Cannabis Community Spotlight: Dasheeda Dawson of MJM Strategy
From Target to THC: Meet The WeedHead
Dasheeda Dawson is The WeedHead - a cannabis executive, digital growth hacker, and award-winning business strategist. Featured as an industry thought leader across multiple platforms, including Entrepreneur.com and iONE Digital, Dasheeda is the Founder, President & CEO of MJM Strategy, a firm of corporate crossover pioneers helping cannabis businesses “hack into mainstream America”.
How did you get started in the cannabis industry/advocacy?
My background started with my education: completing my undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology at Princeton University and then receiving my MBA from Rutgers Business School. I excelled professionally for many years leveraging strategy, brand management, and digital marketing expertise at Fortune 500 companies like Target, Victoria’s Secret, and FullBeauty Brands. When my mother passed away in 2016, I crossed over into the cannabis space. Growing up, I was taught that cannabis was at best a distraction, and worst, a gateway drug. So as a scholar athlete, and someone from a tough Brooklyn neighborhood determined to be successful, I steered clear of all things marijuana. But, after observing the comfort my mother received from consuming cannabis as she faced a string of health concerns during her final years, I decided to give it a try for my own medical challenges. In her honor and for my own benefit as a disenfranchised patient, I became a global legalization advocate and made it my mission to help rebrand the cannabis industry to give people around the world access to its many medicinal benefits.
In your opinion, what is the single most important thing that women of color in the cannabis industry must do to be successful?
We all need to be stacking paper together. Reach out and connect with the other women of color in the industry. Start by following each other in the digital space -- sign-up for blog newsletters and follow your favorites on social media. Attend local cannabis events held by professional associations and networking groups. Then, dig deeper. Cannabis legalization is a health & wellness issue, a social justice issue and an opportunity for wealth generation. Participate in legislative hearings to share your personal story. Explore networking associations like Women Grow and attend changemaker events such as NCF Policy Summit. Dive into minority focused organizations such as Minorities 4 Medical Marijuana (M4MM) and Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA). The more expansive your network, the easier it will be to foster the necessary personal and business relationships to help you survive and eventually, thrive in this fast-expanding industry. My first year in the industry would have been much tougher were it not for my sisters in cannabis, multiple phenomenal women of color supporting my mission.
What is collaborative marketing? Why is this important?
Collaborative marketing is important because there is power in numbers. My company teamed up with Estrohaze, a multimedia company that highlights the business and lifestyles of multicultural women in the cannabis industry, to produce our fun integrative marketing video that pays homage to the late Notorious B.I.G. I cannot stress enough the importance of collaborating with others to drive the industry forward. The more people you have in your corner, working on the same vision, doing events, projects and advocacy together, the greater the potential benefit for your business. Not to mention, it promotes strong digital networks and audience building for all parties involved. Ultimately, we share the same industry goals, to increase diversity and inclusion, so it makes sense to team up and collaborate with others towards that greater goal.
What advice would you give to an aspiring cannabis entrepreneur?
Embrace the new face of the industry -- Yourself! Act with a purpose and a mission. While growing fast, the stigma fostered by years of misinformation still surrounds the cannabis sector. Therefore, knowledge is a critical tool to leverage from the outset. The more education and research under your belt, the more likely you will be an industry brand ambassador that dispels historical myths and stereotypes, which should ultimately be your motivation. Stay up on current statistics, reports and local legislation and let that understanding lead you along the pathway to legitimate cannabis business ownership.
What should we expect to see from you and your team this year at NCF?
We’re giving NCF attendees a taste of our Brooklyn bounce with lots of branding, partying and more importantly, opportunities for networking. We will be sponsoring a “Relax & Recharge” lounge where festival-goers can take breaks, connect with other cannabis enthusiasts and special guests, and charge their phones and devices, free of charge. We’ll have some of my favorite merchandise available for sale and proudly displaying our digital content to highlight our best-in-class services. Stop by and say hello!
Learn more about The WeedHead, Dasheeda Dawson and the MJM Strategy Team on all social media outlets: @mjmstrategy