CannaBusiness: Women Empowerment and Progress

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It is an exciting time to be at the forefront of Michigan’s cannabis industry. To discuss the industry innovations, the Detroit Regional Chamber hosted CannaBusiness: Women Empowerment and Progress on Tuesday, Nov. 9, bringing together a panel of top women leaders in the cannabis industry. The panel discussed how they navigated the industry and have grown to where they are today.


Panelists:

Amy Brown, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, ABKO Labs, LLC

Brown spent nearly 30 years as a financial planner and consultant, serving ultra-high net worth families. She realized she was ready for a new venture, and after brainstorming with a caregiver and a chemist, the idea of ABKO Labs, LLC, was born. Brown spent several years founding ABKO Labs and securing real estate and licensure in the state of Michigan. At this time, ABKO Labs is approved for testing medical, adult-use, and caregiver cannabis products.

Vetra Stephens, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, 1stQuality Medz

Stephens is a serial entrepreneur from Michigan. She is the co-founder and chief executive officer of 1stQuality Medz, the first recreational marijuana dispensary in Wayne County. Stephens also owns a cultivation center where she grows her own products and a processing facility where she turns the products that she grows into other products such as edibles and gummies. Stephens takes pride in being the first Black woman to launch her premium cannabis brand, “The V*Affect“ in the state of Michigan.

 

Luann Sun, Owner, Sun Provisions

Sun is the owner of Sun Provisions, a craft marijuana dispensary in Southwest Michigan. The Michigan Cannabis Industry Association deemed her a pioneer of the microbusiness model in cannabis in a magazine feature, seeing how she created the second licensed Michigan Marijuana microbusiness, where all the products they sell are grown, processed, and sold all in one place. Sun opted for the microbusiness model because it was accessible and she could control her product from seed to sale, and she officially opened Sun Provisions in February 2021.

Moderator:

Jamie Cooper, Cannabiz Connection; Director of Industry and Community Development, Sensi Media Group, LLC

Cooper is the founder of Sensi Connects and the director of Industry and Community Development for Sensi Magazine. Formerly known as CannaBIZ Connection, Sensi Connects is a B2B networking and lead referral organization focused on growing the cannabis industry. Currently, Sensi Connects keeps cannabis business professionals connected in Michigan, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oklahoma, and New England and plans to expand its model into many other states over the next few months.

Cooper also serves as the publisher and market director of Michigan’s Sensi Magazine, an award-winning magazine. The magazine publishes print and digital magazines nationwide and helps connect people in local markets, focusing on a fun-loving, healthy lifestyle. The Grand Rapids Business Journal selected Cooper as a Top 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan in 2018 and 2020, a 200 Most Powerful Business Leaders in West Michigan in 2019 and 2020, and a 40 Under 40 Business Leader in 2019.


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