Emma Chasen said:
“Women need to dominate this industry! The Cannabis product that is so prized is FEMALE! The cannabis flowers we consume are female flowers! It makes sense that women should dominate this space.”
Describe yourself and what you do.
I founded the company Eminent Consulting with my business partner to guide and influence emerging cannabis entrepreneurs to successfully implement a craft ethos and cutting-edge business model through scientific-based educational initiatives and authentic collaborative relationships. We also offer support to existing cannabis businesses and brands through the creation of educational community outreach campaigns and management consulting. We believe the cannabis industry needs more solid education and better relationship management skills – that informs all of the projects we take on. We also have workshops on the fundamentals of cannabis science, product info, consumption methods, and the art of consultative sales hosted online for industry professionals and lay enthusiasts to engage with.
What is your vision for your professional cannabis endeavors?
I’ve been exploring Cannabis since 2010. However, I first entered the legal Cannabis space in September 2015 as a budtender. I have a specialized biology degree in Medicinal Plant Research and Ethnobotany, so I am very familiar with the secondary properties of medicinal plants and how they can interact with human physiology. This laid the foundation for me to be able to deeply study cannabis. While working in the industry, I noticed the great lack of reliable cannabis information and the absence of any training on cannabis science, especially for budtenders. This disturbed me. How is it that the people working the frontlines of the industry, those who represent all growers and makers and also simultaneously interface with people who often have medical concerns, are not receiving ANY training?! That is unacceptable.
The way that we elevate our industry is through education. Education is the way to further destigmatize this amazing medicinal plant and allow access for more people to feel comfortable considering cannabis therapy. With this ethos in mind, I started freelance consulting for the industry acting as an educator and resource for reliable scientific-based information re cannabis. In my work with Eminent, this mission still informs every project I engage with.
What is your personal cannabis origin story?
Personally, I started using cannabis when I was 18. I had abstained all throughout high school, but I went to Brown University. And Brown is known as the Ivy League for stoners, so once I got to Brown my fate was pretty much sealed. I had originally thought that I wanted to pursue medical school after college, so I completed all of my pre-medical coursework. However, I was also fascinated by medicinal plants so I created my own track of study within the biology program – Ethnobotany and Medicinal Plant Research. This allowed me to deeply study secondary metabolites of many medicinal plants and created quite the foundation for me to be able to personally study Cannabis.
After graduating from Brown, I went on to work for the Brown University Research Oncology Group coordinating clinical oncology trials nationwide. After my supervisor openly laughed at a cannabis trial and instead chose to go with another billion dollar pharmaceutical trial, I quit. I packed up my car and drove across the country to Portland, OR. Two weeks after arriving in Portland I got a budtending job at Farma, the popular Portland dispensary. There I was able to study cannabis and help patient’s reframe their relationship with the plant. I was named Portland’s Best Budtender by the Willamette Week Reader Poll and was quickly promoted to General Manager of Farma.
After managing the shop for just over a year, I stepped down and carved out a new role for myself as Director of Education. I trained staff on cannabis science, kept up on the latest research and worked with patients who had severe medical issues. After working for Farma for two years, I left to act as a freelance consultant for the industry helping cannabis brands and businesses with implementation of educational marketing initiatives and management consulting. In September 2018, I joined forces with my business partner, Matt Taylor, to formally launch our consulting company – Eminent Consulting.
What is your Superpower?
I have an ability to connect with people and advise them on their life decisions and goals. People trust me and oftentimes share many vulnerable stories. I hold space for people to feel comfortable enough to share deeply personal stories, and that allows me to help guide them, especially in the context of cannabis use. I love connecting with people and helping make their life better in any way I can.
The way that we elevate our industry is through education.
What has been your greatest obstacle in this industry or with your business to date?
My greatest obstacle has been finding the right business partner to fully step into my life’s work. After I stepped down as Farma’s General Manager, I partnered with a few people to really try to bring cannabis education to the industry, but none of those partnerships worked out. I take these obstacles as deep learning experiences and ultimately I believe that those partnerships didn’t work out so that I could step into my power and purpose and launch my own company. My partner in this pursuit is one of my closest friends whom I have known and worked with since the beginning of my career in this industry. Matt has strengths where I have weaknesses and I have strengths in areas he doesn’t. We make a great team and I feel very fortunate he has chosen to work on Eminent Consulting with me full time.
What is your advice for women in the cannabis industry?
Women need to dominate this industry! The Cannabis product that is so prized is FEMALE! The cannabis flowers we consume are female flowers! It makes sense that women should dominate this space. There are a lot of reports and media attention with headlines that say women do have quite a large piece of the pie when it comes to the Cannabis industry. However, I’m skeptical of said reports. Many women are working in the industry, but how many women are business owners or CEO’s of these companies? I want to see women calling the shots and making big decisions, not only working in entry level positions.
To all women who are entering the industry, keep working hard. Make connections. I started in an entry level position making $12/hour and I worked my ass off to get involved in any way I possibly could. Carve out a place for yourself in the cannabis industry. Bring a special skill or area of expertise to the table. Find good people who will help lift you up. A conscientious work ethic will get you far in the cannabis industry
Connect with Emma Chasen
IG: @echasen and @eminentconsulting