Zenabis wouldn’t be where it is today without the dedicated employees behind it. In order to shine light on a few of the hard-working people helping to build this diverse organization, we sat down with members of the team on both coasts. To kick off this series we chatted with our HR department, who shared with us how they got started working in the cannabis industry along with any advice they have for those interested in career opportunities in cannabis.
This will be the first installment of a monthly series entitled “Meet Our Employees” where we sit down with members of different Zenabis departments to get a glimpse of how the cogs run within our company. This month we spoke with Olga Voldman-Anikina (Learning & Development Partner – Vancouver, BC), Jeff Faith (Human Resources Project Manager – Langley, BC), Erin Wadden (Human Resources Supervisor – Stellarton, NS), Laura DiFelice (Director, People & Culture – Vancouver, BC), Patience Wallace (Talent Acquisition Specialist – Vancouver, BC), and Ann Wang (Talent Acquisition Specialist – Vancouver, BC).
When it comes to what drew them to work with cannabis, everyone came to a consensus: it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. “What got me interested was the idea of entering a brand-new industry, and all the possibilities that came along with it. I am so excited and honoured to be part of everything at the ground floor level,” explained Jeff. Ann echoes this sentiment: “We’re pioneering an industry, working with individuals who want to be at the forefront of defining best practices,” she says.
For Olga, the cannabis industry offered the kind of creative work environment she was seeking. “People are very open-minded, with an out-of-the-box mentality. That’s cool!” she says. “At Zenabis, I’m able to work creatively in a friendly, engaging atmosphere. Together we are making our work environment a pleasant place to be.” she says.
Meanwhile, Patience’s journey into the industry stemmed from her interest in the medicinal properties of the plant. “I’m a long-time advocate for medical cannabis, and the emerging industry is a very exciting one to work in considering the amount of projected growth,” she explains.
Laura joined Zenabis because the idea of building an organization with solid foundational roots really appealed to her. “Being able to provide jobs and opportunities to the communities in which we are located so that those areas can flourish is really important, and that’s what we’re all about,” says Laura.
While cannabis has certainly provided an exciting space for building an industry from the ground up, challenges come along with it. Jeff and Olga both agree that the views towards cannabis and the people who work in the cannabis industry are still changing; and that negative attitudes and stigma continue to exist. “It’s important to realize that not all of your friends or family will understand and support your decision, because there are still many biases about cannabis,” explains Olga. Views may be shifting, but the team agreed it will take time and continued advocacy to end the stigma associated with cannabis.
According to Erin, another prevalent challenge of working in the cannabis industry is that things move exceedingly fast. “That’s because this is a newly legalized industry, with innovative products being developed daily and regular legislation changes. The constraints of the Cannabis Act are something people should certainly familiarize themselves with before entering the industry,” advises Erin.
Despite the challenges, working in an industry still in its infancy certainly doesn’t come without reward. As Ann observes, “Because the cannabis industry is still so young, there’s a lot of potential for process improvement, alongside the ability for strategic leaders to affect change.” Every member of the industry is helping to shape its future, and at Zenabis we all take that role to heart.
What other pieces of advice do these HR professionals have for job seekers looking to work in the cannabis industry? It’s all about taking chances and embracing opportunity. “Be ready for an ever-changing and evolving industry – one that offers an unlimited amount of potential for those who are open to it,” says Jeff.
At the end of the day, working in cannabis is just like working in any other industry when it comes to job satisfaction. “Individuals who understand what their strengths are and what their unique skillset is, those are the ones who are going to have the highest levels of job satisfaction and engagement. When you have a good understanding of how you want to contribute to an organization, that allows for a much stronger match between the employee and the employer,” explains Laura.
As for Olga, she sums up her advice to potential candidates in a single, succinct sentence. “If you pack your enthusiasm, your knowledge, your experience, your creativity into your suitcase when you join, you’ll shine!”
Information on current and upcoming job openings at Zenabis can be found in our Careers page. With 800+ employees, we’re growing weekly, so be sure to check regularly!