
It’s not something that can be quantified. Sometimes things feel smooth sailing and sometimes it feels like I must work 10x harder to even get noticed. It really depends on the environment you are in and who you are talking to. Subconscious bias is still incredibly prevalent, with womxn being overlooked and disregarded more often than men. I have worked hard to prove myself and my worth and to build my reputation, but still there are conversations where I am ignored or overlooked, or simply left out of the conversation. Unfortunately, I know I am not alone in that.
4) What was your biggest challenge in business and how did you overcome it?
Cliché, but surviving and growing a business during a pandemic. For two years, there were constant changes to public health recommendations and regulations regarding how we could operate or not, supply chain issues etc. We were tested in ways no business plan could have contemplated. Every day felt uncertain and sometimes hopeless. My personal challenge was feeling a big disconnect between the external excitement about our brand and our continued innovation vs. the realities of simply surviving and being able to keep the doors open. It was not business as usual, and my role in leading our team and the brand with hope, despite what was going on, took a huge emotional toll on me. What really helped me during this time was our people. Those around me believed in the vision and believed in our path just as strongly as I did, and together we made it through.
5) What have you or your company done to help give more opportunities for women? Roughly half of our team identify as women and I’m really proud of that. For us, it begins with representation and creating a safe space for all demographics. From the language we use when hiring and onboarding, to day-to-day collaboration, we are very conscious of how we show up. Across the board, we maintain very open lines of communication for feedback, and we have constant check-ins on all team members to ensure that they feel supported, and to learn about areas we can improve as a business. We fundamentally believe in our people and in listening to our people and over the years, we have seen a lot of internal growth and movement across teams and locations.
6) What are your personal goals for 2022?
Yikes, this is the most difficult question. Along the lines of self-care and finally making time to prioritize me, some things I want to (finally) get to are finding a doctor and reading at least a book a month. I also want to master the art of making croissants!