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Lori Rosen is president of the Rosen Group, a NYC-based PR firm with an expertise in promoting, launching and building cannabis brands.
In the newest entry of “NY’s women in cannabis,” Rosen recommends women entrepreneurs see themselves as successful, confident, and smart business people, and not let gender intimidate or inform decisions.
Women are vastly underrepresented in cannabis, and not just in New York. From 2019 to 2022, executive-level females have seen their industry wide status drop from 37% to 23%. Yet the MRTA makes things very clear: women-owned businesses are a key component of the state’s social and economic equity plan.
NY Cannabis Insider is seeking to elevate women in cannabis through a hyper-focus on female story sourcing and balanced representation in articles.
This series will last for as long as submissions come in.
Why did you launch your career in the cannabis industry? Were there any women who inspired you to do so? How did you do it?
When Colorado became the first green state, one of my firm’s executives moved to Colorado from our New York headquarters, and we established a presence there, allowing us to develop an expertise in the cannabis field from the very beginning of legalization.
The industry captured our attention and we never looked back. We enjoy the people, the health and wellness benefits of the plant, the opportunity to right many wrongs from a criminal justice perspective, and the ability to help grow a range of cannabis companies. Along the way we worked with other impressive women industry leaders.
What do you think is the most significant barrier to women leadership? Are the barriers different in cannabis than any other industry?
From the beginning, there were a number of women-focused organizations and events for women in cannabis, which actually put women ahead of the curve in many ways.
Like many other industries, the “suits” and finance people are largely male dominated, however there are many women-owned and women-run cannabis companies. Since this industry is fairly nascent, the old boy networks ingrained in many other businesses were not as much of a factor.
Why do you think women are so underrepresented in leadership roles in cannabis?
As mentioned above, I don’t. Two of our cannabis clients have a female CEO and co-CEO accordingly, and several other companies we’ve worked with in the past have been women run.
What are some ways in which companies can support gender diversity at senior levels?
Keep hiring women! That is the short answer. There are many passionate, qualified and experienced women in the cannabis field. Find them and hire them.
Shout out your other favorite women-owned or women-led businesses in the industry.
Kim Rael, co-founder and president, Azuca; Nancy Whiteman, founder and president of Wana Brands; Alyson Martin, co-founder/editor of Cannabis Wire Weekly
Who/what are your favorite tools and resources in the industry?
I like many of the cannabis industry media outlets, including Green Market Report and Cannabis Wire; I also like Tiffany Kary at Bloomberg and a number of the Forbes writers who cover cannabis.
My go-to attorney is David Holland, who is a partner at Prince Lobel; he also cofounded and is president of the New York City Cannabis Industry Association. He is smart and compassionate.
I like the efforts of the Last Prisoner Project; they have accomplished a lot and stay focused on their mission. And of course the various cannabis entities that host conferences and events. Some do it better than others, however there is always something to learn.
What advice would you give your 25-year-old self? What advice would you give to the next generation of women leaders?
To my 25-year old self: listen, learn, and push your own boundaries. You will surprise yourself!
To the next generation of women leaders: see yourself as a successful, confident, and smart business person. Do not let gender intimate you or inform your decisions. This industry is more welcoming – you just need to go through the door.
Is there anything we left out that you’d like to add?
I am fortunate to have founded my own company, with the majority of my staff female. I continue to learn and educate, which is very rewarding. In this industry, the sky is really the limit.
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Rosen is president of the Rosen Group, a NYC-based PR firm with an expertise in promoting, launching and building cannabis brands. Read More