Happy International Women’s Day! Meet the women of Kiaro.

Happy International Women’s Day! Meet the women of Kiaro.

Admin KiaroMar 8, '21

As an emerging category, the promise and excitement of the cannabis space entices many women professionals, each trying to make their way in an industry that’s seemingly rife with possibilities. Our team wouldn’t be the same without the talented women who help Kiaro succeed and grow. 

At Kiaro, we advocate for women in cannabis, and have knowledgeable and skilled female-identifying employees throughout the ranks of our organization. From cannabis consultants, through to our leadership team: the women of Kiaro are some of the best in the biz. 

Here’s an introduction to just a handful of the women who help shape Kiaro. Not only do each of these individuals bring a unique perspective to our table, but they pave the way for more women to succeed in the cannabis sector.

Bianca Di Nobile

Position: Assistant Manager

What did you do before joining Kiaro: I spent five years managing a skateboard and clothing store. 

How did your pre-cannabis work prepare you for the cannabis industry? Skate culture and cannabis culture overlap a lot. And being a young woman in both of these industries often meant I was discredited or overlooked by people who have been supporters of the culture since before I was born. Learning how to build trust with these people was, and still is, challenging and time consuming. The strong women who guided me through the skate industry are the reason for my quick success in the cannabis industry.

What has surprised you the most about being a woman in cannabis? The sense of community. There are so many strong women putting their mark on the industry and demanding to be heard. I have never been so surrounded by strong, tenacious women and I can not wait to see where we take the industry in the next five years.  

Kayleigh Donahue

Position: VP of Business Development & Licensing

What did you do before joining Kiaro: I founded a small business to grow organic hemp in partnership with experienced farmers in Saskatchewan.

How did your pre-cannabis work prepare you for the cannabis industry? Working in cannabis through legalization required every personal and professional skill I had acquired throughout my life. I needed to dig deep into the well of who I am to persevere through the challenges of building something from scratch, surrounded by high expectations and sky-high valuations, and weather the storm when the market exuberance came to an end. Creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial experience allowed me to ENJOY building new processes. Experience in government helped me empathize with our regulators and the difficulties they faced interpreting and implementing this revolutionary policy. My love for cannabis and how it makes me feel was also a major motivator and was valuable when bringing in new colleagues not as familiar with the plant.

How has this choice impacted you? I have a strong sense of fulfillment working in an industry I care for so much. I've also been able to afford a life in Vancouver, something I dreamed of when I was growing up on the prairies.

Janet Hoffar

Position: CFO

What did you do before joining Kiaro: Immediately prior to joining Kiaro, I co-founded a wealth management and mutual fund firm, where I was CFO for five years.

What made you pursue a career in cannabis? I was attracted to the challenge of a new and evolving regulated industry. I stayed for the people who are so refreshing and ambitious.

How did your pre-cannabis work prepare you for the cannabis industry? The industry is like one big start-up. And as the daughter of entrepreneurs, and one who loves to use creativity to find solutions, startups are ingrained in me. It also didn't hurt that I have experience working with regulators during the application of a crypto-currency fund, and firsthand knowledge of the challenges one faces with banks and legal constraints which is very similar to cannabis.

What has surprised you the most about being a woman in cannabis? There are very few women board members and executives in cannabis, but those who persevere are some of the strongest, confident, and ambitious women I've had the pleasure of working with. Kiaro shareholders should be proud to have these women working for them.

Emily Kerr

Position: Assistant Store Manager

What did you do before joining Kiaro? I was working as an Amazon delivery person for three years, delivering packages all over the lower mainland. And before that I worked as a store manager in clothing retail for 10 years.

What made you pursue a career in cannabis? My passion for the plant and what it can do for me and so many people, in so many different ways, is what drew me to the industry. Cannabis has always been a big part of my adult life, and now I have the opportunity to be in on the ground floor of a budding industry. It was an easy choice.

What has surprised you the most about being a woman in cannabis? That there are so many of us! In the grey market days I never bought cannabis from a woman. Ever. Now, from budtenders to CEOs to growers and reps, women are everywhere. We’re making this industry more warm and welcoming for everyone.

Eleanor Lynch

Position: COO

What did you do before joining Kiaro? I was a retail operations professional. My last role was Director of Operations for Lids Sports Group Canada.

How has this choice impacted your life? I work all the time, that is the biggest downside when you are building a culture and an opportunity for many people to take part in. While that has been hard to balance as a mother and a wife, it has been rewarding and a great lesson to my two sons. They can't visit our stores, but they heard about the first time we won a provincial license, signed a lease, and opened a store. They hear about how an idea like Kiaro can grow when great people come along with a lot of passion and persistence. I hope that is something that inspires them!

What has surprised you the most about being a woman in cannabis? How many women in cannabis struggle to talk about cannabis with their friends and family! They feel judged. They feel like they have to consider cannabis in their life as a "health" support. And while that may be true for many women, some just love to get high! I hope my experience empowers other moms and women to just say it—I like to get HIGH!

Taylor Vincent

Position: Store Manager

What did you do before working in cannabis: I was working in the skate and clothing industry. 

What has surprised you the most about being a woman in cannabis? There are two things that have surprised me the most while working in the cannabis industry:

  1. The support you can find from other women through social platforms who are leaders in the cannabis industry.
  2. The gender inequality that is still prevalent in the cannabis industry.

Thankfully working with Kiaro has helped me surround myself with many admirable individuals who want to see equality prevail within the industry. hy

How did your pre-cannabis work prepare you for the cannabis industry? My pre-cannabis work taught me about being versatile, patient and confident in the workplace. Those three points have helped me adapt and excel in the cannabis industry.