March 24 2022
What is your proudest accomplishment in the cannabis industry?
I am incredibly proud of the team I have built in the last two years, both internally (from a team of none to a full service communications and public relations function), to our external partners and stakeholders. To me, the most important part of a career is not your individual achievements but the people you meet, inspire, learn from, and help grow along the way. No business can be truly successful without strong human relationships. I am also very proud of the work we have done to launch, sustain, and raise the visibility of the Rooted in Good CSR platform, which I believe is second to none in the industry. Being a part of driving that work forward alongside our SVP of CSR Khadijah Tribble, watching it grow and telling those stories has been very fulfilling in a sometimes crazy industry.
Do you feel that the cannabis industry has more opportunities for female-identifying people than other industries?
I am a believer in making your own opportunities and never taking no for an answer. That said, there is plenty of opportunity in this industry for people (any gender) who are willing to work hard, be creative and relentlessly optimistic, and find ways around “no.” I think our industry should continue to be focused on creating opportunities and forging pathways to equity for people of color, and those harmed by previous cannabis legislation and the War on Drugs. They are the future this industry needs to believe in.
Do you feel you have to work twice as hard as male colleagues or do you think the industry has moved past that?
I think women have to work twice as hard for their work to be noticed and recognized. Women simply get it done. They don’t feel the need to show up at the bar or the golf course and crow about how hard they are working and what they’ve achieved – and we pay a price for that. We often don’t self promote – because we are too busy making dinner, meeting teachers and taking the dog to the vet when we’re not working. That’s a stubborn cultural root that we’re still chopping away at. All good CEOs know that if you want something done yesterday, ask someone with a vagina.
What was your biggest challenge in business and how did you overcome it?
I’m still in it – erasing the stigma of this plant, day by day, interview by interview, campaign by campaign. I used to think working with movie stars and media training Fortune 100 CEOs was challenging – then I had teenagers and a career in cannabis. Needless to say, getting an actor to hit their talking points on the Tonight Show to promote a superhero movie pales in comparison.
What have you or your company done to help give more opportunities for women?
I’m proud that many of Curaleaf’s senior leadership positions are female represented (our head of Marketing, CSR, HR, Retail and Communications are women) and nearly half our workforce is female-identified. My team is 50% women, and through our Rooted in Good Supplier Diversity program, we’ve made a conscious effort to work with women and minority-owned agencies (of our three partner agencies, two are woman-owned and one is minority and LGBTQ-owned). I am also part of our terrific Executive Roundtable mentorship program, and one of my “mentees” is Liz Robinson of CBD brand The Gift (though I am quite certain I have learned more from Liz than she has from me). At Curaleaf, we have a variety of strong ERGs (employee resource groups)– I am the executive sponsor of our FamilyLeaf for working parents, and we also have our women-focused ERG, Women’s Cannabis Collective, which just sponsored our Women’s Appreciation Awards in recognition of International Women’s Day; the WCC is also starting its own mentorship program in Q2 of this year. We’ve also done partnerships such as sponsoring a recruitment event with Dress for Success. I also sit on the Communications Committee of the USCC, the industry’s leading voice in D.C. where it’s important to have not only female, but other diverse perspectives heard as we move our industry forward.
What are your personal goals for 2022?
More sleep. Kidding. Everyone knows women in cannabis don’t sleep. Beyond that, my hobby is humor writing, and I’d like to get one of my personal essays published, if I can find the time and the right strain to help me. The working title is Middle School, Middle Age, and Marijuana – Pick 3.