Colorado has undoubtedly set the precedent over the years on the best practices for ensuring the right regulations are in place for a recreational cannabis market—all while maintaining an ability to continue its evolution and growth over time. Our great state is full of intelligent people who hold a mindset on how to regulate the industry, in a way that makes both legislators and the community happy, while still ensuring safety, consistency and a high level of professionalism along the way. But to continue that success, the cannabis industry needs smart and intelligent business owners—and many of these entrepreneurs are the Boss Women highlighted here. From small startups to booming businesses, it’s the experience, know-how and success that these native business owners bring to the table to ensure that Colorado’s cannabis industry continues to flourish.
Missy Bradley, Co-owner and Brand Director of Stillwater Brands
As co-owner and brand director of Stillwater Brands, Missy Bradley spearheads the company’s efforts to connect responsible adults with cannabis products that help them find the calm they need to stay focused, productive and in control of life’s many anxious moments. Originally starting her career as a journalist, Bradley uses her strong communication skills to convey how Stillwater Brands’ products are a cut above the rest, providing a trusted, controlled and consistent experience. Representing the female consumer in a company co-owned by men, Bradley’s influence resonates with Stillwater’s female audience, sharing how cannabis can fit into a healthy and happy lifestyle.
Megan Solano, Owner of CannaBotica
Megan Solano graduated from Falcon High School in 2004 with a scholarship to Pikes Peak Community College in the Culinary Arts field. She pursued baking for three years and managed the Bruegger’s Bagels’ downtown Denver location. During this time, her allergy to gluten was affecting her health, and she was using cannabis to help cope with the symptoms. This was around the time she decided to start a new career path in the industry. Solano switched her focus from managing bakeries to managing her current cannabis company, CannaBotica. The compassion she has to help make lives better through cannabis has driven her to push through all the adversities that come with working in the cannabis industry. She has been in business for seven years, and it has been an amazing learning experience for her. Horticulture, compliance and marketing are just a few of the skills that Solano has cultivated along the way. This knowledge paired with her incredible staff have made CannaBotica into a successful company.
Maureen McNamara, Founder and Chief Facilitator of Cannabis Trainers
Maureen McNamara wants to live in a world where compliance is a smile-inducing word and cannabis prohibition is as out of style as the rotary phone. McNamara is the founder and chief facilitator with Cannabis Trainers. With over 20 years of professional training experience, she has led thousands of workshops and inspires cannabis industry professionals to create and sell products compliantly and professionally. When she’s not empowering people to ensure the legal cannabis industry can move forward powerfully and compliantly, you can find her laughing and enjoying a campfire while perfecting her marshmallow roasting technique for s’mores . . . perhaps with infused chocolate.
Julie Dooley, Founder of Julie’s Natural Edibles
“Eating cannabis is like no other cannabis experience,” said Julie Dooley. Dooley discovered this to be true in 2008 when she first began working with cannabutter to assist with digestive issues caused by Celiac disease. Her company, Julie’s Natural Edibles, is the culmination of all she has learned and the positive effects her edibles provide. They are easy to incorporate into a healthy lifestyle, discreet and less appealing to children, all while offering the consumer greater benefits because healthy fat actually helps the cannabis enter the body efficiently. Today, the company is run by a fantastic team that shares Dooley’s passion and strives to produce quality edibles in Colorado.
Ashley Picillo, Founder and CEO of Point Seven Group
Ashley Picillo is the founder and CEO of Point Seven Group (P7G), a women-owned and operated consulting firm based in Denver. P7G specializes in pre-license cannabis consulting by supporting clients from coast-to-coast in the development of application and licensing materials, as well post-licensure operations and business setup. P7G is comprised of specialists in the areas of cultivation, extraction, processing, dispensary management, human resources and content development. Picillo and her team also work closely with a number of business partners who are sub-contracted on a client-by-client basis to support graphic and web design, social media management, architectural drawings and renderings, as well as professional security services.
Morgan Iwersen, Owner and CEO of Canyon Cultivation
Most parents might not encourage their child to pursue a career in legal cannabis—unless those parents were a product of the 1960s and believe in the true benefits of medical and recreational cannabis, like Morgan Iwersen’s. That’s how Iwersen jumped into the fascinating world of modern THC. A Colorado native, Iwersen has lived all over the western United States and has also traveled the world. Now, her focus is to keep building Canyon Cultivation, a successful pioneer in the legal cannabis industry. It wasn’t just money that inspired her; Iwersen was also motivated by the real benefits that cannabis can provide to those who are ailing. A friend of hers had cancer and found true relief from cannabis. Now, helping people feel better is at the core of Iwersen’s career. Whether it’s relief from epilepsy and diabetes, or chronic ailments in children, the benefits cannot be denied. At home, two boys keep her on her toes—as does her business partner, who also happens to be her husband.
Olivia Mannix, Founder and CEO of Cannabrand
Olivia Mannix is a cannabis industry pioneer and cannabis marketing expert. She is the founder and CEO of Cannabrand—an award-winning, full-service marketing agency and business consultancy, as well as the first company of its kind to specialize in the cannabis industry. Cannabrand is also a consultancy that aids cannabis companies with business operations and capital services. The agency has played an integral role in shaping cannabis brands since its launch in January 2014 (at the onset of the burgeoning adult-use market), and it helps clients to establish their unique brand identities and position themselves competitively in the marketplace. Mannix has been a crucial asset to the industry for “rebranding” cannabis and bettering its image, while opening up cannabis use to broader demographics through information and education. She is also an advocate for the medicinal benefits of cannabis and promoting medical cannabis for ailments. Cannabrand and partners Beta Killers are also the inventors of Kushmoji, the cannabis emoji marketing platform.
Lauren Miele, Founder of KushKards, LLC
Lauren Miele is the Founder of KushKards, LLC since inception in 2015. Miele received her Bachelor’s degree in Home Product Development from the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she regularly attends seminars and is a guest speaker. Upon graduation, Miele worked as a Home Designer and soon enough the KushKards idea was born. In October 2016, Miele moved to Denver to pursue her goals to grow KushKards full time. KushKards is now available in 15 states and three countries. KushKards deliver a unique gift that keeps on giving. Miele is passionate about her brand and the joy it brings to others.
Genifer Murray, Founder of Carbon Blue Consulting and Co-founder of GENIFER M
Genifer Murray is a champion of cannabis health and safety and an established expert on cannabis science and business. Murray co-founded a premium cannabis jewelry line, GENIFER M, with her father. The line of jewelry was created to make a difference and start the conversation with cannabis, hopefully one day helping to end prohibition. Murray is also the Founder of Carbon Blue Consulting, which provides results-driven science, health and safety, laboratory setup, training and education intelligence to new and existing cannabis companies. Murray serves as Science and Technology Director on the Board of Directors for Flowering H.O.P.E., which works to provide patients with affordable access to cannabis medicine. As a member of the National Cannabis Industry Association, she actively lobbies members of congress on key issues affecting the cannabis industry. Murray often mentors and supports fellow women entrepreneurs through active participation, as a founding member of Women Grow.
Deloise L. Vaden, Co-owner of Better Baked
Deloise L. Vaden spent a good portion of her career in the corporate arena as a purchasing agent for energy companies. In 1991, she and her husband owned and operated an art gallery, which closed in 1997. From there, she spent time in Paris, France with her husband, a watercolor artist. In Paris, Vaden studied designing and creating handbags and later became designer of “D’Va Baggs,” and she appeared in Sew News Magazine. Vaden also had a love for cooking and the opportunity to sharpen her culinary skills with her father-in-law, who was the head chef at Park Hill Golf Country Club. In 2010 to 2015 the Better Baked ladies taught at Greenway and Clover Leaf Universities.
Elyse Gordon, Co-owner of Better Baked
Elyse Gordon spent over 30 of her years in the real estate and mortgage industries. She consulted with custom builders from conception to completion as well as a large master community of which she sold in excess of $1 billion. Gordon also had a strong passion for cooking. As a result, she started a catering company, which gave her the opportunity to integrate into the world of cannabis. Gordon and Deloise L. Vaden attended high school together during their junior and senior years, and they reunited 35 years later. The two women decided to go into the cannabis business together as chefs and created Better Baked.