Cannabis Women’s Empowerment Summit Recap


Connecting with Cannabis Women

On July 22, hundreds of women gathered on a hot summer day in a studio in Los Angeles. The purpose was to network and meet other like-minded women in the cannabis space. To learn what others in the industry were doing. And to understand the dynamics of what happens when women look to lead an industry. These are the cannabis women who are going to make it happen.

It is 2017 after all, why the hell not?

What Happens When Hundreds of Women Look to Change an Industry?

Honestly, I had no idea what to expect. Sometimes coming from LA to San Diego is like going from beach mouse to city mouse. I’ve been going to Women Grow meetings in San Diego whenever I can but wasn’t sure what to expect at the all day event in LA.

The answer? Amazing. The room was abuzz when I walked in as women from all over Southern California, and a few from Northern California introduced each other and started their stories. “How did you get into cannabis?” was a question heard throughout the day.

If I got anything out of the Summit, it was a better understanding of a space in transition. Of the focus and talent of cannabis women working hard to create and grow an industry. This is how industries are born. From people getting together with common goals, towards a common cause.

Speakers + Networking Groups = Learning and Building

Throughout the day we met as a large audience and then broke out into smaller groups become coming back again.

The combination of speakers and being able to speak and learn in small groups allowed for more intimate networking while still learning and discussing the structured topics.

The team who put it on did an amazing job, and every single woman who showed up was there to learn, network, and decide what path was the best one for them. Some were already deep in the space with a history that goes back decades, while others, were there because a friend thought they might be interested.

Setting Intentions

I did roll my eyes a little when I just wrote that, apparently the “Santa Cruz” part of me is closer to the surface than I realized. Any minute I might jump in my Prius to go find a tree to hug. The thing is though, in every sense of the phrase, it is true. The theme for the day was the strength that can come from empowering each other. By focusing on community and not competition, we can all improve and grow our businesses.

The jaded part of me thinks it sounds a little too utopian to have a place where everyone supports the other rather than competes. I’ve been in business and worked in technology too long to think it’s that easy. But the best things are never easy, and the rest of me really wants to believe it is possible.

Speaker Highlights:

  • Sara Batterby, CEO & President of Hifi Farms talked about the importance of having an emotional support team. She made a comment I have thought about before when I see younger women coming into the workforce and dealing with the same inappropriate comments that I did. “We need to decide and build the industry and consider how we are going to hand it off to the next generation.”
  • Heather Jane, CEO of Heather Jane Enterprises had an amazing story to tell about her experience in the space. Her advice? “Things are going to go wrong. Bad things happen to good people. I had to figure it out and you dig yourself out. You can only go forward and start from where you are today.”
  • Adelia Carrillo, Founder/CEO of Direct Cannabis Network talked about her experience and the importance of having a support system. Having your own business is hard. When things go wrong, take 24-48 hours to be frustrated and then move forward.
  • Whitney Beatty, CEO of Apothecarry Brands talked about the importance of knowing the players and knowing where you’re coming from. As she told her story about how she is building her company she made the comment, “If I can make the companies into a million dollar brand, I can make me into a million dollar brand.” She had very specific advice for those just starting out. If you ever get a chance to see Whitney speak, go do it. She is fantastic on a stage. Her story and her advice are compelling and realistic. And she’s funny. Seriously, stop reading and go find out where she’s speaking next.

Negotiate Like the Boss You Are

There was a section about negotiations that I personally found slightly less valuable, but it was a good reminder for everyone to remember our value and the importance of being prepared. Go through the work to really understand the people you’re negotiating with and be prepared with your goals as well as the minimum you’re willing to accept to be happy with the deal. The impressive cannabis women speakers in this section included Meital Manzuri, Maria Stabler, Shoshana Anthony, Gretl Tortolani, and Ariel Clark.

Rather than repeating the advice from the first few women, Gretl focused more on building lasting partnerships, while Ariel focused on her political experience and the importance of negotiating in politics and at the higher levels. She provided interesting insights about the political system when it comes to leading cannabis tasks forces. It was fascinating listening to everyone’s stories and advice.

Making it Happen

A huge shout out goes to LIV Advisors, Kristen Yoder and Simone Cimiluca-Radzins who made this event happen. And they made it happen for free. The entire day was paid for by volunteers, sponsors and donations.

It never ceases to amaze me how friendly and welcoming people in the cannabis space are, no matter how many events I attend. Everyone is always friendly. People have worked hard to get marijuana where it is today – legal in a few states across the country, but the path isn’t paved yet. As more people turn towards the space, it is amazing to have opportunities like this one to meet strong, bold, risk-takers with similar goals.

The impressive thing about the summit was that it was a room filled with motivated, caring, bold, risk-taking cannabis women. You don’t see that every day.

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