Spotlight Series: Angela White, Industry Program Manager at Success Centers

Angela White is an Equity for Industry Program Manager at Success Centers.
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Angela White is an Equity for Industry Program Manager at Success Centers. Angela’s focus is developing sustainable career and entrepreneurial paths previously less accessible to communities impacted by inequality and the War on Drugs. She offers community members career assessments and coaching, job placement, access to on-the-job training, and job training for employment in the cannabis industry. She also assists verified equity applicants in obtaining the critical business experience, educational resources, and toolsets required to develop sustainable business models and achieve entrepreneurial success.

 

In less than two years at Success Centers, Angela has developed an incredible array of workshops, resources, and growth opportunities for community members and Success Centers partners seeking to establish their equitable participation in the rapidly expanding cannabis industry. 

 

Angela’s development and implementation of the Budding Industry Job Shop and Equity for Industry Workshop have forged the gold standard of equitable cannabis workforce and business development events. Angela’s also responsible for Success Centers’ partnership with Oaksterdam University and Hood Incubator, providing opportunities for community members to engage in these preeminent cannabis business tracks through scholarship. 

 

A Bay Area local and a graduate of Oaksterdam University, Angela draws from pioneering experience in cannabis entrepreneurship under California’s Proposition 215 medical marijuana program and the recently implemented AUMA adult-use regulatory framework. Angela helped launch one of the first MMJ collectives in East Palo Alto and later an MMJ dispensary in San Jose. Angela’s first-hand knowledge of the many facets of day-to-day work performed at startups in the space—from cultivation and budtending, retail design, and staffing, to dispatching drivers and office management—forms the foundation of her mentorship with aspiring new employees, businesses, and equity entrepreneurs.

You can follow Angela on Instagram, and also check out Success Centres on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Angela White 003 cannabis image

How Did You Get Involved in the Cannabis Industry?

I grew up with early exposure to cannabis and cannabis culture. Our Success Centers program came to fruition when I met Success Centers CEO Liz Jackson-Simpson who wanted to provide career services that were “eco-friendly” to both job seekers and employers within the cannabis industry.

Tell Us a Little Bit About Your Product or Service

Success Centers is one of the city’s leading one-stop career centers in the Fillmore district of San Francisco. We provide career services for multiple industries including health, construction, hospitality, tech, the arts, and now cannabis. We work with marginalized communities and seek to empower them through education, employment, and art. We also work with the equity community in obtaining ownership of businesses within the cannabis industry in conjunction with San Francisco’s Equity Program.

WHAT TIME DOES YOUR DAY TYPICALLY START AND WHAT DOES A NORMAL DAY LOOK LIKE TO YOU?: 

My day starts at 6:30 AM but my work day begins at 9 AM and ends between 6 and 8 PM. No day is the same. People from different walks of life with different needs come in at different times. We help job seekers with resumes, cover letters, and transitional employment skills and assist employers with shaping job descriptions, suggest livable wage rates, and help with compliance under the Office of Cannabis. On a weekly basis, we also organize and host our Budding Industry Job Shops for job seekers, Equity for Industry Workshops as a means of public education and to support equity applicants developing business plans, and expungement clinics for anyone who wants their criminal records cleaned.

What Is Your Vision for Your Company Going Forward?

Success Centers is the only workforce development organization that is educating the community about this industry and developing pathways for equity job seekers and equity applicants to own a business in this industry. We want to continue to be a resource for the community, the city’s Office of Cannabis, the Office of Employment and Workforce Development, and the business community. We endeavor to be the gold standard for quality job readiness and business acumen for this budding industry.

What Would an Ideal Post-prohibition Society Look Like to You?

This is an opportunity to revolutionize the way we provide access to wealth for ALL people; particularly marginalized black and brown folks. A post-prohibition society sees the value add, return on investment, and the good business sense of incorporating a variety of experiences into the space allowing ALL involved to enjoy the spoils and where every company has a diverse Equity footprint from entry-level positions through to the board of directors.

What Was Your First Experience With Cannabis Like?

My first experience with cannabis was not enjoyable—I was young and I got too high. However, when I learned to medicate responsibly (per the recommendation of my doctor for migraines), I found the plant to be the best natural resource for alleviating the debilitating pain of migraine headaches. From then on, I have been an advocate for homeopathic solutions to health care.

Tell Us About Some of the Challenges You Face Working in the Cannabis Industry

Most people do not understand or respect the cannabis culture. Some people subscribe to this culture and are not consuming this plant merely to get high, but to understand the medicinal properties of the plant. Others, have worked hard and acquired skills in various factions of the industry and have become chemists, horticulturists; marketing, distribution, and sales experts; all with business savvy in their own right. To this end, it is very disrespectful to offer these seasoned individuals minimum wages for work they have mastered over the years. Success Centers recognizes the skills and relationships our constituents have developed and we work hard to help articulate the value of their abilities and forge pathways into the industry.  

Equity means different things to different people. In addition to the misconceptions folks have about our equity community—e.g., “criminal element,” “no business acumen,” “unworthy”—it is undeniable that our constituents have the capacity to be captains of the industry if given fair and unbiased opportunities. It is important that the industry sees the equity community as true assets and resources, not to exploit, but as the future of innovation.

WHAT ARE SOME SOLUTIONS YOU’VE FOUND? 

First, we had to define what EQUITY means. Then, we had to seek out like-minded allies in the industry who shared our vision and commitment to righting the wrongs and disparities brought on by the War on Drugs. We mapped out our collective assets to create a public education campaign, workforce development systems that not only created job opportunities but business opportunities, and a system by which we continue to foster these ideals and keep one another accountable. We recognize our constituents are resources. With that in mind, we created opportunities for our constituents to report and share their experiences throughout this partnership within the industry. This is extremely important and imperative in our evolution of the work in this space and to build a network of allies.

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WISH EVERYONE KNEW ABOUT CANNABIS? 

Cannabis is a She. She is independent. She is a fragrant, sacred flower. She is natural, with no preservatives or chemicals. She is a nurturer to the body and spirit. She is not a killer, but a healer!

What Is One Thing You Wish Everyone Knew About Your Product or Service?

Success Centers provides these services free of charge to both equity jobseekers and equity employers. We do accept private contributions to keep this work going. We are now in the process of developing a business development course specifically for women with an interest in the cannabis industry.

If You Could Go Back in Time and Do It All Over Again, What (If Anything) Would You Do Differently?

 This is a calling and things have happened in their proper time and space.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WAY TO CONSUME CANNABIS? 

I’m a one-hitter quitter. I like to roll it up myself, take a hit, then let her do her work.

Concentrate or Flower? Why?

Flower, in her natural bloom.

Do You Think Cannabis Legalization Will Change the World for the Better? Why?

Yes. Making cannabis accessible in all its healing properties, once normalized as a medicine and not a stigmatized “gateway drug,” can bring well-being to the masses.

What Advice Would You Offer to Another Woman Who Is Looking To Get Into the Industry?

I would advise her to tap into her passion. She will not be as successful if she is only in it for the money. Set measurable and achievable goals, remain teachable, do your homework, maintain good relationships, watch out for sharks, and stay true to your passion.

Learn More

About Success Centers

Success Centers’ mission is to empower marginalized community members through education, employment, and art programs, so they may develop a positive self-image as well as a sense of hope and purpose for their future. Success Centers is a recognized and respected leader for these programs, which produce outstanding results for hundreds of disconnected youth and other marginalized community members each year. Success Centers was founded by Superior Court Judges 36 years ago to provide education and employment opportunities to youth in San Francisco’s juvenile detention facilities. Since then, Success Centers has grown to provide services to community members in San Francisco, San Mateo, Sonoma, and Alameda Counties with more districts in progress. Of the 1300 disconnected youth and marginalized community members Success Centers serves annually, over 95 percent are low-income and 87 percent are people of color, with the majority being African American and Latinx/Hispanic — 46 percent and 20 percent respectively (2017-2018 stats, 2018-2019 pending). 

 https://successcenters.org

Equity for Industry Training

Success Centers’ Equity for Industry Training was developed to ensure marginalized community members have opportunities to enter the emerging cannabis industry. They provide support to employers, equity job seekers, and equity applicants to meet the mandates delineated in San Francisco’s cannabis legislation. Both local and state policymakers are seeking to use the evolving cannabis industry as an opportunity for economic and social justice: the need to train people from communities of color in the skills required to be certified for work and/or business development in the sector. The program is a model for other cities and jurisdictions throughout California.

Equity for Industry Workshop

Success Centers’ Equity for Industry Workshops provides informative sessions for Equity Applicants, Job Seekers, those seeking equity verification, and small business start-ups who want to gain in-depth knowledge about the cannabis industry. Participants learn about cannabis from industry leaders, from seed to sell, everything from the history of the industry and the law, to how to create a business plan or manage different aspects of the industry. Participants come from throughout the greater Bay Area.

 

Budding Industry Job Shop

Success Centers’ Budding Industry Job Shop provides access to jobs available for immediate hire from cannabis companies around the Bay Area. 

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Author PhotoThe Herb Lifestyle

Hi there! The Herb Lifestyle is a team of people who have come together because we love weed and want to help everyone feel that. We have lots of different... Read More

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