Embedding A Culture of DEI



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About this event

Join us for a panel discussion on how cannabis businesses can authentically create a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion culture to improve hiring and staff retention.

The event is free for the public. $10 Suggested donation to support NuLeaf Project.



  • Lanett Austin, Curaleaf, Director of Talent Management & Diversity
  • Jeannette Ward Horton, Co-founder of NuLeaf Project
  • Jonathan Ross, Community Relations Manager, Wyld
  • Sun Lee, GreenForce, Recruiting Manager

Special thanks to our Social Justice Program Sponsor: Weedmaps

More about the Panel:

Charleen Caabay, Co-Founder & COO, The People’s Dispensary

Charleen’s professional career started in the IT industry as a Technical Network Administrator. Following her entrepreneurial drive, Charleen pivoted and became a self taught chef, culinary creative, and restaurateur in the Bay Area. A reality TV gem, Charleen is Food Network’s first Filipino-American to win Chopped, and has participated in other food competitions on national television, such as The Cooking Channel. She has opened two successful restaurants, a retail shop, an art gallery, and cannabis businesses across multiple states.

Charleen is the co-founder of The People’s Dispensary. She took on the role of Chief Operating Officer (COO) and transformed the culture and operating procedures into an equitable model for The People’s Dispensary. Charleen brings leadership, guidance, and quality standards to the currently existing establishment.

Charleen’s passion in the cannabis industry developed during her culinary career. She has proven techniques in the extraction of cannabis oil that lead to the creation of her healing edible line. Charleen’s edible line serviced a variety of clientele with chronic medical conditions, and those who lack access to cannabis. High in demand, Charleen curated private cannabis consumption spaces that included dine-in food, and entertainment.

With proven experience, she brings years of business strategies, facility development, build out, and a distinctive vision for the future in cannabis.

Lanett Austin, Curaleaf Director of Talent Management & Diversity

Bringing over 10 years of pharmaceutical experience to the cannabis industry, Lanett Austin is the Director of Talent Management and Diversity at Curaleaf. Having started with the company as team member #3 for Curaleaf New York, her role is now focused on leading diversity, inclusion, team member development, engagement, and company culture efforts at Curaleaf. Lanett’s goal is to normalize the cannabis industry and company by ensuring the team members that work at Curaleaf reflect the communities it serves. A proud medical cannabis patient and advocate, Lanett is an HBCU Alum of the unsinkable Albany State University. In 2020, she was featured in High Times Magazine for her leadership and community outreach efforts in New York and beyond.

Jeannette Ward Horton, Co-founder of NuLeaf Project

Jeannette Ward Horton is co-founder of NuLeaf Project, an initiative to build intergenerational wealth in the communities most harmed by the war on drugs through the taxes and profits of the legal cannabis industry. To that end, NuLeaf Project works to increase the number of successful cannabis businesses in Portland owned by people of color through funding and business coaching. And, NuLeaf Project helps professionals of color find their path to careers in cannabis. NuLeaf Project is the only organization of its kind in the U.S. that grants and loans the majority of its funds to cannabis businesses owned by people of color.

Jeannette founded NuLeaf Project building upon her experience as founding Vice Chair from 2015-2017 of the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA), the first non-profit organization created to service the specific needs and interests of minority cannabis entrepreneurs, investors, and patients setting policy and advocating for equity. Jeannette founded NuLeaf Project in 2018 while serving as Vice President of Global Marketing & Communications for Akerna, the world’s largest cannabis technology company and the first cannabis technology company listed on a major U.S. exchange (NASDAQ: KERN). Prior to Akerna, Jeannette spent 15 years leading communications, marketing, and change management for companies, including The Coca-Cola Company, The Home Depot, and UPS. Jeannette has a BA from Spelman College and an MA from Georgia State University. She lives in Portland, OR with her husband and two young sons.

Sun Lee, GreenForce, Recruiting Manager

Sun has been part of the cannabis industry in Oregon for over 15 years, starting with Oregon Medical Cannabis. He has actively been working in Oregon’s Recreational Cannabis Market since it was legalized and has worked on farms, sales and currently is the Recruiting Manager at GreenForce Staffing. GreenForce Staffing is one of the largest employers of cannabis workers in the state and has worked with over 90 different cannabis companies within Oregon and out of Oregon in other recreational states. Sun actively works with companies to find them the correct labor solutions for their specific needs, from entry level to C-Suite level positions.

Jonathan Ross, Wyld, Community Relations Manager

Jonathan Ross is the Community Relations Manager of Wyld. He comes from a complex background working in both the public and private sectors, focusing on communication and community engagement. His experience living and working in over 20 countries to date led him to his passion for profoundly understanding cultures and the need for equity and inclusion. He began his career in the Community Relations space, working for the State Department as a peacekeeper and diplomat. Here he saved organizations over 500K dollars which were reallocated to improve the local community. Today with Wyld, he works with both national and community organizations and is the creator of Wyld’s 3-year equity plan.


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