Glass Ceiling Wreckers: 2019 CBE Power Women of Cannabis

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Over the past 3 years, CBE has identified and ranked women involved with regulated cannabis that have made a significant impact on the industry. Whether through their business or political activities, as a CEO or operator of a licensed cannabis business, as the owner of a successful ancillary business or for their roles in bringing legally regulated cannabis to consumers in the form of a medical or adult-use program, or for their oversight and management of regulatory systems at the state or federal level or for their pro-cannabis activism, these women have been responsible for the development of the industry.

After all, like the other ranking lists that CBE has published over the years, the past and current women’s list is all about saluting those that are establishing the industry through their activities to generate revenues from a legally, regulated marketplace while literally transferring revenue from the black market. The 2017 Co-CBE Most Important Women in Cannabis, Nancy Whiteman, CEO of Wana Brands and Patricia Rossi, CEO of Wellness Connection of Maine (an Acreage Capital Holding), as operators, led last year’s list of impressive women that of have done just that.

This year, the 2019 CBE Power Women list has been further refined to only include women that have, as owners or operators of a licensed entity or ancillary business, led their companies to remarkable revenue generation over the last year as well as their ongoing contributions to the industry and, women in particular, as professional business leaders, pioneers, mentors and equal peers to the males that dominate industry leadership positions. Industry women have been recognized in the past couple of years as well on CBE’s Producer, Processor and Retailer list, our annual ranking of Ancillary Businesses as well as our Political 100 lists and will continue to be an important contributing demographic segment to the future of the Cannabis Industry worldwide. CBE congratulates all of the women entrepreneurs that have taken the leap, at great personal risk, for all of their hard work and efforts to be a part of the professionalizing the industry and working hard torn an equal seat the boardroom table.

As the old Virginia Slim’s tag-line said many year’s ago, “You have come a long way baby!”. But there is still more room to grow to punch a whole through the proverbial glass ceiling which still exists and is unfortunately a real barrier in the Cannabis Industry. Of the largest Canadian LPs and American Multiple State Operators (MSO’s), there no women running any of these companies. Like Katherine Graham of The Washington Post who was the first women to lead a Fortune 500 company, one of this years list members has founded and leads an emerging publicly traded MSO into the male dominated cannabis industry. And gender is not the only barrier. African-American men and women and other minorities are still working hard and climbing to grab the brass ring to earn the distinction of leading a dominant cannabis enterprise.

The 2019 CBE Power Women in Cannabis list features 31 extraordinary women that have not only posted impressive numbers but have also been heavily involved in advancing the industry and cracking the glass ceiling. And several are on their way to joining their male peers at the head of the boardroom table.

Congratulations to this year’s #1 ranked woman, early industry mover, investor and MSO and now iAnthus Director and Chief Strategy Officer, Beth Stavola who head’s up this year’s CBE Power Women of Cannabis list. It can be argued that many of this year’s ranked women have already destroyed the proverbial “glass ceiling” in their respective areas of operation and leadership (including segment leaders in banking, state licensed producers, processors, retailers, media, staffing, packaging etc.) and that some will emerge alongside their male peers running some of the industry’s largest companies.

Katherine Graham of The Washington Post was the first women to lead a Fortune 500 company, and CBE believes one of the women on this year’s list will be the first Cannabis Industry Chairwomen or CEO to achieve that status. Several of this year’s lists are well on their way and women in and outside the industry and CBE are looking forward to seeing theses leaders and others as the emerge wreck the glass ceiling in cannabis once and for all.

CBE 2019 Power Women in Cannabis 

#1 Beth Stavola, Director & Chief Strategy Officer, iAnthus Holdings 

Not a whole lot more can be said about Stavola, who CBE profiled in a recent article, “The C$845 Million Dollar Women”. However, in the past month, Beth has been at it again, selling her CBD company, CBD for Life to iAnthus Holdings, once again expanding her gains in the industry from an original family investment. In her role at iAnthus, Beth not only has a significant stake in the company as one of its larger shareholders but also has overseen the asset creation that has put iAnthus into the position of being not only one of the largest multiple state operators in the Cannabis Industry but also one with brands like “MPX” and “CBD for Life” that she and her team have built since entering the fray over 5 years ago.

And, rest be sure, Beth isn’t done. She has too much good chutzpah, energy, smarts, and a large network in and outside the industry as well as an innate ability to identify opportunities and lead and motivate teams to execute strategies to maximize those opportunities.

 #2 Sundie Seefried, CEO/President of Partner Colorado Credit Union & the CEO/Chairman of Safe Harbor Services:

Sundie Seefried is presently the CEO/President of Partner Colorado Credit Union & the CEO/Chairman of Safe Harbor Services, the cannabis banking subsidiary of the credit union located in Denver Colorado.  She has served in the Credit Union industry since 1983 and as CEO since 2001. She holds a bachelor’s in business management from the University of Maryland and an MBA in Finance from Regis University.

Sundie designed a full scope Cannabis Banking Program in 2015 that has withstood the scrutiny of 10 Federal and State exams and has realized great success in serving the cannabis industry; learning the industry and helping them achieve a level of transparency and legitimacy only banking can facilitate. They now bank well in excess of $100 million per month in cannabis funds for over 400 accounts in the industry.  They successfully validated approximately $1.3 billion cannabis related funds in 2018 and nearly $1 billion in 2017.  To take the Safe Harbor program to the national level and help bring banking to the cannabis industry in other states, she launched Safe Harbor Services in 2017.

Safe Harbor Services is now working with several other states to assist with the national banking issues.  Presently, Safe Harbor Services is working with financial institutions in 5 other states to establish their own ‘Safe Harbor’ program.  By year-end, they plan to be in 11 states in one form or another.   While she has spent the last two years educating financial institutions, regulators and professionals on cannabis banking, she will devote the next two years to establishing a cannabis banking footprint that will allow her to complete her initial goal of bringing ‘normalized’ banking to the industry and making all communities safer.

To take the Safe Harbor program to the national level and help bring banking to the cannabis industry in other states, she launched this new company in 2017.

#3 Nancy Whiteman, Founder & CEO, Wana Brands

Nancy Whiteman is Founder & CEO of Wana Brands, the producer of America’s best-selling edible, Wana Sour Gummies (according to BDS Analytics). Nancy directs the development of partnerships and licensing agreements domestically and internationally. She also leads the company’s strategic vision, and has been instrumental in Wana Brands’ growth into new and emerging markets. Included in the 2018 Inc. 5000 list at #1087 and boasting a three-year growth rate of 455%, Wana Brands is the No. 1 edibles brand in the United States, with more units and dollars sold than any other brand, according to the October 2018 BDS Analytics report. Wana leads the industry in quality, consistency and potency, featuring a full line of edibles, including market-leading gummies and WanaCapsXR, a family of extended-release cannabis capsules that provide symptom relief for up to 12 hours.

In 2018, Wana Brands launched a new first-in-class disposable vaporizer, the first vape product in a new line extension from Wana. After dominating the edibles industry for nearly a decade, Wana Brands has set its sights on bringing the same level of quality to the vape sector of the market. As the largest infused cannabis brand, Wana has been studying the vapes category–one of the fastest growing categories in the sector–for a year, developing a strategy around that research. When developing the disposable vape line, Wana was singularly focused on consumer desires and providing the highest quality oil. Wana’s disposable vape line began rolling out September 2018, with the launch far exceeding sales expectations and Wana will launch a cartridge line in Q1 2019.

Wana products are available in Colorado, Arizona, Oregon, Nevada, and Illinois. Wana is currently onboarding in Florida and Michigan to serve medical marijuana patients in those markets. The Company expects to enter California, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Missouri, Massachusetts, New Jersey and internationally in Canada by 2020.

Prior to founding Wana, Nancy was a principal with The Whiteman Group, a sales and marketing consultancy, and previously held a range of senior level marketing and business development positions including Vice President, Marketing and New Corporate Ventures for the Paul Revere Insurance Group in Massachusetts. Nancy holds a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University and an MBA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is a member of the Colorado Cannabis Manufacturers Association, National Cannabis Industry Association and Marijuana Policy Project.

#4 Kim Rivers, CEO, Trulieve

Kim Rivers currently serves as CEO of Trulieve, the first and leading medical cannabis company in the state of Florida and, according to New Cannabis Ventures, the most profitable cannabis company in the United States. Ms. Rivers authored the initial application for a Florida cannabis license, ultimately receiving the highest score of all applicants. As CEO, Ms. Rivers has overseen the entire growth of the firm from its very inception.  She directed the construction and growth of the company’s cultivation and processing facilities, developed its marketing program, creating its growth strategy, and coordinated the construction of the firm’s dispensary network in Florida and, indeed, throughout the United States.  She led the company in a successful effort to raise capital by coordinating the effort to sell Trulieve shares on the Canadian Securities Exchange (Ticker symbol TRUL.CN).  Ms. Rivers is now leading the company to expand its footprint beyond Florida.  She has developed and executed Trulieve’s growth strategy in identifying quality partners and negotiating the terms of the acquisition of multiple licenses in other states.  Recently, Ms. Rivers has overseen the purchase and integration of purchases of cannabis companies in California and Massachusetts and is on her way to creating an MSO on par with any of the more highly publicized  Importantly, Ms. Rivers has enhanced the firm’s marketing potential by entering into licensing arrangements with national cannabis brands, which enables  they Trulieve’s customers to enjoy products they see in other areas of the country.

Prior to Trulieve, Ms. Rivers has run numerous successful businesses from real estate to finance for over a decade. In addition to serving as CEO of Trulieve, she was Senior Vice President at Hunter & Harp Holdings, LLC and is the principal at Inkbridge, LLC.  The success of these ventures is in no small part due to the combination of her corporate law experience and her real estate experience.

Ms. Rivers received her Bachelor’s degree with honors in Multinational Business and Political Science from Florida State University and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Florida. She has spent several years in private practice as a lawyer where she specialized in mergers, acquisitions, and securities for multi-million dollar companies.

#5 Cassandra Farrington, Co-Founder & CEO, Marijuana Business Daily: 

Cassandra Farrington and her partner Anne Holland were early movers in the Cannabis Industry ancillary business segment launching Marijuana Business Daily in 2011 and leveraging its circulation and database to build the most successful trade show serving the industry.

Marijuana Business Daily is one of the leading B2B resources in the legalized business of marijuana. The  independent publisher and event producer serving America’s cannabis industry entrepreneurs and investors produced revenues well in excess of $20 million in 2018. 

The company produces America’s oldest and largest Cannabis Trade Show: Marijuana Business Conference & Expo (MJBizCon). Their annual fall event is held in Las Vegas, every November and moving to December in 2019. The 2015, 2016, and 2017 events were named to the Fastest 50 growing trade shows in North America by Trade Show Executive Magazine as it saw attendance nearly double in one year. The 2018 MJBizCon attendance topped 28,000 in total attendance.

In May 2015, they added a Spring Expo event as well. They have branded the spring event as MJBizNEXT which was held May 2018 in New Orleans and debuted their first international event, MJBizConINT’L in August 2018 in Toronto, Canada.

The company has also published  The Marijuana Business Factbook  since 2013. The research and data presented has been quoted on major news outlets like NBC Nightly News, CNBC, Yahoo!, Bloomberg, Forbes, Fortune, and more.

Prior to co-founding Marijuana Business Daily with Anne Holland who she met when working at Phillips Business Information (now Access Wire) back in the mid to late 90’s, Farrington worked with Citigroup. She is a graduate of the University of Alabama and holds an MBA from the University of Texas.

#6 Sally Van Der Veer, Co-Owner and CEO, Medicine Man:

Considered a cannabis industry pioneer, Vander Veer is at the helm of Colorado’s most recognized and successful brand, Medicine Man. The operation includes a 40,000 square foot cultivation and five dispensaries. Under her leadership, Medicine Man has expanded their retail footprint by adopting mainstream retail strategies to expand both customer experience, customer base, and profit.  Her successful navigation of the rapidly changing compliance landscape has been one of the keys to the company’s longevity.

Cited in 2016 and 2017 by Cannabis Business Executive Magazine as one of the most important woman in marijuana, Sally is active in shaping cannabis policy at both the local and national level. Passionate about science, data and changing the perceptions regarding the power and safety of cannabis as a medicine, she believes that educating the public is key to achieving Federal legalization.

Sally holds degrees in Chemistry and Business from the University of Colorado and spent over 20 years in various executive positions in the pharmaceutical industry and medical education space. She began as a research and development chemist and later moved to sales for Parke-Davis and eventually as a medical liaison for Pfizer, prior to entering the marijuana industry.

Sally serves as the Chairperson for the Aurora Business Advisory Board, is a commissioner on the Businesses of Thornton Advisory Commission and contributes as a speaker and participant in several other marijuana advisory boards and committees. She recently joined the Board of Directors for Anami Blockchain. She also acts as executive director of the Medicine Man Family Foundation, a philanthropic organization started by her family with the mission to elevate the lives of families and individuals through projects which target hunger and family safety.

She has been featured in articles in Time Magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone, The Washington Post, The Economist, Inc. Magazine and the London Times.  She and her family were also featured on the MSNBC Series “Pot Barons.”

In 2018, Medicine Man was voted one of the Top 50 Companies to Work for in Cannabis by MG Retailer Magazine.

#7 Brooke Gehring, Owner, Managing Member Colorado 7 Investment

Gehring is recognized as one of the country’s most successful female entrepreneurs in the medical and adult-use cannabis industry with over a decade of expertise in regulated cannabis. She founded Live Green Consulting in Denver, Colorado in 2009 and was one of the first cannabis female executives profiled by CBE back in 2015. She is Co-Founder, Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer of FGS Inc., Patients Choice of Colorado and Live Green Cannabis, an industry leading medical and recreational marijuana company holding 26 state and local licenses that have operated across four dispensary locations in Colorado and two large-scale cultivation operations.

Gehring is the former Chair of the Marijuana Industry Group (MIG), which is the largest and oldest industry trade organization in Colorado, along with being a Sustaining Member of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), Board Member of Cultivation Conference (2017-2019) and the Cannabis Dispensary Times Editorial Board. Brooke is also a Founding Board Member of the Council for Responsible Cannabis Regulation (CRCR) and a Funding Founder of Women Grow.

Outside of Colorado she has pivoted her vertically integrated operating experience to be a prominent consultant to multi-state licensees in California, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.  Gehring, who was previously a commercial banker for BNP Paribas/Bank of the West, has been proactive in the legislative, rule-making, and licensing processes since her inception into the industry and served on the Colorado State Licensing Authority’s A64 Working Groups several times as member and stakeholder for the Production Management, Licensing, Licensed Premises, Transportation and Storage, Taxation, Testing and Random Sampling discussions, along with the Senate Bill 40 work group. Gehring is actively involved in promoting the public policy for medical and legalized access, 280E tax reform, and banking solutions that will continue to help normalize and shape the future of this industry.

#8 Rosa Cazares, CEO, LaMota, Oregon

With 15 dispensary locations and counting in Oregon, LaMota CEO Rosa Cazares has led the growth of one of the states dominant cannabis retail chains. At the young age of 30, the Florida native and her team have built an impressive footprint in one of the first adult-use markets in the country.

La Mota is a group of OLCC licensed Recreational and Medical Marijuana stores and Cazares has built a team of 100 plus employees, many of whom are women. They plan on adding several new stores (their website identifies 24 locations) competing with the likes of other retail chains like Nectar and Mr. Nice Guy for the largest footprints and consumer market share in the state.

#9 Nicole Smith, Senior Vice President of Manufacturing at Harvest Health & Recreation

Shortly after cannabis was legalized in Colorado, Nicole Smith co-founded Mary’s Medicinals, producing the first widely available transdermal cannabis products, and eventually growing the company into eight states, a nutraceutical line available internationally, a pet line and a 501c3 non-profit foundation.

In 2017, she brought her experience with consumer preferences and product development to CBx Enterprises and its brands including CBx Sciences and Evolab – the best selling vape in Colorado. In her time at CBx Enterprises, it has been awarded ‘Best Infused Product’ in 2017 by the Cannabis Businesses Awards, the ‘Cannabis Business of the Year’ in 2018 by Cannabis Business Awards and most recently, Evolab, one of its most popular brands, was awarded Best Flavored Vape at the 2018 Rooster Magazine THC Classic and Best Vape Cartridge at the 2018 Terpenes & Testing World Conference.

Smith was among the first to market the benefits of cannabinoids CBG, THCA, Delta 8 THC, CBC and CBN, and continues to develop new cutting edge ideas for isolating, manufacturing and marketing medicinal and recreational cannabis. She is an author of one of the first patents issued in the legal cannabis market and a Board Member of the Realm of Caring Foundation.

Currently, Smith is the senior vice president of manufacturing at Harvest Health & Recreation after successfully positioning CBx to be acquired by Harvest in late 2018.  

#10 Leigh Coulter, President, GGS Structures

Is the President of GGS Structures Inc. a leading greenhouse manufacturer with sales worldwide. GGS has supported cannabis growers since the early 1990s both through greenhouse technology and indoor controlled environment agriculture (CEA).  GGS has a robust team of professionals focused on improving cannabis cultivation. The GGS rolling bench and multi-tiered benches are two of their industry leading products. GGS was the first greenhouse manufacturer worldwide to actively promote cannabis cultivation in greenhouses through their website, brochures, and in the media.  GGS is currently also involved with several government research projects and educational institutes building new cannabis cultivation programs.

Coulter holds a degree in business from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, and she has been asked to speak at numerous events regarding manufacturing and business development.  Regarding the rapid growth of the cannabis industry, she has been interviewed by Bloomberg, Detroit Radio, the Globe and Mail, a host of magazines, and several television productions, including a PBS special.  Coulter speaks passionately about “doing the right thing” and that supporting people’s rights to choose how they take care of their bodies is fundamentally “the right thing”. Working with cannabis growers all over the world she has developed the utmost respect for people who want to perfect their craft, and grow their best plants, and everyone on the GGS team is delighted to be part of that mission. 

#11 Hilary V. Bricken, Co-Founder, Harris Bricken

Is a partner at Harris Bricken in its Los Angeles office. Licensed to practice law in California, Washington, and Florida, she is one of the premier cannabis business and regulatory attorneys in the United States. As chair of Harris Bricken’s Regulated Substances practice group, which includes the Canna Law Group, she helps cannabis companies of all sizes with their cannabis related legal issues.

In 2013, based on her work in the marijuana industry, The Puget Sound Business Journal named Ms. Bricken one of seven Deal Makers of the Year. From 2014 through 2019, she was named a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers Magazine. Also, in 2015, the Puget Sound Business Journal named Hilary to its Top 40 Under 40 list for business and leadership, and in 2017 the American Bar Association named Hilary a Top 40 Under 40 “On the Rise” attorney in the United States. In 2018, Hilary was honored by National Law Journal as a “Cannabis Law Trailblazer”.In 2019, Business Insider named Hilary as one of the top deal attorneys in the cannabis industry in the U.S. Hilary also authors a weekly column for Above the Law that features content on marijuana policy and regulation, and Hilary is a regular contributor to and editor of her firm’s Canna Law Blog.

# 12 Pamela Donner, COO, Desert Medical Campus, Inc., Green Hills Patient Central Gel Caps Concepts and Genifer M Jewelry

Donner is a woman who wears many hats. Known for often donning a motorcycle helmet and cruising the byways of the Arizona desert and the Colorado Rockies, Donner has a variety of business and personal interests.

After starting her career in the commercial real estate industry, she gained a reputation for her operational skills and became a court appointed receiver for distressed real estate properties. She has a knack for getting troubled businesses back in the black, and prides herself as a turnaround expert.

She formed Coreland Donner Companies, which became a significant multi-state full-service real estate company with offices in 3 states.

Which she later sold and purchased several Chevron gas stations in the Phoenix metro area. Her expertise in running profitable stations led to her getting requests to become a Gas Station Receiver to operate troubled gas stations throughout the Southwest. Donner has done over 450 receivership and has an unsurpassed record of successful turnarounds.

After 30 years and over 450 Receivership assignments, she now serves as Sr. Project Manager for Los Angeles-based Receivership Specialists in another field; Legal marijuana. Donner was called on to oversee operations of three Arizona medical marijuana dispensaries. When one of the dispensary receivership cases settled, she stayed on as his Chief Operating Officer. 

Most recently she is overseeing the remodel of the production facility and adding a CBD manufacturing operation, which boasts a state of the art soft gel capsule system. As a partner in Gel Cap Concepts, Donner is spearheading their white label CBD services to small operators across the United States, boasting their ability to manufacture many specialty products that others tend to over look. 

Additionally, Donner is COO of GENIFER M, a cannabis inspired jewelry company founded by her husband Glenn Murray and his daughter and industry pioneer Genifer Murray. Donner is expanding its distribution to include upscale cannabis dispensaries and traditional jewelry stores, in addition to online sales.

The combined revenue of the cannabis companies Donner oversees was in excess of $16 million in calendar year 2018.

Donner is now a highly active participant in the national cannabis industry, and a leading voice in the development of rules that promote a well-regulated, safe and successful Arizona market.

# 13 Laurie Zrenda & Meredith Elmer, Co-Founders & Operators of Thames Valley Relief

Laurie Zrenda and Meredith Elmer opened one of the first six medical marijuana dispensaries in Connecticut in September of 2014. The state of CT was the first to require pharmacists to dispense the medication and both Laurie and Meredith had been registered pharmacists for over 20 years.

Over the 4 & 1/2 years that they’ve been open, they’ve seen their patient

base grow from 188 to over 5200 and sales that should top 10 million dollars this year. They often do community outreach programs at hospitals and senior centers to introduce medical marijuana to potential patients and to educate other health professionals. In January of 2019, the business was sold to Acreage Holdings to allow for further growth and opportunities. 

#14 Patricia Rosi-Santucci, CEO, Wellness Connection of Maine:

Patricia Rosi is CEO of Wellness Connection, Maine’s leading cannabis operator (that counts Acreage Holdings as an investor as well) that’s now a model for patient-centric care on the East Coast and beyond. With 80 employees and over $15M in revenue, the Wellness Connection includes four Maine state-licensed dispensaries with state-of-the art cultivation, processing and manufacturing facilities.

Rosi is a cannabis industry trailblazer. Since 2011, she has successfully navigated the challenges of this new industry, collaborating with Maine state officials to create a solid and sustainable policy framework, developing strong business partnerships and expanding all lines of business. She’s now a sought-after advisor to early stage cannabis enterprises across the US, providing insight on best management, production and R&D practices as well as emerging retail and consumer trends.

Rosi has been honored nationally as a pioneer and progressive in the cannabis industry. She was named the 2017 CBE Most Important Woman in Cannabis, by Cannabis Business Executive (CBE). Also in 2017, Rosi was named one of Maine’s top five female CEOs by MaineBiz. In 2016, she ranked #3 of the CBE 50 Most Important Women in the Cannabis Industry.

On the national scene, she is an active member of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) Marketing and Advertising Committee as well as the American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp (ATACH). Rosi continues to support policy work in Maine as the state navigates new recreational cannabis laws. She works with the Association of Maine Dispensary Operators (MEADO), Maine Professionals for Regulating Marijuana (MPRM) and Retail Association of Maine.

Rosi champions corporate social responsibility, creating a culture that benefits not only her employees but their communities and patients in need. In 2016, Rosi launched a program dedicated to providing free cannabinoid therapies to patients in hospice care. The Wellness Connection team gives back each year via preferred rates for qualified patients and donates hundreds of paid volunteer hours for community non-profits.

Rosi is a passionate and result-oriented executive with vast global experience in the areas of business management, team-building, marketing, communications and branding.  As a citizen of both the US and France, she has decades of experience as a creative leader at both Saatchi & Saatchi and Omnicom. And she built a small, local creative agency into an experiential marketing leader with national clients that included Verizon, Kraft and P&G.

#15 Beth Kotarbo, COO, Native Roots

After a long career in management consulting including Anderson &

Hitachi Consulting, Kotarbo joined the ranks of the Native Roots team in 2016 as Director of Operations before ascending to her current position of Chief Operating Officer.

Native Roots is one of the largest cannabis revenue generators in the US with 20 retail locations and grow facilities in Colorado employing over 600  and generating an estimated $100 million in revenues.

Kotarbo reunited with CEO Ryan Brown and is a key player in the companies plans to expand into Canada and other U.S. states as Colorado reconsiders allowing outside investment in cannabis companies based in the state.

#16 Michelle Bodner, President & CEO Curaleaf, NY

Bodner is President and CEO of Curaleaf New York, a leading medical cannabis provider. She originally joined Curaleaf as a consultant and has served on its Board of Directors and as Chief Operating Office. When Curaleaf received its New York license, Ms. Bodner returned to her home state to develop Curaleaf’s New York operation. She is currently responsible for the operation of four medical cannabis dispensaries and a 75,000 sq. ft. state of the art manufacturing facility in New York State. In her role, Ms. Bodner manages business development, compliance, government relations and operations to provide high quality, tested, and trusted medical cannabis at affordable prices to New York patients.

Ms. Bodner is also a seasoned entrepreneur and has roots extending into the non-profit world including her former position as Chief Operating Officer of the New York City Opera and Director of Project Development for the Empire State Development Corporation. In 2003, she co-founded the real estate and management consulting firm Fountainhead Advisory Services. Ms. Bodner began her career as a Financial Analyst at Credit Suisse and later served in positions at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, GE Capital Corporation, Millennium Development Corporation, and Laundry Zone, Inc.

Ms. Bodner has degrees in Business and Economics, graduate degrees in Business Administration and Real Estate Investment and Development, and is a non-practicing CPA.

#17 Jennifer Dooley, Vice President, Corporate Development & Investor Relations for Green Thumb Industries (GTI)

Dooley brings a decade of experience building consumer brands, driven by her uniquely creative and analytical approach to identifying and capitalizing on market opportunities to GTI.

Prior to joining GTI, Jennifer led strategic Brand Development and Innovation at Storck USA, a top 10 global confectioner, known for brands Werther’s Original, Toffifay, Mamba, merci and RIESEN. While there, she managed a $100M brand portfolio P&L and brought to market dozens of new products, including the first non-confection product to come out of the century-old Werther’s Original brand: a Caramel Popcorn that knocked out incumbents, earning #1 ranks in the market, and the 2015 Snack Category Product of the Year. She also ran brand operations for the Werther’s Original Caramel Shoppe in the Germany Pavilion at Walt Disney World’s Epcot.

Jennifer earned her MBA from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management with a focus on Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She graduated summa cum laude from the College of Charleston with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and English while a member of The College’s NCAA Division I Cross Country and Track + Field teams.

#18 Kristi Knobloch Palmer, COO Kiva Confections

Kristi Knoblich Palmer is co-founder and chief operating officer of Kiva Confections. Founded in 2010, Kiva’s mission is to produce safe, consistent and delicious edibles. Palmer is the driving force behind Kiva’s customer service philosophy, employee development and best practices in manufacturing, business and marketing. She and her team have successfully grown the company to serve over 1,000 stores in California, Arizona, Nevada and Illinois. Palmer also holds a board seat on the California Cannabis Industry Association and is its current Board President. She is also one of the co-founders of the California Cannabis Manufacturing Association.

#19 AC Braddock, CEO, Eden Labs

AC Braddock is CEO of Eden Labs an innovative organization that designs and builds multiple types of distillation and extraction systems across industries such as nutraceuticals, flavorings, liquor, essential oils, food oils, hops, and many other applications. She is a board member of Pacific Century Holdings, chairwoman of National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), the NCIA Federal Policy Council and Washington state’s The Cannabis Alliance. Ms. Braddock is also a founding supporter of three Cannabis Women’s groups, WOW (Women of Weed), The Cannabis Women’s Alliance, and Women Grow.

#20 Alison Gordon & Jeannette VanderMare, co-CEOs and Directors, 48North Cannabis Corp.

As a public Canadian LP, 48North Cannabis Corp. (NRTH.V) is competing head-on in the testosterone loaded Canadian Cannabis market.

Gordan is a veteran of the Canadian cannabis industry, bringing unique experience and relationships to her role as co-chief executive officer of 48North, a vertically integrated Canadian LP. A skilled marketer, she is celebrated for her ability to shift public opinion and consumer behaviour and has been named one of Canada’s Top 10 Marketers by Marketing magazine.

As co-founder of Rethink Breast Cancer, Alison is credited with growing a new generation of young breast cancer supporters, compelled by her groundbreaking communication and pharmaceutical expertise in the health-care realm. Today, Alison is applying her skills to 48North’s business plan in this new era of the cannabis industry. She is on the board of directors for the Cannabis Canada Council.

VanderMarel is an early entrepreneur in the cannabis industry and co-founder of Good & Green and The Green Organic Dutchman, one of Canada’s early Licensed Producers of medical cannabis. Inspired by her personal experience — including her career as a critical care and pediatric intensive care nurse, as well as her daughter’s battle with Dravet syndrome — Jeannette has a strong passion for and commitment to the cannabis industry, recognizing the opportunity cannabis presents to improve patients’ lives, combat the growing reliance on opiates, and improve wellness and health by offering new and innovative treatment alternatives. Ms. VanderMarel was a registered nurse (RN) and a certified nurse in critical care – pediatrics (CNCCP-C) and has previously served as chair of the Family Advisory Council at McMaster Children’s Hospital and was the co-founder and inaugural chair of the Ontario Lavender Association.

#21 Krista Whitley, CEO, Altitude Products

Altitude Products exists today thanks to the leadership of Krista Whitley. An award-winning fast growth entrepreneur, Krista Whitley has spent her career creating organizations poised for explosive growth in underserved industries.

Krista was Las Vegas Market Leader for Women Grow, founding member of the Las Vegas Conscious Capitalism Chapter, and a dedicated board member for several non-profits serving the Las Vegas community over two decades of residency. As an investor, Krista has invested in fellow female entrepreneurs and mentors young entrepreneurs from all backgrounds to educate, inspire, and connect them to the resources they need to be successful.

Whitley founded Altitude Products on her couch and has grown it into an award-winning fast growth plant medicine operation with a 100% female Board of Directors and leadership team. Named by Green Entrepreneur as one of the Top 100 Cannabis Leaders in the Medical category for their exacting standards with a commitment to improving the quality of life for people and pets, Altitude Product’s mission is to save lives by replacing dangerous pills with innovative plant wellness products.

With ten wholly owned CBD brands, including one sold on Amazon, and overseeing the development, manufacture, and distribution of over 350 SKUs, Altitude Products has 27 employees that include individuals from age 21 to 65, all backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, and gender identities. “Our team includes over 50% LGBTQ community leaders and several Veterans, which is intentional,” says Whitley, “Diversity has always been top of mind as we have grown our organization and it is what I am most proud of.” Investor in Altitude includes titans of retail including FAO Schwartz, Zappos, and Eddie Bauer.

#22 Dr. Karen Munkacy, Founder, President and CEO of Garden Remedies, Inc.

Dr. Munkacy earned her MD in medicine from the University of Michigan Medical School in 1982. Her prior work as a board-certified anesthesiologist, pain management specialist and assistant professor at UCLA and USC Medical Centers in Los Angeles gives her a unique perspective on the therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana.

Munkacy is no stranger to pain, she was diagnosed with stage 3B breast cancer in her late 40’s which sparked a deeper interest in medical marijuana.

Now in remission, Munkacy has been focused on the safe and legal access of medical cannabis and is the Founder, President and CEO of Garden Remedies, Inc. (GRI) in Massachusetts (MA) where sheinstills a medically focused, patient-first philosophy Her first dispensary opened in Newton, MA in November of 2016 and is supplied by GRI’s state-of-the-art facility in Fitchburg equipped with the most advanced technology in cultivation, processing, extraction, and edible production.

GRI now operates two medical dispensaries in MA (Newton and Melrose) and will begin offering adult-use cannabis shortly in Newton and the opening of a third location in Marlborough, MA shortly.

As her Linkedin profile states, Munkacy’s prior work as a board certified anesthesiologist, pain management specialist, assistant professor at UCLA and USC Medical Centers in Los Angeles, researcher and international medical consultant gave her a unique perspective into the therapeutic properties of medical cannabis. During her recovery, she extensively researched how medical marijuana could improve the lives of patients suffering from a number of chronic illnesses and she made it my mission to fight for access to this medicine.

As a delegate of the Massachusetts Medical Society she helped persuade the organization to sponsor a physician education program on medical marijuana.

#23 Karson Humiston, Founder & CEO, Vangst

Is the founder of Vangst, the cannabis industry’s leading recruiting platform. To date, Vangst has connected more than 10,000 people with jobs at over 650 leading cannabis businesses. Vangst has raised $12.5M and has offices in Colorado and California. Vangst revenues have grown steadily under Humistan’s leadership, her company ranked 51st on the 2018 CBE Ancillary Business List with revenues in excess of $7.5 million, up from the $2.5 to $4.99 million revenue ranking in 2017.

#24 Nancy Gruskin Warner, CEO and founder of Assurpack

As the CEO and founder of Assurpack, Warner, has a degree in package engineering and over 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, specifically in contract packaging, including expertise with materials, design, function, regulatory compliance and manufacturing.

Assurpack started in 2014 to provide compliant child resistant packaging for infused and edible products with a focus on unique packaging solutions.

The staff consists of highly experienced package development and manufacturing experts to support this unique business.

All products are child resistant proprietary, patented packages only available through Assurpack. Packages are both stock and custom items with a focus on branding, marketing as well as scalability and ease of manufacturing.

Her companies packages are being used by many of the premier brands in the industry.

Assurpack ranked #53 on the 2018 CBE Ancillary Business List.

#25 Diane Czarkowski

Czarkowski is one of the industry’s original cannabis entrepreneurs and a Founding Partner at Canna Advisors. She has played an influential role in the cannabis market since its early stages, helping develop it into one of the fastest growing industries in the United States.

With decades of career success in high-tech and real estate, Diane’s business agility stems from working in industries that are rapidly growing and evolving. She was the founder of one of the first dispensary and cultivation facilities in Colorado.

Since establishing Canna Advisors, the company has achieved significant growth in the five years since its creation without seeking any outside investment. In 2018, Canna Advisors launched a new business unit dedicated to on site design/build services and has already secured several clients across the United States with contracts totaling nearly $750,000. Canna Advisors is also the lead investor in an executive recruiting firm, H2Talent, which had its first $100,000 revenue month within a few months of its inception.

Diane is a strong believer in supporting the development of the industry. She is a Founding Member and Ambassador of the NCIA, a Lifetime Member of the Arcview Group (where she also serves on the Selection Committee), and a sustaining member of SSDP and MPP. She dedicates much of her time mentoring and investing in industry startups; particularly those owned by women. Diane is a Founding Benefactor of Women Grow and has mentored dozens of women entering the cannabis industry. She attends NCIA Lobby Days in Washington, D.C. annually, and is a mentor for Canopy Boulder and the Arcview Investment Group.

From Amendment 64 in Colorado, to United for Care in Florida, to NCIA Lobby Days in D.C., Diane has been actively involved in leading advocacy efforts for years, and has worked at local, state, and national levels to educate and advocate for cannabis reform. She knows that we have an opportunity — and responsibility — to embrace an active role in educating and advocating for the plant and for the industry.

#26 Leise Rosman – Chief Operating Officer, 4Front

As Chief Operating Officer, Rosman helps coordinate and manage the company’s many projects around the country. She brings to the COO role more than a decade of experience managing strategy and operations for leading public policy organizations. She joined 4Front in 2013. As an integral member of the early 4Front Advisors team, she has helped dozens of prospective medical cannabis dispensary and cultivation businesses successfully navigate state-managed competitive application processes in several states.

#27 Chanda Macias, CEO, National Holistic Healing Center

Dr. Chanda Macias, is the CEO of the National Holistic Healing Center Medical Marijuana Dispensary (NHHC) in Dupont Circle, Washington D.C. and the Chairwoman of Women’s Grow, one of the Cannabis Industry’s largest networking organizations. Under her leadership, NHHC has earned $6.5M in annual revenues in 3 years with 98% retention, and an average of 100+ new patients/month. She is a Cell Biologist (PhD) with extensive experience with cancer and infectious disease research. She earned her PhD from Howard University, and extensively trained at the Howard University Cancer Center studying breast cancer where her studies included a focus on developing a model to understand how prostate cancer metastasizes to bone. At Colgate Palmolive Company she researched oral diseases and possible treatment options which contributed to the launch of several billion dollar brands. Her innovations have resulted in three (3) U.S. Patents, and eleven (11) Global Patients (World Intellectual Property Organization), and numerous scientific publications. To top it all off, Chanda has a MBA from Rutgers University (Newark) in Supply Chain Management.

#28 Celeste Miranda Celeste is a seasoned marketing professional who has gathered significant notoriety in the cannabis industry over the past 6 years (10 additional in mainstream marketing). She has taken many cannabis start-ups through very successful launches, gaining unmatched exposure for what are now some of the largest industry brands. Celeste is a frequent speaker on marketing in the cannabis industry at some of the largest cannabis industry expos and events.

She has launched cannabis publications in the industry starting with Terpenes & Testing/Extraction Magazine, Cannabis Compliance & Packaging News, and the most recent being CBD Health & Wellness Magazine. She also produces events such as Terpenes & Testing World Conference 2018, the entire CBD Expo Tour, CONCENTRATION 2019: a Cannabis Extraction Conference, CannaFarm Con, and the Cannabinoid + Natural Products Expo all powered by her publications. She sits on several boards within the cannabis industry including the Cannabis Cultural Association, CALM, and MC4MS.

29 Amy Andrle, Owner of L’Eagle Services

Andrle and her husband John run a sustainable recreational dispensary, MIP and cultivation facility specializing in organically grown cannabis. Established in 2010, L’Eagle Services was an early adopter of organic agricultural best practices and standards, as well as superior consumer education. Amy is responsible for L’Eagle’s day-to-day operations. She oversees L’Eagle’s community outreach and serves on the City of Denver’s Cannabis Sustainability Work Group and as a founding board member of the Cannabis Certification Council. She is also a council member for the Denver County Cultural Council. She provides consulting services for legal marijuana companies looking to improve sustainability in their operations. L’Eagle was awarded the City and County of Denver Department of Environmental Health’s first Certified Green Business designation for a cannabis company.  L’Eagle is the only adult use indoor grow in the state of Colorado to be Clean Green Certified, the No. 1 certification nationally for cannabis cultivated using sustainable, natural and organically-based practices.

In September 2018, Amy launched L’eela CBD Body Care, a line of artisan supplements and luxury body care products that feature the wellness benefits of hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD). All L’eela products are non-psychoactive, formulated with pure and organically produced ingredients, and made with hemp that is grown and processed in the USA. L’eela puts sustainability at the forefront of its ingredient sourcing and manufacturing.

Amy, a Cuban-American Spanish speaker, holds a graduate degree in nonprofit management–was an executive at cultural art organizations, where she gained an appreciation of cooperative compliance and collaboration.

30 Wanda James, Founder & CEO, Simply Pure

Ms. James is the CEO of Simply Pure Dispensary, In 2009, she and her husband, Scott Durrah, became the first African Americans, legally licensed in America, to own a dispensary and edible company. She is also the founder and Managing Partner of the Cannabis Global Initiative (CGI), a marketing and consulting firm that specializes in cannabis production, dispensing and processing, regulatory framework and political outreach. The company is dedicated to consistently providing innovative solutions through strategic alliances and business development surrounding the legalization of cannabis.

Rank Name Title Company COMPANY HQ Public/Private Industry Segment
1 Beth Stavola Chief Strategy Officer iAnthus Capital Holdings New York, NY Public PPR
2 Sundie Siefried CEO & Co-Founder Partner Colorado Credit Union, Safe Harbor banking Denver, CO Credit Union AB
3 Nancy Whiteman CEO Wana Brands Boulder, CO Private PPR
4 Kim Rivers CEO & Chairman Trulieve Cannabis Corporation Quincy, FL Public PPR
5 Cassandra Farrington CEO Marijuana Business Daily Denver, CO Private AB
6 Sally Van Der Veer President Medicine Man Denver, CO Private PPR
7 Brooke Gehring Co-Founder, Chairwoman, & CEO FGS Inc. (DBA LiveGreen Cannabis and Patients Choice of Colorado) Denver, CO Private PPR
8 Nicole Smith CEO Evolabs/Harvest Health and Recreation Denver, CO Public PPR
9 Rosa Cazares CEO LaMota Farms OR Private PPR
10 Leigh Coulter CEO GGS Structures Toronto, CN Private AB
11 Hilary Bricken Founding Partner Harris Bricken Seattle, WA Private AB
12 Pamela Donner COO Pamela Donner, LLC Scottsdale, AZ Private PPR
13 Laurie Zrenda & Meredith Elmer Co-Founders Thames Valley Alternative Relief/Acreage Holdings Uncasville, CT Public PPR
14 Patricia Rossi-Santucci CEO Wellness Connection of Maine/Acreage Holdings Portland, ME Public PPR
15 Beth Kotarbo COO Native Roots Denver, CO Private PPR
16 Michelle Bodner CEO Curaleaf NY Wakefield, Ma Public PPR
17 ​Jennifer Dooley Chief Strategy Officer Green Thumb Industries Chicago, IL Public PPR
18 Kristi Knoblich Palmer Co-Founder & COO Kiva Confections San Leandro, CA Private PPR
19 AC Braddock CEO Eden Labs Seattle, WA Private AB
20 Alison Gordon & Jeannette VanderMare Co-CEOs & Directors 48North Cannabis Corp. Toronto, CN Public PPR
21 Krista Whitley CEO Altitude Products Las Vegas, NV Private PPR
22 Karen Munkacy CEO Garden Remedies Newton, MA Private PPR
23 Diane Czarkowski Founder & Co-Owner CannaAdvisors Boulder, CO Private AB
24 Karson Humiston CEO Vangst Denver, CO Private AB
25 Nancy Gruskin Warner CEO Assurpack Teaneck, NJ Private AB
26 Leise Rosman COO 4Front Ventures Phoenix, AZ Public AB
27 Chanda Macias CEO National Holistic healing Center Washington DC Private PPR
28 Celeste Miranda CEO The Cannabis Marketing Lab/MACE San Luis Obispo, CA Private AB
29 Amy Andrle Co-Founder & Owner L’Eagle Services Denver, CO Private PPR
30 Wanda James CEO Simply Pure Denver, CO Private PPR

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