Seldom do we think about the full range of niches in the cannabis industry today. Varying legal status, licensure arrangements, and mainstream acceptance from state to state means no two markets are the same in terms of professional needs. With Illinois’ third year of adult-use sales underway and new license applicants eagerly awaiting bureaucratic resolution, the iron is hot for striking for businesspeople in all sectors looking to capitalize on the inevitable, likely explosive, growth.
Far from an underground session-style event, Tony Paolella’s March 2 Canna Networking Event was a microcosm of the Illinois cannabis world, with attendees representing retail, real estate, law, travel, and more at the Electric Hotel in Chicago’s swanky River North neighborhood. According to Tony P’s Networking Events website, “Tony P. Productions is a creative and dynamic Chicago based corporate event planning company. Being widely known for creating and providing social events with a dedicated following. Tony P’s group of talented Chicago marketers, designers and event producers are now offering planning services for other businesses.”
After an opportunity to schmooze and peruse, Laurie Parfitt, principal at LKP Impact and the event’s MC, introduced a trio of women making strides in the Arizona cannabis scene and prefaced with a shout-out to the Illinois Women in Cannabis organization, whose second annual conference is being held March 12.
Sadie Thompson was the first speaker, a recent college graduate working in public relations for Proven Media. She emphasized the team dynamic of business and the fact that each team member has a unique skill or asset to bring to the table. Thompson also discussed how PR firms hold a major role in cannabis news media, as many circulated stories originate as press releases.
Next was Chelsea Mulligan, founder and COO of Open Dør Dispensaries. Her decade of experience as a “dispensary whisperer” involved retail, cultivation, and manufacturing, working with a dedicated compliance team to handle operations in multiple states.
Finally, we heard from Adelia Carrillo, CMO of EventHi and founder of quarterly women’s networking brunch series Blunt Brunch. These brunches are opportunities for over fifty female executives in cannabis to meet and make strategic connections; the next installment is approaching in April.
At the conclusion of the brief keynote speeches, Paolella picked raffle winners for prize bags, before an illuminated hula hoop performance added some flair to the affair.
More lively than most corporate-geared gatherings, more polished than most cannabis events, this event was a chance to expand horizons and create future opportunities one business card at a time.
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