Despite outside being on pause, several cannapreneurs are on play–including WOCC co-founder Shaloma Wagstaffe who is WERKING through this pandemic.
With face-to-face interviews a thing of the past, the boss babe colloquially known as “Lo.W” sat down with CannaCultureConnect via Zoom to offer some practical business and life advice for not just surviving self-isolation but being productive throughout. Before we get to her “tips on the Lo.W” (Get it?) let’s get into her mission. Women of Color in Cannabis pronounced “woke” (/wōk/) is more than a social justice, civil engagement and educational non-profit organization– it’s a refuge for the socially and economically marginalized in the world of weed.
Like many just starting out in the space, Lo.W had to figure out where she’d fit in and how she’d contribute. The Brooklyn-native knew that her love for cannabis coupled with her knack for bringing people together could serve well in an industry that is in desperate need of community. “In 2017 or 2018, I started throwing consumption friendly events out of New York City through my cannabis event planning company HighsNLo.Ws,” Lo.W begins telling CCC, adding, “and I knew I needed to get out there. I need to meet other people in the cannabis space.”
After attending a variety of events around the green circuit, Lo.W recounts that she quickly realized, “There aren’t a lot of black people or people of color– more so than that– there weren’t a lot of women.” Which is not shocking. According to the Marijuana Business Daily survey, 37% of senior roles in the cannabiz are held by women. A little more than a third? We can do better than that. As the industry grows, so does the awareness around the lack of gender and racial diversity. Naturally, Lo.W felt “deterred, not comfortable, not feeling like there were people [she] could speak to about [her] experiences…being a black woman,” that is until she met her now-PIC (partner-in-canna) Patricia Wright.
After a meetup, Lo.W and Pat quickly realized they were sativa-soul sisters on this initiative and teamed up to create what is now a powerful and growing safe space for minorities.
“Through speaking with her and just feeling comfortable enough to share with her how I felt. I knew I wanted to start something for women like myself who felt like we were interested and hungry to get into this industry but we didn’t necessarily know where to go to find those resources.”Lo.W
The Women of WoCC
The WoCC team is made up of three dope and very different personalities, all serving an essential function. Lo.W, is the president and most outwardly passionate. Sis cares and leaves no question unasked when it comes to anything business and canna. WoCC is her baby, and like the protective mama she is, Lo.W compassionately directs the tone of their programming and ensures the team reaches each goal set.
Patricia is the outreach coordinator and if you’ve ever met her, you’d know why. No one works a room while effortlessly serving face and rocking uniquely bomb vintage earrings like Pat. Contrary to Lo.W’s informal approach, Pat knows how to “push the message,” and make people comfortable.
If you’ve ever attended one of their CannSessions, Pat is the one who coordinates to have amazing moderators from the knowledgable ladies of Ecquinabis– a boutique compliance & diversity consulting firm for the highly regulated cannabis industry, for example, to the holistic experts over at Garden State Hemp to speak on the topic Lo.W laid out for the month. Each meeting tackles a different issue.
Finally, Sammie (with an -ie) is Sirius— as in the brightest star. The woman is phenomenal. A multimedia director and sponsor lead, Sammie does all of the programming and connects the cause with other businesses in the industry. But wait… there’s more.
While this thunderous trio regularly convenes for the greater good, each of the ladies are simultaneously embarking on their own individual paths in the industry. Lo.W successfully runs Highs N’ Lo.Ws, and their signature function Puff N’ Paint NYC.
Pat not only serves up delicious cannacocktails through her other venture PDubz High Beverages:
But she’s the founding member of Brooklyn Kollective LLC, gifting community members with purposed tickets to corporate cannabiz events, offering them a chance to get to learn about a side of the business they aren’t easily exposed to.
And finally Sammie recently launched the subscription-based The Curated Green Box, each one thoughtfully crafted.
Big tings ah gwan.
Successes aside, this is a very unprecedented time with various lockdowns implemented not just state-to-state, but internationally. It is unclear if the marijuana industry is recession-proof, with dispensaries and companies still seeing a decent volume of sales considering. As Lo.W points out, “There are a lot of people in the cannabis space who do have a 9-5, and who do have 9-5 responsibilities even though we are in this social-distancing period,
but you don’t want to neglect your entrepreneurship in pursuit of your everyday role.”Lo.W
Environmental planner by day, Lo.W actively registers the importance of balance. For those non-essential workers also confined to the crib, Lo.W shares some tips on how to stay productive and passionate while on pause.
Tips on the Lo.W For Work & Play
End your day with a To-Do list for the next day.
“Take your time to reflect on your day– everything you got done and didn’t get done, and add the items you didn’t get to to the next day’s list. It’s a great way to not only end your day, but start your day. When you wake up, take a look at the list and budget your time so everything gets knocked out. In having that visibility, you can see how much you need to get done and plan accordingly.”
Consume as much as you need to.
“I know it’s not best to advise people to smoke as COVID is a respiratory virus. Try to find other avenues for you, if it works, even edibles. Consume as much as you need to. I found myself prior to this being a 2-3 times a day smoker. Since I’ve been home, it’s more like a 4-6 times a day. “
Your pockets may beat you up but since you can’t spend that money at the movies or at Taco Tuesday, you might as well invest in your peace.
And if you’re in a family that doesn’t appreciate consumption, don’t feel too bad. Do what you gotta do to keep your mental faculties in check.Lo.W
Outside may be closed for a while but the CannaSessions are still on and welcoming new attendees– virtually, of course. Register to join WoCC for their Me Too & Marijuana: The Need For Safe Spaces webinar on April 25th, addressing the treatment of women in the industry. With April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month, this timely discussion is pertinent.
Usually fellas are allowed in meetings but due to the sensitivity of the topic, this one is for the ladies only. However, WoCC consistently holds meetings and programs addressing everything from making money in the business, finding your individual career path in cannabis, efficiently preparing proposals, legislation surrounding marijuana and so much more. Keep up with it all here.
And be sure to register for their digital membership program– WoCC World— so that in the event you can’t make it to a cannasesh, you can receive a myriad of resources for succeeding in all business canna, straight to your inbox.
Get to learn a little more about Lo.W below!