I recently had the pleasure of attending the Women of Weed breakfast at O’Cannabis in Toronto, Ontario. Neither a feminist or anti-feminist but rather somewhere in between and moreover, highly sensitive to human rights (all genders), the message was positive and a general “call to action” in the medicinal and global frameworks.
There was a resounding voice on a well-attended panel of female Cannabis leaders that echoed the sentiments and truths I know all too well and have missioned to personally convey in my career and life.
Reena Rampersad, founder of High Society Supper Club shared, “The Cannabis industry is still 97% male with an even greater majority of them being white. It is time to bring more diversity and inclusion to the table – so if there isn’t a seat for you – make one!”
As I take a quick snapshot of the great folks here at DeanBlundell.com:
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, 10 white dudes + Amie. Jesus – that’s a tragic sitcom in the making!
I point this out only as it’s fact.
Now let’s flip the coin.
If it wasn’t for certain male leaders along the way, I wouldn’t have a spot or voice at the table. Being grateful as a woman able to speak up with new ideas and have respect – is just as important as being aware that there still needs to be more men like this in the industry. Thanks, Guys – you know who you are.
Women: if there isn’t an invite, you must invite yourself.
Trust me – it hasn’t been a walk in the park and many times along the way, I have had some insights males may have not or ideas that rattle the male ecosystem with plans of “change”. Ruffling feathers is not below me – and sometimes women can really shake things up when fueled especially by passion.
Believe it or not, with Cannabis in its infancy stage- there is room for an opinion while we all learn to collaborate along the way. One word that several women on the panel used as their personal mission was – authenticity.
Webster’s definition of authentic
1: worthy of acceptance or belief as conforming to or based on fact
This is very true as there are so many ways to get involved with a new business venture or bring awareness to areas of Women’s health not many could begin to understand in the same way. Ensuring to motivate other women and work with them on these ideas is also key!
One thing is for sure, being transparent and allowing exposure is a bit daunting at first. Don’t get me wrong, as women and mothers especially. Canada is only the beginning of destroying stigmas globally as other countries become more aware and we share the education openly.
What I did initially to get into the industry:
- Pushed for inclusion at the Executive level
- Shared my story; as well as my child’s journey with medicinal cannabis
- Networked and attended industry events
- Enhanced my education with course opportunities in Cannabis
- Established strong mentors in the field that aligned with my goals
- Started an online platform to journal and share testimony; for women
And the journey only starts here! The future is growing myself and knowing where my strengths lie always. It’s a humble beginning, but it can be done with the right charge. Although I’d love to band with a team of women always – men + women are BOTH needed, always!
Believe in global change and partner with those who embody the same goals. With so many opportunities and verticals in the space – there is something and someone for us all.
It was critical to me to be educated before knocking on C-Suite doors. Be the best at what connects with you most – and start there.