Several times per month someone will ask me how can they break into the cannabis industry. They’ve heard how lucrative dispensaries are, and often people believe that that’s the only place to enter. Not true! Any of your existing skills and expertise can be aligned with the cannabis industry. The cannabis market is rich with job opportunities that don’t involve touching the plant. From writing to branding and graphic design there is not an area where your career cannot be formed.
My interview subject Gia Morón of GVM Communications is PR Chair of the NY Chapter of Women’s Grow. Gia has a diverse skill set which includes time spent working in the entertainment and finance industries at firms like The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. With a desire to break into the cannabis industry as a nonuser Gia used her expertise in Public Relations to enter the market.
Read on about her journey and advice to those wanting to enter the growing field.
You have over 15 years of experience working in Public Relations – how did you transition into a career in cannabis?
Actually, I have over 20 years of experience. Closer to 25. I began my career in corporate, first in the television industry then transitioned into financial services then launching my own PR firm. I haven’t changed my business model but I have expanded my services to include the cannabis industry. I was already serving businesses, non-profits, entrepreneurs, speakers, and authors. The cannabis industry is one I had not tapped but saw great potential to help businesses build their brands. It’s a rapidly growing industry that needs from soup to nuts. I love that it is allowing me to be creative. The point to remain connected to areas such as technology, diversity, real estate, finance and non-profits and now covering the cannabis industry allows me to keep up to date across the board. I see potential, for collaborations with many of the big brands. The rewarding piece is being a part of something new and groundbreaking yet remaining connected to areas I am already familiar.
How did you learn of Women Grow and what made you join them?
I knew I wanted to be a part of this developing industry. It was important to me to be a part of the growing blueprint. Initially, I was under the impression I needed to create a new career. After reading about one of the Women Grow founders I learned there was a local chapter here in New York. In late 2014, I began attending meetings and learning more about the industry. After following the organization for some time I met Melissa Meyer, head of the NYC Chapter. After a few conversations, she asked if I would consider the role as PR Chair. Medical marijuana had become legal in New York, I saw Women Grow NYC as an amazing organization with some remarkable members, it was a no-brainer for me.
How does your company aid in reframing the cannabis conversation – making it more favorable to those who have some apprehension?
I’m going to circle back to Women Grow again because it was due to the women and organization that helped me become more comfortable. The new CEO Leah Heise is an attorney, the co-heads of the New York Chapter are graduates from Georgetown University. One works in the non-profit sector and the other runs her own company HealthMJ which provides patients and caregivers research and information on the benefits of cannabis. Then I looked at the landscape further. I am a part of an organization who wants to help women become leaders in this expanding industry.
Let me give me some background: Women Grow is a national for-profit entity that serves as a catalyst for women to influence and succeed in the cannabis industry as the end of marijuana prohibition occurs on a national scale. The organization was created to connect, educate, inspire and empower the next generation of cannabis industry leaders by creating programs, community and events for aspiring and current business executives. There are 45 chapters nationally.
I was already familiar with the positive effects cannabis had on friends and family members battling serious illnesses. From a medical perspective, I was on board, but it was once I was surrounded by the women of Women Grow my point of view changed. My apprehension transitioned to how can I be a part of this group. Yes! I had some concerns what my other clients might think or would the industry accept a non-user? Or did I need to be a user to be a part of this growing industry? The more I continue to learn about the industry, the more I know I am in the right circles and I want to work with businesses to help them develop and flourish in this expanding industry.