Three years ago, Kyra Reed launched a movement on social media to empower women in the cannabis industry. Today, the #BetterTogether movement is gaining momentum, and inspiring women across the world to join forces to create a more inclusive industry.
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.
A Pre-Pot Pioneer
Reed 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 The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), the Cheech and Chong films, and acts including The Mamas and The Papas. In an interview with TechCrunch, he explains 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, Reed earned the title of “Social Media Pioneer” by Entrepreneur Magazine.
Lowering Barriers, Building Community
Now, the Northern California native lends her renowned skillset to clients the emerging cannabis industry. More specifically, she’s helping female professionals harness the power of social media as a tool for success.
In 2017 Reed co-founded Kadin Enterprises, the first digital training company for women in cannabis. The company—named after the Turkish word for women—provides business development services to members with the goal of increasing female entrepreneurship in the industry to 50%.
Kadin’s List, a subsidiary of Kadin Enterprises, launched this spring. The online directory hosts female professionals from fields including real estate, research and medicine, accounting, and more.
2017 is the same year Reed created WEiC. The group is known as one of the most active groups on Facebook for female professionals in the industry.
Reed recently introduced two separate subsidiary sites: WEiC CBD, and WEiC Supply Chain. WEiC CBD is intended for women in CBD or hemp, while WEiC Supply Chain is a space for women in cultivation, manufacturing, distribution and retail. The groups offer weekly webinars, including “Mentor Mondays” which features discussions with experts throughout the industry. Topics range from goal setting, to product launch and liability, compliance, and more.
WEiC groups are platforms for women to vent their frustrations, ask for help, and connect with other women in cannabis around the world.
“It isn’t uncommon to see women sharing their contacts, processes or experiences in an effort to help other women move faster, and make smarter, better business decisions,” says Reed.
WEiC creates an ecosystem of support for women in the industry. “Women have stepped up to help other women […],” says Reed, “they actually help when call goes out for help,” she adds.
Several members find business opportunities like funding, jobs, and partnerships via the site.
In the two years since it launched, Reed has observed the online community and learned that women and men value different things in business—like sharing.
“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.’”
“[Females] really do have an opportunity to redefine how we work via the cannabis industry,” she says, “Sharing of resources, information, and problem solving is a big part of making real changes [to] our system,” she adds. “When we share information we empower ourselves to make better and more confident choices.”
That’s why #BetterTogether, the movement Reed started three years ago, has become a mantra for members of WEiC—and the industry at large.
“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,” she says.
“We are in this together,” Reed adds.
Relationships are Currency
Social media is a valuable tool for women. It inherently “allows women to do what comes naturally—cultivate relationships,” Reed says.
Success is measured on engagement in the social world; it’s not about dollars, it’s about relationships, she explains. “Women in our society are caregivers […]. Relationships are our currency.”
Social media helps lower the barrier to entry into business for female entrepreneurs. It gives entrepreneurs the ability to form service based companies, and promote themselves and their products for a low cost or no cost.
The role of women entrepreneur groups on Facebook has been so impactful, it’s drawn the attention of Facebook and world economic forums like the World Bank.
In fact, The Future of Business Survey—conducted by the World Bank, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Facebook—found that 3 out of 4 female business owners in the U.S., and 4 out of 5 globally, say social media is helpful for business.
The report finds that “social media is playing an outsized role among small businesses run by women.” The data states that female business owners are more active in groups (commenting, posting etc.). The survey also found mentorship among women-owned small businesses on Facebook plays a particularly powerful role.
Multiple studies show mentorship is vital to personal and professional development, particularly for women. Mentorship instills confidence, problem solving skills, and it allows women to share knowledge and learn from each other’s mistakes and success.
WEiC members celebrate each others’ wins and morn loses as a community.
“Even when we don’t succeed, we’ve got a tight [network] to help find solutions and keep us going,” says Reed.
This is why she urges women to build networks, whether online or off. “[…] Become a part of womens’ group locally, regionally or nationally. Get involved. Support as many women as you can,” she adds, “Be there. Show up. Contribute your voice.”