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Ep.219 Dasheeda Dawson & Jesce Horton: MCBA Spotlight

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep.219 Dasheeda Dawson & Jesce Horton: MCBA Spotlight

Ep.219 Dasheeda Dawson & Jesce Horton: MCBA Spotlight

MCBA Spotlight: Dasheeda Dawson, The Weedhead & Jesce Horton, MCBA
Jesce Horton joins us again to discuss the MCBA outlook for 2017. Jesce shares that he’s looking forward to the release of a study with UC Berkeley which will showcase the level of involvement of communities of color in the cannabis industry. The ultimate goal as Jesce tells us is to utilize the prosperity of the industry to have a strong and lasting impact on communities of color as a whole. Dasheeda Dawson then joins us and takes us through her dynamic personal and professional journey. Dasheeda has a life philosophy that she coined in sport- crossover and keep it moving. She’s brought that to the Fortune 500 and she’s bringing it to cannabis.

Transcript:

Speaker 1: Jesse Horton and Dasheeda Dawson, Jesse Horton joins us again to discuss the MCPA outlook for 2017. Jesse shares that he's looking forward to the release of a study with UC Berkeley, which we'll showcase the level of involvement of communities of color in the cannabis industry. The ultimate goal, as Jesse tells us, is to utilize the prosperity of the industry to have a strong and lasting impact on communities of color as a whole. Dasheeda Dawson then joins us and takes us through her dynamic, personal and professional journey does she has a life philosophy that she coined in sport crossover and keep it moving. She's brought that to the fortune $500 and now she's bringing it to cannabis. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the handle can economy. That's two ends of the word economy. Dasheeda Dawson proceeded by Jesse Horton.

Speaker 2: Person that made it

Speaker 3: know the person that made it and who shall remain nameless. However, uh, you know, I would be remiss if not to open a with the fact that congratulations, you got a kid on the way. I mean, come on.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Yeah. Thank you very much. I don't think it's really quite hit me yet. Maybe a few, few, three, four months away from him actually being here. But um, it's, it's gonna be pretty awesome. I think.

Speaker 3: Yeah. You, you say three, four months away. Uh, you know, you and I are speaking in January, the due date. Uh, I don't believe it. Can you just share that for the audience?

Speaker 2: Yeah. The due date is actually April the 20th, the beloved for 20.

Speaker 3: Here's a guy who runs a, the MCPA. His kid is due on four slash 20. I mean, come on.

Speaker 2: Yeah, yeah, definitely. You can talk destiny

Speaker 3: that maybe gets into to, uh, the kid's name, but we'll leave that until April. I'm here. We go into 2017 and, you know, um, I wanted to talk to you about what, you know MCPA has in store for the year and how much that might have changed based on, um, you know, the, the new administration, if at all.

Speaker 2: I will say that very little. If anything has changed within MCPA as a result of the new administration. Um, if, if anything has changed, I think there's been a, a little bit more of a, a push toward, um, at least having some ear toward the federal legislation and not being, I as, as focused on the city and state policies. I think all of us know that city and state, you know, is really most important as it relates to your ability to have a business and fair policies, um, and fair enforcement of cannabis cannabis policies is definitely, you know, something that really happens at that local level. Um, however, as we look towards the expanding of the, of the cannabis industry and, and we understand that representative Earl Blumenauer and representative Dana Rohrabacher putting together the, the cannabis caucus in DC, um, we definitely want to have more of an understanding of how that's shaping up and what that means for a poor communities of color and for the industry as a whole.

Speaker 3: Dana, Rebecca himself had a, a couple of folks from the industry that, uh, that we do know and I'll be checking in with those folks as well, uh, at the inauguration. So that was interesting to see, at least on a, on digital, so to speak. Right?

Speaker 2: Yeah, yeah, certainly, certainly. I'm really looking forward to seeing them at least what comes from that.

Speaker 3: Alright. So, so as far as MCPA, let's lay it out, you know, uh, though minority cannabis business association, what are you looking to accomplish? Um, you know, with the, with the association this year, you know, we've got a well now less than 12 months, but what do we want to do here?

Speaker 2: We're almost out of January already. Our real focus for this year is to make sure that we have strong program implementation and now we can, we can have more of a vision or making a real measurable and an impactful change I in, in communities of color and the industry as a whole. And um, the foundation for that is really laid by the study that we are hoping to release sometime in the first quarter of this year that we did with UC Berkeley. That gives us some type of, uh, uh, measuring set to get an understanding of the level of involvement of people, of color, communities of color. And what that means for the industry, um, and then that'll give us the basis to see how we can go about measuring on impact impacted or impactful programs. Things like, um, the, uh, the expungement program I rise up expungement day that we do with Marley will continue to do that and that's a lot easier to measure the amount of people that will get through that program. But our ultimate goal is to make sure that we have a, um, a strong and lasting impact on communities of color as a whole and that we help to utilize the prosperity of the industry to do that. And also that we show that by doing that it's an improvement in the industry so that of course it's going to take a lot of understanding, a lot of data and a lot of focused our programs to make sure that we can really tell that store.

Speaker 1: Jesse Horton and Dasheeda Dawson, Jesse Horton joins us again to discuss the MCPA outlook for 2017. Jesse shares that he's looking forward to the release of a study with UC Berkeley, which we'll showcase the level of involvement of communities of color in the cannabis industry. The ultimate goal, as Jesse tells us, is to utilize the prosperity of the industry to have a strong and lasting impact on communities of color as a whole. Dasheeda Dawson then joins us and takes us through her dynamic, personal and professional journey does she has a life philosophy that she coined in sport crossover and keep it moving. She's brought that to the fortune $500 and now she's bringing it to cannabis. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the handle can economy. That's two ends of the word economy. Dasheeda Dawson proceeded by Jesse Horton.

Speaker 2: Person that made it

Speaker 3: know the person that made it and who shall remain nameless. However, uh, you know, I would be remiss if not to open a with the fact that congratulations, you got a kid on the way. I mean, come on.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Yeah. Thank you very much. I don't think it's really quite hit me yet. Maybe a few, few, three, four months away from him actually being here. But um, it's, it's gonna be pretty awesome. I think.

Speaker 3: Yeah. You, you say three, four months away. Uh, you know, you and I are speaking in January, the due date. Uh, I don't believe it. Can you just share that for the audience?

Speaker 2: Yeah. The due date is actually April the 20th, the beloved for 20.

Speaker 3: Here's a guy who runs a, the MCPA. His kid is due on four slash 20. I mean, come on.

Speaker 2: Yeah, yeah, definitely. You can talk destiny

Speaker 3: that maybe gets into to, uh, the kid's name, but we'll leave that until April. I'm here. We go into 2017 and, you know, um, I wanted to talk to you about what, you know MCPA has in store for the year and how much that might have changed based on, um, you know, the, the new administration, if at all.

Speaker 2: I will say that very little. If anything has changed within MCPA as a result of the new administration. Um, if, if anything has changed, I think there's been a, a little bit more of a, a push toward, um, at least having some ear toward the federal legislation and not being, I as, as focused on the city and state policies. I think all of us know that city and state, you know, is really most important as it relates to your ability to have a business and fair policies, um, and fair enforcement of cannabis cannabis policies is definitely, you know, something that really happens at that local level. Um, however, as we look towards the expanding of the, of the cannabis industry and, and we understand that representative Earl Blumenauer and representative Dana Rohrabacher putting together the, the cannabis caucus in DC, um, we definitely want to have more of an understanding of how that's shaping up and what that means for a poor communities of color and for the industry as a whole.

Speaker 3: Dana, Rebecca himself had a, a couple of folks from the industry that, uh, that we do know and I'll be checking in with those folks as well, uh, at the inauguration. So that was interesting to see, at least on a, on digital, so to speak. Right?

Speaker 2: Yeah, yeah, certainly, certainly. I'm really looking forward to seeing them at least what comes from that.

Speaker 3: Alright. So, so as far as MCPA, let's lay it out, you know, uh, though minority cannabis business association, what are you looking to accomplish? Um, you know, with the, with the association this year, you know, we've got a well now less than 12 months, but what do we want to do here?

Speaker 2: We're almost out of January already. Our real focus for this year is to make sure that we have strong program implementation and now we can, we can have more of a vision or making a real measurable and an impactful change I in, in communities of color and the industry as a whole. And um, the foundation for that is really laid by the study that we are hoping to release sometime in the first quarter of this year that we did with UC Berkeley. That gives us some type of, uh, uh, measuring set to get an understanding of the level of involvement of people, of color, communities of color. And what that means for the industry, um, and then that'll give us the basis to see how we can go about measuring on impact impacted or impactful programs. Things like, um, the, uh, the expungement program I rise up expungement day that we do with Marley will continue to do that and that's a lot easier to measure the amount of people that will get through that program. But our ultimate goal is to make sure that we have a, um, a strong and lasting impact on communities of color as a whole and that we help to utilize the prosperity of the industry to do that. And also that we show that by doing that it's an improvement in the industry so that of course it's going to take a lot of understanding, a lot of data and a lot of focused our programs to make sure that we can really tell that store.

Speaker 3: I'm really interested to see what kind of percentages there are as far as his ownership. And of course, that includes ancillary businesses as well in the industry. Um, I think that there is representation, but, uh, you know, it, it isn't through the roof. Is that fair to say and you know, before we get the numbers.

Speaker 2: Yeah, I think there is, I definitely think there is. I've met a lot more than I thought, you know, I think that, you know, typically in the past, you know, we haven't necessarily seen a cannabis business owners, every single type in these areas where we may have been right at the conferences all the time, but there definitely are out there and they're successful. Um, and I think that, uh, they're, they're making themselves known more and more as we, as we get further into the industry.

Speaker 3: Yeah, absolutely. I know that, uh, you know, the webinars and just the, the programming in general is a, is a big piece of what I'm doing. I'm very excited to host a panel with a Americans for safe access, a MPP DPA and SSDP on February first by doing something really interesting with the education that you're providing now and you're tearing it out as far as kind of a involved members. And in other words, if you're, if you're really involved, you're going to give you this, if you're less involved or maybe you know, you have access to that, can you share what you're doing as far as information and access and all that.

Speaker 2: Certainly. So, you know, as a part of one of our programs that we always have have kind of held near and dear to us is that, you know, we know that education is a big part of the level of involvement in the from the communities. Do they know about the industry they need to. Do they know where they fit in a, do they know what, um, what types of opportunities are available and how to learn more about them and what are the resources in that regard. So that that's really a big part of our educational series and our webinars and the tools that we have online are really focused on not really teaching people, uh, how to, how to be a cultivator or how it's. I have a dispensary. But Hey, these are some tools that we think will be helpful along the way, uh, that aren't going to cost you hundreds and hundreds of dollars, uh, that you'll see out there, right?

Speaker 2: Some, some tips from people who have really been successful in the industry. Um, some things that you can use as improved or as increased knowledge as you go about finding your place in the industry. So, um, at, at different levels of membership, I'm all the way down to the free level, but of course until the top level of individual, our membership, we have different tools that are available, right? Of course we, we, we do need some funds in order to go about running the organization. So we know we're not going to have everything for free. However, there are some things that we make available for everyone. I think that hopefully all of that will help people to be a little bit more successful at, at finding their place and being, um, being a little bit in a better position to grow.

Speaker 3: Absolutely. And, and you, you say, you know, uh, not necessarily how to, can you speak further to that? In other words, you know, the, the mission of the MCPA isn't necessarily to, to, to teach you how to be a cultivator that was your, your first example. Share more of what you mean by, you know, hey, we're, we're not how to, but we are what.

Speaker 2: Yeah, exactly. I mean, let's, you know, we're, we're a business association so we want to see more business owners really understand that's a big need in the industry and we want to help to find ways to grow the stake of those businesses in the industry as the industry grows. Um, but we do recognize that there is a big need out there in the community for people to at least understand how to go about getting started. So I want to help people to make that first step. But there is a hell of a lot of days involved after that first step that, you know, we, we, you know, we, we wouldn't be, um, putting our members resources in the best place to try to put all of our resources to helping people to get through all those steps. But we feel like if we can at least help you get to step number one or two and point you in the right direction, that we will at least at that level, will be able to create more people of color in the industry.

Speaker 2: Most people and most responsible and most business owners in the cannabis industry that understand cannabis culture, understand that, right? That, um, in regard to cannabis prohibition enforcement, uh, the war on drugs, the statistics, the statistics I'm in, communities of color, uh, the, the, the words that we've heard from administration all the way up to the White House, uh, how it was used to target certain groups of people. Uh, we, we know that history. And of course, as we find our way in the industry and we see all this amazing opportunity that's in front of us, we have to recognize that in order to make sure that, you know, and again, in the words of Steve De, I always say we can make a better industry and also that we can make more money in the industry. So it's really a big picture that I think, um, with understanding the ownership in the industry, you kind of take that on.

Speaker 2: So, so with that said, this organization Mcpa is made up of everyone, you know, the people that have supported us the most, all the way down to the people that have had chipped in a little bit of money. Right? I have been a very, very diverse group of people all the way up into white males. Right? And that I think a lot of times white males are a little bit demonized in this industry for making money. And I don't think that that should be the case at all. I think we need more people of color. I don't necessarily think we need less white people. And I think that, that, that first and foremost needs to be said as far as the organization as far as my stance and help them to start Mtba. Um, with that being said, there's a lot that we can do as business owners that are taking advantage of this ownership, that are taking advantage of the prosperity and the amazing opportunity that we have to invest in this industry.

Speaker 2: And it's a benefit from this industry. There is a lot that we can do, a lot of low hanging fruit that we can do very easily to make sure that we are really looking out for that history to make sure that we are helping to repair some of those ills that we all very much understand and very much see as true. And if you don't understand it and if you haven't seen it, you can look at all these studies and all these statistics that show that. Um, and I, I think that if we go about it that way, that way, not only will we see how much good, how much positive attributes and how many, excuse me, how many positive things were able to leave in the community, um, but we'll also see our ability to grow our industry, our ability to make more money improve because communities of color aren't necessarily going out to dispensaries and taking ownership.

Speaker 2: And the, the, the, the benefit of the Spencer is dispensary is growing. They aren't necessarily, I'm choosing to go to that, um, to that, uh, to that tested product to that, to that bud tender that can really help them to understand their, their real consumption needs. They'd rather a lot of times go and support the illegal market because of a number of different reasons. And I think that's not good for communities of color. I don't think that's good for the industry. Um, and I know it's not good for a dollar. So, um, I think without a doubt, this is one of the few, um, uh, issues in our industry that, that are, are bigger than what it seems to be kind of I'm in front of our face.

Speaker 3: Yeah. No, and you've said that before. To me it's the, this is just, I'm sure you could make it about black and white, but this is more, you know, about green if, if we're not all in on this industry, um, then we're missing out on, you know, how much, uh, the industry can make on the whole. I love that you make that point and uh, it's an important one.

Speaker 2: Oh man, it's huge. It's huge. I think, you know, what we've seen in all these different studies to Harvard business review, diversity is better for business, right? We understand that all for the certain reasons of solving problems and um, you know, having a comfortable place for different minds. We understand those basic things, so all that matters. But because of the history, because of kind of the, um, there's so many problems, there's so many different reasons why this industry, Mo, amplifies that specific principal. Um, and I think that's smart business owners that are out there all the way up to the largest, um, down to the smallest, um, of business owners who will be successful and continue to have been successful and will continue to be successful are the ones who understand that in addition to a couple of other really, really important issues and the industry.

Speaker 3: Do you have those other couple of issues? Are you just saying this is not just the only thing?

Speaker 2: Well, I think you know, me seth, I don't, I don't really know, say a couple of say a number like that if I don't really have a number of months and I thought I don't lead with it and it may not be the purpose of this specific talk, but I think that issue specifically diversity and how do we look after our communities that have been targeted by the war on drugs and find a way to bring them into the industry so that it's their own and that they're comfortable. That's one thing. Uh, energy and resource efficiency is without a doubt one of the most important issues as we really want to be good, good stewards of the environment. Um, and again, continue to show that we're a better industry. That's, that's one that is really important as we actually improve on that, we'll see our dollars increase, we'll see our ability to attack the challenges that the market will, will present, um, improve, uh, as we target that.

Speaker 2: And I think the other without a doubt is, um, is holding true to the medicinal values of cannabis. Um, and that really as, as Dr Rachel Knox, so I, one of our board members said, always says that everything is medical, right? When we send the endocannabinoid system, we understand, um, how people want to interact with cannabis. We do it a real disservice. I think by calling it recreational or by putting in people's mind that there is a difference. I think we have to find a good solid balance. And by doing that we will do all the patients and consumers or service, uh, but we'll also do the industry a large service as well as to grow.

Speaker 3: Absolutely, without question on, on cannabis as medicine and you and I have spoken before about and more than once about the fact that a cannabis not being sustainable just isn't sustainable.

Speaker 2: Yeah, without a doubt. Without a doubt. And I think that's, that's easy for us to understand. So it's good. It's really good.

Speaker 3: All right. Listen, I know that you got a lot to do. You probably got to, you know, build some stuff and paint the room or something. Uh, but before we go, I'll ask you the final question that we always ask on the soundtrack of your life. One track one song that's got to be on there. You've answered this before. So it could be the same. It could be different. Let me know.

Speaker 2: Geez, you know, shamelessly I will go for, with kind of the song of the day in my ear right now is, or in my culture specifically is, is bad and Bougie by, by Migos because it reminds me of my girlfriend was, was older than my son. She's definitely very bad and Boujee. Um, it's, it's cute. I give her a hard time about it as well. All the time,

Speaker 1: whoever that is a, I'm sure she's a wonderful person and I'm sure that I would really appreciate her as a human being.

Speaker 4: Definitely. Definitely. Jesse, thanks so much, man. We'll talk to you soon. Thanks a lot.

Speaker 1: This episode is also supported by Eden labs. Even labs is the fastest, highest yielding botanical extraction, a distillation on earth. COAC braddock says that our health depends on what we consume, how it's prepared for our consumption and the environment. Eaton is a modern ethno botanical based company that continually innovate efficient systems for the highest purity and quality products. The company was founded from an intense curiosity on the effects of botanicals on human health and wellbeing. The focus since 1994 has been on pure medicinal or nutritional extracts. Visiting labs.com for more detail.

Speaker 4: Andre Dawson, great baseball player, played for the Montreal Expos, played for the Chicago cubs, one of the only people to win a most valuable player award on a last place team and I bring them up because your son's baseball player. That's an awesome connection. Thank you. I feel like he would get it if he was here, he'd be like, totally mine. You got to know Andre and I know that's the hawk. Uh, so what, what he knows how to play center field. Talk about it. I mean, come on, we got to know. Well, what I would say is he's super fast and he's got great. Just he doesn't drop the ball, so I feel like he's able to make some pretty amazing catches. I think early on when we were first starting out, he didn't have a enough confidence in the right and the left. Um, so he's doing a lot of run in like legitimately flipping and then catching the ball kind of situation.

Speaker 4: And that started around seven or eight, so now 13. So now he's definitely, I'm way, way more advanced but understands that he has to play his part of the field, how to rely on his team a bit more. So I'm happy to kind of see that progression. And so he's now aware that there are other people on the field and trust them because I also think the skill set of the teammates start to advance then you move on to have. He's on four different teams. I feel like it's the regular. And then you have a travel team that you have the all star team and then you have the championship team. It's a little contest. So a Centerfield. He's got speed. You've got defense, uh, his arm. Good. Can you throw? Absolutely. He makes a lot of good devil place. Does he hit? Yes. Alright.

Speaker 4: For average I feel like. Or does he hit for powers? Were what we're saying? Does he have a, you know, base hits or home runs, he hits base hits because he's so fast. So you stealing. So his dad is definitely conditioned him to stop trying to go for power. He was definitely doing a lot of swinging the bat. He's a Leftie, but he writes with his right hand. So he's actually a switch hitter. Oh look at this. Come on now. And plus we've got four of the five tools and the power comes less so that's. So that's why his dad keeps telling him to back off because he's still little. Look, he's a little bit. So it's Deshita. Dawson is his last name is awesome. His name is Harmon h a r m o n h a r m o and we got to look out for Jordan harmon and Harmon in Centerfield.

Speaker 4: Check your playbooks. Yes, absolutely. I mean if you don't see him there, you're going to actually probably hear him. He loves to do what you do. Talk about sports. Aha. Oh. So I could really talk that head. Oh, we got to bring them up. That's what we should do. I think you have fun with you. Absolutely. Cause I know the baseball. It's A. I don't know why, but I do. You know, it's a love. It's a passion. Just like music. Okay. He writes that it's like that you have the passion. Yes. He breaks it down. Oh boy. All right. So this kid we got, we got a kid here who's 13 years old. That's the only one. Yes, that's enough, right for now. For now. All right, so look into your eyes. I can see. Who knows, who knows what's next. Well, let's. Before we talk about what's next, what has happened, right? So you're one of these people to shoot him because we've spoken before that um, now is in the cannabis industry, but before you were in the cannabis industry, you are actually doing stuff. Yeah. With like, you know, companies like real companies, like big companies. Right. So let's go all the way. Where are you from? I'm from Brooklyn, New York. Brooklyn Eight? Yes.

Speaker 4: Where in Brooklyn? East New York. Okay. So that's real. Real. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Exactly. Who else is from East New York for instance? East New York. I don't know. You know what I is the murder capital of the country when I was growing up. It was crazy. Wait a second. Yes, it was the murder capital of the country. That's not a great thing. No. All right. And is that what it felt like? Yes, definitely. And I, I have a lot of that. That is a, I don't know, it's part of my foundation that makes me a fight or certainly. Sure. So these are adverse conditions. We can say that. Absolutely. And Mom and dad both in the home or. No? No, I don't know who my dad is at all. No, I've never. I know who he is. I've never met him. Okay. Is there a quest? They're. No, we're good without that.

Speaker 4: I think so, yes. So mom's doing it alone and it's not safe outside. You're going to school. Are you a good student? Valedictorian or Valedictorian. So we're gonna go ahead and fix this. What it is. And then where. Where was that instilled that your mother was just self induced or. Definitely my mom, she's an educator for many years. I'm principal a teacher. She even started her own nonprofit organizations, a couple of them and she taught parents how to parent, so that didn't necessarily make her the best parent. I'm gonna keep it real, but what it did was it made her the biggest cheerleader for her kids. She saw us as stars right away and my grandmother, although she only went to the eighth grade, she was just a very much living vicariously through us, so she always wanted to take piano. She gave us piano lessons.

Speaker 4: Um, we got to go to private school because she, my grandfather and my mom really worked to make that happen, but it was my mom that found prep for prep and my sister went first and uh, she went to spence and then I went to Birch Wathan which became rich wathen lennox don't know what this means. So what's the, what was the first one and what's the second one? Spence is an independent school in New York City, upper east side. And it's private. Yeah. Gwenyth paltrow went there. I see it. Yes. So we, we shipped in or Boston or trained in your sisters, how much older than three years and then you went to, were virtual often. And what does that? Um, similar school I'm a bit more Jewish, which I liked, which I loved. Shout out to the school, my bestie. Um, but no, uh, yeah, it was a similar but smaller.

Speaker 4: And also upper east side. Got It. Okay. And so mom, grandma, Grandpa, education for the kids. That's what's happening. We're going to go ahead and make sure that everything gets a little bit better as far as whatever the potential is, whatever the ceiling is. Absolutely. Is that how they approached it? I think so. I mean my mom was like the really the one that graduated from college, the one child she did graduate or John Jay with John J rn. So that's usually it's criminal law but she got her education so she got education and everything else. Okay. All right. So does. She does not mess around. She's Valedictorian coming and going. What else was going on besides schoolwork? Sports. You know, what else? Absolutely. Sports. I played basketball. I was also a dancer. I think really my, my mom and my grandmother saw that I just like to be on the stage of something short and so they just put me in everything and you know, if it got a chance to be on stage, I was like, Hey, we go, let's do it.

Speaker 4: Let's do it some place where people are watching me or hearing me or listening and I and I definitely excelled. Also were on the basketball court to guard or appointment diary. A point guard. Okay. All right. So we're not messing around with the sheet it. She's Valedictorian point guard on the team now. What is a, what advice do you have for people in life from a point guard perspective? Well, I always say that I like to be able to crossover and keep it moving at the same speed so you know, explaining what you mean. That nonvascular essentially sometimes you can run a play and no matter how much you practice it, if the defense shows you something different, you got to have to make some changes, but one of the things you don't want to do is crossover and backup or crossover and get rid of the ball getting stolen.

Speaker 4: So you want to keep eating go from right to left or left to right. Yes. So rather than backup crossover and keep it moving to the goal, but ultimately two points, maybe three if we get fouled. Yeah, I did a lot actually. Definitely in the Isa or the Gis say, oh, the independent schooling, they were doing three on twos. I averaged like 37, 38 points a game. They're 38 points a game. That's a lot of points is a lot of points. Which were what happened? What was the total score of these games? They're usually low scoring games. I mean there were a couple of people that were feeding that came into the prep school league around my time. First of all, Lamar Odom was the player of the year. We've heard of them that the year that I was all city, so we had a good class that year and he was coming from the um, the Catholic high schools.

Speaker 4: But I'm, I'm coming from independent school. They didn't necessarily see me coming, but it was it. Yeah. I mean the games were part of most, I'll say 40 points, 50 points. You're scoring 38 of those 40 or 50 points. There was one game. Legitimately I scored 54 of 56 points. We will chamberlain, but that's what he scored 100 points in one game. He did. But no, I don't know, it just happened. I don't know how it happened been, but it was one of those games that it just happened. Now, does that mean you're a ball hog? I mean, we gotta ask, right? Well, you know, Sarah Rossmo, who I call house, she would say nay because I still got pretty good amount of to Sarah went onto the. Wow. Is that what we're saying? No, no, no, that's just a friend. She was my center for virtual office and a good friend of mine for sure.

Speaker 4: But she was, we, we, I, I feel like I trained her up to be a good center because initially she wasn't going up strong. Right. And we started calling her house house and then she started really believing it and she started getting good. And by the time we were seniors she was a beast. Well, yeah, because those tall people, and we're going to have to get off this pretty soon. It's ongoing. I like talking about. But those tall people, um, they just think that they're tall enough and that's enough to play center and I don't really have to do anything else, but now you've got to establish the center of the quarter. And I think what's interesting is I've been this height since I was in fifth grade. And so you're not that tall right now, but at fifth grade, five, six, I started at. Oh, you. Oh my. So I actually had to teach Sarah how to do is drop step. Yeah. Because I did that in seventh and eighth grade. That was my position. I didn't transition to the point guard until everyone started to shoot past me in ninth grade. I was like, Oh shit, I didn't want how to dribble. You know, I'm, I'm really.

Speaker 4: I did that at stuyvesant. I really learned how to dribble a was in. Um, it was, uh, it was a challenge. I went from prep school to private, a private school to public school really quickly. Um, I got really, really good at bowling and that one year and I came back to prep school and like beasted it out. It's crazy. Yes. Let's go on to play in college for one year. I mean at Princeton. So you went to Princeton. This is where we really started Valedictorian in east New York. Fantastic. Uh, were. What'd you do with that prince? Oh, okay. Good. Yes. Right. Yes. And so you played because prince has got a decent a basketball team, at least for the man. I mean, I know they did and they did have a decent program. I gotta be honest. My heart was set on Stanford. My mom wouldn't let me go.

Speaker 4: She didn't want me to go into the east west coast, which is funny because I live there now. But uh, so I went and I basically wasn't a full recruit and I kind of had to do a walk on. It was challenging. I moved over to club basketball and I played all four years. We played against [inaudible] and I got more focused on my degree in molecular biology was hard. Um, and I knew that even though I loved basketball, if I wasn't going to be in a WPA, I mean I'm, I played with some girls but, and I could still ball, don't, don't sleep, like don't, don't get your ankles broken by accident, but uh, but I definitely, um, I know I just had to give like a, make some choices. Yeah. Adult choices. I call them hot. So molecular biology. Where did that come from?

Speaker 4: Well, I was a science and math geek. I went to stuyvesant for one year. Um, I had always been assigned to 10 is the number one science and math high school, public school in New York City. And what would bronx science say to that? They would say screw years. Like Harvard sucks and you socks. I obviously that's the competition. Yeah. So you got that bug there or you know, um, were you always like science and biology and always playing with bugs. Was that always a thing? Are Really, really interested in the body always. How things work. My grandfather passed away when I was 13 and I had just taken a cpr certification class, so I was the person that had to actually try to revive him and I think that that stuff. 13 cheese. Well you know, you got to grand mom. She's an eighth grade education.

Speaker 4: She wasn't doing cpr and you know, I think ultimately it was something I was interested in so it stuck with me that you know, just how the body works. How did that affect you as a person? That is an amazing. I can't imagine that and I can't imagine. I can't imagine a 13 year old. I wrote my college essays about it. It was definitely a pivotal moment in my life. It was when I realized more about like life. I think I became a grownup. My consciousness definitely is not very different from what it was at 13. I like to say that I'm like 17 plus 20 years of experience because I did get a little bit more mature between 13 and 17 obviously, but by and large and you tell from the kickstarter I even have on the day, like I'm still this girl that, you know, grew up in the streets of Brooklyn and running around and upper east side with my Jewish home means playing ball and you know, that's, that stuck with me. The same thing with my grandfather just stuck with me. I think it made me transition into that adult thinking.

Speaker 5: Uh, so just to take the tangent to your kicks, as far as the, what I'm seeing, it's kind of a Jackson pollock a meets a chuck Taylor all star type situation. You know, obviously it's, it's much more and much different than that, but that's what I see. Amazing. Thanks. Can, do you mind, I mean, just take us back to that moment. You said you wrote your, I don't mean to harp on it, but this was a pivotal moment, a pivotal moment in anybody's life. Can you remember the emotions that you had?

Speaker 4: I think that's when I realized that I, uh, you know, people are fight or flight and I'm fighting. There you go. That's what I mean. But I think I just said was a transition in my consciousness of what I was capable of crossover move forward and um, he didn't make it and that was devastating and you know, I thought it was strong enough to do the eulogy because, you know, my older sister, she was a massive earlier and then at the actual, you know, funeral, she was actually well put together and I lost it there. She got it out. You held it in and then it came out. Yes. And then I couldn't do the actual talk. Right. Um, but yeah, I, I remember distinctly, I mean he was in his room and he went to bed and my grandmother was yelling upstairs. I was still doing a project for school because I'm at Birch wildfit at this point.

Speaker 4: And so yes, it's like 11 or 12:00 and I'm working on a school project upstairs. We lived in a two family home that we luckily are. People didn't own their homes. We luckily did and I thought I heard my grandma yellow and I think I did and, but I just ignored it. I felt like, you know, I don't know who she's yelling at me. She stopped her on the phone, I just ignored it. And then eventually she was calling on the phone and I felt like, who is calling at this hour? So I think I ignored it again. I that all remember like yesterday, um, eventually I did come to the door and she said, your father, your father, he's not breathing. And my grandfather was like my father, you know, he, he the man that raised me essentially. And so we all ran downstairs.

Speaker 4: My mom was there, um, a step dad and my sisters and I, you know, we start, we moved them from the bad, put them to the floor and then we started, um, he was not breathing at this point. I know now based on my understanding of the body that he was already gone. Got It. But we were doing our best to revive him and then it started, we to call nine. One one. We live in east New York. They took fucking forever. Excuse me, I got to keep it 100 top. Um, they did and when they finally arrived he was pretty much dead on arrival and so, you know, and not for actually not a bad thing because not. But a week earlier we were sitting in our orange plastic covered, um, couch with the runner plastic matching plastic runner in the middle. Yes. And we were all watching a TV show where someone, it might have been st elsewhere somewhat. And it's about doctors. Yeah, sure. Someone was getting constantly revived and my grandfather was basically like, don't do that to me, just let me go. Like he, you know, and maybe people know, but he seemed that's amazing at that point, the healthiest. But it was a surprise

Speaker 5: weird that that happened. Denzel Washington was on that show. I think also Harry Howie Mendell is on state St. Elsewhere.

Speaker 4: Yeah. Maybe. Yeah, I think it was a show. It was a doctor show. So I think so. I think so. Anyway.

Speaker 5: Sorry. So that's how molecular biology makes a whole lot of sense at Princeton. So you get to Princeton, you already in good schools to begin with. So this wouldn't be a shock to see all these people, I would imagine. Is that right when you kind of got onto the campus?

Speaker 4: Uh, yeah. I mean I think it, it raises the bar. I'm glad I went to prep school. Yes.

Speaker 5: Literally prepared you to go to school. Right. Um, and so molecular biology. What else that, you know, you said a little bit of basketball but not really focused on your studies. What else did you focus on them?

Speaker 4: Um, I forgot. I focus on a lot of activism. We had started a Swahili class. We were constantly fighting for the African American program, which you can only get a certificate in, which I got. Could actually be a major, which you finally is. Thank you. Princeton. They would tell him, right? I mean it only took 10 years after I graduated, but you know, I gotta yeah, you gotTa start somewhere. So a lot of activism on campus. I was part of the Black Arts Company, so I was artistic director there. Dancer.

Speaker 5: Yeah. Let's end performing. So black arts, did that include theater or was it mostly dance? What was,

Speaker 4: it was a combo, but I was uh, you know, mostly, uh, a featured dancer. So like what kind of stuff? Modern dance or everything. I mean we literally did everything but I was probably more of a specialty hip hop dancer. They call me hip hop ballerina because I do a lot of peer wet because I was trained that way. My grandmother sent me to the dance theater of Harlem for classes and so I can do that, but I love hip hop on

Speaker 5: how, how did the dance, uh, kind of help inform the way you look at a life, you know, like the basketball, a crossover move forward. I, as I've spoken to you before, as I'm speaking to you now, that is a centrifical force smack that theory of how to approach things. What about dance? Is there a similar kind of a, you know, philosophy there?

Speaker 4: Well, I think that, um, one of the Dan did was make me realize that I was very, I'm equally right brain left brain. I don't, I don't know. I made that way and so, um, I am logical when I choreograph, but I see things like a moving picture even when I put together a strategy, it's that way. It's sort of like the pieces and how people work together. So in many ways the choreographing is very similar to what I do with my cross functional team, which is like I see what you're best at and actually choreographed to people's style. There you go. How they move that truly. Alright. So, uh,

Speaker 5: moving naturally to the next thing. You're not a scientist, you're not a biology. When did that change? Did you get your degree in molecular bio?

Speaker 4: I am a molecular biologist. Well congratulations. And thanks so much.

Speaker 5: When did it change though as far as your direction? Because you know, that's not the trajectory that you took.

Speaker 4: I think all of the inputs in college at his thing at Princeton, they don't tell you, hey, you can be, you know, a, a marketing director or you could be a brand manager. Like they don't do that. Then you come in, you get on track to tell you premed. Everybody literally throws themselves on the fire to the molecular biology. Most people don't survive that track. They go to a slightly different altered biology track to make it out, but I think I started taking other classes and I realized that just because you're good at something doesn't mean you have to do it. And I love science, but it was a lot of science. Definitely by my senior year it was almost like the energy, here's all science all day. And I was like, Oh, I'm dying. Slowly. I don't have enough of a creative outlet. So I became a manager at Mac.

Speaker 4: What's Mac? Mac is a cosmetics. Oh Man. That was my job. Yeah. I had to work while I was in school. I worked full time from sophomore year on. I worked full time as a counter manager at Mac and I got the lucky chance of, you know, I kept trying and getting more training. I became Mac pro. Um, I did my first. I have a Mac pro, but it's different. It's different. I guess I could be the face. I can, I don't anymore. I don't anymore. No. Pass that onto my baby sister right out the ice. There you go. But, um, no, I, that was my creative outlet. So by day this molecular biology students and around the night and the weekend time I'm getting to play and makeup and play and fashion and I've always had a, a sense of style that people would say, hey, where'd you get this?

Speaker 4: Where'd you get that? How'd you do that? There's an intense situation happening with my tee shirt says, classically trained. Technically I am, I mean Princeton. Sure, absolutely. But this is a different class. Uh, an old, uh, old game. This is the Nintendo joystick, a hot. And if you know about superman from like the late 80. Yes, yes, yes. And um, you know, I saw it. I was like, I gotta have it. I love this seat. So No, I am classically trained in music. It's a couple of meetings for me. Sure. Yeah. Alright. So fashion. So here we go type of thing. Right. And then what was the next step after you graduated? Congratulations. You're a molecular biologist, but what do you do with that? But I don't want to go to medical school, right. And I, and I'm tired of science. And so what I did was I looked for jobs that made me feel like I was contributing and giving back.

Speaker 4: It was probably barely education focused and I'm marketing and nonprofit. I actually started a job, true story because I took an extra year to complete my thesis. I did a thesis on what the tells the cerebellum. What does the. I tell this a lot. A lot. You know, it's 150 pages you don't even want to go. That would be one key learning just so we touch on it. Oh my God. Well, does it balance out? Yes, yes, certainly. But yeah. So that's what keeps me up. I. So No, the tell tells a lot. There's retinal detecto like the technical part of your brain mapping that happened. So, um, I did it with a chick embryos, but I've take stayed an extra year. So instead of being class of 2000, I was class of 2001. So right before nine slash 11, 2001. I took a job at the board of Education for, as a selection coordinator for a program that I think is still going on. I think it's the, it's not the new teachers project teaching fellows. And basically the week I started was nine slash 11 happened. And essentially thank God I didn't come in that day. I was late, but I'm unfortunately watched all that happened. And then I was commuting in from New Jersey on the New Jersey transit and I just could not do it anymore. We were getting taken off the train regularly for bomb scares and it just really after that, right after. So I winded up going to the united way. So I went the opposite direction in Philadelphia. All right.

Speaker 5: So just before we get to the united way, because whenever you experience something like that, which is, you know, hopefully a once in a lifetime thing. Uh, I, I feel that we should talk about as much as we can. Okay. So just to share with folks, you know, what it was maybe not even the day because you weren't commute again, but those weeks afterwards kind of share what the feeling was here in New York in the tristate area and even what the smell was in the air and all that. Share a little bit. Sure. So

Speaker 4: the teaching fellow office was down town Brooklyn, like right by the bridge, so it was covered in just sit and disgusting a brown and a lot of paper everywhere. It was gross, um, the train situation at least for because I am a bird and I too feel like I'm free. So to be underground or to be entrapped in something and constantly having a scare legitimately we got taken off the train every day on my days back to work and most people did try to go back to work a couple of days as New Yorkers again, we crossover and keep it moving. Right? So that happened for real and you know, um, being on the ground, I never went into Manhattan but just being that close to how everything went down and it just, it, it covered all of that downtown Brooklyn area so that the spirit was very somber, scared.

Speaker 4: I think people were just scared it could happen again and any minute, any minute. And so if you, if you're a place where there was a lot of people you could tell and a lot of people would say like less not congregate you to get a lot of that. Let's not congregate, let's keep it moving. And that freaked me out. And so I felt like maybe I need to go to a city that is a little less sought after for this type of thing. The city of brotherly love. Yes. Yes. Philadelphia New York have a, a interesting relationship. Yes. That's a nice way to put it. Right. So what was the united way job there? I was a now what you call a digital marketing manager and now you called, what was it called? The um, well this was pre wireless pre all of that. And so I was just a marketing manager, gotta just deal with the new stuff sheet.

Speaker 4: Yes. Basically. Um, we, uh, I got connected with a cornell graduate, Stephen Rockwell. He is still a social activist, an Mit Grad and in the MBA space working on social activism, shout out to him and civic direct. But basically he had come up with this concept that was pretty dope, which was that we needed to close the digital divide and there was a lot of new technology that companies like Cisco and IBM were coming up with what we now know is wireless and such that they needed to test things initially. So he came up with, I'm really a business strategy and a new initiative called teaming for technology. And that was a partnership between IBM, Cisco and United Way. And Philadelphia was, uh, the initial site. It was also the only, the only site that also had a for profit model. So he also did community technology training.

Speaker 4: Um, we also went into the schools and I helped him start a teen technology network and we helped build to wireless networks. I'm going to goosebumps because it's like crazy, but we helped build to wireless networks in the Philadelphia area over two of the poorest neighborhoods and we gave them refurbished computers and they had immediate access. They have the first access, if you will, to wireless in Philadelphia before even the, anybody else affiliated. Uh, we got to then as a result of that, basically be the, I guess, advisors to the Philadelphia City as we. They did that and love park. So every time I'm in love park now I'm like, well, tell what, what are we talking about? The park is a main, a big attraction or a big park in Philadelphia. Um, in spring you got to get out there if you get to affiliates, one of the best places to be. A lot of places to sit down, green food trucks, things like that. I want to list our list. Free Wireless. So this all was going down and like 2000, four, 2003. Like it was during the time where we didn't really know

Speaker 5: where we're going. And as far as marketing and as far as digital and far as far as, you know, the average person's relationship with technology. That's right before the iphone, iphone comes in I think 2006. And so all of these companies like Cisco and, and all of them knew that they needed to get going and needed to be there as far as mobile. But the technology wasn't there. Yeah, they had to test a lot. And so that's why when you say it was pre digital digitally really was. So anything that you're used to now just scrolling through on your phone. It wasn't there. It was like hurry up and wait.

Speaker 4: Yes, it was um, a lot of AOL instant messenger. I'm on my desktop space and bride planet, everything, ether net cords. A lot of them, lots of emails, lots of sports. But I loved it. And what I loved and what I did was I got to tell the story about it. So I got to take Steve's very technical brain and IBM's very technical, um, uh, ideas and come up with the story as to how we would sell it to be able to raise the money. So, you know, it became, we took it from about 80,000 operating budget to about a million very quickly and that's what I realized I was gifted at that, like facts tell, stories sell, and I'm good at facts and I always remembered them. But what I'm really good at is figuring out how to put them in the right order to make the right story. That's gonna sound. There you go. So that's united way then where'd you go for from there? I went into business for myself for the most part.

Speaker 5: As far as, uh, your various clients. Let's discuss.

Speaker 4: Well, uh, I guess, but the big ones, that's what I'm looking for, what to do with. But basically there was a permanent. So I was a stylist. A stylist means you get to pick people's clothes. Oh, for the telephone. Once they get on their Deshida had, uh, an effect on that. A Lot, a lot of fun. I got to hook up, my sister was a writer and producer so I'm not gonna act like I just out of nowhere and went from united way and Mosey on into bt, like give me a job. But while I was at united way I stayed with my Mac job so now I wasn't working at a counter, I was Mac pro so I still got to work fashion weeks on the side and that was my ability to kind of just keep doing what I love to get that 40 percent discount. So also give you the actual

Speaker 5: goods. So you know,

Speaker 4: as far as networking is concerned, this one had to do with family. Yes. You know, but if you can't use nepotism in your own family, where can you use it? That's true. I say so uh, yeah. Had the skillset from working fashion week from your own work working with Mac so that it wasn't just nepotism. Right. You know what I mean? Alright. So that's. But a next client, big client. Let's do it. I think we did softsheen and Carson. So for a little bit I was going to get to Minnesota. Is what I'm trying to get the hair, the hair and makeup a thing at, but basically I did this for multiple clients. I start a lot of websites for 21 gas before we had websites. Right. So I was like an ecommerce right on the front for that. Um, and I decided I need to go to business school.

Speaker 4: So I went to rutgers and I'm basically from rutgers. Scarlet Knights. Rutgers, yeah. Shout out. I am Brooklyn branded I Guess Board Jersey. Educated in a big way. I mean legitimately educated in Jersey and proud of it. I was on a billboard for rutgers business school. It was a lot of fun and made me a little mini celebrity and it was in the New Jersey transit stations too, which was a little crazy. Which you're in, so you're looking at yourself as you're trying to get my ticket crazy and people try to get there to get to. This is why I changed my hair so much, but eventually out of business school I did my internship atj andj and then made my way. Yes, Johnson Johnson. I owned the nursing pads and cotton swabs. I was personal care superstar there, but then I made my way to target.

Speaker 5: Okay. So I mean you, because you've got Johnson and Johnson, you've got Mac pro, you've got bt now on the resume, so you know, target can see all of that. Obviously you've got the business degree. What did you wind up doing for Tara?

Speaker 4: I, uh, was a senior buyer or senior category category manager. What does that mean? That basically means you're a general manager of what feels like an enormous size business. Usually it's between 100 to $400, million dollars that you're owning for them. Now, granted there are $75,000,000,000 company, so for them, not a huge number, but three to $400,000,000 is a lot. Right? Absolutely. We can agree on that. Um, and they have one of the best merchandising management programs. They trained CEO's. Okay. And so what, how did they train you? What were the key learnings from, you know, uh, that you took forward from, from their training? I think I really came into my own. I had a vp who brought me on and he basically said to Sheila, we hired Brooklyn, so we want Brooklyn and what I learned, what does that mean? That meant that he, he wanted that fire.

Speaker 4: He wanted the same girl from East New York. So when we're in meetings and people wanted to, you know, uh, I guess have pushed back. It was okay for me to bring it up. Yes. Particular. I'll give a perfect example. You're in Minnesota and we're putting together the merchandising like presentation strategy or what it looks like on the floor, like what you see when you through a target now we have 1800 so you don't get the same one every time you have the main prototype and they base it on the top stores in the country. Do you know what the number one store in the country is? Retarget right there? Downtown Brooklyn. Oh really? Yes. Really? Yeah. Like mall of America or whatever. Downtown Brooklyn. Really number one. Gross. I think that is why it's for obvious reasons. It's the creek, like it's the craziest story ever.

Speaker 4: Um, and mostly to be honest because it has a very good apparel and accessories assortment, which is the world I was in high margin versus like an electronics low margin. So that is the world that was really driving that top line revenue and your bottom two. So for downtown Brooklyn. Well downtown Brooklyn is like Beirut, right? Like you go there, you got wires hanging out. You know, I, I did visit and I've taken pictures like this is crazy. You got a suit before Barclays Center by the way. Right. It's not that much better but it is for trying. It's gotten a little bit better but it is before they just don't know that at the time it was Greg Steinhafel but they knew he wasn't going to walk the floor and so it looked a hot mess regularly. So if we're planning for it to sell at that spot, some of the things that we would put together, it know, especially from people who were from the Midwest was quite Minnesota Nice.

Speaker 4: Like it was just a little like it's too easy, it's too accessible. And so I was the one that constantly be like, hold up, this is like, this shit's going to get stolen and this is a terrible idea. It will work in downtown Minnesota Ela at the mall of America, but it's not going to work in downtown Brooklyn. So I'm listening to what you're saying. Yes. And we and we, we reduce shrinkage, which saves money. That's stealing by the way, Retail Asi. So yeah, I mean I think it was a lot of fun to come into my own. Alright. So I mean, almost like a star for them, you know, because basically we're turning this ship around. Yes. Where'd you go from there? Um, so target was fantastic. I got to launch a brand. Ava and Viv, Ava and Viv, are they familiar? Well, looking at what I'm wearing, which is not very impressive.

Speaker 4: You look pretty sharp actually having a place. I like that. But um, um, no, I do, I appreciate it. It's just, there's no branding situation happening. Well, the good thing about brands that are ones like j dot crew, nothing on thej crew is spelled j crew, but it's still well made. Yeah. So, um, but ava and Viv plus size brand, it was a, you know, a really a, a pivot point for targets. They were losing money on the plus size business and yet you're basically putting clothes out there for America and the average woman is a size 14. She is plus size and you're ignoring her and you're giving her hand me downs from the skinny girl section and saying let's make it wider and larger. And it was ill fitting. And so my experience essentially told me that we needed to really look at the customer segment and create something that was really for her and we did something fantastic.

Speaker 4: Again, I consider myself a digital innovator. I saw that the plus blogosphere was really blowing up. We have all these bloggers popping up and they had millions of followers because again, this was just on the verge of plus size being a big deal for everybody, knew, you know, who Ashley was and she's a top model and now the new host of America's next top model, but she's plus size. This was before that. And so I basically, you know, a set out to reverse the business by creating a brand and target had not created an own brand, like an internal brand in clothing in a long time. We were worried about it. I'm coming to market and what we did was we did something unprecedented. Now a lot of people are copying it. We brought in the bloggers and we had them talk about it and market it revolutionary at the time.

Speaker 4: Right? Because what you're talking about, we are talking about 2012, 2013, 2014. So that's more recent than thought. I figured you're talking about 2009. Well 2011 is really when bloggers really like starting to being influencers. Yeah. Alright. So, so that's all happening on the professional front. Uh, and then all of a sudden we've got a, another personal issue that comes in here I think. Yeah, right. Yeah. So while I was at target, um, I got to live with my mom again, hadn't lived with her since I was 17. She came out to Minnesota to live, um, and really helped me with my son. Uh, and unfortunately she had gotten diagnosed with breast cancer. So while in Minnesota, I mean perfect timing to some degree because the cancer diagnosis came before we made the decision for her to move. And once I knew I was going to be in Minnesota near Mayo Clinic, like I'm no fool again about the science.

Speaker 4: We made sure she was there and she got great circles. No, they're doing absolutely. Yeah. Um, yeah. So, you know, it was a struggle. I think my challenge more than anything else was that she was going through chemotherapy. My mom was already a cannabis smoker prior. She was an advocate prior and this was the only thing that was really soothing to her in any way, shape or form, whether it's the appetite or just being able to sleep or just being still not being anxious about dying because she was only 57, you know? Um, I think it was a challenge for me because I wasn't in Brooklyn in Brooklyn. I got the plug, you know what I'm saying? I'm in Minnesota executive for target, you know, like who am I running the streets, trying to find. This was before Minnesota also became medicinally legal by the ride. So that really, I don't know, that kind of stung and it made me feel like I was doing something wrong even though I knew I wasn't doing anything wrong. I was really just trying to help my mom. You literally know that the medicine is providing her relief, the medicine

Speaker 5: being cannabis and then you feel like a criminal trying to get the cannabis for your mother, which is the medicine of criminal risking everything that you just talked about, that I get fired or we get fired. And then not how you make it back after you get fired. So, uh, I would imagine that a awoke, uh, your, your activism a mind again. Yeah. Right. Um, what happened with your mother? Let's, uh, let's talk that through. Um, you know, she's. Okay, great. You're getting her cannabis and you feel like a criminal doing it. But, you know, I'm technically, I am a criminal doin it right at the time. Not Technically, actually. Yeah. Uh, so what happened?

Speaker 4: Um, well, thankfully she gets through and we decide that it's time to move. And she moved back to Georgia. I moved to the east coast and Victoria's secret basically poached me. I go there as a director to help launch Victoria's secret sport and we forget about cannabis advocacy to some degree. Not going to lie because my mom is now. Well, she's okay, we're fine. She's back. She's still doing her thing, but it's in the comfort of her home and there's no real major fears about her health necessarily. She's getting checkups. And then, you know, unfortunately last year in April 2016, the unthinkable happened. And my mom passed away and it was unexpected and out of nowhere for us, I mean even though we had seen what the cancer had done to her and she did have a bill of health and then we prior hat she had brain surgery and she recovered from that as well.

Speaker 4: That was seven months later that she actually passed away. And so as it turns out, she had liver cancer and you know, succumb to that. But it happened where she was admitted on a Monday and by Friday she was gone. Um, and when I went back to work after three weeks off at, by this point, I had been poached by four fullbeauty to rebrand a onestopplus until fullbeauty.com. So I was a director of brand marketing there. And I tried to go back to work. I tried, I loved my boss there, shout out to flow, but I just could not, I could not do it anymore. I felt like I didn't have a passion for, not necessarily that I didn't have a passionate for plus size because I, I love what I've been able to do in that industry. But I just didn't have a passion for being in New York and, um, the work that I was doing, I felt like the needed to be more so my mom was planning to move to Arizona. We had jokingly said a number of times she needed to move to Arizona and my aunt was already there and they could open a dispensary together. Like that was a conversation. That was the conversation. I did some research as the business person in the family about what that would look like. And believe it or not, it opened my eyes about a lot of things that were challenging an industry here, here.

Speaker 5: First off, and then we'll get to the challenges. But just to make sure that we kind of covered this. You and I, uh, when we spoke, I told you about my mother who passed away about 11 years ago. We never even thought about cannabis as a medicine because if you weren't in New York and it just wasn't part of the vernacular and she was not a cannabis enthusiasts, so was, would, wouldn't. It wasn't a thought at all for her. Um, but for you to kind of have, you know, this occur in, in a, uh, again, out of nowhere way in other words, you were prepared when you were in Minnesota. You weren't prepared now. Yeah. Okay, fine. She's been through all this, but she's good. Boom. I talked to people all the time that have not lost a parent and I like to say to folks that are new to having lost a parent, welcome to the club. So welcome to the club, but

Speaker 6: what?

Speaker 5: I can't explain what it is, what the feeling is, um, and I can't help someone that has not lost a parent. Help me. In other words, with communication, there's no way to bridge that divide unless there is. Do you have a thought on that?

Speaker 4: I mean, it's one of those things that's sort of inconceivable. You don't. And losing a parent early is what we're talking about. Um, because my mom was only 60 and you know, her kids, barely enough Ortiz. I'm not yet. And you know, it's just, I kept saying to my best friend, I'm not ready. I'm not ready. Um, because it's basically putting us up to bat, um, time for life. Yeah. Right. And I don't know, I think what I've learned the last eight months or so is that while I maybe lost my mom in this, in this world, at least I feel like I've found myself in this world in a greater way. I'm the cab driver today. He said, you're not working. He's like, what you do is, is, is living and breathing it. And I think that, that, that to have that is amazing at my age already. And so in that way, I feel like that's the thing, there's the gift out of it to realize life. Yes. All right,

Speaker 5: so you get out to Arizona a book both getting a little teary. I sorry.

Speaker 4: Is it so hard? It's so hard.

Speaker 5: It's brand new. You're in the first year. You're, you're in the first, right in the. Every time something is coming up as well. So happy birthday. Thank you. You're only going to be 25, which is great. Which doesn't make sense based on the math that way.

Speaker 4: Absolutely. Thirty whatever.

Speaker 5: But yeah, no, there's the or the first, this is a, this is the hard part, you know, um, so you get out to Arizona and almost kind of start to realize what your mother started to talk about. Is that a fair way to look at it?

Speaker 4: Um, I don't just realize it, it hits me like a ton of bricks, like for real, I legitimately got there and then like a week I had my eminem Jay cart because I mean we didn't even talk about me. I mean I was basketball players have polyarthritis and then paint a lot in my three years in Minnesota. Really exacerbated it. I had a number of flair ups and it only took one session with my mom for me to realize that, oh shit, this is working for me too. So then we were talking about cannabis, like do we have enough milk, eggs, sugar, cannabis, because we're getting a friend list. Exactly. I was definitely a corporate closets donor in that regard because I was consuming every day in order to fulfill my inflammatory and needs to be honest. And I still do. And so I got my Mba card and within two weeks Mary Jane Marketing was pretty much a and started the incorporation process and I just saw a need that, you know, this is an industry and a plant that has been subjected to a lot of bullshit.

Speaker 4: Let's be real, you know, it just is like crazy, right? Like Marvin Washington is a friend of mine and someone I've been working with, fantastic. And I'm stealing this from him, but I'm giving him credit. But he likes to say that this is an unorganized truth, fighting against an organized lie. And I think what is really the challenge about the industry is that for so many years it's been underground that the superstars, if you will, the people like myself who are coming from kind of mainstream was killing it, stayed away. You know? And what I'm saying and what I've kind of been saying since I started is, no, no, no, we actually, if you believe in it, if you're doing this even privately, you don't need to stay away. You need to step into it. We need to be honest about what's know, call, call, what it is and you know, so I think that really fires me up. It gets me, it gets me going. And so what you,

Speaker 5: you and I kind of texted on your way in here today and uh, you were saying everybody's doesn't, no one in this industry understands really how to kind of market or how to Kinda, you know, keep the, uh, the conversation going in a, in a real way, in a consistent way. What do you mean? Just give us a general philosophy there?

Speaker 4: Well, I think there are some people don't, don't, don't get me wrong. There are definitely some people that I respect their gangsta and I'm looking at them and I'm like, I and I, if you get a call from me, it means this because I respect your gang said I want to work with you. Right? If I'm reaching out because I want to work with you and I see that you have exactly what is needed to help rebrand this industry the end of the day, the fastest growing users right now, legal users are women of color. And people over 55, I'm starting to realize the medicinal benefits, um, things are happening that are in a great way. But you also have big Pharma, big CPG. They're all waiting. I mean, I had a friend inside of Johnson and Johnson. Yes. Yes. I mean, this Intel telling me that hemp is being talked about as the ingredient of the year.

Speaker 4: Now the minute that he gets on a target shelf, it's all bad for the people who have been running their businesses like underground businesses, even though they're in the legal, legitimate industry. What does that mean? Well, it means okay. You can't name your bong a dab of Chino. You can't name your strain. Girl scout cookies. Girl Scouts is legitimately sending cease and desist now. So the more that we come above ground, there's some branding rules like do's and don'ts that are left and right, being a broken, you're gonna lose your every money, all the money that you make simply by trademark infringement. Don't make your name or your logo sound like or look like anything that is out there. No. Yeah. I think most people have taken the easy way out because their demo is the easy demo. The demo is like the 18 to 25 stoner demo.

Speaker 4: You show them a bubble character and they're like, cool. That works. I mean my sister is that and I love her for it, but at the same time. Your sister? Yeah, my baby sister, big ice. She's actually a host of a podcast herself. She plays, but yeah, I mean she's. She's not even that demo to be honest. She's more girly and sexy and fabulous. And how do you roll this way? All these nails. My nails are five inches long. I wrote this like that's her, but the point is the demo is diverse now and you have to actually have more inclusion. It's mainstream now, which means we have to have branded experiences and I find that it has been challenging as a medicinal patient more so on that side. Coming before the molecular biology degree haven't experienced with pharmaceutical companies to expect that you're talking to a bud tender is the same as talking to your physician.

Speaker 4: You crazy like where do they do that? They don't do that and so if we really want to play and I shout out private tier would like to raise if we really want to play. There are brands out there playing for sure, but I think that we could do better and we want to police ourselves and since my mom wasn't advocate and she's been literally a lifelong stoner, I sorta feel like, yeah, I'm jumping into the mix because I'm a shark coming in on the inside of the tank saying, Yo, we need to keep all these other sharks out and here's how you do it and I think it's about your story. And that's what gets me back to what we were talking about on texts, which is I'm coming up here for a podcast. I started and launched the. We'd had a shout out to my fans and followers, but you know, I, I've only done it for months.

Speaker 4: I got over 10,000 followers now. I definitely am a growth hacker. I've done it a few times and why and there's so many tricks out there and what I'm saying is you got to take them along with the story. Part of it is it's called the weed head. Just a rise in cannabis, you know, executive story people want to see or what do you mean? Like how you, how are you becoming a cannabis executive? So I just tell a story. So. Yes, absolutely. I could talk to you all day unfortunately. I can't. I know. So we got the three final questions. I'm going to tell you what they are and then I'll ask you them in order first, what has surprised you most in cannabis? Second is what has most surprised you in life? Third is on the soundtrack of your life. One track, one song that's got to be on there. But first things first, what has most surprised you in camp?

Speaker 4: I'm sorry. Let me think. I think that people, that people aren't willing to just give real talk. Right? So you're, you're smoking. I feel like people are chill, but there's still tiptoeing around the elephant in the room and which is that we don't get our shit together, you know, and we're scared. The industry. Yes. And you know, we want to attend. We do and I think there are some people who are forging the way, but that is the elephant in the room. We need to get our shit together and quickly. I'm saying 18 months actually, I got ya. You know, I'm with you. So that's the biggest thing that surprised that there are still so many people unwilling and on a one on one basis, everyone's like, Yo, girl, I feel you. I feel you. So they, they're, they're hearing me. I'm, maybe I'm the first one. Instead of just saying I'm going to say it with authority because I have these brands that I know. This is where worked in mainstream. I have sold to America. I can sell cannabis to America. There you go. I can sell cannabis to America. That's fantastic. Uh, we are speaking in January of 2017, which happens to be a unique time in your life. We just, we, you know, we covered that. What has most surprised you?

Speaker 4: What's most surprised me in life is that I am at a point where I look in the mirror and I still feel in my heart like I am a teenager at 17, 17 plus 20 years of experience in 20 years of experience means I know what, what I'm good at it and I really leverage it and so, and that's from business to relationships, whatever. And I think that that is surprising me and lately I've been posting a lot on my social media about my 20 years where I have adult throwbacks for real because I'm to be 38 and I'm just like, that is unbelievable. I don't think I looked that much different. I hope not, but I definitely don't feel different. Rock I think is what I've heard. Don't know. No, I think it just, it doesn't feel that much different. I'm still wanting to ride.

Speaker 4: I'm still cheesy in the difference. I wish my mom was with me here and my grandma was with me here, but I think I, I'm connected with them so much spiritually. It makes me even stronger, like my magic is that deep for real. I got you. I hear you. I can feel it. Okay, good. Um, either the easiest question or toughest on the soundtrack of your life. One track one song that's got to be on there. Feel to be in a rhythm of the night hitting Miami. Sound machine. I like it. Oh wait, is that Gloria? Stefan? Yeah. No real connection. No, that's the barge. Is the crumbs? The soundtrack. Excuse me. Wait a minute. First of all, I'm like Mr. Hi. No, I'm not. That would be glorious. Don't know. I know what you're talking about now. But that was the barge and rhythm of the night is on the soundtrack of the last dragon, which is my favorite movie of all time.

Speaker 4: The Dragon, I think. No, it is an all black cast vanity, isn't it? Tie back. Show gun shows gun. Who? Who's the master? You don't know. References. Okay. So we got, we got do we to make sure you see it, but for the people who are my real black folks out there, you know what? I am still on Dragon's den. There's got to be probably. What is that about? It's about a young boy, Bruce Leroy who is like this. It is this acute, far as dirty karate guy. Kesha Knight Pulliam magazine actually plays his little sister and he wants to just learn some moves and vanity is a pop star and she's around his age. He's so like behind, like never had a girlfriend. She never kissed a girl. His younger brother's like, man, you a job man. You ain't got no girl. You got no game. And he gets his game by realizing that he's the master.

Speaker 4: He has to fight the person who is like a bully in the neighborhood basically, you know, taking people's money. His name is show God. Everybody's rocking his hairstyle lately to Shogun hairstyle where got a top knot in the hair out. Um, but he will all read and shout out to that actor. I wish I knew his name was. He passed away recently, but he just was crazy. And there's a scene at the end where they're just, they go insane and it's, you know. But at the end of the day, the master, and at the end of the day, the bar feel the beat and the rhythm of night. I'm always dancing. Yeah. And that makes me dance. Oh Man. A. You're fantastic. Thank you. This is a pleasure. I can't wait to do it again. Oh, we must. All right. Awesome. Thank you so much. Thank you. And there you have to Shita Dawson.

Speaker 1: Literally. I've got to check out the last dragon. I find it amazing that there's an eighties movie that's based in comedy that I haven't seen, but I'll go back in and certainly check it out. Thanks to Jesse Horton, uptop always appreciate his time. Always appreciate your time. Really appreciate you listening.

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Cannabis Economy is a real-time history of legal cannabis. We chronicle how personal and industry histories have combined to provide our current reality.