Career 13 August 2019
It took me a while to feel the need to "come out the closet" but I'm talking about a different kind of closet. I decided from the beginning that I would keep my secret hidden from my family and the public. At times I felt as if I lived a double life like I was a secret agent. My family had no idea I was in the cannabis industry. And not only was I deep in it I quit my 9-5 job at the time to further pursue it.
I knew where to obtain the most potent cannabis in California and it put me in a good position business wise. I could be in a meeting with a blue-collar corporation owner and my next meeting could be with a master grower. It's all business and it was exciting but when asked I told my family I was working out of town on business projects because I didn't want them to judge me, especially my grandmother. I honestly felt empowered in those moments when I knew more about cannabis then the most successful person in the room but I never knew at the time it would one day change my life.
I was introduced to the cannabis industry by one of my best friends. His name is Twompson P also know as Cali Crop Doc who now is the Founder of RX Canna Care. To describe him in words he is a very creative artist, a math pro, visionary and scientist. He has extensive knowledge and is pretty much a genius when it comes to cannabis. Over time by working closely around him I obtained my own knowledge. I can now tell you the difference between different strains, hybrids, indoor OG's, sativas, indicas, wax and more. Ultimately, he realized just how much CBD oil was beneficial health wise so he created organic premium CBD infused skin care lines. I watched him researching, testing and mixing organic scrubs, lotions, and creams. Soon after RX Canna Care came along Relax Organics and then Canna Cosmetics. When he finally created the perfect formulas and was ready to introduce them to the market I felt like this was something really big!
It was wonderful to try the products and experience the positive outcome. I felt focused and the anxiety and stress I fought with from time to time were relieved. I believed in CBD so much on my days off I would drive up to spend time to support him with developing the early business aspects of his company. I was eager since I graduated from the ELEF (Emerging Latina Entrepreneur Fellowship) Program. It was sponsored by the National Latina Business Women's Association and was a special entrepreneur program in business development. I was given the tools I needed along with educational support from mentors, lawyers, local leaders, and professors. After graduating I founded HBM Talent & Management. I wanted to test my skills. It was just my side business at the time, I still had to work full time. I felt like a lioness, hungry and ready to go on the hunt for success.
One day I received an unexpected text from my buddy Twompson. "I got funded! We need to talk, come over." It seemed unreal at first but soon I realized it wasn't a joke. I could feel the excitement and happiness in his voice as he told me the good news. It was Amazing! I felt a rush of intense emotions ranging from shock to joy. He requested I think about quitting my job to really pursue our dreams of running our own companies. He could make it happen. It wasn't hard to make a decision. Next, I had to face my fears of the unknown and overcome them immediately. I knew this was a situation where I was given a rare opportunity.
I didn't know what the future would hold but I did know I had faith. I had faith in my business partner, I had faith in my entrepreneur skills and I had faith in our dreams. I asked him to become CEO of my company HBM and he asked me to be the Spokeswoman for his company RX Canna Care.
We were officially ready for the challenge that the Universe gave us. I felt like a lioness who was let out the cage she was being held in. I was now on the hunt for success and it was fuck*n game time.
We started off big. We didn't want to play like amateurs we took strategic risks and we went all in. We sponsored the biggest cannabis, wellness and cosmetics events in the country. We were premier sponsors of High Times Cannabis Cup, Hemp Con music festivals, and the (IECSC) International Esthetics, Cosmetics, and Spa Conference. We traveled and educated the public on the health benefits of CBD oil. The stigma of the lazy, unlawful stoner was slowly disappearing. I saw Twompson at the worlds largest conferences educating spa owners, estheticians, cosmetologists, massage therapists, medical estheticians, and doctors. He would explain to them "One of the most important things about CBD, especially for people who are new to marijuana, is that they don't need to get high to benefit from cannabis".
At IECSC in Las Vegas, I met Meghan Koziel who survived breast cancer. She used our CBD products throughout her 16 rounds of chemotherapy. She informed us she didn't receive burns where our lotion was applied. She is a real-life advocate on how effectively the CBD products helped with her recovery. That was the first time I met her in person and she looked completely different from the photos I saw of her two years before while in chemo. I looked at her bright blue eyes gleaming and she looked so beautiful and full of life. Her hair that had fallen out had grown back shiny and full. I remember when the customers left she explained to us how passionate she really was because CBD saved her. I felt inspired by her. We hugged and at that moment I realized this is something so very special. This wasn't really about the money or the hunt for success, this was truly about changing lives!
One sunny afternoon I went to visit my Nana Jenny, my sweet grandmother. She helped raise me when I was little and I highly respect her. I noticed right away she had her right ankle up on her sofa. She had a bruise that looked painful. "I tripped and fell and I hurt my ankle". She gave a mini laugh. I immediately grabbed the RX Canna Care pain rub and coffee scrub out my purse. I rubbed it on her and let it soak in and she watched me curiously intrigued. She asked me "Oh what is this? It smells really good? What's in it?" Something inside my heart said: Time to come out the closet. I mean if my Nana Jenny approved then my whole family most likely would and this was the perfect timing! I would rather have her hear it from me so I told her "It's our organic CBD infused coffee scrub. We extract the CBD directly out the THC so you get all the good benefits of cannabis." She asked, "Will this make me feel high?" I said "No Nana... It's legal because there's no THC in it, you won't get high". She looked at the scrub as if she found a box of hidden treasure and rubbed even more on her leg. In the most loving voice, she said: "Thank you". She asked if this was the reason I was traveling so much. I explained to her it's important to me because we are helping people. I shared with her some of my stories of our adventures. At the end of our visit, she said: "I believe in the medical benefits of marijuana". I shook my head in agreement as I smiled with relief.
A few months later I called up my grandma. "Hey Nana, save the date. I would like you to be my special guest at an award ceremony. I'm getting recognized as a California Hero by State Senate for my charity work and you need to go with me!" She replied, "Should I wear a dress or suit?"
I requested a dress for our photo together. When the day came to receive my award I was surprised to see she was wearing heels. I looked at her ankle and it was healed. She noticed I was checking out her leg and she asked me if I could give her more coffee scrub. I said, "Yes Nana, I'll make sure you get more". Then I heard my name and she tapped my shoulder. I walked up and shook the Senators hand to accept my award. I felt so strong, beautiful and grateful that I ended the year as a California Hero. I thought about everything that happened, all the people I help and felt like I could accomplish anything. I kept the faith and it was a big success, heck yeah I did it!
As of January 2018, marijuana has become legal in California for not only medical use but also recreational use. For female entrepreneurs, the cannabis industry and market is a huge opportunity. However, you must be very smart. This industry isn't for the weak-hearted and you must be on top of your game. I advise doing research to ensure you are in compliance with the laws and regulations. A reliable resource I highly recommend is DCN.
Today I no longer feel as if I am living a double life after coming out the closet. Many others have reached out to me. I received a message from Weed For Warriors Project. They asked if I could support and meet their military veterans in San Diego to share medical marijuana and CBD oil options with them. I'm honored to be asked to meet with our veterans. I feel sharing the healthy benefits of cannabis is a responsibility and I intend to continue to educate others. Especially for anyone suffering from PTSD, anxiety, depression, pain or health issues. I want them to know they have options and cannabis can really be used to heal our communities, country, and world.
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Sometimes it takes falling to rock bottom in order to be built back up again. I learned this many years ago when the life I'd carefully built for myself and my family suddenly changed. But in those times, you learn to lean on those who love you – a friend, family member or someone who can relate to what you've been through. I was lucky enough to have two incredible women help me through one of my lowest moments. They taught me to love myself and inspired me to pass on their lessons each da
If it weren't for the empowering women who stepped up and brought fitness back into my life, I wouldn't be standing – in the door of my own business – today.
In 2010, I was a wife, a mother of three, and had filtered in and out of jobs depending on what my family needed from me. At different points in my career, I've worked in the corporate world, been a stay-at-home mom, and even started my own daycare center. Fitness has always been a part of my life, but at that point being a mom was my main priority. Then, life threw a curveball. My husband and I separated, leading to a very difficult divorce.
These were difficult times. I lost myself in the uncertainty of my future and the stress that comes with a divorce and found myself battling anorexia. Over a matter of months, I lost 40 lbs. and felt surrounded by darkness. I was no longer participating in my health and all efforts to stay active came to a halt. I didn't want to leave my home, I didn't' want to talk to people, and I really did not want to see men. Seeing my struggles, first my sister and then a friend, approached me and invited me to visit the gym.
After months of avoiding it, my sister started taking me to the gym right before closing when it wasn't too busy. We started slow, on the elliptical or the treadmill. This routine got me out of the house and slowly we worked to regain my strength and my self-esteem. When my sister moved away, my good friend and personal trainer started working out with me one-on-one early in the morning, taking time out of her busy schedule to keep me on track toward living a healthy life once again. Even when I didn't want to leave the house, she would encourage me to push myself and I knew I didn't want to let her down. She helped me every step of the way. My sister and my friend brought fitness back into my everyday routine. They saved my life.
I began to rely on fitness, as well as faith, to help me feel like myself again. My friend has since moved away, but, these two women made me feel loved, confident and strong with their empowerment and commitment to me. They made such an incredible impact on me; I knew I needed to pay it forward. I wanted to have the same impact on women in my community. I started by doing little things, like running with a woman who just had a baby to keep her inspired and let her know she's not alone. I made sure not to skip my regular runs, just in case there was a woman watching who needed the inspiration to keep going. These small steps of paying it forward helped me find purpose and belonging. This gave me a new mentality that put me on a path to the opportunity of a lifetime – opening a women's only kickboxing gym, 30 Minute Hit.
About four years ago, I was officially an empty nester. It was time to get myself out of the house too and find what I was truly passionate about, which is easier said than done. Sitting behind a desk, in a cubicle, simply didn't cut it. It was hard to go from an active and chaotic schedule to a very slow paced, uneventful work week. I felt sluggish. Even when I moved to another company where I got to plan events and travel, it was enjoyable, but not fulfilling. I wanted to be a source of comfort to those struggling, as my sister and dear friend had been to me. I wanted to impact others in a way that couldn't be done from behind a desk.
I began to rely on fitness, as well as faith, to help me feel like myself again.
When I heard about 30 Minute Hit, I was nervous to take the leap. But the more I learned about the concept, the more I knew it was the perfect fit for me. Opening my own gym where women can come to let go of their struggles, rely on one another and meet new people is the best way for me to pass on the lessons I learned during my darkest times.
Kickboxing is empowering in itself. Add to it a high energy, female-only environment, and you have yourself a powerhouse! The 30 Minute Hit concept is franchised all over North America, acting as a source of release for women who are just trying to get through their day. I see women of all ages come into my gym, kick the heck out of a punching bag and leave with a smile on their face, often times alongside a new friend. 30 Minute Hit offers a convenient schedule for all women, from busy moms to working women, to students and senior citizens. A schedule-free model allows members to come in whenever they have a free half hour to dedicate to themselves. Offering certified training in kickboxing and a safe environment to let go, 30 Minute Hit is the place for women empowerment and personal growth.
Through my journey, I have learned that everyone is going through something – everyone is on their own path. My motivating factor is knowing that I can touch people's lives everyday just by creating the space for encouragement and community. It's so easy to show people you care. That's the type of environment my team, clients and myself have worked hard to create at our 30 Minute Hit location.
Fitness saved my life. If it weren't for the empowering women who stepped up and brought fitness back into my life, I wouldn't be standing – in the door of my own business – today. The perfect example of women empowering women – the foundation to invincibility.
This article was originally published September 12, 2019.