Women Grow 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. Founded in 2014 in Denver, Women Grow is a 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.
Personal connections are the key to professional success. Through the wide variety of events offered to members of Women Grow, trustworthy business relationships sprout from the face-to-face interactions of our members. We produce professional networking events, local social events, regional education symposiums and national speaking circuits where aspiring professionals can connect with current cannabis business leaders.
Our Speakers Bureau Events offer the opportunity to engage and connect with the visionary leaders whose combined effort and ingenuity prove the argument that prohibition failed. The daily business challenges faced by our Speakers Bureau members as they navigate our burgeoning industry adds to the depth of knowledge and business acumen their presentations offer.
Continuing education is crucial to success in the cannabis industry. With government regulations and market forces constantly shifting, timely and accurate information is critical to build profitable and socially responsible business models. Through local Educational Symposiums and national Women Grow Speakers Bureau Events, we provide our members with relevant content from experienced leaders on current topics in the cannabis industry.
Together we have more power. As the cannabis industry grows on a national and global scale, women have the opportunity to build a new American industry from inception and redefine the workplace to create environments in which we can flourish and define our own destiny, and cultivate the next generation of industry leaders.
The Women Grow Team
Leah Heise is an experienced regulatory compliance attorney barred in both the State of Maryland and the District of Columbia. Leah loves to develop structure both in her personal life and her business life. She is a big picture thinker with an innate ability to assess an issue and generate solutions. As a former Enforcement Attorney with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Leah is well versed in the world of rapidly changing regulations and has immersed herself in the cannabis industry.
Leah’s interest in the cannabis industry was peaked just two years ago with the passage of Maryland’s medical cannabis legislation. As a longtime chronic pancreatitis patient who utilized opioids as her sole method of pain management, the prospect of being able to eliminate her opioid use and learn a brand new area of law was intriguing. In mid-2015, Leah formed Chesapeake Integrated Health Institute, LLC, built a management team, and applied for a Grow, Process and Dispense license in the State of Maryland. Leah also began counseling nascent cannabis companies, ancillary service businesses and individuals interested in joining the industry in everything from business formation, infrastructure creation, operational compliance and personal skill assessment. Her work was comparable to a Chief Executive Officer and General Counsel rolled into one. Leah’s clients and mentees ranged from Patient Scheduling companies to Testing labs to students looking for possible career paths. Leah passionately believes that many skills are transferrable to success in the cannabis space and loves educating and empowering others to ascertain where they fit in and how to make their companies successful.
As CEO of Women Grow, Leah continues to build upon her passion to educate, connect and empower. Leah is the face of the Company and drives the creation of the Company’s infrastructure, oversees the development of financial and marketing strategies, and implements change while staying consistent to the vision of the company’s founders. She believes in transparent operations, collaborative feedback, and a positive work environment. Managing a team that is spread out across the United States while maintaining a cohesive vision and a feeling of community is a challenge she embraces head on.
When Leah isn’t attending Cannabis Industry events, you will find her enjoying her time with her husband of twenty plus years and her daughters, traveling the world and listening to music. If you meet her, beware; duplication is in her blood and you may just be talking to her identical twin. Not only is she an identical twin, she is the daughter of a fraternal twin, and the mother of fraternal twins. She is warm and friendly and always open to making a new connection.
Chief Operating Officer
Kristina Neoushoff is the Chief Operating Officer at Women Grow. With more than 15 years of experience studying and designing systems that enable individuals to reach their full potential, Kristina is dedicated to exploring what makes people tick and how we can use that to our advantage.
Raised in New Jersey, Kristina is a graduate of Cook College at Rutgers University. In 2002, she began her career with Apple. There, she learned branding, efficiency, and innovation from some of the best leaders in business, an experience that fueled her desire to create simple solutions to everyday problems.
Kristina credits Women Grow Co-Founder Jazmin Hupp with teaching her about the powerful potential of social advocacy. Kristina moved to New York City in 2009, after Jazmin hired her at the independent Apple retailer Tekserve and encouraged her to relocate. In New York, she worked with Tekserve and an entertainment industry startup before joining Esteé Lauder Companies to focus on technology implementations within the Global Retail Channel.
Kristina joined Women Grow in 2015 as Director of Operations. In this role, she works closely with several departments including HR & Training, Technology, and Customer Support to identify processes, select tools, and implement strategies to support the company’s rapid growth. She takes pride in helping the intelligent and self-motivated Women Grow team do their best work.
Kristina’s life goal is to make a positive impact on the world in whatever form that takes. She runs a pet-sitting and animal behavior consulting business, and is particularly interested in therapeutic applications for cannabis in the veterinary community. An avid traveler, she enjoys coffee in Parisian cafés, Sunday roasts at London pubs, and crossword puzzles in bed on Sunday mornings at home.
In her role, Shanon strives to support both members and colleagues to meet sales goals and growth objectives. Throughout her career as a national sales executive and manager she developed expertise in building sales structures and coaching her teams to exceed sales goals while offering clients support throughout the organization.
She believes that when members support Women Grow, they are supporting an organization that sets a higher standard for diversity, best practices, and responsibility, so that these values become the norm in the industry. Her true passion in life is empowering and connecting people in meaningful ways to support their personal and professional development. She encourages those around her to be their most authentic self in everything they do.
She is a Colorado native who enjoys cooking, entertaining, reading, traveling and spending time with her Yorkie, Zeko.
Candice Owens draws on more than 13 years of experience as an “artrepreneur” and music industry marketing expert to help rebrand cannabis, shatter stereotypes, and inspire women to become entrepreneurs and leaders in the industry.
A native New Yorker, Candice holds a degree in advertising & communications from the Fashion Institute of Technology. She began her music industry career in retail marketing for rock artists like KISS, Nirvana, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and was the road manager for the Latin ska/reggae band King Changó. Driven to use her creative impulse for good, she ultimately began creating music to elevate and educate as the songwriter and recording artist “Candice Cannabis.”
Candice believes that branding, design, and marketing are crucial to the process of reshaping public perceptions around cannabis. She sees the effort to rebrand cannabis as a battle against an 80 year campaign of misinformation, and is passionate about shifting public perceptions as legalization occurs in the U.S. and worldwide.
Candice directs Women Grow’s branding, design, and marketing efforts. She creates the company’s weekly newsletter, which reaches more than 38,000 subscribers, and manages its website content, video education channel, email marketing, merchandise and print collateral for dozens of chapters nationwide—no small task as Women Grow, and the cannabis industry, develop at warp speed.
From an early age, Linsey has been fascinated by powerful stories that invoke change and inspire. That initial fascination grew into her life mission: to become the megaphone for untold stories and propel them forward to make waves of social change.
Fluent in stoner culture, activism, and all things quirky, Linsey began her career in 2006 working for an environmental nonprofit. After spending nearly a decade in the progressive political world, Linsey moved to Los Angeles and began working with Brave New Films, a progressive film studio producing impactful documentaries. During this time, Linsey built relationships with top media influencers at the Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, the New York Times, among others. She created solid relationships with numerous indie media giants and digital outlets. It’s during this time that Linsey became outspoken on the War on Drugs, and it’s impact on our communities.
In 2015, Linsey founded Refined Bud, a digital marketing agency specializing in the cannabis space. Refined Bud is dedicated to advancing conscience brands and companies who share a similar vision.Industry players like Women Grow, Vaporbrothers, Civilized, and Weedmaps have turned to Refined Bud to establish, expand, and diversify their digital presence.
When she’s not working hard, Linsey can usually be found in the mountains with her wife and 3 adopted dogs, exploring off the beaten path places in Los Angeles, or cheering on her favorite sports teams; the Los Angeles Sparks, Dodgers, and The Ohio State Buckeyes.
Jenn Short runs Membership Development for Women Grow. Having recently transitioned out of the service and hospitality industry, Jenn utilizes her expertise in customer satisfaction and management to foster meaningful relationships and help Women Grow reach its fullest potential.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Jenn knows firsthand just how much prohibition laws can produce major negative impacts in people’s lives. After an impulse decision to change surroundings in 2014, she found herself driving down I-70 and eventually landed in Boulder, Colorado. It didn’t take long after settling in for her to realize the massive amount of growth and potential that this emerging industry had to offer. She joined Women Grow’s team initially as an intern, absorbing as much as she possibly could about connecting, educating, and empowering women to become key forces in this industry. Now empowered herself, she is committed to advocating Women Grow’s philosophy and continuing work to push the legal cannabis industry across all facets of the world.
Jane West is the Founder & National Events Director of Women Grow, which connects, educates, and empowers the next generation of cannabis industry leaders by creating programs for aspiring and current business executives. She is the CEO of Jane West Enterprises curating a socially responsible, American made family of cannabis brands. Jane also owns Edible Events Co., Colorado’s premiere cannabis event production company.
Building upon twenty years of experiential event production and a MSW Degree in Global and Community Outreach, she is a pioneer of initiatives that promote the positive potential of cannabis for both personal wellness and local community development. In 2014 her breakthrough collaboration between the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and the cannabis sector made international headlines. She passionately pursues endeavors that enable female-led companies, small business owners and American made products to succeed in our next great industry. Respect for the plant, social responsibility, and normalization are key components of Jane’s ventures, harnessing this force of nature as a force for good.
Named a “genius entrepreneur” by Fortune Magazine and a top businesswomen in the cannabis industry by Forbes, Jazmin Hupp is the Founder & CEO of Women Grow. Women Grow connects, educates, and empowers diverse cannabis industry leaders. She educates women and men through monthly events in 30+ cities, a national leadership summit, and online resources. Jazmin’s goal is to have 1,000 women launch cannabis businesses at the foundation of America’s fastest growing industry.
Prior to entering the cannabis industry, Jazmin launched six companies in retail, eCommerce, business services, and media. Her core practice is customer experience design, which combines product design, branding, and business operations. Recently, she served as the Director of Digital Media for Women 2.0, which helps women start high-growth ventures. During her tenure, the brand expanded from the Bay Area to hold events across six countries for over 100,000 business women.
Jazmin believes that business is the strongest force of change in our world, so she works to create responsible cannabis businesses to help us change outdated laws and stereotypes. Her passion for cannabis legalization is inherited from her parents. She’s privileged to have been educated to choose cannabis as a safer alternative to alcohol. In combination with yoga & meditation, she consumes cannabis to relax & focus.
Jazmin holds a Management Information Systems degree from the State University of New York. She splits her time between New York City, Denver, and Oakland, while visiting every major cannabis market regularly. Follow @jazminhupp on twitter or @jazmin_grow on instagram to ride along.
During her tenure, Women Grow Co-Founder Julie Batkiewicz brought a diverse background in marketing, video production, and sales to her work as the company’s partnership director. A sales and marketing veteran, Julie managed the broad portfolio of strategic relationships that provided the network with financial support and unparalleled access to industry expertise. Under her guidance, she completed the FIRST50 campaign and launched membership programs that proved vital underwriting for Women Grow’s rapid expansion in 2015.
Before entering the cannabis industry, Julie worked in video production, design and marketing for more than a decade. She recently launched Monte Content, a production company that creates educational video content for cannabis consumers that is broadcast directly into marijuana dispensaries.
Julie began her academic career in Germany at Universität Potsdam where she studied Political Science and taught English for five years. She also earned a B.A. in Media Management from Columbia College in Chicago.
Women Grow Alumni
Jenn Short – Membership Coordinator
Josh Crossney National Events Director
Sonia Espinosa administrative assistance
Shanon Melick Sales
Maureen McNamara Education Director
Candice Owens Branding & Marketing
Ingrid Henderson Event Director
Dylan Schwartz Strategist
Lee Hart National Chapter Developer
Natalie (Simone) Roberson Membership Coordinator
Liz Blaz Pacific Northwest Sales
Kristin Ehasz Reno Tahoe & Central California Sales
Cyo Nystrom Northern California Sales
Jenn Dowdy National Chapters Director
Paige Cecchi Business Developer
Jazmin Aguiar – National Chapter Developer
Jess Cosca Business Development
Kendal Norris Events Maven
Amy DiIullo National Sales Director
Jennifer Covington Chief Marketing Officer
Lauren Cutright Cisneros National Chapter Director
Amy Drayer Social Media Support
Greg Wilson CFO
Melissa Vitale Bookkeeper
Julie Batkiewicz VP of Partnerships
Lauren Gibbs Social Strategy Director
Karin Clark Southern California & Southwest sales
Jazmin Hupp Co-Founder
Jane West Co-Founder
Susannah Grossman Public Relations