Turning your career into your passion isn’t always easy. You have to network, gain experience, find collaborative teams, look for a job you love, and work some jobs that aren’t a fit. All of these experiences are what influenced and shaped our CEO Ryan Rosenfeld and allowed him to turn his passion for the plant into a highly profitable cannabis staffing agency that he hopes gives people the opportunity to love what they do. We got a chance to sit down with Ryan and learn more about him and his career.
Where are you from? “I grew up in the Philly area and Southern New Jersey. I went to college in New York City and spent my formative years on the east coast. Shortly after college I strategized a west coast relocation and moved to Portland, Oregon in 2001.”
What’s been one of the most pivotal moments in your career? “I was sick of working for people who I didn’t have a shared vision with or similar morals. It doesn’t matter how hard you work or how good of a job you do, if you have the wrong leadership or team dynamic it can make life really difficult. That’s why I began to work for myself. I never really could reach my full potential until I went out on my own.”
What got you interested in working in the cannabis industry? “I’ve had a passion for the plant since I was a teenager. I didn’t come to Oregon for that reason, but it was definitely a welcomed bonus that Oregon had such a prolific medical cannabis landscape. I was intrigued by the plant and the process and was able to finally delve into the cultivation side. I started from the ground floor to see what it takes to cultivate. It’s a fun hobby and a number of my friends were involved in the industry so it was beyond an industry, it was a lifestyle. The Portland cannabis scene was a tight knit, exclusive group and we’re now expanding that.”
What kind of work culture do you thrive and excel in? “I like working with intelligent and mindful people that have a great sense of humor, it’s important to laugh. The work hard/play hard mantra is critical in life and within our organization. Working is challenging and I want to work with people who are self starters and task oriented. I find it important that within a 30 second conversation I can go from talking about a current project to talking about what someone did last weekend. Collaborative environments and surrounding myself with people who have different life experiences and skill sets has really helped to create a broad spectrum of interactions and engagements, which I value and appreciate.”
What’s the best part of your job? “Getting to wear sneakers and not suits everyday to the office. It doesn’t matter what you look like and what you’re wearing, what does matter is that you do a good job and are a good person. I also love the continued education; I learn about people, processes, startup businesses in a new industry. The opportunities are exciting and it’s amazing to meet intelligent and passionate people who bring a totally different skillset within the industry, from start up to cannabis. There are so many different people with different mindsets and it’s great to figure out best practices and see people’s passions and their ideas. The think tank is fun to dip into.”
What can you say about the team you work with? “I feel very blessed. I’ve been able to surround yourself with some old friends and some new friends and create a place where it feels good to come into work everyday. I couldn’t do it without them.”
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? “Check the clock and look at my schedule. Doing this sets my daughter and I up for a successful day.”
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received? “Be yourself. Be genuine. If someone asks you a question and you don’t know the answer, be honest and help them find the answer.”
What are your thoughts on the cannabis industry in Portland vs. the rest of the state? “Portland, being a metropolitan magnet of the state, draws additional attention, funding, efforts, and it adds a layer of opportunity in the cannabis industry. On the other hand there’s an additional layer of hurdles. Everybody tends to have some presence in Portland, consumers and a large part of the state’s population reside here. I love Oregon as a state, I wish I could spend more time in southern and central Oregon and we hope to in the future. With that said they also have their challenges and niche markets. Whether it’s growing conditions, landscape, climate, market, geography, space, it’s a lot more peaceful and slower pace than Portland with a lot of land to work with.”
What kind of skillset do you think it takes to work in the cannabis industry? “It takes a sense of urgency and the ability to be fluid. An open-mind and the ability to learn quickly, because there are so many variables in this industry. We’re in a state of evolution, so things are ever-changing. Due to the broad acceptance of the industry overall you’re starting to see a lot of new discoveries.”
What are your favorite types of grow operations? “I like the farms that have unique and proprietary strains. If a farm goes through their own breeding, I give them a lot of credit because it’s difficult and time consuming. I like seeing the variety of what’s out there, what people are creating and I love seeing when people are executing at a really high level. It’s a challenging thing to do.”
What are your thoughts on edibles? “I like the fact that it’s more accessible to consumers, there’s a large amount and variety of products that are on the market, and that everything is tested/dosing is dialed in. Consumers can now easily determine appropriate dosing and what range of intake should be. Edibles used to get a bad rep and the market is doing a great job to change that.”
What’s your favorite restaurant in Portland? “I have too many… Canard, they’re open from 9am – midnight. The accessibility, variety and execution is top notch. I love LangBaan, it’s rare to get in and it’s special because it takes some commitment and prep to get a table there. Apizza Scholls, you can find me there often. Taqueria Nueve they’ve been around forever and they have some amazing tacos. I also love Ox for their Dirty Grandma Agnes martini (it comes in a mason jar that serves 4!).”
What do you like to do for fun? “Friends, family, cooking, traveling, and live music. I also enjoy being active.”
What’s your favorite album and/or best show you’ve ever seen? “My favorite album is a hard question to answer- if I had to pick it would be between Paul’s Boutique or Exile on Main Street. Best show I’ve ever seen is nearly impossible as well. I’ve seen thousands of concerts; I’ve seen over 300 Widespread Panic shows, 50+ My Morning Jacket shows, 50+ Pearl Jam shows and many many more… From 1997-2000 there were a number of WSP shows that blew my mind and the 10.30.2009 or 7.22.2006 Pearl Jams gigs stand out as well.”
What’s your favorite country outside of the United States? “Mexico, it’s accessible, easy, and I love the cuisine and people. I also love Canada. Really I like most places and I’m not sure if I’ve found my favorite country. I still want to go to Spain, Portugal, Thailand, Vietnam, South America and Africa.”
“What’s one piece of advice you’d give someone who wants to get their start in the cannabis industry in Portland? “Networking, education and patience. Finding your place in the industry can take a moment. You need to first learn the landscape and start acquiring the knowledge of the plant, the processes, the players. Through networking you can speed up this process while also prospecting different organizations whom may be a good fit for your skillset and personality. Also, don’t get too frustrated by any misfires, those can often provide the most amount of insight. Sometimes you find out what you want to do by first figuring out what you do not want to do…….
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