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True confession: I debated writing this article. Not because women don’t deserve recognition in the cannabis industry, but because some women are tired of attaching “female” or “woman” to their titles. They would rather be known for what they do than a woman doing it. On the other hand, people will type “women in X” into google to find successful role models and for opportunities like conference speaking. And, quite frankly, many accomplished women have supported my career growth.
So in that spirit of celebration, not marginalization, here is a list of women in cannabis who have had an impact on me or are just plain badass.
Ivy Mix is the co-founder of Flyers Cocktail Co., a company combining legitimately great-tasting booze-removed cocktail mixes with CBD, and an accomplished and award-winning bartender and entrepreneur (including James Beard Award-nominated Leyenda in Brooklyn, New York).
As consumption lounges start to launch operations, I see a massive opportunity for cannabis/hemp drink-mix space in that space. Given Ivy’s prior accomplishments, if she and her co-founders pursued a consumption space in New York, it will likely be fantastic.
Ellen Mellody is currently a Vice President at Mattio Communications. She was my mentor when I joined her and a couple of other colleagues at Powerplant Global Strategies, a cannabis PR firm that launched in 2016.
When everyone had their feet to the fire busy launching the agency, making it work, and making it successful, she still found time to give guidance as a budding public relations pro and walk me through the “why” every time. She taught me what a “gaggle of reporters” is and how to create campaigns to draw them. I owe her my accelerated success and a compassionate leadership style I hope to pass on.
Ellen has also worked in strategy, communications, and media relations positions with two White House administrations, three presidential campaigns (Gore 2000, Kerry 2004, and Obama 2008), Comcast-NBC Universal, General Electric, and The North Face, among others.
Kristin Jordan is an attorney and the founder and CEO of Park Jordan, a commercial real estate brokerage and advisory services firm serving the cannabis industry. Kristin has worn many hats, from the director of real estate at Acreage Holdings, the founder and CEO of Mannada, a NYC-based cannabis professional event production company, the founder of the Asian Cannabis Roundtable, and the co-founder of the Cannabis Cultural Association (CCA).
I first met Kristin when I joined the board of the CCA, where we sued Jeff Sessions together. She is fiercely passionate about social equity, walks the walk (lobbied for adult-use cannabis in New York), and anyone that knows her holds a tremendous amount of respect for her. And, you know what they say, people who sue the federal government together for weed, stay together.
Arguably, almost every industry is a “boys club,” which is especially true for investing. But Daisy Mellet, a partner at Merida Capital, has quietly worked at one of the largest private equity funds in cannabis. According to their website, Merida is invested in over 60 companies and manages approximately $500 million across our funds, co-investments, and a SPAC. All in a day’s work for Mellet.
Before joining Merida in 2017, Mellet helped launch Seawolf Capital, LLC, a long/short equity fund based in New York City, where she ultimately served as the fund’s Chief Operating Officer.
Mellet is an absolute must-watch in cannabis.
While the industry is hyper-focused on California, and now the Northeast, Laurie Gregory is helping build recognition for cannabis in Missouri and Arkansas – no small task.
Laurie Gregory is currently the chief marketing officer and brand leader at Good Day Farm, a leading multi-state operator and one of the largest medical cannabis producers in the South. Gregory has been immersed in the cannabis industry since 2019 when she served as Chief Brand and Marketing Officer for Skymint Brands, Michigan’s leading vertically integrated cannabis company and the state’s largest medical and recreational license holder.
Laurie knows how to build and scale businesses. She was a founding executive of Bath & Body Works, where she originated the design, branding, packaging, and in-store experience that resulted in the growth of 1,600 stores and $2 billion in sales.