We're excited to kick off our 2019 Member Spotlight Series with a look at our friend and member, Julia Agron. You may have met her at our November 2018 community conversation event in Amherst, MA, which Julia planned and hosted. Julia is also the recently appointed Outreach Coordinator for the Northeast Sustainable Hemp Association. Read on to learn more about this devoted, compassionate and fun lady!
Whatcha been up to?
Since stepping away from working in a dispensary, I have really enjoyed focusing on event planning, community education and advocacy, as well as working with individuals who are seeking to use cannabis to improve their overall health and wellness.
In September I co-hosted an Infused Foods Focus Group, creating amazing, elegant infused small plates and tastings, while facilitating an open discussion on upcoming adult use, social consumption and industry trends. In November I organized and moderated the Cannabis in Your Community Panel Discussion for ElevateNE, bringing together a diverse body of industry professionals and local government to address the public. I plan to continue bringing all those elements together, as we create the legal cannabis space.
My coaching work is great because, not only do I get take the time to focus on educating my clients and helping grow their understanding and knowledge of cannabis, but through maintaining the relationship, and following their progress, my own knowledge of the plant and her medical uses is ever expanding.
What motivates Julia?
I know it must sound cheesy, but I really, really love cannabis. Primarily, that drives everything else. I’ve been growing my relationship with this plant for over 25 years, and I continue to learn and be awed by her power every day. I like to say that everything I’ve ever done was in preparation for this moment, this opportunity.
I knew from the moment medical passed that this was the only industry for me. Working as part of the management team of one of the largest dispensaries in the state was a life-changing opportunity. I was able to work with thousands of patients, and had the honor of training and educating an incredible staff.
When I knew it was time to leave the store and strike out on my own in the industry, it was a bit exhilarating, but mostly terrifying. Even now, as I grow my consulting business, while also working with partners on a variety of projects, I feel like my future is still being revealed to me, but I know that it will be green. I love that this current version of my work in cannabis gives me an opportunity to focus on a few of my favorite things: education, community outreach, normalizing the face of cannabis, and sharing my passion for this plant with everyone I meet. I love the freedom and exposure that consulting and advocacy allow me to have, compared to the rather secluded world of the medical dispensary. Equity and social justice must be an intrinsic part of this industry, and I love being able to speak my mind around these topics. So I am most motivated by continuing to find ways to prosper in the cannabis space, while allowing these passions and priorities to be at the forefront of my work.
How about some advice for others?
It's the same as my advice for any space: be genuine; make meaningful connections; find mentors and confidants; don’t be afraid to help others around you.
If you are in it because you think it’s easy money, you should probably get out now, because this is not easy! This industry moves and changes at lightning speed; I compare it to being a dancing bear on a rolling ball. If that doesn’t sound kind of fun, it might not be the industry for you. But if cannabis captures your heart, you might not have a choice in the matter. In that case, find your niche; find your people; commit 100%, and help build this green new world.
Tell us something unexpected about you...
Well, I’m pretty awesome and full of surprises. I came to this country as a refugee. I speak Russian fluently. I’ve smoked cannabis in 7 countries and on 3 continents. My husband and I fell in love based on shared passions for sustainability, social justice and 90’s hip hop. My family maintains a suburban homestead complete with gardens, fruit trees, goats, chickens, rabbits, quail and dogs. I have enough crafting supplies stashed away to outfit a small crafting army.
And, I can always smoke another joint.