· By Kiaro Cannabis
International Women's Day: An Interview with Pineapple Buds
Pineapple Buds in an Indigenous affiliated company located in the Okanagan Valley. Originating from barn beginnings to a custom built hydroponics facility, we combine simple and innovative horticulture techniques to grow a select range of niche cannabis strains. We chatted with Kyra, Founder and Master Grower at Pineapple Buds, to discuss International Women's Day and her experience of being a woman in the cannabis industry.
Why do you think it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day?
It is important to celebrate International Women’s Day as it unites women around the world, to celebrate and recognize women’s and girls’ social, cultural, economic, and political achievements while acknowledging necessary changes for future generations.
The theme of this year’s Women’s Day is “Embrace Equity”, what does that mean to you?
In 2022, the theme was “Break the Bias” which meant for people to be aware of their (un)conscious biases to drive positive change for women. To me, this translates into 2023 as there had to be success in acknowledging biases in order to embrace each person’s unique background and different needs.
There is a difference between equality and equity. Equality means to be given the same rights, resources and opportunities whereas equity recognizes that each person has unique circumstances and may require different resources in order to achieve equality.
Have you faced any barriers in your career due to being a woman? If so, how did you overcome them?
Speaking specifically to my career in the cannabis space I have not faced significant barriers due to being a woman. I am fortunate to work alongside my partner where we support each other and do not assign gender-based work tasks but rather what is needed to advance the company and who is best suited for the task. One might assume that I do all the paper-work but we divide the task in half because no one enjoys monthly reporting (that I know of) and we both have different strengths.
That is not to say I haven’t experienced minute circumstances, where it has been assumed that I only work for the company and my partner must be the one that owns it.
I have heard first hand from women speaking to the inequalities and inappropriate gestures they have experienced working in the cannabis space. I think it is important to highlight that although I may have not had that experience, it is still happening and more women probably have these stories than we are aware of.
What is the most important piece of advice you have been given?
I have been offered lots of great advice but when I think of a driving force as to why I want to be successful as a female business owner, it was because I was told that “many people have great ideas and want to start businesses, it is few that are actually successful”, and while this may be true it implied that I would be unsuccessful if I left my job.
I questioned whether I was talented enough, resilient enough and even smart enough to own and operate a business so every time I accomplish something (big or small) it reassures me to keep going.
What do you see or wish for in the future of the cannabis industry?
For the state of the industry and speaking as a small business owner I wish for our industry to continue to support the little guys. It is the small businesses, the crafts, the micros, that will build the future that we want to see and bring together people, both experienced and newcomers into a community that fosters shared success not greed.
Who inspires you in your career?
My sister. We have a larger age gap than most siblings, so growing up I watched her work multiple jobs to buy a beautiful acreage to raise her son as a single mother. I looked up to her because of her determination and humbleness. Her positivity always radiated no matter her circumstance and she continued to give to those in need (especially rescue animals) even if that meant she has less.
In this business I want to be able to create a comfortable life and will continue to work through its ups and downs to get there, while maintaining a positive outlook for a better industry to come.
If you could have dinner with three inspirational women, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
I chose these women because of their differences and what they could teach me.
As a housewife’s enthusiast (my guilty pleasure) I love the business woman that Bethany Frankel is along with her witty sensor of humor. At times, I can feel that I do not deserve a place, intimated, or not supposed to speak my mind in business dealings and she breaks, actually destroys all of those societal barriers and expectations. At a dinner I would ask her so many business questions but also how she navigated being a woman in a board room.
As a former varsity athlete, I admire Serena’s accomplishments and what she brought forth to women’s sports and the diversity within it. With her sharing her experiences balancing being a professional athlete and the challenges of motherhood, I think a lot of women can relate to the difficulty. I do not have children but would ask how she navigated a work-life balance.
I would be the first to say I don’t know a lot about Marilyn Monroe, but when I think of an iconic woman to have to dinner with it is her. Her free spirit and confidence are something we can learn from. As women we focus on our imperfections rather than our attributes and that holds us back from being confident in ourselves.