Renee Gagnon is a serial startup founder and is both the first Transgender Publicly traded cannabis company CEO, and the first female one. Thunderbird Biomedical Inc. (now EMH.v) was the 5th licensed federally sanctioned Medical Marijuana company in Canada. Renee built the core team, created and executed on the business plan and raised funds before taking the company public ($25M Valuation at IPO). Gagnon went on to use this insight to create a diverse workforce with strong female leadership across the HollyWeed North Cannabis Inc ™ organization.
As a cutting-edge CEO and executive, Renee Gagnon has been fortunate to be at the beginning of several trends or market creations. “Throughout my career, detecting and then capitalizing on change has been my focus. I am a serial startup founder; I am skilled at survival, stress and team building. I have always been fortunate to find, retain and employ some of the best people in the sector”.
As CEO of HollyWeed North Cannabis Inc ™, Renee Gagnon and her HWN team applied for what Renee believed would be one of the most important licenses in the new Cannabis market, a Cannabis Processing license. HollyWeed North was awarded that license (licensed under the Health Canada Controlled Drugs and Substances act) in December of 2018.
Jacquie Menezes is an Advocacy Consultant with the Cannabis Council of Canada, who recently organized Grass on the Hill – the Cannabis Leaders Summit and Industry Lobby Day from May 30- 31 in Ottawa. She’s a science and technology, government-relations and marketing communications consultant, specializing in legislation and regulatory standards including the Canadian Cannabis Act and Cannabis Regulations. She achieved both a B.Sc. (Agr.) and a Certificate with Distinction in Cannabis Production, QA and Regulations, and IPM from the University of Guelph.
Jacquie’s background spans key areas for the emerging cannabis industry: plant genetics, processing, sustainable hemp and market development. At Allelix Crop Technologies she was on the team that developed the biotech process for edible Canola production and at AGRA Industries, a field-to-table Canola process, in conjunction with CIDA for developing countries and SE Asia.
Dr. Earl Oliver is Ph.D. in Computer Science turned cannabis entrepreneur. As an expert in cannabis operations, Dr. Oliver has made his mark within the cannabis industry by turning around distressed cannabis assets and companies, most notably Gnomestar Craft Cannabis. In so doing, Dr. Oliver has become highly versed in the end-to-end cannabis supply chain, has helped many craft producers get to market, and is a vocal advocate for the craft cannabis community.
Prior to entering the cannabis industry Dr. Oliver served as Chief Technical Officer to VoteBlast Inc.; a Silicon Valley technology startup where he led the engineering team building high-performance systems to facilitate broadcast television-scale, real-time focus groups.
Dr. Earl Oliver holds an Honours Bachelor of Mathematics (Computer Science) from the University of Waterloo and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo. His Ph.D. work, where he created ‘Censorship Tolerant Networking’, focused on building decentralized mobile systems for disseminating content within countries with heavy Internet censorship. Dr. Oliver has built a career building systems for a wide-range of clients. He holds three technology patents and has many peer-reviewed publications.
Gina is a senior consultant with Deloitte Canada in the Risk Advisory Practice. She holds a M.Sc. in plant pathology and plant biotechnology and after graduation worked as an inspector with the federal government before moving into the private sector as a consultant. Her consulting work has been with various levels of government, universities, large grower consortiums, and companies on matters around quality, regulatory compliance, and production efficiencies. She has led research and agricultural production teams and overseen a number of technology transfers in the agricultural and horticultural space. Gina has worked in the highly regulated cannabis industry since 2013 as a research scientist and quality and regulatory professional. She understands how to efficiently integrate regulatory requirements into day-to-day operations.
Chief Ron Sam has 11 years experience as elected leader of Songhees Nation and serves as the chair of the Songhees Development Corporation. Ron brings expertise in government and community relations, negotiation and conflict resolution and strategy development.
Necole Hines is a cannabis chef, educator & advocate who takes a low-THC approach when cooking with cannabis. Grateful for the plant and its benefits, Necole recently founded Faded Living, (a herbal lifestyle company), to connect people to the magic of herbs and work to normalize the use of cannabis.
She is also a founding member of Louder Together Cannabis Advocacy Society; a not-for-profit organization dedicated to amplifying & supporting the voices of BIPOC in the cannabis industry.
And, she is a member of the Strategic Advisory Council for the Afro Cannada Budsistas; a peer support group for Black women who share their cannabis experiences
Her passion for the cannabis plant allows her to create a faded lifestyle that brings balance, wellness, enlightenment, and change.
After co-founding food, art, and music company FAM&Co in 2014 and Westcoast Poké in 2016, he cut his teeth in the early stages of the marijuana industry, launching Dispensaries. Connor had co-founded Canada’s second municipally licensed dispensary before developing a cannabis culinary offering. A food-lover and champion of sustainability, his subsequent ventures were rooted in his passion for responsible food sourcing and embodying a local lifestyle; Choklit Park, Farm & Florist and West Blvd Cannabis.
Anne-Marie E. Fischer, M.Ed. got her professional start in national non-profit organizations, Human Resources, and higher education administration, along the way acquiring her Bachelor of Arts in English & History, Certificate in Human Resources Management, and later her Master of Education. Through her experiences in research-intensive environments, Anne-Marie saw a natural fit between her passion for knowledge and telling stories and using that to mobilize research, funding, and people on local and international community and societal issues. In 2016, Anne-Marie married her passion for writing and cannabis, opening CannaWrite, which has provided over 300 clients within the growing industry with evidence-based content and information, with a focus on research, education, and curriculum design, and working towards a more equitable industry for historically racialized and underrepresented groups, 2SLBGTQIA+, and women. In 2021, she released the book Writing for the Legal Cannabis Industry to help emerging communicators write in compliance with federal, or state/provincial regulations. Anne-Marie lives on the unceded lands of the Snuneymuxw and the Coast Salish people aka. Vancouver Island in British Columbia.