Naomi Forkash, Director,
The Hemp & Cannabis Fair (THC Fair)
I fully expect women to take over this industry. Like any industry, it takes persistence, hard work and innovation to make an impact.
Describe yourself and what you do.
I oversee the amazing family that makes up THC Fair and manage operations for the brand. From marketing and expansion into new cities and states to lead generation and outreach calls, I am often right there “in the weeds” with my team pulling together the details that make a successful expo.
When did you start your cannabiz, and what is your vision and mission for it?
My overall goal is to normalize cannabis through education by hosting non-consumption expos in smaller markets throughout Oregon and Alaska like Coos Bay, Medford, Corvallis and Fairbanks. I hope to play some small part in helping to make “cannabis” a word with positive – or at least neutral – connotations and to help lift the stigma that is still associated with “pot.” Giving people a safe place to explore what’s new in cannabis without walking through a cloud of smoke is a key part of making this happen.
I am constantly surprised and gratified to see the wide demographic of people that come to our shows. From veterans to activists to doctors and PTA members, we see it all. I knew that I was making a difference when I realized that we actually get an after-church crowd on Sunday!
What is the Origin Story for your Cannabis journey?
My story begins, as most do, with an opportunity and a well-timed idea. I had been producing expos in the holistic lifestyle and green living industries for several years and although content, had hit a bit of a boredom wall.
In early 2015, I was mentioning this to my husband and thinking of starting a new business on the side. My husband has been a medical card holder for several years with cannabis being the only thing keeping his pain in check. He looked at me and said “Why aren’t you doing a cannabis expo?.” And it clicked. Why WASN’T I??
There are so many great cannabis expos out there, but none were geared towards education at prices that made it affordable to be a vendor or an attendee. I had found my niche and my bliss through my muse.”
What is your Superpower?
My superpower has to be positive thinking. I truly believe that anything is possible if you work hard enough and have the right people in place.
What has been your greatest obstacle to date – and how have you overcome it – or are you still working on tackling it?
Several years ago, I was on a career path to corporate world domination. I knew no other way to work than in a suit and being on-call 24/7. I fully expected to make VP by the time I was 30. Then, I had to move for personal reasons and lost all of my momentum when I returned to the closed-in little valley I grew up in. Corporate opportunities? Few. For a woman under 30? Miniscule.
I took a middle management job that made me cry – literally – every night. I dreaded getting up for work, I was depressed and a horrible partner at home. That lasted for a short 8 months and left me insecure and without a clear sense of direction.
Still lacking confidence or direction, I stepped into what I expected to be a short-term job with an event management company. It took me 3 years to realize that my “career path” no longer mattered, I was happy. When the opportunity arose to bring cannabis into that world, well, it truly doesn’t get any better.
Just like that, I no longer dream of climbing the corporate ladder. Instead, I’ve made my own ladder. And I love it.
What is your vision for women in this industry?
I fully expect women to take over this industry. Like any industry, it takes persistence, hard work and innovation to make an impact. The blessing is that with cannabis, we have so many opportunities! I am convinced that we are just scraping the surface and can’t wait to see what amazing product or service the brilliant women who want to make their mark come up with next.
Connect with Naomi