Our Speakers from 2021
2022 coming soon...
Sami is the CEO of CertiCraft, a company on a mission to help craft cannabis growers transition into and thrive within the new regulated market in Canada. Their flagship product is a compliance-focused seed-to-sale system that guides growers through regulatory requirements, generates all necessary records and reports, and as a result, saves growers and QAPs dozens of hours of busywork every month.
He cares immensely about seeing small-to-medium cannabis businesses succeed, and is accordingly an inaugural member of the Kootenay Cannabis Economic Development Council, with the mandate to support economic development of the area’s vital cannabis sector.
Prior to CertiCraft, Sami founded and managed a variety of startups, a tech consulting firm, an experimental improvisational music and interactive arts event series, and successfully toured a solo music project across the western US and Canada. As an educator, Sami has facilitated many workshops in topics as diverse as music production, front end programming, cannabis regulatory compliance, and getting through creative blocks.
Nina Ackah is the Quality Assurance Person for Viridis Cannabis, Edmonton. She has
been handling the company’s QA activities since December 2018. Prior to that, Nina
was a Research Scientist with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research - Food
Research Institute, Ghana for 5 years. Her research activities focused on food
science, food safety and quality assurance. During that period, Nina supported
several food companies to develop, implement and improve HACCP-based Food
Safety Management Systems which considerably improved the food safety output of
those companies. She also served as an ISO 17025 auditor for the Microbiology labs
of the Ghana Food and Drugs Authority for almost 4 years. Nina has extensive
experience in food microbiology and the methodologies used to enumerate or
detect microbes. Nina is enthused about the cannabis industry because of its
versatile and positively challenging nature as well as the constant new things to be
Andrew Freedman is the first real Cannabis Sommelier; his focus on pairing cannabis, beer, cocktail, wine and gastronomy are completely unique and original. Andrew worked in the cannabis trade for over a decade. Noticing that there was a lack of scientific language for describing cannabis he became very interested in blind tasting wine.
His expertise in growing and extracting cannabis led to a passion for viticulture and oenology. He soon found himself living on a vineyard working as a cellar hand at an estate winery. While honing his palate he became a WSET 3 and one of few Canadian Wine Scholars.
Andrews passion for cannabis and wine led him to begin teaching what he had learned and created; The Cannabis Sommelier; YouTube channel.
Andrew currently teaches seminars about cannabis and wine pairing, cannabis cocktails and cannabis dining. Andrew is one of the first people in the world certified by the American Culinary Federation in Cannabis Cuisine & Edibles. Andrew also hosts and presents cannabis
dining events across North America.
Andrew has been featured in The Hollywood Reporter, LA Weekly, Hightimes, The Globe & Mail and many more.
For the last decade Samantha Mikolajewski has been a professional large scale grower in both the U.S. and Canadian cannabis industries. She currently holds the position of Cultivation Manager at Maitri Genetics in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. From 2018-20 she was the Master Grower and Harvest manager at Good Buds Co. Inc, in British Columbia. Early on in her career she played an integral role as co-producer of The Emerald Cup, all the while operating her own farm in the mountains of Northern California.
Ashley is the Co-Founder and CEO of HRVSTR Cannabis, a federally licensed craft cannabis cultivation facility in Canada. HRVSTR's focus is to cultivate quality flowers, From the skilled hands of artisan breeders and supplied to the Canadian Cannabis Market.
Ashley holds degrees in business, commercial cultivation and quality control, and has spent over 10 years in the industry. Her focus has always been on providing top-shelf quality cannabis to the market while advocating for a level playing field for women and BIPOC communities.
Amar is the CEO and co-founder of Elevated Signals, a company that develops software for cannabis producers who want to spend less time battling paper, spreadsheets, and seed-to-sale software so they can focus on accelerating innovation and competitiveness. Prior to Elevated Signals, Amar spent 10 years in infrastructure project delivery, having managed high-profile university, corporate, and government projects valued from $5 million to $50 million. Amar worked on research facilities including the Biotron Experimental Climate Change Research Centre, the extraterrestrial Autonomous Robotic Greenhouse, and the Cairns Bioscience Research Complex’s containment level 3 lab – while doing so, he became passionate about controlled environment agriculture as it pertains to sustainable food supply as well as to the production of molecules with the ability to benefit health and society. Amar holds a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu alongside various degrees in environmental science, water engineering, and business from the University of Toronto, Western University, and the University of British Columbia.
Jeff Ord is Cannabis At Work’s entrepreneurially spirited VP of Accounts & Relationships. Jeff has leveraged his unique ability to forge meaningful connections and built the cannabis community from coast-to-coast. With a decade of experience helping small organizations grow, Jeff is passionate about creating space & place for people to become the best versions of themselves. Jeff has been hosting The Roll Call - a series of in-person and online events designed to connect cannabis colleagues through conversations about gratitude.
Serena is the CEO and Sole Owner of Because You Cann Inc. the 2 nd Health Canada licensed Micro Cultivation facility in Alberta and 25 th in Canada. She is currently serving a term as an elected official for Vulcan County. She and her husband are proud farmers in Mossleigh,
Alberta. They have five children between the two to them and four grandchildren. Serena became intrigued with cannabis after seeing the positive properties the cannabis plant had in her life as a medical patient. She decided her love for the plant could also be a way to diversify the farm. Her daughter has remained in rural Alberta to “grow” with her and she is pleased to
offer employment to 13 local residents in the area. The goal has been and continues to be, to empower women and their cannabis use, free of judgement and ending the negative stigma. Her yearlong “Word of the Day” campaign, offering a daily word of encouragement can be
found on the Because You Cann Facebook and Instagram pages. She is looking forward to seeing her products on shelves in stores very soon.
“It’s an exciting time to be part of an emerging industry. I’m proud have my daughter at my side, to show the world that through our literal blood, sweat and buckets of tears, we made this
dream come true.” Serena Donovan
Dr. Earl Oliver
Dr. Earl Oliver is a Computer Scientist turned cannabis entrepreneur and activist investor. He moved from Silicon Valley to Vancouver to save his cannabis investment and fell in love with the plant, craft cannabis culture, and the people. Earl currently runs a 12,000 sqft facility in Delta, BC growing Gnomestar Craft Cannabis. Gnomestar is currently available throughout BC, SK, MB, and nationwide through the Shelter Market (medical). Earl moonlights as a plant scientist, studying the intricacies of the cannabis plant, and strives to produce the highest quality craft cannabis products available in the Canadian regulated market.
Annaliese Kibler, Director of Regulatory Affairs for Aurora Cannabis. Annaliese is a consumer, plant scientist, and an avid ambassador of Cannabis. Annaliese completed a BSc. and MSc. in the Plant Sciences, with a focus on medicinal and endangered plant species.
She began her career in cannabis production, quality assurance and research when the MMPR first came into effect in 2014. Combining her love of cannabis and community, she continues to work in the industry at Aurora Cannabis Inc in a variety of roles and is currently the Director of Regulatory Affairs. She volunteers as an advisory board member to various university cannabis programs, as well as the ACMLA. A co-founder and current VP of Operations at CaneXions and former co-chair of Women Grow in Vancouver. She is also a trained Cannatherapy Consultant supporting enthusiasts and their intentional use of cannabis. Recently, she has just bought a 6-acre farm to transform into a regenerative permaculture space for medicinal plants, including hemp.
As a former policy advisor with Health Canada's cannabis branch and a co-founder of Lift & Co, David Brown brings an extensive and unique body of knowledge and experience to the table within Canada's regulated cannabis market. He is passionate about seeing the cannabis sector grow and mature into a robust and respected industry. David will be tapping into his experience helping formulate Health Canada's micro and nursery regulations to give a fresh take on scalable, streamlined approaches to entering the legal cannabis production market in Canada without spending millions.
Katie Pringle is the CEO and co-founder of Marigold Marketing and PR and an integrated marketing expert. She has a deep understanding of the social and digital landscape and traditional media mix. She has extensive experience in lifestyle, entertainment & kids, with a specific focus on brands that speak to women. As a marketer, Katie is forward-looking, delivers beyond expectation and is always ready for the unexpected.
Before launching Marigold, Katie ran Pringle Communications, providing social media and integrated marketing strategy. From 2014, she worked as the Marketing and Communications Manager for Food Banks Canada where she transformed their digital presence and developed new fundraising opportunities through digital & social media. Starting in 2008, at Corus Entertainment, Katie worked on the portfolio of Women’s brands, notably managing the successful launch of The Oprah Winfrey Network in Canada. In 2012 Katie was promoted, heading up social media strategy for the Television business, including great brands like YTV, CMT, Treehouse and W Network. Previously, she worked on award-winning marketing and PR campaigns in Hamilton’s retail sector.
Hardeep Shoker - Chief Product Officer - Elevated Signals
Hardeep is Chief Product Officer of Elevated Signals, a company that develops software for cannabis producers who want to spend less time battling paper, spreadsheets, and seed-to-sale platforms, so they can focus on accelerating innovation and competitiveness.
Day-to-day Hardeep is focused on helping licensed producers get the most out of their teams by leveraging technology. With 14 years of experience in software development, he is passionate about bringing technical best practices from other industries and applying them to the cannabis space, in order to help the market become sustainable from both an operating and business perspective.
Prior to co-founding Elevated Signals, Hardeep was a Lead Software Developer at Adobe. He studied Computer Science at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.
Leif is currently the VP of Operations at the Canadian Cannabis Exchange. Using his experience in the energy midstream industry and healthcare start-up environment, he has played a key role in the development of the Canadian Cannabis Exchange. Working closely with licensed cannabis and hemp companies across Canada, he has helped build CCX into a diverse marketplace that offers a wide range of products for every stage of the plant life cycle. Whether it be for spot purchases or long-term needs, he helps to ensure a smooth transaction process for clients buying and selling genetics, flower, extracts, equipment, and more.
Leif is excited to continue to develop the Exchange with his team as the cannabis and hemp industries grow and evolve. As Canada's first fully-integrated cannabis and hemp brokerage offering comprehensive financial services and market data reports, the Canadian Cannabis Exchange has quickly become Canadian license holders' preferred platform."
Danielle (aka Miz D) is the CEO of Dvibz and co-founder of Canna Travel Life who has been a specialist in cannatourism since 2004. Her mastery of creative compliance and unbridled love of travel have placed her among a small group of genuine pioneers in the space.
25 years in the gaming industry including managing casinos for luxury cruise liners lit Danielle’s passion for guest experience. Nearly two decades as a Cannatherapy Consultant has cemented her role as an innovator of cannabis education.
From Mexico to Maui, British Columbia to The Bahamas, Danielle has been involved in all aspects of the cannatourism sector. Whether leading upscale excursions or consulting for upscale destinations, Miz D has developed a sterling reputation for serving cannacentric businesses as well as their guests.
Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn: @Dvibz
With over a decade as a digital professional on the marketing side, Michael has managed teams, headed committees, and led projects with success being the only result.
Using that same attitude and knowledge, Michael has teamed up with one of cannabis' top female entrepreneurs, Ashley Athill to create the dream team known as HRVSTR.
Passionate about cannabis and its benefits for decades, Michael has poured his prior tech and construction experience into creating optimal agricultural environments, automated work flows, inventory management systems, and taking square footage off the floors and onto the walls.
Kieley Beaudry is a 25 year cannabis consumer and has been a cannabis educator and entrepreneur for the past 4 years. She co-founded Parkland Flower Inc in 2018 to start a micro-cultivation in Edmonton, Alberta. As she started going through the process of applying for a licence, she realized there were no organizations to support small operators in the space, thus founded The Alberta Cannabis Micro Licence Association to help fill that gap. With an incredible board of industry professionals from across Alberta, they work with the AGLC to help small operators navigate this confusing and ever changing landscape.
Product Specialist, Formulator & Plant Medicine Educator:
Award-winning film and web series producer, creator, writer, and director, S. Siobhan McCarthy, is the CEO and Executive Producer of blyssful PRODUCTIONS and red trike media inc. McCarthy was recently profiled in Forbes Magazine.
blyssful ALCHEMY is an educational DIY workshop series educating people about plant medicines and holistic modalities. A self-proclaimed urban gardener and kitchen witch, McCarthy’s interest in plant
medicines came to be when she lived in Switzerland.
Shortly thereafter, she moved to Vancouver to study at U.B.C. where she garnered her
Honours Degree in Theatre, Film and Creative Writing. She also studied plants, and plant medicines, after being disabled in a car accident, during her second year at University.
Anuraga Mandava is the Chief Consultant at Qualium Consulting, providing compliance support to the craft operators in the cannabis industry. Bringing with her a decade of national and international experience in the Cannabis, Food, Pharmaceutical and Natural Health Product industries, and an active Health Canada’s security clearance as a QAP, Anuraga shares her passion towards quality with cannabis producers and processors to help them produce products that genuinely help consumers. She has been instrumental in several site and product licenses. She has an MSc in Food Process Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology.
David Heldreth is a patented inventor as well as the founder and CEO of both: Panacea Plant Sciences, a biotechnology company developing a portfolio of cultivation and related IP and patents around the cannabis plant, psychedelic life forms and formulations; and Ziese Farms, a hemp food company which has led the way with FDA allowances for hemp microgreens. He is also a former Chief Science Officer of a natural products company focused on terpene formulation. He testified at the historic FDA hearing on cannabis, CBD, CBG, CBC and terpenes in our food supply on May 31, 2019. He is a leading scientist, inventor and educator in the cannabis and psychedelic communities.