Women, Weed and the Web
June 25, 2019 by Cannabis Aficionado
Kyra Reed is paving a path for women in the cannabis industry — and she’s laying it in concrete.
The multi-entrepreneur is the force behind the Facebook group Women Empowered in Cannabis (WEIC), formerly Women Entrepreneurs in Cannabis. She is also co-founder of Kadin Enterprises, Markyr Digital, and Lady Jane Society, an event production company focused on bringing female consumers and business owners together.
We spoke exclusively with Reed about creating platforms for women to succeed by harnessing the power of social media.
A Pre-Pot Pioneer
Kyra Reed is a community builder. The foremother of social media specializes in building meaningful relationships between entrepreneurs and their audiences.
She made her name in the digital marketing world in the early 2000s when she joined forces with Nic Adler to revitalize the iconic Roxy Theatre and Sunset Strip in Downtown Los Angeles.
Adler was the owner of the Roxy, and the son of its original founder, Lou Adler, producer of acts including Cheech and Chong, and The Mamas and The Papas.
In an interview with TechCrunch, Alder explained how Reed’s digital strategy saved the Hollywood landmark, and in turn, other icons along the strip including the Viper Room, the House of Blues, and the Comedy Club.
“The Roxy was the first to come online and they did one simple act that changed the history of entertainment venues on the Sunset Strip,” reports TechCrunch. “They started being social online with their neighbors.”
The venue was among the first 19,000 accounts on Twitter. By 2012, The Roxy grew to host the largest and most robust Facebook and Twitter followings for music venues on social media. As a result Entrepreneur Magazine named Reed a “Social Media Pioneer.”
Now, she lends her renowned skillset to clients the emerging cannabis industry.
The Wonderful World of Women and Weed
In 2016, Reed began working with clients in the cannabis industry, a natural step for the Northern California native.
“I grew up with cannabis being normal,” she added, “I saw it as medicine. It was the rest of society that had the problem.”
Reed previously worked with clients in the industry, but it was not until voters were likely to approve Proposition 64 — and business started to occur — that she made her official move into cannabis.
In 2017 Reed co-founded Kadin Enterprises, the first digital training company specifically for women for the cannabis community.
This May, she launched Kadin’s List, a directory for women in the cannabis industry. A subsidiary of Kadin Enterprises, the site hosts professionals from various fields including real estate, business, journalism, education, and more.
When Kadin first launched, Reed said she believed women in cannabis — similar to other industries — were becoming entrepreneurs to get rich and lead a glamorous life. She quickly realized that was not the case.
So she re-assessed her own understanding of what women in cannabis actually needed to achieve their goals, “legitimizing the plant and making it accessible for patients while sustaining themselves and their families,” she said.
For nearly a year, Reed focused on listening and observing the women in her Facebook community, WEIC, which she created in 2017.
There, members tap into previously unrealized sources of data: each other.
With over 5,400 members, WEIC provides a platform for women to vent their frustrations, ask for help, and connect with other women in cannabis around the world.
What Reed learned was that women and men work differently, and they value different things in business.
Females, however, are still holding themselves to the same standards as men, despite inherent differences.
“We need to reframe the business models we currently use to include the benefits women bring to the workforce,” she said. “Men built the model to win the model.” Instead of trying to fit themselves into that model, “women need to re-define the value they bring to business and build new models that allow them to succeed.”
For example, Reed explained, women are taught that sharing challenges, resources or the need for help is a weakness in business.
“Females really do have an opportunity to redefine how we work via the cannabis industry. Sharing of resources, information, and problem-solving is a big part of making real changes to our system,” Reed said. “When we share information, we empower ourselves to make better and more confident choices.
“Women by nature are the caregivers, the relationship maintainers, multi-taskers, emotionally intelligent, and are more adept at seeing the bigger picture; those are massive assets to a company,” Reed explained. “We need to recognize that women’s talents make companies better. The statistics show it, women (and diversity in general) are vital to our system.
“It is up to us to create the change we want to see for ourselves, our daughters and all the girls out there that deserve better,” said Reed. “All women need is resources and opportunity, and we will do the rest.”
This is, in part, why Kadin Enterprises (Kadin’s List/Kadin Academy) focuses on access, education, and creating a network of professional allies. The company also emphasizes affordability; membership is just $30 per month.
Named after the Turkish word for “women” Kadin aims to move the cannabis industry from male dominated to female inclusive. To meet this goal, members are given the ability to connect, share resources, webinars, events, job listings, and promote themselves and their businesses in a space that fosters honesty and support.
Through observing her community, Reed learned something she did not expect.
“I’ve noticed in the cannabis industry that the men I speak with tend to paint the industry through rose-colored glasses,” she explained. “Everything is great and find and we’re winning like crazy!
“I’ve also found that if you want to know what’s really going on, ask a woman. Women are willing to talk about the failures, the challenges, and the hard truth about life inside the industry, what’s really going on,” she noted.
In WEIC, “members are honest about what they need help with, and they straight up ask for it.’”
Most inquiries, when thrown into the WEIC universe, will be answered. Sometimes within minutes.
“It isn’t uncommon to see women sharing their contacts, processes or experiences in an effort to help other women move faster, smarter and make better business decisions,” said Reed.
WEIC recently introduced two new, separate Facebook groups: WEIC CBD, and WEIC Supply Chain. WEIC CBD is intended for women who work in CBD or hemp, while WEIC Supply Chain is a space for women in cultivation, manufacturing, distribution and retail.
Leading by Example
Part of what makes these groups so successful is Reed’s leadership.
“I’ve led this group with zero tolerance of judgment or disparaging conversation,” said Reed, who emphasizes WEIC is a space where “women know they can feel comfortable asking for the help and connections they need.”
Reed reigns in negativity with the help of WEIC moderators Lelehnia Du Bois and Kendra Losee, who uphold the group’s posting guidelines.
Anna Marie Redinger, co-founder of the Lady Jane Society, and member of WEIC described Reed as a “true alchemist.” She works tirelessly to create better experiences for women. Most importantly, she listens.
As a leader on social media, “Everybody’s watching.” Reed said she’s definitely had her feet held over the fire — but she won’t be bullied, or let WEIC members be bullied, either.
“It is very hard to create an environment where that won’t happen, and the challenges will only grow as the community does,” she explained. She meets those challenges with reminders to be kind, and supportive.
Reed believes the level of support between women in the industry is unparalleled.
“Women have stepped up to help other women, they actually help when call goes out for help. I’ve never experienced that before,” she added. “That makes my life and work pleasurable in the hardest moments.
“The reward is that I get to be surrounding by incredible women who give me a purpose in continuing the life I have.”