The legal cannabis industry has created countless opportunities and upended even more social norms in the past decade. Entrepreneurs of all stripes have benefited from this national green rush and redefined social and consumer dynamics during this electrifying period of growth. The outbreak of Covid-19 has propelled my line of work into the national spotlight and shown mainstream companies how diversity within cannabis allows us to stay agile during this period of unprecedented changes.
As a former Wall Street wife turned cannabis media executive, I’m no exception to this industry standard. When I married my husband Daniel over a decade ago, I could have never foreseen a future where he gave up his finance career to stay at home with our four daughters so that I could be the founder and CEO of a cannabis communications agency. While this role reversal may seem striking to some, it has serendipitously highlighted how necessary female leadership is in cannabis.
Between various communications projects, my primary role was taking care of my family throughout my late 20s and 30s. When we moved to Seattle in 2014, the legal cannabis market was taking off, and I was approached with a crowdfunding and publicity project for a cannabis cookbook. That one-off campaign planted the seed that would eventually grow into my own agency.
In 2018, I had a hard time seeing my husband’s vision for my client-based company to scale, but by the end of the year, his thought exercise in visualization manifested into my reality. To embark on this venture, my husband and I had to restructure the way we ran the family. We both had demanding jobs with little flexibility, but we still wanted our young daughters to be raised by family instead of a nanny. We ultimately came to the conclusion that being there for our kids was more important than our dual income. My husband decided that it was his turn to support my dreams and walked away from his job as a hedge fund portfolio manager to run the household.
As legal cannabis has been deemed as an essential business across the country during this health crisis, my job is now more demanding than ever. My days are often packed with back-to-back conference calls to help clients pivot their business plans or develop crisis communications strategies. All things considered, I certainly would not be able to stay laser-focused on my business without the support of Daniel, who has taken over virtual homeschooling and channeled his type-A valedictorian personality into running our family more efficiently than I ever could.
Running a rapidly growing business from home has come with its fair share of struggles. Setting expectations and rules with my kids during the workday has allowed me to be fully present with them when I can sneak in an occasional break between meetings. While it can be frustrating when my daughters interrupt a video conference to brush my hair or ask for more snacks, I am also savoring the precious moments when I can eat dinner with my family at a normal time or read bedtime stories to my 5-year-old.
Working from home during the pandemic is humanizing the industry in several necessary ways. Despite the casual nature of the space, cannabis is still filled with many founders and investors that prefer to be more buttoned up. However, in the past few weeks, there hasn’t been a single Zoom conference call without a loose child or pet popping into the frame. These more personal interactions provide a glimpse into each other’s lives and will ultimately help us foster more meaningful business relationships in the long run.
Running my own company in an industry I’m passionate about has been fulfilling, but it hasn’t come without personal sacrifices. When I disclose my family dynamic, people often tell me how lucky I am to have such a supportive husband. This archaic mentality of labeling the breadwinner of the family needs to change. I am fortunate to pursue my professional goals, but my husband is equally lucky to be able to spend so much time with our kids and mold their futures.
I know that my career choice is what’s best for my family and the industry. Being in a visible leadership position has shown my daughters from an early age that they can work toward any goal they put their minds to and have a supportive partner in the future. During this period while I’m working from home, I am fortunate to be able to give my daughters an inside look into what it takes to run a business.