The 22 women selected for Marijuana Business Magazine’s list of Women to Watch in 2019 have crafted companies from the ground up, forged new woman-focused alliances and upended traditional business models as they’ve paved the way in this rapidly evolving cannabis industry.
But these women are alike in another way: In this new year, they are embarking on major undertakings as leaders in a nascent industry that, like the rest of corporate America, is dominated by men in the top jobs.
In 2017, women held 27% of the executive-level roles in the marijuana industry, according to a survey conducted by Marijuana Business Daily.
That figure was down from 2015, when 36% of firms responding to an MJBizDaily poll reported having females in leadership roles.
That leadership disparity makes the goals set by the 22 women listed below even more worth watching. As these women pursue their ambitions and business plans, they’re finding ways to lift other women as they climb.
From the launch of multimillion-dollar venture capital funds crafted to back women-founded firms to new business accelerators aimed at mentoring women entrepreneurs, these leading ladies of cannabis are blazing new trails in ways that are leaving a lasting mark on the industry.
Below are our Women to Watch in 2019 (this is not meant to be considered a “ranking,” and the women are listed alphabetically).
Just click on a name to read more about a specific Woman to Watch; click here to read about the selection process:
Maria Belen Algorta, Agronomist and Uruguay representative, Ecofibre Limited
Vivien Azer, managing director and senior research analyst, Cowen and Co.
Jessica Billingsley, CEO, MJ Freeway
Debra Borchardt, CEO and editor in chief, Green Market Report
Kara Bradford, co-founder and CEO, Viridian Staffing
Diana Roberts Coats, director of plant science, JBE Industries
Jill Ellsworth, founder and CEO, Willow Industries
Lori Ferrara, Gaynell Rogers and Lindy Snider, founders, Treehouse Global Ventures
Renee Gagnon, CEO, HollyWeed North Cannabis
Naomi Granger, co-founder and chief financial officer, Dope CFO
Sara Gullickson, CEO, Item 9 Labs Corp.
Jess Henson, director of data and insights, Acreage Holdings
Jeannette Ward Horton, executive director and co-founder, NuLeaf Project
Brianna Kilcullen, Founder and CEO, We the People
Amy Margolis, attorney and founder, The Initiative and The Commune
Tahira Rehmatullah, chief financial officer, Akerna
Bibiana Rojas, country manager director, Spectrum Cannabis Colombia
Diane Scott, chair and CEO, Jamaican Medical Cannabis Collective
Jeanette VanderMarel and Alison Gordon, co-CEOs, 48North