Woman with Missouri Roots Among New Leadership
Illinois Women in Cannabis (IWC) announces the appointment of five new members to its Board of Directors. “This expansion doubles the organization’s current leadership and is designed to optimize the non-profit’s trajectory”, said IWC executive director, Amor Montes de Oca. New leadership includes Cindy Kosydor, a Midwest business and brand consultant with deep roots in Missouri’s medical marijuana program and market development. IWC will present its expanded Board at its annual Fall Harvest Celebration in Chicago on October 19.
“Within eight years, IWC has established itself as Illinois’ preeminent organization committed to advocating for and advancing women’s opportunities in cannabis, and has become a significant resource and partner to this dynamic industry. Expanding the IWC Board provides even greater and more diverse knowledge, perspectives and networks for growth. The women we’ve
appointed are such impressive contributors to the Illinois cannabis industry and community, and have the individual and collective ability to help intentionally and sustainably guide IWC’s continued impact” said IWC executive director, Amor Montes de Oca, adding, “These women have demonstrated a commitment to evolving IWC’s work, particularly to promoting diversity and inclusion, talent development, entrepreneurship, strategic partnerships, social responsibility and impact, and restorative justice. We are thrilled to welcome each to the Board, and look forward to their valuable insight and guidance.”
Illinois Women in Cannabis (IWC) is a 501(c)(6) based in Chicago, and was co-founded in 2014 by Dina Rollman and Wendy Berger. It has grown into a leading cannabis industry networking organization with international membership, influential reach and committed individual and corporate supporters. IWC’s Board of Directors includes Carrie Armour, Principal, Armour Advocacy; Vanessa Bachtell, Corporate Attorney, Goldberg Kohn; and Gina Gault, Field Marketing and Outreach Manager, 1906 New Highs.
IWC’s mission is to empower women of all ages and backgrounds to build strong relationships, networks, and careers in the cannabis industry. IWC advances its purpose by introducing mission- and mentor- related initiatives, hosts large and small networking and educational sessions and collaborates with leading cannabis companies as strategic partners in thought leadership, business development and community outreach. More information can be found at Illinois Women in Cannabis.
Please welcome Illinois Women in Cannabis’ newest Directors:
Cindy Kosydor, Chief Strategist, Cindy K’s Shop
Cindy Kosydor is a consumer brand and business builder who began applying 15 years of CPG experience to the cannabis sector four years ago. Having built brands, increased basket size and led purpose-driven community outreach for Walgreens, Quaker and Blue Bunny Ice Cream, Cindy now consults as an efficient and agile multi-functional extension of cannabis company teams. Her initial assignments were in Missouri, helping launch MoCannTrade, produce two dozen winning licensing applications and marketing Society Seltzer for Monarch Supply Company. She is currently the marketing and sales director for a new Illinois cannabis infuser, Culinary Cannabis Company, and advisor to established and emerging companies throughout the supply chain. Her historic corporate vantage point and current multi-state role in the Midwest cannabis industry’s development delivers unique knowledge and a hybrid network that will expand IWC’s reach. Cindy has served as IWC’s marketing and communications chairwoman since 2020, and been a member since the organization’s inception. She graduated from Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville.
Tai Duncan, Vice President, Community Integration, Cresco Labs
Tai Duncan has been Cresco Labs’ Vice President of Community Integration for three years, applying her experience as a lawyer, coach, and community affairs professional to execute Cresco’s corporate social responsibility goals and drive strategic initiatives that align the company’s business objectives and core values in support of the communities it serves across the country. Tai was previously an executive at youth sports nonprofit Positive Coaching Alliance, investment company Ariel Investments, and an attorney for the City of Chicago. She is a founding member of adult basketball fitness company Swish House and serves on the board of cancer support organization Imerman Angels. Tai received a JD from the University of Iowa College of Law, and a BA in Sociology with a concentration in Gender & Women’s Studies from Grinnell College.
Asya Hill, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Curaleaf
Asya Hill founded her career in service to the underserved. Currently, she manages Curaleaf’s national Corporate Social Responsibility initiative, serving communities disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs and collaborating with organizations to create pathways for the underserved into the cannabis industry. Asya is core to the Curaleaf team, and frequently anchors IWC-hosted panel discussions with industry peers and community coalitions. Prior to joining Curaleaf in 2020, Asya was facilitating global service initiatives for rural, underprivileged communities. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois Chicago.
Jai Kensey, Director, Social Impact, Green Thumb Industries
Jai Kensey is a community relations and communications professional with two decades of experience engaging communities, developing partnerships and communicating authentically. For eight years she managed development communications for the largest humanitarian network in the world, the American Red Cross. Now Jai directs Green Thumb Industries’ social impact program, Growing for Good, and is dedicated to creating positive change through meaningful action in restorative justice, diversity, equity and inclusion and community impact. Jai graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Georgia State University.
Silvia Vanessa Rogel
Silvia Vanessa Rogel, Director of Strategic Partnerships and External Affairs, The Center: Resources for Teaching and Learning
Silvia Vanessa Rogel has been advocating for and advancing educational, racial, social and economic equity throughout her personal and professional life. A native of El Salvador who grew up in northwest Chicago, Silvia received a Master of Science in Public Service Management from DePaul University’s School of Public Service, College of Liberal Arts and Social Science. She excels in strategic planning and program management, and directs strategic partnerships and external affairs for The Center: Resources for Teaching and Learning. The educational resource company administers professional, educational and technology programs for educational professionals serving distressed and at-risk populations. She also serves on the Illinois State Education Equity Committee and its Elevating Educators subcommittee, on the Board of Directors for United Palatine Coalition, and is a member of LULAC and Cannabis Equity Coalition Illinois. As IWC’s 2021 Professional Development Committee Chairwoman, she directed the creation of IWC’s Mentorship Program, and managed the inaugural cohort of mentees and mentors.
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