Each week we highlight entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry for our viewers to learn more about the leading cannabis executives of our time.
Meet Bryan & Jessica Passman
This week, we highlight Bryan & Jessica Passman, Co-Founders of The GIGG™.
Bryan is The Chief of Business Dealings “CBD” at The GIGG™. He was born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in Miami, FL. Bryan studied Finance and Economics at The University of Florida and landed an initial career opportunity in the sale of engineered construction materials. He had a passion for the healthcare field, however, and landed in medical device global recruitment out of Coral Gables, FL while seeking a medical/ pharma sales role. After a very successful 15 years in that field, Bryan moves on to a Wynwood, FL based recruitment agency where he assumes a focus on clients in adult beverage, packaging, and tech.
Today, Bryan is enjoying his dream of growing his own business and working within the very exciting and rewarding cannabis industry with his wife, Jessica. Bryan & Jessica got married in March 2008. They have lived together in Coconut Grove, FL since 2007. They have two sons and three fish. They love spending time with family and friends, volunteering, coaching their son’s flag football team, long days at the park, experiencing the amazing eating/drinking that the Miami area has to offer, and all things Florida Gators.
Jessica is The Head Chief “THC” at The GIGG™. She received her BA in Business & Finance from the University of Central Florida, and her JD (Cum Laude) from the University of Miami School of Law. After graduating from law school, she was an Associate Attorney at several top law firms, focusing on Commercial Real Estate, and outside general counsel to numerous clients through her own law practice.
Jessica’s passion for business led to her role as Chief Operating Officer & General Counsel for a global networking organization exclusively for professional women executives and women business owners. In Jessica’s COO role, she wore many hats creating the opportunity to develop various new skill sets, in addition to growing as an entrepreneur and attorney. Growing out of that role and ready for a new entrepreneurial venture, The GIGG™ was born.
The GIGG™ was a dream for Jessica and Bryan for many years. One day the stars aligned perfectly and it was time take the leap. Now Jessica is doing what she loves most, building a company from the ground up with her husband within the fastest growing industry in the world with the hope to one day hand The GIGG down to their children.
In our interview with Bryan and Jessica, we asked a variety of questions to learn more about The GIGG™, what it takes to build a business in the cannabis industry and much more!
DCN: First off Bryan and Jessica, congratulations on being featured as this week’s entrepreneur of the week and for all that you both do! Can you please share with our readers your elevator pitch for the Gigg?
Jessica Passman: The GIGG™ [Grass is Greener Global] is a boutique retained talent solutions firm specializing in the Cannabis industry. Our Cannabis industry partners are multi-tier industry leaders & emerging organizations in (Canna)Tech, Compliance, Analytical Testing, Packaging, Distribution and Product Creation & Development. Talent Solutions is our passion.
We are not a job board. We are a full-service talent solutions agency offering recruitment, talent acquisition and organizational consulting, growth planning advisement and more. We also create and personalize each process and material to meet each individual client’s needs.
DCN: What ignited the spark in you to start to launch your business? Or how did your idea evolve?
Bryan Passman: Launching a business together in the Cannabis industry, recruitment or otherwise, has been a dream for Jessica and myself for some time. The dream was almost achieved in 2014, but the stars were not aligned. In 2017, Jessica sold her stake and exited another business she had launched in 2010 while I was experiencing a career shift at my former employer. It was also during this time that my network in the Cannabis industry was gaining real traction. Everything aligned Q3 ’17, and The GIGG™ was launched!
Jessica’s professional experience is broad, covering all aspects of business & transactional law as well as business planning & development, leadership, and recruitment. She has worked within law firms of varying sizes, taught law classes in numerous disciplines and has worked from just about anywhere a WiFi signal exists in the recent years while successfully growing a for-profit professional networking organization for women.
My professional experience is deep within retained search and client relationships since 2000. I worked as SVP Recruitment at a small Medical Device/ Pharma/ Biotech/ IVD retained search firm and a Client Relationship Leader at a large Food & Beverage retained search firm. My experience with hiring companies of all sizes with talent needs from entry-level Analyst & Trade Marketer to Chief Compliance Officer and President/ CEO. I also fulfilled roles on every continent and within every Operational, Technical and Commercial function.
Both Jessica and I know the value of relationship development and the power of cultivating a genuine professional network. We also know there is no substitute for hard work, and being an expert in your field. You can count on their grit, expertise, follow-up, transparency, and genuine desire to consult & partner when you choose to work with The GIGG™.
DCN: When you finally decided that you wanted to launch a business in the cannabis industry, what was your experience like when telling your family and friends?
Jessica Passman: Both our friends and family were excited and supportive.
DCN: How are you positively helping the cannabis industry?
Jessica Passman: At The GIGG™, we believe we are helping the cannabis industry in two primary ways. 1. Attracting top talent to our cannabusiness partners; talent that is helping to move the ball forward in terms of bringing increased professionalism and compliance mindsets from FDA compliant and other highly regulated industry environments as well as blue chip company pedigree, and 2. Educating the candidate marketplace outside of the cannabis industry on the incredible culture, progress, products, and opportunities in the cannabis industry.
DCN: As we go into 2018, what is one huge accomplishment that you or your team achieved last year that you would like to share with our readers?
Bryan Passman: We launched The GIGG™ and joined the cannabis community.
DCN: What are some challenges you faced early on and how’d you beat them?
Jessica Passman: Our immediate challenge was resistance to our retained search fees. The GIGG offers a unique level of service and expertise that has been applied over the past 20 years to bring significant value to both startup & blue chip Healthcare, Tech, Packaging and CPG organizations globally.
Our fees are a bit higher than what the Cannabis industry is currently used to, but we’ve also proven to current clients that our network, expertise, and services exceed the cannabis industry’s current expectations from an external talent acquisition partner. We’ve been fortunate to establish a reputable client base early in our launch with cannabis industry partners that have been very pleased with their ROI, and it’s given us the confidence in the industry to continue with our strategic goal of establishing a new level of retained search offering and expectation within the industry.
DCN: How did you get funded or what creative strategies did you use to execute on minimal cash flow?
Bryan Passman: We have been creative and minimalistic with our spending.
DCN: Launching a startup usually means a change in lifestyle for many. What did you give up to get where you are today? What did you have to sacrifice?
Bryan Passman: We gave up salaries, benefits and sacrificed savings.
DCN: What is the best piece of advice you can give to others looking to launch a company in the cannabis industry?
Jessica Passman: Bring a passion for the industry, product, and learning; and be prepared to bring your A-game. Also be flexible to deal with change, uncertainty, as well as have the grit to deal with adversity.
DCN: What’s the hardest part of founding and running a startup?
Bryan Passman: Putting everything in place, and then maintaining your strategic vision while attending to every little detail.
DCN: Is there anything that surprised you about being an entrepreneur in the cannabis industry?
Jessica Passman: We expected it to be a fun & challenging industry to work in, but were pleasantly surprised by the very warm reception we received. The community feel of the industry is so refreshing! We try our best to attend as many expos and conventions as possible and always come back even more in love with the very positive vibe of the industry. We were also surprised by how strongly our cannabis clients value and desire other industry backgrounds which have allowed us to leverage our existing networks from other highly regulated industries.
DCN: What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Bryan Passman: Grit, passion and flexibility.
DCN: Who is your role model, and why?
Jessica Passman: We do not have one role model but admire those who are honest, compassionate and of high integrity.
DCN: The hardest thing for many entrepreneurs is finding balance. How do you stay balanced?
Bryan Passman: Exercise and spending time with family and friends.
DCN: What book has inspired you the most?
Bryan Passman: There are too many amazing books, far too many for us to choose just one.
DCN: Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
Jessica Passman: We admire those in the cannabis industry that take their approach to compliance to exceptional levels as part of their company DNA, and always place product quality, safety and compliance as their core values.
DCN: How can we as an industry continue to make a positive difference in society?
Bryan Passman: Stay the course. By that, we mean to maintain the positive vibes, the great momentum, the unified front and giving back to the community wherever the opportunities exist!
DCN: Thank you, Jessica and Bryan, for sharing your story and offering such real and insightful advice! It was so great being able to feature you both as this week’s entrepreneur of the week!
For those looking to learn more about The GIGG™, click here. Find them on Instagram: @thegigg_