This week, we highlight Susan Soares, Executive Director, C.A.R.E. Susan has been an entrepreneur all of her adult life.
As a serial entrepreneur, she has worn many hats including expertise in digital media, marketing, social media, start-ups, advertising, business development, public policy, market research, film production, public speaking, and cannabis cultivation. Her latest success was a celebrity gifting experience during the Coachella festival, the Green Oasis. Her mission is to bring cannabis to the larger more elegant market; to be the Town & Country of cannabis.
In our interview with Susan, we asked a variety of questions to gain further insight into being a cannabis advocate and entrepreneur.
First off, Susan, congratulations on being DCN’s Entrepreneur of the Week. I would love for our readers to get to know more about you so let’s go into the interview.
You launched C.A.R.E, which stands for Cannabis, Awareness, Research, Education, what is your mission behind this organization?
SS: My mission is to capitalize on the larger cannabis events market. It’s time for cannabis events to grow up and look more like Town & Country and less like High Times.
What ignited the spark in you to launch your business?
SS: I was a leader in the Mormon church and a 33-year-old Orange County, Republican, soccer mom when I found medical cannabis. It saved my life and allowed me to effectively raise my children. I promised myself that when they were raised, I would do whatever I could to educate people like the person I used to be on the benefits of this amazing plant. I volunteered for all of the cannabis nonprofits for many years. I just couldn’t find one that I could fully get behind because of ineffective management, bad intentions, or just destructive policy so I decided to start my own.
How do you feel you are helping the cannabis industry in a positive way?
SS: By helping end the stoner stigma.
Who would you consider your role model?
SS: Richard Lee because he put his neck and money on the line with Prop. 19 and really is the one that got the legalization ball rolling.
What would you say are the top 3 skills of a successful entrepreneur?
SS: Perseverance, Creativity, Flexibility
Where did your organization’s funding come from? Did you fundraise?
SS: It’s all grassroots. I operate on the “Stone Soup” theory. I create an opportunity and then go after sponsors to pay for it.
If you could talk to one person in history, who would it be and why?
SS: Thomas Edison because he invented so many amazing things.
How do you stay balanced?
SS: I’m not balanced. I’m a workaholic!
Hahaha, well I like your honesty on that one, many won’t admit that. What is the best piece of advice you can give to others looking to launch a cannabis business?
SS: Do your research until you are confident that you have not only a great idea, but that it’s viable, legal, and needed.
What is the hardest part of launching a startup?
SS: It would have to be raising money.
Is there anything that surprised you about being an entrepreneur in the cannabis industry?
SS: Unfortunately, it is how shady so many people and companies actually are.
Being a founder, we are bound to make a mistake or two, what is one mistake you feel was one of your biggest learning lessons?
SS: Taking money from people/companies that didn’t fit my mission.
What book has inspired you the most?
SS: “Conscious Capitalism” because it inspired me to know that I was on the right track. You can make money and do good! The win-win-win situations are what keep me inspired.
Outside of your company, what company do you admire most in the industry?
SS: Bloom Farms because they are creating a lot of jobs and donating free meals for every product they sell.
How can we as an industry, continue to make a positive difference in society?
SS: Create amazing products and get cannabis into the lives of more people. We are living in crazy times and I believe that if more people understood and consumed cannabis, we could turn things around.
Thank you, Susan, for sharing your insight and advice! We are honored to have you as this week’s entrepreneur of the week. Is there anything you would like to add as one last note for our readers?
SS: I love cannabis!