As cannabis grows and evolves, events that foster an open dialogue for cannabis brand builders to share experiences, lessons, and challenges become crucial to moving the industry forward. On December 5-6, Karen G. Meshkov, Client Strategist from ForceBrands‘ cannabis division HerbForce, presented at The Initiative, an accelerator for female-founded CBD and cannabis startup companies located in Portland, Ore.

Karen Meshkov

“It was so inspiring to hear about the amazing brands these founders have built, despite incredible challenges with respect to regulations, supply chain, cost of goods, and so many other aspects of running a business that are made more difficult in a new, federally illegal market,” Meshkov said. “These female founders are building an entirely new category for consumers, and their organizations will reflect that unique vision. In doing so they are creating companies that are attractive to top talent eager to be part of an evolving and more equitable industry.”

Meshkov shared her knowledge of the budding industry through her “How to Build a World-Class Organization” presentation that she delivered to a cohort of female founders: Anna Kaplan of SugarTop BudderyHeidi Fikstad, Sylvan Magnus, and Cam McNeely of MOSS CROSSINGKelly Ann Woods of State B; Mohnia and Ankit Patel of Shanti Wellness; Melinda Lim and Andrew Crotwell of Cannvi; Lily and Arya Sadriand of Refinery; and Rachel Rykal of Core Gardens. She then consulted with each of them to help them develop an organizational and hiring strategy for the next 12 months and to discuss their particular business needs, challenges, and goals, keeping each brand’s individual journey and purpose in mind.

Karen Meshkov The Initiative

Founder of The Initiative Amy Margolis said that bringing Meshkov to share ForceBrands’ expertise of the CPG landscape and to lead two days of programming for Cohort #2 was a natural fit.

“During her time with us, Karen offered our founders insight into organizational design and team building, and also offered tips on growth strategy and structure,” Margolis says. “We very much enjoyed her knowledge, experience, enthusiasm, and willingness to act as a continued resource to our founders.”

cannabis talent market report

Each of the founders left the presentation with knowledge that could be directly applied to the future success of their companies.

“This program has provided me with the direction I needed to take my brand to the next level,” Rykal of Core Gardens said. “I needed someone to come in and let me know these resources were available.”

Learning from professionals with expertise in both cannabis as well as more established branches of the CPG industry is an opportunity that can broaden horizons for cannabis startup founders and present new strategies for growing their businesses.

Interested in learning more about the cannabis industry or working for an emerging brand in the space? Explore our HerbForce division.