It is no accident that Jane (Amy Dannemiller) and Jazmin have risen to the top of the cannabis industry in two short years. Their catalytic rise to influence speaks to the power of the Women Grow mission to connect, educate and empower leaders in the cannabis space. It was founded to spark a conversation of inclusivity and diversity and this small flame has lit a bonfire. Every month, in more than 35 cities in two countries, people come together to learn about the industry, how they can get involved, and how to connect with businesses and individuals that believe that diversity and inclusivity are vital parts of a successful, sustainable industry. Women Grow fosters community and that community is powerful.
The people who pour into Women Grow meetings on a monthly basis are a testament to the desire to create an industry that is truly different from any other. There have been few industries in the past decades that have had the ability to recreate the face of the American workforce, the Global work place, and the cannabis industry has that option in its hands right now. We need to create an industry that is diverse across the board from gender to race to sexual orientation to socioeconomic backgrounds. The cannabis industry has a unique opportunity to make the industry reflective of the population as whole and that population is diverse. As an industry we should look like the community we serve.
Why is diversity important? It is important because diverse companies are more innovative, more attractive to talent and more dynamic. The growth of this industry is dependent upon the ability of the companies within it to identify issues and pivot quickly. I can think of no better way to be capable of pivoting than to have people from diverse backgrounds providing varying levels of advice, insights and guidance. Companies that are diverse are thought leaders. They do not fall prey to “group think” and stagnate.
Of course, there are a host of social responsibility arguments surrounding the conversation of diversity. Serious social injustices have been heaped upon minorities in name of the Drug War. We have a responsibility as a community to provide access to the very people who have been brought so low. But diversity and inclusion are more than just social issues, they are fiscally intelligent mandates for better business practices. Diverse groups out perform homogenous ones and bring about innovation. Choosing to invest in diversity is wisely deciding to create a company, and an industry, that can weather any storm.
As the new CEO of Women Grow I recognize not only the size of the shoes that I am filling, but also the enormity of the responsibility I have to our community to keep Women Grow on course, and true to its mission of diversity and inclusion There are lots of exciting things on the horizon for Women Grow. In the next few months, Women Grow will be expanding its chapter program, creating a more robust educational and training platform and enhancing its member benefits. Women Grow will continue to hold monthly meetings in the United States and Canada that connect, educate and empower its attendees. As Max de Pree said, “We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity. We need to give each other space so that we may both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing, and inclusion.” Women Grow provides that space.