Each week we highlight entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry for our viewers to learn more about the leading cannabis executives of our time. This week, we highlight Elisabeth Mack, Co-Founder of Holistic Caring.
Meet Elisabeth Mack
Elisabeth Mack, RN, MBA has managed every side of healthcare; direct patient care, operations, sales and marketing, and policy. She has had a head for medicine, and a heart shaped by progressive values, enabling her to mix science and art. Elisabeth is also a logical engineer guided by spiritual practices.
DCN: Elisabeth, congratulations on being featured as this week’s entrepreneur of the week and for all that you do! Can you please share with our readers your elevator pitch for Holistic Caring?
Elisabeth Mack: Holistic Caring bridges the gap between traditional and cannabis medicine to give another option to seriously ill patients. Nursing is the missing link between the Pot Doc and the dispensary, guiding your treatment efficacy, and keeping you safe as a true medical patient. We provide a concierge path, helping you assess, plan, implement and evaluate this option with professional support.
DCN: What ignited the spark in you to launch your business?
Elisabeth Mack: I wanted to use cannabis as medicine myself because I had old & new injuries to treat. As I interacted with the system as a patient, I realized that no one could really explain products to me in a complete way, with precautions, indications, and contraindications to consider. There needs to be a bridge between traditional medicine and cannabis medicine. Holistic Caring provides clients with the concise educational, supportive, and logistical help they need to be quickly successful.
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? Were they supportive?
Elisabeth Mack: 5 years ago I was widowed, and that threw me into a long wilderness period. I’ve re-emerged with a new purpose that is undeniable in the mission, and my family and peers are quite supportive, routing for all of us pioneers in medical cannabis.
DCN: How is your organization/business helping the cannabis industry in a positive way?
Elisabeth Mack: Holistic Caring is one of the few nursing led organizations to lend credibility in the field of cannabis medicine in a clinical way. We lead the truly sick through this system that is set up for recreational users who happen to enjoy cannabis as their medicine. Almost all of our clients have never consumed before. Having someone sit down with them, listen to their history, help plan their next step in care, and guiding a process to track and adjust results is key.
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?
Elisabeth Mack: We now have 5 amazing RN’s (with advanced practice education) serving the County of San Diego, and just crossed our 170th patient appointment.
DCN: What are some challenges you faced early on and how’d you beat them?
Elisabeth Mack: #1 then and now is to stay focused. Everything is interesting to explore and there’s a great need to develop many paths. I have to prioritize now by making lists of the #1, 2, 3 most important thing to do today.
DCN: Did you raise capital to fund your business or what creative strategies did you use to execute on minimal cash flow?
Elisabeth Mack: The past 2 years I have been self-financed (aka; bootstrapping). We’re starting to earn revenue now, and are launching prospective fundraising to integrate educational systems for consumers and healthcare providers.
DCN: What did you give up to get where you are today? What did you have to sacrifice?
Elisabeth Mack: I had 30 years of a safe, stable, and secure life. Being an architect of a cannabis health system is anything but, and it is a calling. I’ve even said no to a couple of relationships that would have consumed more time than I was willing to spend. And with money, if the business doesn’t need it, neither do I really.
DCN: What is the best piece of advice you can give to others looking to launch a company in the cannabis industry?
Elisabeth Mack: Have cash to extend your plans, and way more time. Everything is slow to develop, and what seems like a no-brainer for the marketplace is still only going to be perceived and addressed by the clientele already partaking medically. The true medical market of patients is still aways offshore.
DCN: What’s the hardest part of founding and running a startup?
Elisabeth Mack: Prioritization. When you’re in startup phase, everything is an opportunity, and my skill sets are broad and varied. Putting together a team, researching the journals, attending the conferences, building the nuts and bolts, marketing and business development to get there word out, mentoring and managing new hires, accounting and taxes, and finding the presence to be with patients. All of it.
DCN: Is there anything that surprised you about being an entrepreneur in the cannabis industry?
Elisabeth Mack: There is a bubble upon this industry. When I reflect on my decade in direct healthcare or 2 decades in insurance, people held common beliefs of the truth. Medical professionals do not even know about the endocannabinoid system. I feel like I live in a parallel universe with the mainstream medical community.
DCN: What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Elisabeth Mack: Courage, faith, discipline.
DCN: How do you stay balanced?
Elisabeth Mack: I stay fit and sane through gardening, yoga, and biking. I’m a Christian attending @ First United Methodist. My Bedlington Terrier Trevor is my little love.
DCN: What book has inspired you the most?
Elisabeth Mack: The Wounded Healer, by Henry Nouwen. It is from our wounds that greatness emerges, and when it is channeled in love it is authentically blessed.
DCN: Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
Elisabeth Mack: Integrated MD Care, a mission-based palliative care firm here in San Diego.
DCN: How can we as an industry continue to make a positive difference in society?
Elisabeth Mack: Be professional. Put on that suit to give your next presentation. The general public wants to believe us, they just need more data from people they trust on these issues, and they need to be able to identify with your stories. Be the change today, and secure the generations behind you.
DCN: Thank you, Elisabeth, for sharing your story and offering such real and insightful advice! It was so great being able to feature you as this week’s entrepreneur of the week! Any final comments or advice for the DCN community?
Elisabeth Mack: Like life, cannabis is an and, not an either or. Traditional and cannabis medicine need to share a holistic treatment plan to heal body, mind, and spirit. More than anything, cannabis helps you integrate into a healthier, more balanced human who is now better able to handle disease and thrive!
For those looking to learn more about Holistic Caring, please check out www.HolisticCaring.com