MEREDITH MAHONEY – CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, LANTERN
What is your proudest accomplishment in the cannabis industry?
- Lantern runs social equity incubators in 4 markets: Boston, Denver, Detroit, and New Jersey, and it’s been incredible getting to know the next founders and leaders in the cannabis space. I’m a startup person at heart, so I derive a lot of energy from meeting founders and watching them launch their businesses.
Do you feel that the cannabis industry has more opportunities for female-identifying people than other industries?
- Cannabis definitely should have more opportunities for women, given that it’s a newer industry full of open-minded, innovative people, but we can’t sit back and assume that opportunities will naturally develop. We as female-identifying leaders, along with our male colleagues, need to diligently create the structural framework to ensure that these opportunities are created, and stay vigilant to ensure opportunities for women expand.
Do you feel you have to work twice as hard as male colleagues or do you think the industry has moved past that?
- At some points in my career, I’ve had to work a lot harder than my male counterparts, and at other times I’ve had to work differently. In all cases I’ve had to demonstrate a higher level of competence than the men around me, but that isn’t specific to the cannabis industry. Society and business still demand more from women, which is a reality that professional women have to face constantly. The good news is that as you become more senior, you care less. But it’s always there.
What was your biggest challenge in business and how did you overcome it?
- The biggest challenges for Lantern are the same ones that every cannabis business faces: ambiguity, uncertainty, the dual legality of the plant. But these challenges also make the work interesting, fulfilling, and fun. The work we’re doing today will forge the path for future cannabis leaders, for decades to come.
What have you or your company done to help give more opportunities for women?
- When we started Lantern, we decided that our team needed to look very different from the typical cannabis business: less white, less male. To hit this goal, we created specific hiring processes to ensure that we would find and hire top talent that fits that objective. So far, we’ve been successful in creating a very diverse team, but we’ll never be done. Guaranteeing that we continue to build our team with incredible female-identifying and BIPOC leaders take consistent focus and effort.
What are your personal goals for 2022?
- Meeting more senior women in the industry, deepening my personal and professional female relationships, and spending more time outside.