What did you do before working in the cannabis industry and how did you end up getting involved ?
I launched and managed Sparkleberry Lane, a conscious living blog dedicated to the appreciation of live music and covered music festivals internationally. 2012 was a peak summer for my writing, and going to Burning Man was the most appropriate way to conclude that season’s festival tour. Finding a ticket to the world’s most radically self-expressed event, however, wasn’t so easy… until I found an article written by Troy Dayton (CEO of the ArcView Group and longtime burner) that paved my way to a ticket.
I ended up not going to that Burn for all sorts of reasons I won’t get into, but mostly because I was relocating from South Carolina to the Bay Area. Once in the Bay I realized it was time to step my career game up and reached out to the only professional person I knew, who was Troy. At the time we had never met and I had no idea what he did, I just knew he looked like he had something going on that was legit with the potential of relieving my parent’s anxiety.
When I reached out, he said it was synchronistic to hear from me and invited me to his home for interview. I was 24 and unqualified for the position he was hiring for at the ArcView Group, but since he really liked me he decided to give me two weeks to try out.
With the opportunity to build out the world’s first cannabis investment firm in mind, I now understood the potential at hand and did everything I could to impress him — at one point, I cooked him three meals a day and led him through private yoga classes. All that while learning everything there is to know about cannabis and business on the spot…
I remember my parents were really concerned that I was working out of a house with a “cannabis” company that they couldn’t find much about online. That all changed when we landed the cover of Fortune magazine three months into the job, and my photos were actually used in the article.
I eventually proved my worth and value to ArcView and remained present with the firm, as their first employee, for 2 and a half years. While there, I supported the company in all departments and helped increase their investor memberships by over 1000%. I largely contributed to the familial feel one experiences at one of their investor conferences and launched a business-mindfullness initiative for the industry through their platform. I was hired as the Executive Assistant to the CEO and departed in good chemistry as their Communications Manager. I left ArcView because I felt called in another direction and the work itself became entirely too stressful for my mind and body to handle.
Today I work independently as a cannabis consultant, teach yoga, and plan cannabis retreats for industry professionals. I am hopeful to open my own cannabis retreat center.
What sparked your interest in the cannabis industry?
The cannabis industry chose me. I didn’t really come to the industry looking to get involved, it sort of happened by fate. Anytime I’ve drifted away from the cannabis industry it pulls me back in.. aggressively. Now I know that this is an industry I’m going to be involved in for the rest of my life.
Walk us through a normal workday.
Each day is a new opportunity to succeed higher than the day before, and the most important measures in my everyday life are how I sleep, eat, and move. I like to meditate in the morning for at least 20 minutes and will try to eat foods that are low in sugar and are fruit and vegetable based to give me energy throughout the day. Sugar creates a state of lethargy that really inhibits my ability to be productive, so, I do my best to avoid it! I aim to move a lot during the work day too and schedule walk meetings whenever possible. Movement helps increase our creativity and overall productivity… it also feels way better than sitting in a chair! For sleeping I try to turn off my phone at least 2 hours before I go to bed and to not look at any screens because the lights coming from them suppress our serotonin levels and keep our mind active, which makes it hard to sleep. So if you’re having trouble sleeping, try reducing your screen time before you go to bed. (as I type this as 2:47 a.m.)
What have been some of the biggest challenges?
The hardest thing is the pace of the industry and the constant change in regulations. They say that 3 months in the cannabis industry is like 5 years in any other industry, so it really is like dog years. That’s why having a mindful practice at your desk is very important. You need a sustainable business model, but you need to take care of yourself in order to succeed in this space as it’s demanding and the best version of you is needed.
What have been some of your favorite things about working in the industry?
The people. I consider some of the people in my network family. We’ve made/are making history together and I’m grateful to be on this ride with so many unique and proactive individuals. It’s super inspiring. Also, the cannabis industry is a great opportunity to create a new kind of industry and I take that very seriously. At this point, you have the counter culture hippies coming together with Wall St. bankers and there’s a unique opportunity for all to work together and learn from each other in a way that can benefit the world as a whole.
Do you have any advice for professionals looking to transition into the cannabis industry?
Volunteer! Find the events that resonate with you and see if you can help out. If there’s a company that you like and have the time and space to lend a hand, reach out and see if there’s a way in which you can support them. I’ve seen dozens of people land killer jobs that way.
Also, be sure to surround yourself with good people. While growing, this industry is still small and who you sit with says a lot about who you are and what you’re up to. Make sure you roll with high vibe and good-intentioned people.
For companies, make sure your SOP’s are in place. Seriously, make this a priority now. Your operation can’t afford to outgrow a system that’s not in place.