1 July 2016
First up here’s the press release on her appointment but also make sure you read her introductory email . As we say in the UK, It’s “Spot On”
LEAH HEISE JOINS WOMEN GROW AS CEO
Co-Founders Jane West and Jazmin Hupp to Step Down, Welcoming New Leadership for the Cannabis Industry’s Largest Networking Organization
DENVER (JUNE 29, 2016) — Women Grow, the cannabis industry’s largest professional networking organization, today named Maryland attorney Leah Heise as acting CEO effective July 1. Co-Founders Jane West and Jazmin Hupp are stepping down from their respective roles as National Events Director and CEO to offer the next generation of cannabis industry leaders, headed by Heise, opportunities within Women Grow’s executive team.
Heise is a Maryland-based regulatory compliance attorney barred in the State of Maryland and the District of Columbia. A former Enforcement Attorney with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Heise offers unique experience in rapidly changing regulatory landscapes. She first immersed herself in the cannabis industry two years ago, when Maryland passed medical cannabis legislation. In mid-2015, she formed Chesapeake Integrated Health Institute, LLC, and created a management team that applied for a Grow, Process and Dispense license in Maryland. She also began counseling individuals and companies joining the cannabis industry on business operations, infrastructure, and compliance.
As Women Grow’s CEO, Heise is committed to expanding the organization’s mission of educating, connecting, and empowering diverse leaders for the cannabis industry. She will develop the company’s infrastructure, oversee the development of financial and marketing strategies, and implement growth-oriented changes while remaining true to Hupp’s and West’s driving vision. In addition to connecting with new and emerging cannabis industry leaders across the country at Women Grow events, she will manage a leadership team spread across the country.
Heise said, “Jazmin and Jane built an incredible platform for diverse leaders to succeed in the nascent cannabis industry. It is an honor to have this chance to expand on their vision and strengthen Women Grow’s position as a leader in the international cannabis industry.”
West said, “As we approach Women Grow’s two year anniversary, we have an incredible opportunity to honor our mission by creating opportunities for diverse leadership in the cannabis industry within our own team. Leah Heise is ideally suited to carry our vision forward as the industry evolves.” Hupp added, “We have been planning to shift our leadership team since Women Grow’s inception, and we spent months searching for a candidate who shares our commitment to our community’s success. Jane and I have been working closely with [Heise] to ensure a successful transition, and we are confident that Women Grow will experience expanded influence and impact under her guidance.”
Since its inception in July of 2014, Women Grow has seen enthusiastic response and rapid growth,
demonstrating a distinct demand for organizations designed to support women in the cannabis
industry. The for-profit organization launched its first chapter in Denver in August 2014 with more than 70 attendees, and has since expanded to more than three dozen chapters in the United States and Canada. While Women Grow is women-focused, it also welcomes business savvy men who understand that involving women in their organizations and partnering with women-owned businesses is good for the bottom line.
A new era begins at Women Grow
My first cannabis event was slightly terrifying. The men, I would later start to call “dab penguins”, waddled between booths seeing who would get them highest for free. I had waited 4 hours to get into the event and only found one female business owner. It was only slightly better than my first business meeting with a cannabis business owner…at a strip club.
My second cannabis event was the NCIA Cannabis Business Summit and I noticed a few smartly dressed women flowed through the sea of men. I went to the “Women’s Panel”, and after 6 months of research, I finally heard how women were leading from Jane West.
It turned out there were women in cannabis this whole time, they just weren’t on stage, on the cover of magazines, or creating events for other women…at least not yet.
Women Grow was not my idea. Jane West found a company I worked on previously called Women 2.0 and knew it was the key that would open the cannabis industry to new women. Jane collected a tribe of pioneering cannabis business owners in Denver and they joined together to create the first network to connect, educate, and empower women in this new industry.
The Women Grow Founding Members were the first women I saw stand for themselves unabashedly. Instead of taking the entry-level jobs offered, they courageously pursued their own businesses. They didn’t settle for what was left, they were creating entirely new arenas. It turned out women were well equipped to succeed under extensive rules created by others that are enforced unfairly.
In August of 2014, we launched Women Grow with one chapter in Denver. Now with our 2nd anniversary around the corner, we are in over three dozen cities across the US & Canada. Just in the last twelve months, over 15,000 people have attended Women Grow events and over 75,000 follow us closely online while waiting for their moment to jump in.
Today, the Women Grow community floods the covers of magazines, fills documentaries, and is all over the Internet. It’s no longer hard to find a female leader in cannabis, we are unignorable. And I’d like to introduce you to the next generation of leaders in our community.
Since Jane West, Julie Batkiewicz, and myself founded Women Grow, we knew we were going to outgrow our own abilities. We have spent the last year cultivating a new operating team to continue our original vision for an inclusive cannabis industry. Julie Batkiewicz welcomed Shanon Melick into her role as VP of Membership to continue building our community. Jane West welcomed Ashely Picillo as Events Director to continue the quality experiences we’ve become known for in this industry. Finally, today I’m excited to welcome Leah Heise as CEO of Women Grow.
Leah Heise is a Maryland-based compliance attorney. She joined the cannabis industry after Maryland passed medical legislation two years ago, and she has gone on to counsel numerous new and existing businesses in the cannabis space. Leah first become involved with Women Grow as a member, and she embodies the vision and values we all share. The Women Grow community is flourishing, and Leah is the right woman to lead its evolution.
As of today, Jane West and I are stepping down from our current roles but will continue serving the community as Co-Founders. Jane will be focusing on her role at Jane West, a lifestyle brand that designs cannabis accessories and home goods for women. I will be advising female-forward cannabis brands and continuing to advocate for women-owned businesses.
This is not the time to retreat. This is the time to powerfully stand for yourself & your community. This is the time to come together to celebrate each other. This is the time to help each other build the businesses that we want to see in the world. Although we celebrate what we have accomplished, it is nothing compared to what is to come.
Thank you to our Founding Members who first funded Women Grow in 2014: Julie Berliner, Jan Cole, Emily Cohen, Diane Czarkowski, Julie Dooley, Brooke Gehring, Lauren Gibbs, Rachel K. Gillette, Susannah Grossman, Brandy Keen, Jaime Lewis, Christie Lundsford, Maureen McNamara, Genifer Murray, Brian Vicente and Shannon Wilson.
Thank you to our First 50 Members who funded Women Grow in 2015: Accuvape, Acquiflow, All American Cannabis Club (A2C2), American Cannabis Company, Bhang, Blum Oakland, Canna Law Group, Cannabis Clean, CWCBExpo: Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition, Count Cannabis, Headquarters, Heliospectra, Incredibles, Kiona’s Farmacy, Love’s Oven, MariMed Advisors / Dispensary Permits, Mary Jane’s Medicinals, Mary L Shapiro Law, Mary’s Medicinals, Medicine Man, Melissa Parks, Outset Edibles (Rebecca Stamey-White), Progressive Treatment Solutions, Show-Me Cannabis, The Green Solution, Willies Reserve, Cannabrand, Denver Relief, Humboldt CA Association, R Greenleaf Organics, Quigley’s, Mahatma Concentrates, 5700 Consulting, Ajoya aka Compassionate Pain Management (CPM), FOCUS: Foundation of Cannabis Unified Standards, Harborside Health Center, High There!, Organicann (Natural Cannabis Company), Pro Max Grow, The Green Door, Verdes Foundation, Yummi Karma, Speedweed, O.pen Vape, Ms Mary Staffing, Sacred Garden, Eden Labs, Berkeley Patients Group, Bloom Consulting
Thank you tor our Cornerstone Members that make the continuation of this work possible: 5700 Consulting , Ajoya aka Compassionate Pain Management (CPM), FOCUS: Foundation of Cannabis Unified Standards, Harborside Health Center, High There!, Organicann (Natural Cannabis Company), Pro Max Grow, The Green Door, Verdes Foundation, Yummi Karma, Speedweed, O.pen Vape, Ms Mary Staffing, Sacred Garden, Eden Labs, Berkeley Patients Group, Bloom Consulting, Patients Choice (Live Green), Rachel K Gillette Attorney at Law, The Clinic, Sweet Grass Kitchen, Alexa Divett, LLC, Avid Growing Systems, BDS Analytics, BioTrack THC, Cannasure Insurance Services, LLC, CW Botanicals, Denver Consulting Group (& CannaScore), Etain, LLC, GH Labs, Grofax 5 Hydroponics, Jane, MariJ Agricultural, Inc, Paradigm, Cannabis Group, Privateer Holdings, SanSal, LLC, Steep Hill Labs,Tax Defense Partners, Infinite Message LLC/The Gluu, The High Road Design Studio, LLC, United Patients Group, Urban-Gro, 4 Love Oil, Adaptive Plastics, Inc, Nature’s Flavors, Botanical HealTHCare, CannaMoms, Heal Thyself Gardens, CannaScore, HillerPC, Realm of Caring Foundation, TGG Accounting, Aspen Technology Group/ AspenTHC, Meadow, Mia Chocolates, Gradujuana aka Vangst, Thrive Agency, LLC, 420 Science, Amiruca Botanicals Inc, CannaKorp, Collective Intelligence, Inc, Connor & Connor PLLC, Crest Insurance Group, Emerge Counsel, Faces Human Capital Management, GrowGeneration, Humboldt, Cananbis Station, Illumitex, JiveTree.com, Julie McKechnie Real Estate Services, Keystone Medicinal Alternatives, LLC, KindLife LLC, Nuka Enterprises, Paradigm Pharm, Sweet Leaf Pioneer, The Art of Edibles, Type A Media/Cannabis Lifestyle Communications, W Vapes, WeatherPort Shelter Systems, Om of Medicine, Specialty Insurance Partners, LLC, Good Chemistry, Leafly, CannaPacUSA, Beth Waterfall Creative, 3C (Comprehensive Cannabis Consulting), Chesapeake Integrated, Health Institute, Verica Mitic-Mitchem (Highs & Laws), Green Rush Consulting, LLC, Cannabis Marketing Platform, Cannabis Basics, ACANNABIZ Network, Liana Limited, MJ Freeway, New West Genetics, Patients Out of Time, Premier Cannabis Insurance, TreatWell, Aquachill, Budd Branding, Canna Media Works, Cannabis Rep Network, Green Science, Inc, High Road Communicatios, Quark Distribution, The ArcView Group, Cultivo, Inc, Vegamatrix, Drug Policy Alliance, The Kootenay’s Medicine Tree, Cannabis Now Magazine, WeedMaps, Rolland Safe & Lock, Prism House PDX.
Thank you to all the incredible founding Chapter Chairwomen and their incredible teams that are the backbones of our local communities: Kimberly Kole, Allison Ireton, Tammy Benton, Carissa Cartalemi, Andrea Unsworth, Jocelyn Anderson, Beth Waterfall, Aleecia Head, Fenesha Hubbard, Andrea Sallis, Anne Marie Doyle, Alison McMahon, Sarah Grew, Liesl Finkler, Kaleigh Herald, Amanda Conner, Lisa Sweeney, Cassandra Digilio, Melissa Meyer, Frances Schauwecker, Stephanie Thomas, Sara Gullickson, Amy Peradotta, Melissa Sanchez, Kim Simms, Jocelan Carmichel, Rachael Speegle, Ilana Sugar Laytart (Sochaczewski), Candice Marschke, Rowshan Reordan, Kim Edwards, Lisa Campbell, Danielle Jackson, Gill Polard, Nicole Medina, Mia Feroleto, Laila Makled, Jamie Goswick, Aubrey Belisle.
And thank YOU for supporting our mission in a million small & huge ways. Every share, every friend you send to an event, every Women Grow Member Business you frequent–supports an inclusive cannabis industry.