Leaders in the cannabis industry celebrate International Women's Day

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Women have always played an important role in horticulture as business leaders, breeders, growers, marketers, researchers and owners of commercial businesses. As the industry continues to evolve, more and more women are being recruited into the workforce and into leadership roles.

As a top manufacturer of commercial greenhouse facilities, structures and equipment, GGS is proud to use the talents and fresh perspectives of our female employees.

GGS is 75% women owned, and 50% of our senior management are women.

As part of the GGS’ strategic development plan, President of the company, Leigh Coulter, established a division of GGS in 2013 dedicated entirely to the emerging cannabis industry after years of working with growers on improving their medical marijuana cultivation technologies. As such, GGS has been on the forefront of the cannabis movement as a leading supplier and supports an industry that has given new opportunities for women to thrive.

Leigh was presented with the Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the category of International Trade at Niagara’s Entrepreneur of the Year awards. Her entrepreneurial spirit has helped grow the company with sales and distribution now on five continents. Having implemented marijuana growing facilities for several Canadian and US companies, it’s no surprise she was also in the top 25 Most Important Women in the cannabis industry, by Cannabis Business Executive.

The emerging cannabis industry in North America is one that has depended on shifting attitudes and progressive thinking to move forward and advance past traditional opinions on the plant. Where industries like agriculture, manufacturing and construction have been typically male-dominated fields, the cannabis industry and its progressive ties have presented an incredible opportunity for more women to play important roles in all facets of the industry, breaking the glass ceiling that exists in older industries.

In 2016, both the recreational and medicinal marijuana industries brought in $6.7 billion and cannabis is now legal in 29 states as well as the District of Columbia. As restrictions on the industry continue to loosen and more positions become available, more women will leave traditional corporations and break into the legal cannabis industry, avoiding a lot of the barriers that often impede women’s advancement.

According to Women Grow, a national organization seeking to empower women in the legal marijuana industry, about 40 percent of company executives in the cannabis industry are women.

This new, legal industry will not only provide a new platform for women, but will also show other industries the importance of recruiting quality talent, regardless of traditional, conservative values that may be deeply rooted into the mindset of an industry.

As conversations about equality for women in business, science, technology, engineering and other fields remain a prominent topic, it’s important for the agricultural industry to stay on top of and be a part of such an important conversation. In order to remain relevant and to recruit young talent, it’s important for this progressive thinking to continue as more and more women take on leading roles, paving the way for the future industry leaders.  

The Future Farmers of America (FFA) released a report in 2014 stating that women represent 47 percent of FFA member and make up half of state leadership roles. The recent push for young women to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) focused careers will also prove to benefit the growing agricultural industry as technology begins to change and advance.

There is still work to be done in the industry to advance equality between men and women. It’s important that industry leaders, manufacturers, growers and retailers in various horticultural fields examine what they’re currently doing to empower the women they employ and what else they can do to encourage women to enter into the industry.

At GGS, we will continue to encourage diversity in our workforce and seek opportunities to empower our valued female employees.

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