1. What did you do before the industry?
I was in technology startups in San Francisco and then worked in the Angel Investing industry. Tech and finance basically.
2. What sparked your interest in the cannabis industry? How did you first get involved in the industry from a career standpoint?
I moved to Oregon at about the same time as Measure 91 passed. It was a coincidence but I quickly felt the energy around Oregon’s legalization measure. Friends of mine were setting up a grow and asked me to look at the business side of things. It was just so much more interesting than anything else I was looking at. I just got hooked.
3. Walk us through a normal work day? What skills have you learned from past careers that have helped you succeed in the cannabis industry?
My days are largely taken up with meetings and events. As the CEO I have to cover a large expanse of ground in terms of understanding what is happening in the business. I am also constantly networking, attending events and emailing people as part of our ongoing need for capital and talent in the company as we grow. It’s a huge amount of relationship management, business oversight and management. I usually find time to duck out and take the dogs for a walk around the farm.
4. Have you ever felt any stigma against yourself from others for working in the industry?
Not really and that has been a pleasant surprise. I was not sure how folks would respond to my decision to get into cannabis. People have been generally curious and positive about it. I have been snubbed a couple of times at non cannabis events but I think that is to be expected and I don’t take it personally. People have been subjected to decades of propaganda. It’s understandable if some of them remain in the dark about the real benefits and value of cannabis.
5. What have been some of your favorite things about working in the industry?
The people, the social justice agenda, the energy and the amazing talent that I have come across. The incredible perseverance and resilience of this comment of entrepreneurs as we struggle with a very challenging regulatory and business environment. The degree of female participation in the industry. It is all pretty inspiring.
6. What have been some of the hardest things?
Seeing good people and good companies fail because of the challenges of the emerging regulatory landscape. That is hard and it could have happened to any of us.
7. Do you have any advice to job seekers looking into the industry?
Cannabis is a great industry to work in and it badly needs skills coming in from other sectors. It’s a refreshing change if you are coming from a more mature corporate environment. Some companies are probably better employers than others and it’s worth having a very clear list of your expectations in regards to how you are dealt with as an employee or a consultant. This is a world of startups so ask for equity if you are going into full time employment. If you are helping a company grow, you should have the opportunity to benefit from that growth.