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Women Of The C-Suite: “You have to use your “Courage Card”, and be your own cheerleader” With Alexis D’Angelo

“Communication is everything. Having an understanding of what your employees do on a daily basis is very important, not only for the…


“Communication is everything. Having an understanding of what your employees do on a daily basis is very important, not only for the success of your company, it also has an impact on how your employees feel about their position within the company and their value. Walk a day in your staff’s shoes; it’s a great team building exercise and a wonderful way for you to understand their workflow. It’s also a great opportunity to learn what works and what may need to be adjusted.”


I had the pleasure of interviewing Alexis D’Angelo of Dr. Kerklaan Therapeutics. Alexis has built her successful 15-year career as a healthcare IT professional, and entrepreneur  while passionately advocating for patients, policy and rights. 

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

While working in Corporate America Healthcare, I had fallen victim to the #BigPharmaLifetimeLoyaltyProgram. I had seen many documentaries on Cannabis Medicine and wanted to use it in my own life. Due to mandatory random drug testing, I chose to resign from my position in order to do so. The results I received were beyond what I expected and I felt the entire world needed to know.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

When I made the decision to leave corporate America healthcare my colleagues and family members were not supportive. I come from a family of healthcare professionals, which includes an RN and Pharmaceutical Sales to a Pharmacist. My family and colleagues were perplexed as to why I would switch my career in my 40’s to one that is still federally illegal in the United States. Fast forward a few years and now they all are asking how they may use their healthcare experience in the emerging Cannabis Industry.

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?

A previous employee of mine approached me about investing in a cannabis farm in Oregon. Before leaving corporate America healthcare and an industry that I loved, I wanted to know everything about the cannabis industry. I took a cannabis horticulture, regulatory and business certification course. Not one to be known to have a “green thumb”, I was up for the challenge just to see how hard it was to grow a cannabis plant. I ordered seeds off the internet and went to home depot to buy supplies to build my own grow boxes. I was successful in germinating 6 seeds which lived through the entire grow cycle, harvested and made into cannabutter. Six months into my Oregon investment the “master grower” wasn’t able to even reproduce the success that I had had. Only then did I remember why I fired him, lesson learned — be sure to thoroughly vet the people and companies you invest in.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Our Packaging — as a “clinical” brand our packaging really gets everyone’s attention. We went to great lengths to ensure our products are not only effective but also inviting for a non-cannabis consumer to try. We often receive feedback that our product line looks like something one would find in a pharmacy or high end retail outlet.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Currently, we have quite a bit going on in R&D department. We look to add complimentary products to help patients and consumers achieve natural wellness.

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

Have a transparent and collaborative work environment that empowers your staff to make decisions independently. Encourage them to add value outside of their job description, hold them accountable and be sure to give praise — everyone likes to hear “Thank You.”

What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?

Communication is everything. Having an understanding of what your employees do on a daily basis is very important, not only for the success of your company, it also has an impact on how your employees feel about their position within the company and their value. Walk a day in your staff’s shoes; it’s a great team building exercise and a wonderful way for you to understand their workflow. It’s also a great opportunity to learn what works and what may need to be adjusted.


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 about that?

Pete Peterson. He was in his 80’s when I became his neighbor. Each day after work he would ask me how my day went, providing objective feedback. He would encourage me to use my words wisely and that sometimes saying “nothing” would have the greatest impact of all.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I often say that I am the “voice” for those who have none. Regardless of the platform that I am given, I always take an opportunity to elevate those around me.

What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. You have to use your Courage “card”, and often you have to be your own cheerleader.
  2. Ingenuity — as with many start-ups, you have to come up with creative ways to accomplish amazing goals.
  3. Patience — Everyone has heard the saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. In an industry where regulatory changes occur almost daily, patience is key.
  4. Trust — Trust the decisions you’ve made and the employees you’ve hired.
  5. Humility — Thick skin will only get you so far, know your limits and ask for help when you need it. Remember teamwork makes the dream work.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Breaking free from the #BigPharmaLifetimeLoytalyProgram, Cannabis Medicine has saved my life. My mission is to change the perception of Cannabis Medicine and the stigma that goes along with it.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Maya Angelou “Look what you’ve already come through! Don’t deny it. You’ve already come through some things, which are very painful. If you’ve been alive until you’re 35, you have gone through some pain. It cost you something. And you’ve come through it. So at least look at that. And have a sense to look at yourself and say, “Well, wait a minute. I’m stronger than I thought I was”.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Richard Branson, his story resonates with me. I find it interesting that he has had a wide breath of business adventures.

Originally published at medium.com

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