March is Women’s History Month and The National Hemp Association (NHA) throughout the month is celebrating the women who helped establish the hemp industry and by doing so have made history.
The days of companies being led only by men are ending. However there are still significant challenges for business leaders that wear heels.
Some challenges are subtle, and others are overt. The most glaring challenge for women is equal pay for equal work. The lowest gap is in Vermont at 9%, the largest gap is 35% in Wyoming, with the national average being 18%. Its been reported that only 8 percent of cannabis CEOs are women, which mirrors the national average of women CEOs in Fortune 500 companies. As we look to further building the hemp industry we hope to see women have an equal leadership role!
Today we celebrate a few of the many women who are breaking glass ceilings and leading the way to a robust industrial hemp economy for all!
NHA is pleased to acknowledge:
Elise Clote, Co-founder Emerald Bison LLC
Elise N Clote was born and raised in St. Louis, MO, and has always had a head for business and a heart for agriculture. During her time as a Razorback at the University of Arkansas studying Agribusiness Management and Marketing, Elise interned with Southern Risk Management Education Center (SRMEC) and The Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative (IFAI). Her focus at IFAI was the Native American Youth in Agriculture Summit, held each summer on the U of A campus. Elise has always focused on working with small local farmers and building awareness of sustainable agricultural practices. She was the Event Manager at the Fayetteville Farmers Market and the Produce Assistant Manager at Ozark Natural Foods Coop. She had the honor of buying, marketing, and selling local farmers’ produce and goods from over 80 suppliers who resided within a 100-mile radius of the Coop. But the career direction changed from produce to hemp when she began using hemp-derived CBD oil to relieve debilitating migraines.
After this discovery, Elise uprooted her life for a job in Winchester, KY working for a vertically integrated CBD manufacturing company. This startup company offered the prospect to wear many hats that utilized her many skill sets. This opportunity allowed for an educational experience in hemp processing and was a great introduction to the hemp industry. Her excitement for the future of industrial hemp fiber pushed her to leave Kentucky and start her own business, Emerald Bison LLC, with her partner Thomas Bisbee. The team began working with clients to provide educational resources, tools and consultation to underrepresented peoples in the emerging hemp industry. The vision and mission of Emerald Bison LLC aligned with similar goals of Hempstead Project HEART and resulted in Marcus Grignon inviting Elise to be a part of the HPH team as Director of Operations. Elise now resides on the National Hemp Association Standing Committee for Social Equity and previously was the Secretary for the US Hemp Building Association.
Faye Coleman, CEO, Pure Genesis, LLC
Ms. Coleman has extensive knowledge of operations, company culture, and employee engagement. Her expertise includes program implementations in key corporate areas such as supply chain, global diversity and inclusion, and talent management strategies designed to build “employer of choice” organizations.
Before launching Pure Genesis (PG), LLC, Ms. Coleman began her agile career successfully serving in diverse leadership positions with Kraft General Foods, Campbell Soup, and Vlasic Foods International. Next, Ms. Coleman successfully transitioned into retail leadership with the Home Depot, Target, and CVS Pharmacy where she led significant market teams to drive business excellence as it relates to sales,supply-chain optimization, customer service, pharmacy operations as well as Brand standards while leading with a team-first mentality. Today Ms. Coleman is a multi-state operator, educator, and consultant within the cannabis industry with an extensive list of community first business initiatives that PG is excited to move forward.
A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Ms. Coleman was the first African American female to graduate from the school of Industrial Engineering at West Virginia University. She earned her Masters in Business Administration from Saint Joseph’s University and Executive Education certifications in supply chain management and product development from The Harvard Business School.
For Ms. Coleman, service is a focus in all she does. She has served as a Board of Trustee for Lourdes Medical System and as an Advisory Board member for Saint Joseph’s University Executive MBA program. Today, Ms. Coleman continues to direct her efforts towards serving as a board member for the African American Chamber of Commerce for New Jersey, as a member of the Governor’s Council for adult-use legalization, and as a board member for the New Jersey Hemp Policy Committee. Ms. Coleman also supports her alma mater, West Virginia University by mentoring students and sharing her professional life experience through campus-focused speaking engagements in hopes that by sharing her story she will encourage those aspiring young leaders to excel in their career paths. With an innate desire to stay connected, influence, and mentor within her local community, Ms. Coleman has had the opportunity to do so through several organizations such as The NAACP, The Network of Executive Women, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, The National Black MBA Association, The National Hemp Association, Women Grow, Minorities for Medical Marijuana as well as, NORML, Jack & Jill of America, Inc. and The Girl Friends Inc.
Deanie Elsner, CEO Charlotte’s Web
Deanie Elsner is the former President of U.S. Snacks division at Kellogg Company with more than 25 years of diverse consumer packaged goods (“CPG”) experience across both business and marketing leadership roles in domestic and international markets. A talented marketer, she is widely recognized for driving business results by building brands through infrastructure, innovation, culture and talent. She brings years of corporate package goods experience and credibility to the hemp industry that needs to attract more corporate talent like Ms. Elsner.
Previously, Ms. Elsner served as President of Kellogg’s $3B Snack Business Unit, the largest business unit in the Kellogg Global portfolio, where she transformed that business by leading the exit out of the direct store delivery distribution system, established a portfolio investment strategy and shifted to occasion-based marketing. Prior to joining the Kellogg Company, she served more than 20 years in various leadership roles at the Kraft Foods Company including Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, where she was named by Forbes as one of the 50 Most Influential Global CMOs. Ms. Elsner is credited for successfully launching over $650M Net Revenue in innovation including, MiO Water Enhancers, Gevalia Café, Keurig compatible Coffee Pods and specialty beverages. Her experience also includes sales roles at Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson.
Christine Ianuzzi, Managing Partner & Show Director of CWCBExpo
Christine has a background in corporate America providing a creative, steady and experienced business skillset across several industries from technology to cannabis. She is a serial transition executive that has been a trigger for change and a leader in disruptive and progressive businesses in many blue-chip companies since 1987 that include ABC Television, ABC Radio Networks and HBO, as well as her own business. In 2015 Christine joined her family of entrepreneurs who owned and operated hundreds of trade shows across several industries for many decades – many in disruptive business sectors. Since 2015 Christine has built the CWCBExpo brand and business. Today, Christine is Managing Partner and Show Director for 3 trade shows that focus on the legalized cannabis industry: Cannabis World Congress & Business Expositions (CWCBExpos) in New York, Los Angeles, and Boston. Christine served on the Board of Trustees at New York University(NYU)-Polytechnic University, and also served as President of the Alumni Association of Polytechnic University of NYU.
The Cannabis World Congress & Business Expositions (CWCBExpo) are business-to-business events for the legalized cannabis industry and are held 3 times per year in the largest media, financial and business markets: New York, Los Angeles and Boston. The CWCBExpos are the leading forums offering conferences and expositions for dispensary owners, growers, suppliers, investors, medical professionals, government regulators, legal counsel, and entrepreneurs looking to achieve business success and identify new areas of growth in this dynamic and fast-growing industry. Christine is also the Secretary of the National Hemp Association
Cynthia Petrone-Hudock CEO, Hemp Alternatives
With over 15 years of consulting experience, Cynthia Petrone-Hudock, CEO of Hemp Alternatives has now worked with Cannabis companies for over 3 years assisting with strategic plans, go-to-market tactics and operational execution by focusing on people, process and technology.
Cynthia is an investor and advisor to New Frontier Data, a big data analytics company focusing on the cannabis industry. She also co-leads the Research, Opportunities and Needs Sub-Committee of the PA Agriculture Hemp Steering Committee, the official advisory council to the PA Department of Agriculture and is a member of the Chester County Agriculture Advisory Committee Task Force.
Ada Turner, Director of Administration, HPLC, LLC
Ada has successfully acquired hemp licenses for processing, research, handling, brokering and collaborated on zoning industrial processing facilities correctly. She has experience with office management, laboratory work, facilities intake, online scheduling, logistics, lab equipment operation, training, and has a background in environmental studies. Currently, she is focusing on team management and training in office operations for clients.
Ada is a first-generation Guatemalan-American with Spanish as her primary language, she assists in all endeavors with Latinx clients looking to understand their regulations or how to apply a business model to them as well as with general translation. Ada is a vital part of the National Hemp Association’s Standing Committee for Social Equity (SCSE) and serves as its Secretary.