I was one of the entrepreneurs lucky enough to enter the cannabis industry at the start of the green rush. From the beginning, I was often one of the only women in the room, whether the meeting was about everyday business practices or government policies. The disparity was even more pronounced at industry conferences where I was one of only a few female executives in a sea of male entrepreneurs. Female leaders are still widely underrepresented in many mainstream industries, and I believe it is time to challenge this archaic precedent within the cannabis space.
I have the great pleasure of working with state legislators around the country to protect and expand reproductive freedom. However, the lessons they've taught me are more than just political, they're life lessons. Here are a few of my favorites from this year.
"I think you need to stop being so difficult and just let this go," the senior leader said exasperated, handing my sheets back to me. He was annoyed. I took my sheets back and walked out. It was a battle I wasn't about to win.
Those sheets outlined my compelling case for delaying the launch my team had been leading. The proposition wasn't differentiated. The media plan was underfunded. The estimates from sales teams were coming in lower than expected. My persistence, my persuasive business case, and my passion, all pointed in only one direction: that I was being difficult.
In the end, the launch was never delayed. It went on as scheduled and underperformed terribly. The items were delisted within six months. And we never talked about that launch again. It was as if it had never happened.
And all along I wondered: how could I have been less difficult?
Have you ever wondered why women have been kept out of board rooms? Or why we have seen very few female world leaders? Why is our advanced world still holding back power from the beings that birthed us? Divine feminine energy has long been oppressed and possessed by those who would like to own this power for themselves. This imbalance has caused disease, famine and war. Fueled by greed these people and structures have used fear to rule the planet. There is a better way, we only have to look to a not-so-distant past where indigenous people honored the divine feminine within, and all around them. Our ancestors survived for thousands of years on systems built with divine feminine and divine masculine balance in leadership.
A few months after I left my corporate job as the Head of Merchandising for Old Navy Online, I walked into the Everlane concept store in preparation for an upcoming meeting at their corporate office. As I looked around trying to find an outfit, a feeling of alienation came over me. From the perky twenty-something sales associate that looked at me askance when I walked in, to the array of androgynous, box-llooking, nondescript apparel, it was clear that I didn't belong. I finally landed on a streamlined navy dress that was seemingly appropriate for my meeting — a nothing special, medium quality, basic dress that felt like a millennial uniform. I never wore that dress again.
I was about one month into my dream job as a forensic psychologist in a remand facility for adolescent girls in Brooklyn, New York. Unlike my old job, this one did not offer a parking lot for employees, but I was issued a state parking plaque to use in front of the building when there was space. However, that employee-issued parking plaque was enough illicit the suspicion and disbelief of the NYPD leading to me getting wrongfully arrested and detained for two nights. This experience was not the only instance of racial discrimination in my life, and it certainly was not my last as an employee. I chose to tell this one as it was, sort of, my official introduction to life in America as an educated, African-American woman.
Amidst a global pandemic and growing research which suggests women are severely affected by COVID-19, it's an opportunity to make big strides in our effort to address larger societal issues such as equality and justice, reproductive rights, poverty and domestic issues like financial abuse, as well as income security and retirement. It is estimated that 46% of women are "not too confident" or "not at all confident" about their ability to live comfortably after retirement, compared to only 31% of men who feel that way.
I've always been an introvert and a woman—two traits which aren't exactly relished by the business world. Yet I am also a long-time leader in my organiziaton. I am, therefore, writing this to argue in favor of the introverts and women out there and to help anyone become a better leader. It's as simple as this: communication.
Liz Elting, Founder and CEO of the Elizabeth Elting Foundation, is an entrepreneur, business leader, linguaphile, philanthropist, feminist, and mother. After living, studying, and working in five countries across the globe, Liz started TransPerfect out of an NYU dorm room. During her tenure as Co-CEO, she grew TransPerfect into the world's largest language solutions company, with over $600 million in revenue, 4,000+ employees, 11,000+ clients, and offices in more than 90 cities worldwide. Liz has been recognized as a NOW “Woman of Power & Influence", an Enterprising Women “Enterprising Woman of the Year," and one of Forbes' “Richest Self-Made Women."
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get any of the professional advice you need from this pioneering professional!
In 2006, CEO Shonda Scott created 360 Total Concept as part of the solution by providing management services to organizations needing support in public relations, monitoring and compliance, logistics, and facilities management. 360 is headquartered in San Francisco/Bay Area, with an office in Los Angeles, projects nationwide, and an international footprint.
Shonda, a fourth generation entrepreneur, has over two decades of business experience that she leverages to assist her firm's extensive client list with Turning Concepts into Reality. 360 has a portfolio of projects over $1.7 billion which includes industry giants such as BET, Uber, Comcast, Kaiser Permanente, and international airports. 360 has provided support services such as creating diversity spending strategies, which have generated over $100 million earned by small local businesses.
In 2012, Shonda was appointed to President Obama's Platform Committee. Based on her civic and community leadership, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, in 2006, recognized Shonda as a CBC Young Leader. Shonda was inducted into Alameda County's Women's Hall of Fame in 2018 for her business acumen.
In addition to her entrepreneurial and civic work, Ms. Scott is the executive producer and host of a talk show "Spotlight with Shonda Scott," a lifestyle show highlighting local and national influencers and unsung heroes.
For more information on Shonda, please visit: shondascott.com.
Founder & Creative Director of CHERIDA, pushing the boundaries of British Tailoring. A luxury style that re-imagines corporate style with high quality, self expressed, timeless classics. Advocate in sustainable fashion. Visionairy.