Spotlight Series: Laura Doell, Director of Integrated Crop Management at Sundial Cannabis.

In an effort to highlight even more varied roles in cannabis, we’ve turned to Laura Doell. 
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If you’re familiar with our Spotlight Series interviews where we shine a light on a different founder, leader, or innovator in cannabis, you may have noticed that we really like to introduce you to women from a wide array of backgrounds and skills who have made cannabis their professional focus.  

In an effort to highlight even more varied roles in cannabis, we’ve turned to Laura Doell. 

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Laura Doell is the Director of Integrated Crop Management at Sundial Cannabis. She is a Crop Protection Specialist with a BSA in Plant Sciences from the University of Saskatchewan. Working to ensure higher yields of crops and protection from environmental threats by using advances in farming equipment and practices, Laura has built the integrated crop management system at Sundial Cannabis from the ground up. 

At The Herb Lifestyle, we’re wrapping up season two of our podcast, Sessions and I was thrilled when Laura agreed to be the host of this season’s first episode. She and her guest, Candice Johnson spoke at length about various growing techniques and explained the purpose of introducing predator bugs into a grow room. “At Sundial, we use biological control agents (beneficial insects).  Traditional pesticides (used in vegetable greenhouse production) aren’t allowed by Health Canada in the legal cannabis industry and bio-pesticides which are approved – may not provide the efficacy potentially required at times.” Explains Laura.

This means that Canadian cultivators must rely on alternate forms of pest control like predator bugs to manage their crops.

Hi, Can I Work at Sundial Too?

Laura tells me that commercial greenhouse production boasts roughly 10% female management. Contrast that with her estimation that the indoor cannabis field has about 30% female management and you can see why some people have high hopes for gender parity in cannabis leadership.

“I feel like society is becoming more aware that a female perspective is essential,” Laura said when I asked her if she felt like women were being welcomed into the professional space. “In my experience, encountering men who disregard proven experience based on gender, whether consciously or unconsciously, is becoming less frequent.” 

Creating a healthy culture where all employees can thrive is important for the overall success of a company. Laura agrees and part of what attracted her to Sundial in the first place was the emphasis put on positive work experiences; “At Sundial, our core values are embedded in everything we do, and they foster a healthy culture for women to succeed.  Our values include “We Love Our People” (Emotional and Physical Safety), “We Love Our Plants” (Quality), “We Love To Grow” (Continuous Learning), and “We Grow Together” (Accountability).” 

Art Meets Science

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Interestingly for Laura, art, and science intersect in her professional life. Successful cannabis cultivation is an art, born from an understanding of the plant and its needs. There is a science to the art of growing big, beautiful buds and Laura is a true artist. In fact, she is an artist in the literal sense of the word. While she earned a Plant Sciences degree, Laura is also a painter who says she’ll be putting paint to canvas until she dies. Her paintings, often inspired by her love for nature and science, have been impacted by her career in cannabis in the most abstract ways. Her work can be viewed at www.lauradoell.com.

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I have always wondered if professionals from mainstream agriculture who cross over to cannabis production find themselves in familiar situations or if the change in crop changes the processes too. Every agricultural plant will have its specific needs but in general, are things so different between say tomatoes or blueberries and commercial cannabis? Can growers scale their practices to meet demand without compromising on quality?  

“Coming from large-scale commercial plant production, I feel we don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but there’s an opportunity to be creative as we carve out these beginnings.” Says Laura, “This requires an open mind, and since most people are used to established industries in past workplaces, the concept of flexibility and open-mindedness can be challenging for some.”

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Brace for Unexpected Changes

The cannabis industry in Canada is uniquely fast-paced, particularly when it comes to regulatory changes and the need to adapt. Stringent regulations around everything from production to packaging to marketing cannabis in Canada present both challenges and opportunities. Sundial saw an opportunity to manage grow room pests early before issues arise by bringing on beneficial biological specialists at the beginning. 

“I’m excited by a future where cannabis can help us solve some of humanity’s big challenges. The future is green.”

— LAURA DOELL

Looking ahead, Laura shared her hopes for the future, and her desire to see advancements in medical uses of cannabis along with more widely accepted uses for CBD and hemp-based products. “I’m excited by a future where cannabis can help us solve some of humanity’s big challenges. The future is green.” – Laura Doell

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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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About Author
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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