Celebrating Dope Women on International Women’s Day

Since the first rumblings of legalization in Canada, this industry has made ‘making history’ all part of a day’s work. Our favourite part of that? The fact that Canada is now able to step into the global spotlight as a leader in legal pot is, in large part thanks to the work of women.

We have a lot to be proud of right here in Toronto. Here are just a few of the local female powerhouses lighting up the path ahead.

Zoe Brownstone, Writer, comic and host of The Dopist podcast


What does Women’s Day mean to you?

The more opportunities to talk about women doing cool shit the better. I don’t see Women’s Day as a day to acknowledge women (I think we can all agree that’s been established) as much as it is a great excuse for those who do not typically get their voices heard to have a bit of the spotlight. I’m talking about women in war-torn countries, women of colour, women with disabilities and, in Canada especially, Indigenous women.

Who is another woman that inspires you and why?

My grandmother is 94 years old, lives on her own, is a working actor and drives herself to Newfoundland every summer. She also makes time to come watch me do comedy, go dancing at Grossman’s and helps out with props at Alumni theatre. The woman is a power house. I hope to one day be half the woman she is both professionally and for my own family.

What do you love most about being a woman in the cannabis industry?

This is the first time in my professional life where being a woman is seen not only as an asset but as an excuse to sit me at the head of the table. People want to see more women in charge, more women defining trends and more women at the top.

Although I struggle with the idea that my gender can give me a leg up as that was such a burden for women in the previous century from the male vantage point, I am grateful to be a part of a new growing community of more open minded individuals who account for talent, success and yes, gender diversity!

Zoe Brownstone is a Toronto-based writer, comic and host of The Dopist podcast. Catch her live in Toronto by checking out her Upcoming Shows section at zoebrownstone.com or on Instagram @zoezoehaha and Twitter @zoebrownstone


Abi Roach, President of Hotbox Holdings


What does Women’s Day mean to you?

I have always been a believer in carving out your own road where no path exists, encouraging women to not wait but to own your future.

Who is another woman that inspires you and why?

There are many women I find inspiring. Lisa Campbell is a risk taker, and a visionary who understands the complexities of the industry and like myself, finds her own path.

What do you love most about being a woman in the cannabis industry?

I love it when people expect me to be a certain type of person, and quickly realize I am who I am.

Abi has been innovating the cannabis lifestyle & tourism industry for 20 years, with decades of retail operations. Dedicating her life to the freedom of cannabis consumers and the normalization (and now legalization) of cannabis. Abi is the newly appointed Executive Chair of NORML Canada. Founding director of OCCRA & CFBA. @abiroach twitter @abiroach420 insta @abiroach Facebook


Jeannette VanderMarel, CO-CEO of 48 North Cannabis


What does Women’s Day mean to you?

It’s a day to recognize and acknowledge the great strides women have made in our culture as well as acknowledge the long way we have yet to go to create balance in our world.

Who is another woman that inspires you and why?

There are so many it’s hard to name just one. The women that inspire me are women that have broken the mold, led or created their companies and created the great corporate cultures that women do so well.

What do you love most about being a woman in the cannabis industry?

It has been the most exciting time of my life. I love the rapid change of the industry in going from a stigmatized black market to a legal regulated and controlled industry. I love the ability to support and promote women in this industry and I love my ability to create a great company.

An early entrepreneur in the cannabis industry, Jeannette VanderMarel is the co-CEO of 48North Cannabis Corp., a vertically-integrated cannabis company focused on the health and wellness market through cultivation and extraction, as well as the creation of innovative, authentic brands for next-generation cannabis products. Previously, Jeannette co-founded The Green Organic Dutchman, one of Canada’s early Licensed Producers of medical cannabis, in addition Jeannette co-founded Good & Green, a Licensed Producer acquired by 48North.


Sara Zborovski, Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP


What does Women’s Day mean to you?

To me, Women’s Day is about collaboration and celebration: women coming together to recognize and celebrate the social, cultural, economic and political achievements of women across the globe.

Who is another woman that inspires you and why?

I’m inspired by all the women in this industry for taking risks, working hard at something new, pushing the envelope and doing it all in a space that remains (at least to-date) largely dominated by men. And all while also balancing family, friends and other passions (we women are amazing mutlitaskers!)

What do you love most about being a woman in the cannabis industry?

I love the cannabis industry for its energy, drive, passion and entrepreneurial / innovative spirit and I’m proud to be a part of it. I am fortunate to get to work with bright, talented women who are leading the way and providing amazing role models for Canadian girls. Women in the cannabis industry are showing the world that women are creative thought leaders who can (and do!) successfully, and with great spirit, take charge!

Sara Zborovski practices regulatory and commercial law for companies regulated by Health Canada. Sara assists clients in navigating the regulatory landscape implemented by the Cannabis Act, the Food and Drugs Act and other related legislation and regulations. She counsels cannabis, pharmaceutical, food and beverage, natural health product, medical device, cosmetic and tobacco companies on strategies around market access, authorizations and licensing, product safety and advertising and marketing.


Abigail Van Den Broek, Abigail Van Den Broek PR & Communications


What does Women’s Day mean to you?

I think every day should be women’s day, but I do recognize the importance of making a big effort to acknowledge, recognize and celebrate women, since we still have so far to go to achieve true equality. I also recognize that there are many women around the world that don’t have anywhere near the same opportunities and experiences that we have in Canada (and….women here even, who are still so far behind men).

So – to me, it’s an opportunity for women to take the spotlight, shine a light on all the areas we need to do better, celebrate the achievements of women, and create a conversation around how to keep making all of this better – for all women.

Who is another woman that inspires you and why?

AOC! (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez). I am truly in awe of her. Her brains, her passion, her razor sharp questions and perspectives, and how she seems like a real human being cutting through the noise. She is a firecracker and I cannot wait to see what she does. To me, she is the future and an incredible role model for anyone, whether related to politics or not. I get chills watching her calm, collected, brilliance taking down dusty old establishment politicians. Just imagine the world we’d have with more women like her in power.

What do you love most about being a woman in the cannabis industry?

I love that I get to help shape and tell stories of women in the cannabis industry, helping them carve out a strong, equal place in a brand new industry that has the potential to do so much for so many. Being a part of creating a brand new industry is amazing, and hopefully, having a hand in creating a truly equitable industry where women of all stripes have seats at the table (ideally at the head).

Abby is a public relations and communications pro, having worked in the space for 10 years. She helps brands and people craft and share stories about the groundbreaking, innovative, creative work they are doing. She loves working with people that push boundaries, rewrite rules and make headlines. Site: www.abigailv.ca, @bigailv on insta. 


Lisa Harun, Entrepreneur, Investor, Co-Founder of Vapium


What does Women’s Day mean to you?

What became so clear with #MeToo is how far away we still are from gender equality, violence against women and abuse of power. Women have to fight harder, stand in solidarity and employ empathy to raise pressure on society and politics. ‘International Women’s Days’ and ‘Days against Abuse of Women’ will not change the status quo.

These battles need to be fought every day by women and our allies to effect real change. We need our voices to be loud. To be unafraid of saying exactly what we want. Be unapologetic. Make everyday our day.

Who is another woman that inspires you and why?

There are so many amazing women in business today. The women I most admire are the ones who have come from obscurity, taken huge risks and don’t necessarily fit the norm – I would take a page from the play books of Rosalia Mera, JK Rowling and Oprah Winfrey. The common thread is that no matter where you come from, how much (or little) education you have, with a clear vision and determination, you can build your own Queendom.

What do you love most about being a woman in the cannabis industry?

Being unapologetic about building consumptive devices and bringing awareness to this powerful plant – bringing her into the light, where she was once looked upon with disdain.

Lisa Harun is the CMO and Co-Founder of Vapium Inc – a data driven, MedTech company leading three brands in the Cannabis Industry and is a MaRS Advisor. In 2013, she co-founded Vapium with Roboticist Michael Trzecieski. The company’s three brands sell in over 20 countries and is a resident at Jlabs Toronto (Johnson & Johnson). Lisa’s background is in Sales, Marketing and Strategy. Lisa has been a MaRS Volunteer Advisor since 2010 working with ICE, Social Innovation and mainly Clean Tech. Her experience spans Energy/Environment, FMCG, Fashion, Media, Robotics and Toys.

She has appeared on TVO, StayRootd, Humble + Fred Morning Show, The Roll Up Show and MTV. Written for Entrepreneur, HuffPo and recently spoken at ElevateTO, New West Summit and DisruptorsTO. She has also been profiled in Rogue Stories, Business Insider, LadyBoss, Lionness Magazine, Swaay and recently featured in the Top 100 Women in Cannabis High Times. www.vapium.com Twitter: @missharun


Rebecca Brown, Founder, Crowns Agency


What does Women’s Day mean to you?

Feeling pretty emotional! I have love beyond words for the women who hold me up — my friends, colleagues, aunts, mentors, sisters and above all for my daughter. But I’m also angry about the daily bullshit we do battle with.

Who is another woman that inspires you and why?

So many! But I’m going to shout out Jeannette VanderMarel for her bravery, steel, humour and wisdom.

What do you love most about being a woman in the cannabis industry?

I think it can be a platform for female leadership. We’re not there yet. I love that possibility.

Crowns is a brand new advertising agency focused on a brand new market: cannabis. Crowns has a lean, focused team with decades of experience in traditional advertising, adtech and startups, but has no intention of following the old playbook. Crowns is women-led, diverse, data savvy and relish the idea of helping cannabis companies build their brands and tell their stories effectively inside the constraints of regulatory limits — which the agency doesn’t see as limits at all.

http://blog.weedbox.io/celebrating-dope-women-on-international-womens-day/

Author: News

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