Matthew Friedlander, Skagit Organics
Q1: What do you know about our organization? What makes our mission meaningful to you? Why are you interested in committing your time and energy to us?
Our company has been a member of The Cannabis Alliance for over a year and I personally have attended many of the monthly meetings and events during that time. I have come to know many of the people actively involved with The Cannabis Alliance and I believe this organization is being guided by people that can provide positive change for the cannabis industry. Many goals of the membership align with my personal and professional goals and I think The Cannabis Alliance is organized in a way that gives a voice to a wide cross section of our industry. I want to be able to effect actual change at the state level and I believe the Alliance has done an effective job of gaining the respect of the LCB and our state law makers. The process is not always fast but I have seen the Alliance achieve real changes that many businesses in the cannabis industry benefit from.
Q2: What do you think are the characteristics of a great board member?
A good board member should have well informed opinions regarding issues they are passionate about while being able to listen to other viewpoints with an open mind. They should also be to able to engage with an objective attitude that allows them to set aside their personal agenda if it does not align with the mission or missions set forth by the membership of The Cannabis Alliance. Board members should be able to network and represent the Alliance in a professional manner and have the desire to engage in the actual process of effecting change within our industry.
Q3: Do you have prior board leadership experience? If so, what and when?
I do not have prior board membership experience but I am one of three equal owners of a cannabis business. We hold regular meeting to discuss larger issues, frequently coming to a consensus on the larger decisions we make for the company and I find myself organizing and moderating these meetings. I am also largely responsible for the long-term vision of the company and I believe these experiences will be helpful as a board member in executing the mission presented to us by our membership.
I feel I work well within small groups and can actively contribute in these situations. I am competent in several computer programs including some design knowledge. I manage the finances for my company and feel this is an area that I excel in. Another resource of mine is my resourcefulness…we were able to build Skagit Organics into a successful business with very limited resources because we were creative with our problem solving and “figuring it out.” Because of this business we also have a great network throughout the state that I can utilize on behalf of the Cannabis Alliance and our membership.
Q5: Fundraising is a significant obligation of board service. Are you comfortable asking for money to help fund the mission of the organization?
I have no problem raising money for The Cannabis Alliance and will happily utilize any connection I have to help in this endeavor.
Q6: Do you have any worries or concerns about joining the board?
My only concern about joining the board centers around perceived time constraints running my business. I discussed this with and received support from my business partners ensuring that I am free to dedicate the time needed if I get elected.
Q7: Do you have personal aspirations that could be enhanced by board service?
I have thought about the possibility of running for office like city or county council. Having been a board member of this organization would surely be a positive experience. But my main professional interest outside of running my business is to help shape the cannabis industry here in Washington State. I believe the next five years are critically important for all businesses in the cannabis industry and I believe The Cannabis Alliance is in a position to effect the change on the state level that will benefit the cannabis businesses that are left. I was not involved in the process of crafting the laws for I-502 and I see that as a mistake that I do not wish to continue. The Cannabis Alliance has shown it is possible to change things when we organize effectively and communicate a clear message.
Q8: What is your motivation of being involved in the cannabis industry?
My motivation for being involved in the cannabis industry stems from my desire to own and operate a company that has a positive impact in the world. It is a huge bonus that this particular business happens to be in the cannabis industry. I have used cannabis for many years and have a lot of positive experiences in life centered around or involving cannabis. I continue to make new friends and connections through cannabis to this day and it continues to be an important part of my life. I am also motivated by the tremendous stories I have heard about and personally witnessed stemming from the use of cannabis.
Q9: What professional or personal constraints on your time or service might you anticipate? What kind of autonomy do you have over your calendar?
I have complete control over my calendar and should not have any problem attending events and meetings. Most of my responsibilities relating to running my business are administrative allowing me to complete some tasks remotely, but I will have to be in attendance at my workplace several days each week on average.