In 2017, 26.9 percent of executives in the U.S. cannabis industry were women.

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One of the greatest promises that the legal cannabis industry holds for women is the opportunity to create leadership roles for themselves. In 2017, 26.9 percent of executives in the U.S. cannabis industry were women, according to a survey conducted by Marijuana Business Daily. Comparatively, the national average of women executives across all U.S. businesses in 2016 was 23 percent.

Meet a few of the hard-working and creative women who are having a major impact as executives in Washington’s cannabis industry. These stories capture the essence of what many women’s experiences have been working in this emerging industry. We hope their stories will inspire others to innovate boldly, in the cannabis space or any space they choose.

Jamie Hoffman – Craft Elixirs

Jamie Hoffman, Craft Elixirs. Purveyor of small-batch, handmade delicacies. (Molly Decoudreaux photo)
Jamie Hoffman, Craft Elixirs. Purveyor of small-batch, handmade delicacies. (Molly Decoudreaux photo)

Originally from Chicago, Jamie came to Seattle to start her company, Craft Elixirs. Founded in 2013, Craft Elixirs strives to contribute to positive change in the local community as well as the blooming cannabis industry. Jamie’s lean-and-mean team is a close-knit crew that produces small-batch, handmade edibles all while maintaining high standards of quality and consistency.

What brought you to the cannabis industry?

My love for botany and growing perennials and sedums for wall gardens is what initially brought me into the cannabis industry. When I-502 passed, I sold my condo, packed up my VW, and drove I-90W until I landed in Seattle.

What has your experience been as a woman in a male-dominated industry?

It’s not something that I think about on a daily basis. However, when employing new staff, they do find it unusual when they discover that the owner is a woman. I just want to be a strong leader and grow our company. A strong leader encourages others to lead and take ownership. I’m so proud of my team at Craft Elixirs — beaming, actually. I encourage our team to take ownership of their roles. Since we’re a new company, new employees need to wear many hats, so we focus on cross training and do working interviews to make sure every new hire is a good fit — something crucial when working with a tight-knit crew. Cross-training responsibilities gives the new hire an opportunity to find the role they’re the best at — which is hopefully equal to what most interests them as a career.

Women are trending in the roles of design, marketing and packaging in the cannabis industry. This is just one example of how women are helping to shape the industry. We create sound processes to structure new foundations. I can’t grow our business without a solid foundation of structures (i.e., good packaging, an intuitive website, solid customer and consumer base, and, most importantly, happy employees). I believe women have the ability to create structure and execute much-needed processes as organized leaders in their own businesses as well as in the growing cannabis industry.

Diana Isaiou, American Baked Co. Classically trained chef turned “potrepreneur.” (Joe Holdsworth Photography)
Diana Isaiou, American Baked Co. Classically trained chef turned “potrepreneur.” (Joe Holdsworth Photography)

Diana Isaiou American Baked Co.

Born in the beautiful Northwest, Diana Isaiou attended cooking school at California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. The area was booming with a lust for new flavors and imaginative food pairings. Upon graduation from cooking school, Isaiou came home to Seattle and worked with Seattle restaurateur Tom Douglas for several years, eventually taking over for him at Cafe Sport as he left to open his own restaurants.

She then moved into restaurant and product consulting with chef Kathy Casey, opening several restaurants. Consulting eventually led to food styling. Diana has worked extensively with Starbucks and their global design group to craft the look and feel of their beverages and food in the advertising, driving sales for this multibillion-dollar company. Through these experiences, Diana has been exposed to many insider secrets, entrepreneurs, food startups, successes and failures throughout the years. Drawing from this, she combines all her past culinary adventures into creating a strongly branded cannabis edible company in American Baked Co.

What brought you to the cannabis industry?

My mom died of cancer a few years ago, when cannabis was illegal. I had tried to help her with black market marijuana, because I believed it would ease some of her pain without the heavy opiates she wanted to avoid. I taught myself about adding cannabis to food to try to help her. I am a classically trained chef, so the idea of combining marijuana and food was a natural progression.

How would you describe your leadership style?

We are small, so I do many jobs, as do my lovely employees. I think my best trait in this field is persistence. There are constant changes, and the market is unstable. But I’m eternally optimistic that things will work out.

Bethany Rondeau Falcanna

Originally from Oklahoma, Bethany loves the outdoors, cannabis, her husband, falconry, traveling, and her dogs (not necessarily in that order). Bethany began growing medical cannabis with her husband, Justin, in 2009 on the Olympic Peninsula. They opened a delivery service for medical cannabis in 2012 and a brick-and-mortar medical cannabis dispensary in 2013, and finally transitioned to a licensed I-502 recreational cannabis producer in 2015. They’ve built a first-class production facility from the ground up and have carefully selected and trained a team of growers, processors and brand ambassadors that distribute their flower across Washington state.

What brought you to the cannabis industry?

I first started using cannabis to treat my debilitating migraines, when the opiates prescribed to me made me nauseous, not to mention high as a kite in all the wrong ways. We began growing for ourselves, and immediately I was able to control my migraines and quickly realized that cannabis is more than just medicine for migraines — for me, it helps balance my life and my mind and helps increase my productivity. We began sharing some of our extra cannabis with friends and pretty quickly realized we have a knack for growing. From there, we increased the size of our grows and began providing organically grown and slow-cured bud to the medical community for five years. As laws changed to recreational, so did we, and now we are growing weed for more people than ever. We couldn’t be happier.

What are you looking forward to most in the coming months?

Expanding our grow! We are increasing our production, and with it, we are opening our seed vault, with both genetics which we have crossed in house and seeds we have traded for and collected from various trips, including landrace genetics from Mozambique and Costa Rica, purple genetics, and especially seeds from our original Bubba Kush x Blueberry cross.

Hashtag Cannabis sells recreational cannabis in a variety of forms including: smokable flower, concentrates, infused edible products, capsules, tinctures, and lotions. Visit us at our Fremont and Redmond locations.

DISCLAIMER: This product has intoxicating effects and may be habit-forming. Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination, and judgement. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of this drug. There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product. For use by adults twenty-one and older. Keep out of reach of children.