Alice Moore describes herself as very goal-oriented with a tunnel vision mindset when it comes to the things that she’s passionate about. Two great traits for someone in Moore’s position.
Moore serves as the head of Human Resources for Proper, one of the most well-established cannabis companies in the Missouri marijuana space. But over the last few years, Proper has also grown significantly, acquiring multiple licenses and bringing on more than 100 new employees in 2023. For Proper, Moore serves an essential role in a fantastic way. For Moore, Proper allows her the opportunity to be successful while working outside the box so often associated with Human Resources.
At Proper, authenticity, excellence, passion, connection, and community are considered core values of the company, for her part Moore exeplifies all of these traits, but her role also allows her to help ensure the company ethos and grow Proper from the ground up.
With a strong sense of purpose and a dedication to her work at Proper Cannabis, she’s making a significant impact on the industry. Alice is passionate about changing the stigma associated with HR, and her journey at Proper has been nothing short of remarkable.
In this edition of Women to Watch, Moore shares her insights into her role with one of the state’s most successful homegrown brands while discussing her journey into the cannabis industry and her unwavering commitment to personal growth and development for employees.
Tell me about your role at Proper.
When it was just me, back in 2021, JP presented me with our core values at Proper; authenticity, excellence, passion, connection, and community. He told me that what he really wanted to do is to develop a culture where we live these values.
I’m really thankful to have a CEO that I report to who recognizes the importance of a human resources department in person. He definitely has my back on all items. So what I try to do is emulate what he would like, as far as living out our culture and our values to our leadership team so that that resonates with our front facing team members. A big part of my job is to really lay the foundation as far as how we talk to our employees. How do we listen to them? And then I build the policies. I help them enforce them in a way that treats our employees with dignity and respect, but still holds them accountable. I think being able to do that for the past couple of years has set the tone for what we believe inside of our company. We, as a company, have goals to take care of our community and our patients and our customers, but my job is to make sure that our employees are taken care of and listened to and heard. It’s not always a fun job being in HR., but my goal is to take away that HR stigma and hopefully I’ve done a good job of doing that to where I’m just a normal person, and I also smoke weed. It’s pretty nice to work in an environment where you can talk about that freely and still be able to do your job and not be judged for it.
What makes Proper special?
What sets us apart is that we are organized and it doesn’t feel over-saturated. I remember going to Vegas when everything first started jumping off with cannabis. I remember walking into my first dispensary and being like, man it feels like I’m doing something wrong. When you walk into a Proper dispensary, it feels more comfortable. I saw this meme that said something like “when you walk into a cannabis dispensary and it looks like an Apple store, something’s wrong,” but on the flip side, I want my mom and my grandma and people that wouldn’t normally consume cannabis to feel comfortable when they walk in. I think that Propper has done a good job of that with our branding. Our marketing team does a great job.
We have people that are really talented and really passionate about what they do. I think it comes out in our brand. It comes out in the way that we take care of our patients, and it also comes out in the way that we take care of our employees because they’re so good at what they do. I constantly hear compliments about our budtenders and the way that they are knowledgeable. They’re able to help the patients and that’s the most important thing. I think that what sets us apart is that we are nice.
Can you talk about the last year for Proper as a company?
I think the last year for everybody in the industry was pretty intense. When we switched to recreational back in February, everybody worked together to make it because we instantly saw an increase in volume right out of the gate. They did a wonderful job of adapting and taking care, and we experienced a huge influx in recruitment. I think at the end of 2022, we had about 150 employees and by March of 2023, we had about 250. It just really jumped up and shout out to my recruitment coordinator for really kicking it up a notch.
How did you get into cannabis?
I actually started in the casino business. I worked for Ameristar Casino for about 10 years. I started off as a part-time dealer where I moved my way up through leadership, on the casino floor where I kind of hit a wall where I wasn’t going to get promoted anymore. You don’t move up unless somebody basically died or retired.
Some of my mentors in leadership at Ameristar asked if I had ever thought about HR. There was an HR business partner position open, and I’m like, “there’s no way I could be HR” because there’s this stigma. I started to just talk to directors and ask them what the position was like before I even applied for it. It just started to feel like the correlation between human resources and operational leadership go hand in hand. So I went back to school at Lindenwood in 2017 and enrolled in their accelerated degree program for HR management. And then I just really bugged the HR department over and over. I think the first time I applied, I didn’t get it. I went back to school anyway, while I was still in school I ended up getting the business partner role at Ameristar and was thrown into that. But it was a little easier because I had been a frontline employee already. Then COVID happened and we all got furloughed.
When I went back to my old job, I hit the ground running, but I still had a LinkedIn alert for cannabis jobs. I thought, “If I could just get HR with a company in Missouri,” because Missouri had just gone medical, that would be great. I think it was like 2 o’clock in the morning when an HR generalist role for Proper Brands popped up on my feed.
The one thing that I’ll never forget is – JP, our CEO, told me when I interviewed, that they work with people’s solutions and what they were looking for was somebody to come in and build the HR department from the ground up. That is exactly what I was looking to do. They said that they had a couple more interviews, but when I walked out I told them, “Well, you’ll just be thinking about me all day.” JP called me a couple of days later and said that they wanted to offer me the position. I think when I started, the company had 80 employees in 2021, and now here we are in 2024 with about 350 employees. I started off as a generalist, and I’m now the HR director, and I couldn’t be happier.
What is it like being a woman in your field?
I think being a woman, who constantly excels in her career in any field is a huge accomplishment. I think that it is awesome that I have a seat at the table.
I’m needed. I’m valued. I’ve had the opportunity to positively influence my peers and my superiors, and I think that it’s wonderful that I’m in this position. And being a woman in cannabis is huge because it’s typically an industry dominated by men. So to be in the industry and be able to bring others who look like me in the industry is important. And that’s what I’m working on.
What are you passionate about?
The thing that I’m the most passionate about, I would say, is personal growth and development for the employees. Whether it’s a role with our company, whether we can promote you within, or whether it’s somewhere outside of our company. I think we’ve had a constant culture of – “we just want employees to succeed even if it’s not with us.” So I sit down with an employee and really try to dig into what they’re actually passionate about, what they’re good at, or what they wanna learn. Helping somebody really find their footing is something I’m really passionate about.
Where do you find inspiration?
I have some really excellent mentors and people that I consult with in the HR field and just in general. They really inspire me and have always had confidence in me, even before I had confidence in myself. The people that I’m connected to, those are the people that give me inspiration. And my son who is about to turn 18; everything I’ve done is so he can be proud of me.
What do you consider your greatest professional accomplishment?
I would say my greatest professional accomplishment would definitely be creating the internship program at Proper. It was huge. It started off as a small conversation between me and JP. Now it will be our third time doing it. Just to be able to get students in and expose them to the industry, whether they stay with us after they graduate or they move on, is awesome.
It helps to break the stigma with universities and it helps to break the stigma with the younger students that are coming out with their parents and their grandparents when they’re talking about cannabis. It’s been really great to build a program around them.
What advice or encouragement would you give to other women in the cannabis industry?
I think that women in the industry should make sure that they work for a company that values their presence and they continue to be goal-oriented. The most important thing is to make sure that they set professional and personal goals for themselves, and just always exude confidence in themselves.