Top 50 Canna Chiefs (31-40)

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Corporate Bio

  • Founder/CEO/CHMN – HotChalk, Inc.
  • Founder/CEO/CHMN – ProductFactory, Inc.
  • SVP Marketing – Learning Company


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How did you get involved with the Cannabis Industry?

What is your biggest accomplishment to date in the Cannabis Industry?

What are your future goals?

Who/what Inspires you?

Do you use Cannabis products? If yes, what are your favorite Cannabis products/brands?

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Corporate Bio

Paul E. Smithers has served as our president and chief executive officer since our formation, and is one of our directors. From August 2013 to July 2015, Paul Smithers served as co-founder and chief legal officer of Iso Nano International, LLC, a designer and manufacturer of advanced materials for use in the aerospace, consumer goods, electronics, and safety industries. 


Prior to his time at Iso Nano, Mr. Smithers was the managing partner of Smithers & Player, Attorneys at Law from September 1989 to July 2013, and was with the law firm of Ropers, Majeski in San Francisco from 1982 through 1988. Much of his 33 years of legal experience has involved both commercial and residential real estate transactions and disputes.


Mr. Smithers is a member of the California Bar and a licensed California real estate broker.


Social Media Links:     Twitter     Linked In     Instagram

How did you get involved with the Cannabis Industry?

What is your biggest accomplishment to date in the Cannabis Industry?

What are your future goals?

Who/what Inspires you?

Do you use Cannabis products? If yes, what are your favorite Cannabis products/brands?

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Corporate Bio

Derek Peterson is the CEO of Terra Tech Corp. and a hardworking and versatile entrepreneur with a proven track record of success. He began his career in finance with Crowell, Weedon & Co, the largest independent broker- dealer on the West Coast. In his 6 years there, Derek became a partner and Branch supervisor where he was responsible for sales of over $10 million. Derek was offered an opportunity to build a southern Orange County presence for Wachovia Securities, where he became a 1st Vice President and Branch Manager in Mission Viejo. After leaving Wachovia, Derek accepted an opportunity as a Senior Vice President at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, where he and his team oversaw combined assets of close to $100 million. Derek is a CFP® Professional and holds his Series 7, General Securities Sales Supervisor Series 9 and 10, National Commodity Futures Series 3, Series 65 and California Insurance License.


Derek has worked with governmental agencies and tax authorities in Oakland on an ongoing basis. Derek also has experience working with people at the SEC regarding issues surrounding the publicly traded company (TRTC).


As a medical marijuana patient, Derek is attune to the needs of the patient community. Terra Tech’s decision to operate MediFarm, and apply for medical marijuana establishment licenses in Nevada, is a result of the compassion he feels for patients with ailments or chronic pain who are unable to find relief using traditional medicine. Derek holds a degree in Business Management from Pepperdine University.


Social Media Links:     Twitter     Linked In     Instagram

How did you get involved with the Cannabis Industry?

What is your biggest accomplishment to date in the Cannabis Industry?

What are your future goals?

Who/what Inspires you?

Do you use Cannabis products? If yes, what are your favorite Cannabis products/brands?

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Corporate Bio

Kyle Kingsley, M.D, is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Vireo Health, a board-certified physician, serial entrepreneur, and inventor. Dr. Kingsley believes that cannabis-based products are a safer, less-addictive alternative to opioids, alcohol, and tobacco. Dr. Kingsley is focused on building the cannabis company of the future by combining the best of medicine, engineering, and science.

Dr. Kingsley leads Vireo’s physician- and scientist-led team of more than 300 employees in creating best-in-class cannabis products and offering unmatched customer experience. Under Dr. Kingsley’s leadership, Vireo has experienced exponential growth. What began as a company operating exclusively in the state of Minnesota in 2014 has now emerged as one of the country’s leading multi-state operators, with licenses in ten states. In March 2019, Dr. Kingsley took the company public, and Vireo Health is now listed on Canadian Securities Exchange, under the stock symbol “VREO”.


Dr. Kingsley received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and a Bachelor of Arts degree in German from University of Minnesota in Duluth and received a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Dr. Kingsley is co-author of the book Medical Cannabis Primer for Healthcare Providers, written to elucidate objective medical cannabis knowledge in the medical community. Using comprehensive, state-wide programs that integrate healthcare providers, Dr. Kingsley’s solitary goal is to make Vireo Health the safest, most reliable, and compassionate choice for the patients in all of the States in which the company operates.


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How did you get involved with the Cannabis Industry?

As an emergency room physician in Minneapolis, I was on the front lines of the opioid crisis and the overdoses and deaths opioids can cause.  I also saw first hand the dangers of alcohol and how it could ruin lives through automobile accidents and violence.  I knew there must be a better way to treat chronic pain and a safer way for people to relax. While initially I was a medical cannabis skeptic, my position on the issue evolved over time as I reviewed the small but building body of clinical evidence around the medical use of cannabis.


I was also inspired by paitents I met who used cannabis as a replacement for opioids.  One particularly moving story came from a Gulf War veteran who had suffered a gunshot wound that resulted in a spinal cord injury. After a lengthy period of being prescribed large amounts of opiates with numerous adverse side effects, he decided to try cannabis, which provided him significant relief from his symptoms with little to no side-effects and helped pave the way for him to return to normal everyday life.


His story and others inspired me to leave emergency medicine and apply for a medical cannabis license in my home state of Minnesota. I won the State’s first license to grow, process and sell cannabis and Vireo was officially founded. 

What is your biggest accomplishment to date in the Cannabis Industry?

Without a doubt my biggest accomplishment is the tens of thousands of patients that Vireo has helped live better lives. From veterans suffering from chronic pain and PTSD to folks with ALS or Cancer, even children with Autism or debilitating seizures. Every time we hear from a patient or their parents or loved ones that cannabis helped them feel better, live stronger, and get back to their regular lives, I am inspired to keep working and keep finding ways to better the understanding and acceptance of medical cannabis.

What are your future goals?

I have many goals for Vireo and I am lucky to have built an amazing team of physicians, scientists, engineers, and horticulturalists to help me achieve them all! I want to keep growing Vireo by launching new products and moving into new States or markets so we can help more patients. I want to develop new ways to cultivate and process cannabis to make it a more effective, more affordable medicine. I want to partner with universities and medical research organizations to further the understanding and acceptance of cannabis and support the underpinnings of cannabis as a safe, effective medicine. 

Who/what Inspires you?

Vireo’s amazing team inspires me everyday. Our employees come from many industries – medicine, research, engineering, even consumer goods. But they all came to Vireo because they believe in our mission and they too want to help make the world a better place. Their commitment and hard work never ceases to amaze me.

I am also inspired by the bravery and strength of our patients. Young and old alike, they are fighting terrible diseases.  Their determination and optimism in the face of such difficulties is a true inspiration. A visit to our dispensaries to meet with our patients is an easy way to remind myself that we are fighting for a just cause and we are creating amazing medicine that is helping millions of people.

Do you use Cannabis products? If yes, what are your favorite Cannabis products/brands?

I don’t currently use any cannabis products, though I have used them in the past. Right now 100% of my focus is on growing Vireo and making us the best possible company in order to help support patients and my employees. 

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Corporate Bio

Peter is a dynamic creative brand leader, team builder and specialty retail veteran with deep roots in finance. Serving in critical C-level leadership roles for brands like Victoria's Secret, American Eagle Outfitters, DSW and Limited Brands, he led strategy and execution across all company channels. Under his leadership, shoe retailer DSW went public on the NYSE at $1.5B.

Peter's unique ability to understand the big picture while never missing subtle details is a critical factor in Green Growth Brands success as a company and our brands' popularity with customers.

Proven ability to master a situation quickly and rapidly becoming fluent in the key technical, personal and historical aspects of the business. Effective sensitivity to cultural differences and motivation of the business principals.

A strategic thinker who drives execution. Highly knowledgeable in a wide variety of professional disciplines that maximize brand growth including finance, marketing, and all facets of business operations from product development to customer engagement.

Recognized proficiency in developing and attracting management and staff and directing and motivating this group to work together as a team to achieve what might previously have been considered impossible.

Over thirty years of progressively more challenging and successful experience with multi-billion dollar global companies as CEO, Chairman, President, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Financial Officer.  


Social Media Links:     Twitter     Linked In     Instagram

How did you get involved with the Cannabis Industry?

What is your biggest accomplishment to date in the Cannabis Industry?

What are your future goals?

Who/what Inspires you?

Do you use Cannabis products? If yes, what are your favorite Cannabis products/brands?

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Corporate Bio

Marcos grew up with a love for baseball and spent many years playing team sports. As a result he has developed the ability to create teams for different departments with various companies, such as Coca-Cola, Gourmet Boutique a co-packer of meal replacement exclusive for Safeway Groceries and notably Medical Marijuana Inc.

He possesses the insight to succinctly identify an individual’s strengths and weaknesses so as to best utilize them. His success in creating teams is also derived from his leadership which inspires those he surrounds himself with to strive for excellence. Most importantly he instills trust among staff to follow his direction and decision making resulting in increased productivity from them.

Marcos’ work ethic is unparalleled among our leadership and it resonates within the teams he develops.  


Social Media Links:     Twitter     Linked In     Instagram

How did you get involved with the Cannabis Industry?

What is your biggest accomplishment to date in the Cannabis Industry?

What are your future goals?

Who/what Inspires you?

Do you use Cannabis products? If yes, what are your favorite Cannabis products/brands?

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Corporate Bio

Mike Gorenstein is the Chairman, President and CEO of Cronos Group. Mr. Gorenstein is also a Co-founder and Member of Gotham Green Partners. Before joining the Company, Mr. Gorenstein was the VP and General Counsel at Alphabet Partners, LP, a New York City based multi-strategy investment management firm, focused on identifying mispriced assets across various industries, asset classes and geographies. Prior to Alphabet Partners, LP, he was a corporate attorney at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP where he focused on mergers and acquisitions and capital markets transactions. 


Mr. Gorenstein graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School with a Juris Doctor (JD), the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania with a certificate in Business Economics and Public Policy and the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University with a Bachelor of Science Business in Finance. 


Social Media Links:     Twitter     Linked In     Instagram

How did you get involved with the Cannabis Industry?

What is your biggest accomplishment to date in the Cannabis Industry?

What are your future goals?

Who/what Inspires you?

Do you use Cannabis products? If yes, what are your favorite Cannabis products/brands?

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Corporate Bio

Andrew is an experienced financial executive, entrepreneur, principal investor, and officer in the Canadian Armed Forces. Andrew, as Co-Founder and Co-Head of Advisory at Agentis Capital, has advised on more than $20 billion of completed acquisition, financing, and project development transactions across a wide range of sectors, from infrastructure to technology and industrials. Andrew has led many of Agentis Capital's 18 principal investments, including complex restructuring and technology transactions, where he has taken extensive operational roles. Andrew has been an officer in the Canadian Armed Forces for 15 years, where he is currently a Major. 


Social Media Links:     Twitter     Linked In     Instagram

How did you get involved with the Cannabis Industry?

I became involved in the cannabis industry through the arrangement of the amalgamation between Bevo Agro Inc. and Sun Pharm Investments Ltd. to create Zenabis Global Inc. I spent nearly six months negotiating and arranging the transaction, and then it took another three months to close the deal after we announced it. The Board of Directors of Zenabis asked me to take on the role of CEO, and suddenly I went from running my own private businesses to running a public cannabis company. 

What is your biggest accomplishment to date in the Cannabis Industry?

What matters to me are the accomplishments of Zenabis. The greatest accomplishment to date of Zenabis is how quickly we have become an effective, integrated team. Zenabis is comprised of a mix of individuals from Sun Pharm, from Bevo, and new staff members, but we have all become a team incredibly quickly. This has allowed us to accomplish amazing things: we are currently on pace to go from just over five tonnes of completed, annual, cannabis-cultivation capacity at the time the amalgamation was complete to more than 130 tonnes of completed, annual, cannabis-cultivation capacity by the end of the third quarter. This would not have been possible without an effective, integrated team with consistent values and an incredible dedication to the business. Nothing can be more important than team and culture in a rapidly-changing industry like cannabis; having the right people and the right culture allows for the maintenance of a high tempo and rapid adaptation to an industry in constant flux. 

What are your future goals?

Our primary goal is to deliver high-quality cannabis products wherever they are legal across the globe to recreational and medical consumers in a manner consistent with our values of excellence, responsibility, compliance, and delivery of stakeholder value. That goal is broad, but in an industry still in its infancy, there is nothing wrong with having a broad, ambitious goal to work toward. More narrowly, we are currently focused on delivering on our construction and licensing targets in Canada, establishing the right value-add partnerships across a range of product categories, and expanding internationally. 

Who/what Inspires you?

I am inspired by two things: first, my belief in the concept of choice, which is integral to being a global cannabis company; and second, by my team. When it comes to choice, the era of unreasonable prohibition of cannabis both from a recreational and medical standpoint is coming to an end. Consumers and patients are finally being given the right to determine how to optimize their health and wellness, and how to enjoy themselves. I want to work in an industry and business that is pushing choice towards consumers all over the globe, and is doing so with a product that can have an incredibly positive impact on people’s lives. When it comes to my team, I am constantly inspired by the dedication, competence, and overall attitude of the people I work with at Zenabis. Every day, their ability to overcome challenges and obstacles that would be seen as insurmountable by others is inspiring, and as a result I strive to maintain the same mindset. 

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Corporate Bio

Brian Athaide is the Chief Executive Officer of the Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd, the leading global organic cannabis company, with operations focused on medical cannabis and Hemp markets in Canada, Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America and the Canadian adult-use market. Previously as the CFO and EVP for HR/IT at Andrew Peller Limited., the largest publicly traded wine producer in Canada, he helped enable faster top and bottom line growth and significant value creation resulting in a stock price increase to 400% during his three-year tenure.


Prior to that Brian spent 25 years at Procter & Gamble (P&G) moving through successively larger Finance positions across 8 countries, culminating as the CFO of a multi-billion dollar business in Russia, Ukraine and Central Asia.  Mr. Athaide has proven and successful Consumer Products experience in North America, Europe, Asia, and Latin America leading M&A deals, developing Corporate Strategy, managing foreign exchange devaluations, banking crisis, economic and political turmoil and high market volatility. Brian graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce with concentrations in Finance and Marketing from McGill University in 1989.


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How did you get involved with the Cannabis Industry?

Following the investments from a large Beverage Alcohol producer into the industry in late 2017, I started to get calls from other Licensed Producers in Canada wanting to do a similar deal with our Wine Company.  At the time I did not know anything about the cannabis industry from a consumer or business standpoint so started doing my research and diligence.  It was eye opening to see the benefits this product was bringing to so many people on the medical side as well on the adult use side vs other alternative products.  When TGOD called me in early 2018 to see if I was interested in joining, I did my diligence on TGOD and really liked their organic differentiation, scaled business model and importantly the strategy and consumer team they were trying to put together to take the company to the next stage of it’s global growth plan.  Being in an emerging industry like this builds a lot on my 25 years experience at P&G which was largely in emerging markets as well as in the Wine industry which also has many similarities. 

What is your biggest accomplishment to date in the Cannabis Industry?

We have raised more than $460 million to date which funds the first phases of our Canadian and International expansions until we expect to become operating cash flow positive next year.  We are the only cannabis producer with a plan to produce certified organic products at scale, which is coming online in the next months.  This scale will allow us to be among the low cost producers, which combined with a 30% organic pricing premium, should enable us to have industry leading margins.  Most importantly, we have put together a management team with more than 200 years of proven CPG experience which is unique in the industry and we are focused on excellence in execution which will allow us to catch up with and surpass many others who started earlier. 

What are your future goals?

Our goal is to be the leading Organic Cannabis Brand globally. 

Who/what Inspires you?

Our mission statement at TGOD is “Making Life Better”.  This permeates everything we do from our sustainable organic and regenerative farming practices, LEED certified building construction, sustainable packaging, premium products that deliver on their commitment to our consumers and patients and our community outreach programs that give back to the communities in which we operate.  This and the incredible team I have the privilege of leading inspires me. 

Do you use Cannabis products? If yes, what are your favorite Cannabis products/brands?

I am not a smoker but am looking forward to Cannabis edibles and beverages becoming legal in Canada later this year. 

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Corporate Bio

Mr. Tolia attended the University of Michigan where he obtained a BA in economics and BSE in Industrial and Operations Engineering. Prior to his role with the Corporation, Mr. Tolia was the managing member of Bengal Capital Trading LLC, a derivatives trading firm with a focus on listed equity options, and previously held roles with investment banking firms Peter J. Solomon Company and hedge fund Midtown Capital.


Social Media Links:     Twitter     Linked In     Instagram

How did you get involved with the Cannabis Industry?

What is your biggest accomplishment to date in the Cannabis Industry?

What are your future goals?

Who/what Inspires you?

Do you use Cannabis products? If yes, what are your favorite Cannabis products/brands?

Any corrections or profile updates can be submitted to hello@cannachiefs.ca 

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