Women Empowered in Cannabis (WEIC) Leadership Summit Archives - Green Market Report

Julie AitchesonApril 28, 2022
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On Thursday, April 26th, the first-ever Green Market Report Women’s Leadership Awards ceremony was held at The Green Market Report Women’s Summit in Manhattan, NYC to honor female and female-identifying cannabis professionals in categories ranging from Cultivation to Activism and Politics. 

The Women’s Leadership Award in the Brands category went to Nancy Whiteman, CEO of Wana Brands. Honored for her adroit management of Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth’s acquisition of 100% of each Wana entity as well as her commitment to social equity in cannabis, Whiteman was also lauded for her innovative new product lines and product development. Khadijah Tribble, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility at Curaleaf, (OTC: CURLF) received the Women’s Leadership Award in the MSO category. A highly-respected expert on equity and inclusion in cannabis, Tribble created and runs Rooted in Good, one of the most robust corporate responsibility programs in any industry, and is also the founder of Marijuana Matters, a cannabis education and advocacy incubator. 

The Women’s Leadership Award in Marketing went to Natalie Shaul, Co-Founder and VP of Marketing at Springbig. Shaul was instrumental in Springbig’s pivot to cannabis and is known as a trendsetter, job creator, fundraiser and changemaker in the industry. Shaul has helped thousands of cannabis retailers while her business has created more than 80 jobs across South Florida while providing discounted services to support veteran and minority-owned cannabis businesses.

Kim Rivers, CEO of Trulieve Cannabis Corp., was given the Women’s Leadership Award in the C-Suite- Public Company category. She is the only female CEO of a publicly traded company in the cannabis space. A former lawyer, Rivers has since spearheaded the largest cannabis acquisition deal to date with Trulieve’s purchase of Harvest Health & Recreation. Rivers was also instrumental in Trulieve’s Environmental, Social and Governance report, the first of its kind from an American MSO. The award for Women’s Leadership in the C-Suite Private Company category went to Ralina Shaw, founder of House of Tyne and leadership team member of 4thMVMT, a leading social impact organization with a mission to support those disproportionally impacted by cannabis laws. She is also one of the few BIPOC executives in the PR and Retail space.

Founder and CEO of Women Employed in Cannabis (WEIC) Kyra Reed was given the Women’s Leadership Award in Activism/Politics for her helming of the largest association for women working in cannabis, psychedelics, hemp & CBD. Named as a “Social Media Pioneer” by Entrepreneur Magazine, Reed has grown WEIC into a 15,000 member organization as well as the premiere brand and international organization dedicated to empowering women to achieve their goals.

The Women’s Leader Award for Cultivation went to Joyce Cenali, COO of Sonoma Hills Farm. Under Cenali’s leadership, Sonoma Hills was the first farm to be recognized as “organic comparable” as designated by CCOF’s OCal program. She co-founded an Emerald Cup-winning organization and supports female founders innovating in cannabis with a mission to advance a regulatory model that unites capitalism and inclusion. Chanda Macias, PhD, CEO of Ilera Holistics, took home the award for Women’s Leadership in the Science category, in no small part for her role as the first Black woman medical cannabis operator as CEO of National Holistic Healing Center—the largest medical marijuana dispensary in Washington, D.C.  She is also Chairwoman of the Board of Managers and CEO for Women Grow and First Vice Chair of the National Cannabis Roundtable Board.

Narmin Jarrous, Chief Development Officer at Exclusive Brands, won the Women’s Leadership Award in Social Equity. Jarrous’s social equity program partners with organizations like the National Birth Equity Coalition and The Last Prisoner Project while also helping Social Equity Applicants gain their licenses. Jarrous is also a mentor, educator, speaker, and advocate for women of color in the industry. Ronit Pinto, founder of Honeysuckle Magazine, took home the Women’s Leadership Award in Media. Honeysuckle has gained national distribution and also created Honey Pot Magazine, a sister print and digital publication focusing exclusively on cannabis and hemp issues.

Wendy Bronfein, Co-founder, Chief brand Officer and Director of Public Policy at Curio Wellness was honored in the Dispensary category. Bronfein drives the company’s legislative agenda across multiple states and oversees the brand as well as all corporate communications. She also helped initiate Curio’s Wellness investment Fund and a program to provide start-up capital for minority business-owners to open their own Curio franchise locations. The Women’s Leader Award for Public Relations went to Shawna Seldon McGregor, founder and CEO of Maverick Public Relations. She represents businesses across all sectors and is recognized as one of the most effective cannabis agencies in the industry. MacGregor has provided pro bono PR work and has served on the boards of numerous charitable organizations.

Honorees were nominated by colleagues from across cannabis sectors. Almost a hundred nominations were reviewed by industry insiders before they decided upon the twelve women executives and entrepreneurs to receive these special awards spanning several areas within the cannabis industry. 

 


StaffJuly 20, 2021
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7min28440

In October 2017 Marijuana Business released the results of a survey on women in the cannabis industry. The survey found that women held 37% of executive-level roles in the cannabis industry. This was a milestone that women throughout the industry celebrated with excitement and promise as many women leaders began to plot the path to achieving 50% in five years. 

These numbers were used to encourage women across the country to leave their traditional, corporate jobs and find a place where they could contribute their skills to the growing industry. The high gains made activists believe that women really could hold power in a lucrative and dominating industry. The numbers inspired women to apply for licenses and open ancillary businesses, hoping to be among those benefiting from such strong industry support. 

The bubble burst in August 2017 when Marijuna Business announced those numbers had dropped to 27%. It was still considered a win as U.S. business as a whole women only comprise 24% of executive positions. But it wasn’t a win, it was a sting and it reverberated throughout the community. Women started leaving cannabis faster than they were coming in. 

Then came another blow. A Vangst survey in 2019 revealed only 17.6% of women surveyed held a Director or Executive Role. 2020 took women in the U.S. out of the workforce in droves and now one in four is considering not returning to work. It isn’t just the cannabis industry that is suffering a loss of female talent.

The future’s looking grim for those women still working in cannabis. In March 2021 Benzinga released a report saying that only 8% of CEOs in cannabis are women! Women are truly losing ground in cannabis…fast. 

So what are women supposed to do about this loss of power? How do they stop this power drain from continuing? How bad can it get if it isn’t stopped? What incredible opportunity are they protecting if they get in and fight for it? 

Power, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is the possession of control, authority, or influence over others. Possessing power, pursuing power and craving power are all seen through this lens, an exercise of influence over others. This can be unsettling or intimidating for women and can make them hesitant to hold onto power or wield it effectively. 

Another definition of power is a source or means of supplying energy. If we view it through this lens we see it as our flow of energy contributing to the creation of the industry. It isn’t just about having influence, per se, but having a consistent and strong flow of energy filling the cannabis industry – from women. This is how women will create the industry they have dreamt of since 2017. 

One of the most effective tools women have to create more power is Collaboration or working together for a common goal. Merriam-Webster defines it as: To cooperate with an agency or instrumentality with which one is not immediately connected. 

Collaboration is full of challenges. From personality clashes, to broken promises, and failed expectations, working with others is full of pitfalls. It’s also the key to creating a power source that has an impact. If women align themselves for a common purpose, to Pay, Promote, Partner & Protect one another, their power or energy source will be strong and undeniable in the industry. 

The Women Empowered in Cannabis (WEIC) Leadership Summit: Power & Collaboration will be taking a deep dive into the power dynamics and collaboration challenges along the cannabis supply chain. While it’s easy to see from the statistics from a top level it’s not as obvious how these power losses are occurring throughout the industry. Examining the unique dynamics on each part of the supply chain and shining a light on them is the first step in taking back the power women have lost over the last few years.

For more information on the WEIC Leadership Summit: 

https://www.eventhi.io/event/womens-leadership-summit-power-and-c-4810

 


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