Marijuana Business Magazine - April 2018

EMPLOYMENT TIPS A s the cannabis industry matures and companies grow and evolve, hiring C-suite executives – CEOs, COOs, CFOs, etc. – will help determine whether your company thrives … or dies. As an owner or top executive already with the business, you want someone who’s an effective leader, is willing to take direction and can find a way to fit into your company’s cul- ture. In short, that person must help take your company to the next level in today’s increasingly competitive marijuana industry. Cannabis industry experience is a plus, but you really want someone who has specialized knowledge in the area he or she will be leading. For example, your chief marketing officer needs to be a marketing and public relations wizard. And your chief technology officer should be a tech- nological guru, among other things. Finding that right fit is a challenge, because candidates often have strong skills in one area but not another. “I call this my Goldilocks search,” said Nancy Whiteman, co-owner of Colorado edibles maker Wana Brands. “This one’s got a little too much of this and a little too much of that. How to Hire and Train an Executive for Your Cannabis Business Hire Learning By Bart Schaneman You’re never going to find somebody who’s got every attribute that you’re looking for, but you try to get close.” WHAT TO LOOK FOR For Sue Mullin, director of human resources at PharmaCann, an Illinois- based medical marijuana company, industry experience is appealing. But her primary focus is expertise, skills and abilities for the role. “We specifically look for people who are experts in their field that want to bring those skills and experi- ences to PharmaCann,” Mullin said. It’s more important for Mullin, for example, to get a highly skilled and experienced chief financial officer than somebody who works in the cannabis industry. She also wants a candidate who is a fit for PharmaCann’s culture. “Are they someone you would like to work with who would fit within the culture?” she said. “We want people who are very passionate about what they do. Informal but professional. You have to tie the characteristics to the organization.” For an executive-level position, Mullin also wants candidates who are willing to take their passion and their experience and apply it to the new position. “We’re looking for someone who’s seen it and done it before at a differ- ent organization and wants to do it at PharmaCann,” she said. For Scott Van Rixel, co-founder of Bhang Chocolate, an edibles company in Oakland, California, an earlier approach might have been to recruit from the cannabis industry. “That’s less important now,” he said. “You need someone who’s a traditional, good CEO.” Van Rixel is not as concerned about a candidate’s knowledge of 94 • Marijuana Business Magazine • April 2018