NY’s women in cannabis: Julia Deviatkina

Join NY Cannabis Insider on April 20 for an industry meetup at the Finger Lakes Cannabis Co. in Victor, NY. Tickets available here.

Julia Deviatkina is the CEO of Work’n’Roll, the first women-focused startup incubator and co-working space in NYC for the productive, modern day cannabis consumer. Here she shares her inspiration, thoughts on leadership and advice for other women entrepreneurs.

Women are vastly underrepresented in cannabis, and not just in New York. From 2019 to 2022, executive-level females have seen their industry wide status drop from 37% to 23%. Yet the MRTA makes things very clear: women-owned businesses are a key component of the state’s social and economic equity plan.

NY Cannabis Insider is seeking to elevate women in cannabis through a hyper focus on female story sourcing, quoting and visual layouts, balanced representation in our “People to know” and “Behind the story” series, and prioritized guest column submissions.

This series will last for as long as submissions come in.

Why did you launch your career in the cannabis industry? Were there any women who inspired you to do so? How did you do it?

There were a few reasons why I launched my career in the cannabis industry. Firstly, as a creative and introverted person I was always drawn to the potential of cannabis to boost creativity and alleviate anxiety and stress. Secondly, I saw the potential for growth in the industry and the opportunity to be a part of a movement that can change the world starting from the very foundation. Finally, I was inspired by the social justice movement around cannabis legalization and wanted to be a part of the change.

There were certainly women who inspired me to pursue this path, especially those who have been breaking barriers and making a name for themselves in the industry. Women like Wanda James, Jane West, and Kym B have been trailblazers in the industry and have inspired me to follow in their footsteps.

To get started in the industry, I simply pursued my passions and worked towards creating the future I wanted to see as a consumer. I did a lot of research and networking to meet people who were already working in the field. In addition, I attended various conferences to gain knowledge about the industry and to learn how I could apply my background and skills to contribute to the growth and development of the industry.

What do you think is the most significant barrier to women leadership? Are the barriers different in cannabis than any other industry?

One of the most significant barriers to female leadership is gender stereotypes, which can lead to women being overlooked for leadership positions or being held to different standards than their male counterparts. Women also face a lack of access to networks, mentors and funding , which makes it more difficult to advance in their careers.

In the cannabis industry specifically, there are some unique challenges that women face. One of these challenges is the fact that the industry is still relatively new and heavily regulated, which makes it more difficult for women to secure funding and access to capital. This can be compounded by the fact that women are often underrepresented in the financial and investment sectors as well, which limits their ability to secure funding for their businesses. Additionally, many women in the industry report experiencing harassment and discrimination, which makes it difficult to advance or even remain in their positions.

Why do you think women are so underrepresented in leadership roles in cannabis?

Women often feel uncomfortable promoting themselves or speaking up about their accomplishments, which can lead to them being overlooked for promotions or not being taken seriously as leaders.

What are advantages to having women in leadership positions?

The presence of a woman in a leadership position leads to numerous advantages. The most significant one for me is that women leaders tend to be more collaborative and inclusive, which leads to better teamwork, communication, and productivity. The benefits I’ve received from my leadership experiences are communication, decision-making, and teamwork skills.

Shout out your other favorite women-owned or women-led businesses in the industry.

CannaDiva, community of incredible women in cannabis. Women Grow – empowering female community that produces professional networking events and education symposiums for the canna-curious to the professional cannabis executive. TribeTokes – premium CBD products for next generation cannabis consumer. Highgarden – highly curated event production and hospitality brand. Chamber of Cannabis – non-profit organization working to unite cannabis industry professionals who strive to build a more inclusive industry. Etain – women-founded medical dispensary, Etain crafts legal medical cannabis products that make a difference in New York. Tricolla Farms- certified organic, sun-grown NY cannabis.

Who/what are your favorite tools and resources in the industry?

Women Grow – empowering female community that produces professional networking events and education symposiums for the canna-curious to the professional cannabis executive.

What advice would you give your 25-year-old self?What advice would you give to the next generation of women leaders?

Advice that I would you give my 25-year-old self is to focus on building relationships: build strong relationships with colleagues, mentors, and peers. These connections are invaluable in helping navigate career and grow professionally. Advice I would give to the next generation of female leaders is to believe in yourself: have confidence in your abilities and trust your instincts. Don’t be afraid to speak up and share your ideas.

If you’d like people to connect with you, please share your favorite methods of contact (email, phone, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.).

Instagram: @julia.deviat

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