Question Everything. What might work for you might not work for someone else. The same goes for business in the Cannabis industry. Make your path, and set out to make waves and disrupt the industry. Do it your way. There is no right or wrong way to do business as long as you’re staying true to yourself and leading with integrity and purpose.
As a part of my series about strong women leaders in the cannabis industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Inesa Ponomariovaite.
Inesa Ponomariovaite is a people person who, after years of improving the lives of her clients through her alternative and holistic health consulting services, became frustrated with the inability to source pure CBD products that met the highest quality standard. Now, as the CEO and Founder of Nesa’s Hemp, the world’s first-ever full-full spectrum beyond-organic CBDa hemp oil, Inesa hopes to educate her audience on the benefits of hemp and CBD use from a soil-to-seed-to-bottle perspective. Inesa isn’t slowing down though, while she may be an industry visionary and innovator, she is still dedicated to her clients’ day to day wellbeing. Inesa’s ethos, “doing right” for humanity, continues to propel her to develop products and services that are good for the environment and good for the body, mind, and soul. You can learn more about Inesa, her journey, and Nesa’s Hemp by visiting https://www.nesashemp.com/
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the cannabis industry?
I’ve always been a people person. Passionate about helping those around me live healthy fulfilled lives, my foray into the Cannabis industry started with my mom getting diagnosed with cancer. I was determined to help her however I could and this translated into me exploring holistic services, practices, and products; Hemp Oil being one of them. I quickly discovered that many of the oils that claimed to be organic or “all-natural” were quite the opposite. After a difficult and frustrating two-year investigation into the Cannabis industry, I could not find a product that met the highest quality standards, and I knew I needed to find a solution. My mother’s diagnosis coupled with my desire to right the wrongs of the Cannabis industry led me to start Nesa’s Hemp, the world’s first-ever full-full spectrum CBDa Hemp Oil.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I love this question! The most interesting thing that’s happened to me since starting Nesa’s Hemp was when I went to the CBD awards in Spain. I was chatting and networking with experts I had looked up to for years and was sharing my thoughts on Hemp’s future and how it should be cultivated, treated, and produced. Everyone looked at me like I have no idea what I was talking about. I left questioning my research, my confidence, and my business. Only a short time later; however, one of the world’s top Cannabis experts went on record and started talking about many of the same concepts I was sharing with these top industry leaders. So, I wasn’t off-track; I was just ahead of my time!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I have a great one for you. While exploring and visiting various hemp farms and testing their soil water sources and microbes for Nesa’s Hemp, one of the farmers I was visiting gave me an incredibly potent capsule of THC. Thinking it was solely CBD, I took it and was unprepared for the effects. The lesson here? Always double-check your supplements and only trust sources that implement third-party testing and have public lab results.
Do you have a funny story about how someone you knew reacted when they first heard you were getting into the cannabis industry?
For years, my friends wanted me to try Cannabis. Being ill-informed, I was always too fearful of trying it and never did. Now, my friends all make fun of me because I’m promoting it!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
My faith has shaped me and guided me every step of the way. I have to credit my faith and my relationship with nature as the two most significant driving forces that have shaped me, motivated me, and propelled me.
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?
My ultimate goal is to start a holistic revolution and make high-quality Hemp products the norm, not the exception. I’m working on many exciting projects that will help with this vision and ultimately help people live healthier and happier lives. Stay tuned!
Ok. Thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. Despite great progress that has been made we still have a lot more work to do to achieve gender parity in this industry. According to this report in Entrepreneur, less than 25 percent of cannabis businesses are run by women. In your opinion or experience, what 3 things can be done by a)individuals b)companies and/or c) society to support greater gender parity moving forward?
In the Cannabis industry specifically, I believe there is still a lot of misinformation guiding and motivating decision-makers. Rather than understand the plant’s true power, I’ve observed industry experts treat Cannabis solely as a business transaction and means to make a profit. I also think there’s a lack of industry education, ultimately alienating women from entering the market. For women already in the industry, I suggest that you be a mentor to those looking to you. Set the stage for women to succeed. I genuinely believe the best way to get more women involved is to make more Cannabis products for women by women. The only way to do this is to get more women involved from the ground up.
Communication is critical, and the more we’re vocal about the need to move towards gender parity in the industry, the better we’ll be.
You are a “Cannabis Insider”. If you had to advise someone about 5 non-intuitive things one should know to succeed in the cannabis industry, what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each?
- Question Everything. What might work for you might not work for someone else. The same goes for business in the Cannabis industry. Make your path, and set out to make waves and disrupt the industry. Do it your way. There is no right or wrong way to do business as long as you’re staying true to yourself and leading with integrity and purpose.
- Have Various Sources of Information. The Cannabis industry is still relatively new, which is both exciting and scary all at once. From an information perspective, there’s a lot of so-called “facts” out there. Because of how new the industry is, it’s hard to know what’s accurate and what isn’t. So, do your research. Have various sources of information, and remember to get your news from all outlets, not just one.
- Have Integrity. Integrity in the Cannabis industry is crucial, especially as it relates to growing and harvest the plant; if done incorrectly, it can be harmful to the human body. It’s easy to cut corners and take shortcuts. It’s a lot harder to go the extra mile to ensure a quality product is made. Just that alone, to guarantee quality at each step, it takes a lot of effort, and it can only happen with good intentions among all the actors in the supply chain.
- Recognize Intentions. Sadly, most peoples’ motives are financial, especially in business. You need to make sure you’re working with the right people who share the same intentions as you and are ultimately working towards making the world a better place; you should only work with people who believe in the power of the plant, not just the financial benefits.
- Do What’s Right. I believe in doing what’s right, even if what’s right isn’t always easy. You can sleep better at night, knowing that your product is made with integrity and bringing health and happiness to peoples’ lives. Simple as that.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the cannabis industry?
- The opportunity to bring full-spectrum CBDa Hemp Oil to the mainstream excites me. We have the chance to bring about a society with less worry, less pain, and less depression.
- Since the Cannabis industry is still relatively young, there’s an excellent opportunity to make a real difference and shape the industry. You can have a direct impact on the future of the sector and industry trends. It’s very exciting.
- Every day we see more advancements as it relates to trials and testing. I think this is great and with regulations changing, I think more people now than ever before are seeing Hemp for what it is — a helpful, not detrimental, plant.
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?
Above all else, my main concern is that the wrong people are marketing Cannabis as a pharmaceutical, as a drug. Cannabis has the potential to usher in a holistic health movement, but not without the proper support and right people behind it. I often fear that the right people with the best intentions are not educated enough yet on the subject. To improve the industry, I’d suggest more transparency with our trials and studies. I’d also encourage people to avoid one-time science. You can’t trust results that aren’t validated and repeated.
What are your thoughts about the federal legalization of cannabis? If you could speak to your Senator, what would be your most persuasive argument regarding why they should or should not pursue federal legalization?
I think it should be done as soon as possible. I’m not sure what we’re still waiting on. The argument is in the evidence. And if my senator cares about people the way I do, I’d ask him why not legalize full-spectrum CBDa?
Today, cigarettes are legal, but they are heavily regulated, highly taxed, and they are somewhat socially marginalized. Would you like cannabis to have a similar status to cigarettes or different? Can you explain?
Quality Cannabis and Hemp products do not harm people. Cigarettes do. The fact that Cannabis is more taboo still doesn’t make any sense to me. The Endocannabinoid System is integral to the human body, and humans have been using Cannabis for its healing properties for years. Unfortunately, it was marketed as a drug for far too long as something negative, which I think has regressed us. I don’t think Cannabis should be treated and sold like cigarettes because they could not be more different from one another. To heavily tax and restrict the use of something that has no other purpose other than to help people makes no sense to me. They should not be compared to one another or sold the same way.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Teach and lead by example.
I can’t transform someone’s body unless I transform myself. I can’t encourage others to love one another and themselves if I don’t first love myself.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I believe I was put on this earth to help people. I want to make people think and optimize their health with solutions and tools they may not be aware even exist. My movement, my revolution, will be just that. To right the wrongs of the Cannabis industry, to bring CBDa to the mainstream, and to show people that a life free from anxiety and stress is possible.
Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you only continued success!