Spotlight Series: Jay Martin, CEO Cambridge House
The Cannabis Life Conference in Toronto is coming up on May 13-14! Do you have your tickets yet?
The conference will feature industry leading panelists and ground-breaking presenters from around the world. Topics include Navigating Your Way Through Policy and Legalization and Mindful Cannabis and Destigmatization and Designing A New Culture. Some of the speakers are Cody Lindsay AKA The Wellness Solider, Craig Ex from Expert Joints, Abi Roach from Toronto's Hotbox Cafe and Antuanette Gomez - see a full list of speakers here. The trade show floor will be packed with exhibitors showing off their products and services, make sure you take a moment to check out the full list of exhibitors so you don't miss anyone!
We got to chat with Jay Martin, CEO of Cambridge House International which is the organization that produces the conference about how to get the most out of a show like this whether you're participating as an attendee or an exhibitor.
The Toronto conference will be held at Evergreen Brickworks, a community environmental centre that inspires and equips visitors to live, work and play more sustainably and the event will help generate revenues to deliver onsite programming that supports Evergreen's mission of inspiring action to green cities.
If you're not in the Toronto area you might want to check out the Vancouver event in July. You can learn more about that conference here.
For those readers unfamiliar with the Cannabis Life Conference, would you give us an overview of the event?
This show focuses on the new cannabis consumer. We’ve seen a massive inflow of consumers who have very little experience, possibly have always been intimidated by the stigma but are now very curious. What they need is credible information in order to make safe decisions. That is the Cannabis Life Conference.
How long have you been involved in cannabis events?
We started integrating Cannabis into our events in June of 2014. We had an event in Vancouver that was showcasing growth industries across Canada. Jodie Emery gave a great keynote. Even though it was only three years ago, the industry has changed dramatically since then.
How can people get the most out of a show like The Cannabis Life Conference?
Come with a game plan. Plan which speaker sessions you don’t want to miss, and get your trade show/networking time in between them. I always get more value from the speakers if I have read the articles they have published recently.
What is the one thing an attendee must do at the Cannabis Life Conference?
Come ready to be informed, connected and entertained!
Let’s talk about your speaker lineup. Your featured speakers include Jodie Emery, Dr. David Hepburn, Ricky Williams and Randy and Mr. Lahey. That’s a pretty diverse group, how did you decide on them?
This show provides access to credible information to help consumers make smart decisions. That’s the goal. However, it is early days, and we’ve seen entrepreneurs move much faster than regulators. So in addition to the medicinal, lifestyle and application focused discussions, you will find topics covering legality and business growth. We booked the Trailer Park Boys because sometimes you just want to have fun!
If someone reading this was interested in building their own personal brand through speaking opportunities, what advice would you give them to help them get started?
Attend events, watch others, develop your niche, be unique and most of all - practice! On average, Steve Jobs would spend 90 hours preparing for each of his keynote speeches. Anybody can be a show stopper if they put the work in.
A lot of our readers are small business owners in the cannabis space so can you tell them why exhibiting at conferences and trade shows helps build their brands?
We are watching a once in a lifetime event unfold - end of prohibition. This will be a story we will watch for the next 5-7 years before things really begin to settle. In the meantime, it is a bit chaotic out there. You can differentiate by getting in front of people, and ensuring they know the people behind the brand. Research is done online, but business is built on relationships. You need to be connecting with people, building those personal relationships. Any business is only as good as the people. Conferences are an excellent opportunity to accelerate that process.
Check out Conference Kit; All the Essentials for a list of everything a successful exhibitor needs
What should an exhibitor do to ensure their booth is welcoming and engaging?
Bring a team - the more the merrier. If you are a one-person shop, invite your clients, supporters, friends to come exhibit with you. Coordinate your dress code - look pro, and make it fun. Exhibiting at a show is work, be energetic, engage everyone who walks past your booth, be memorable. Make sure you have something they can take home with them to remember you - elaborate swag is great, but business cards work too.
What is one thing they should never do in their booth?
Sit down and play on their phone! It drives me crazy when I see that!
They all look really great but is there a panel or speaker in particular that you’re excited about?
Breakfast with your conference speakers both days at 9 am - casual, continental in the speaker hall. This is a great opportunity to build out your network for the show. Making friends right at the start of the event will massively increase the connections you make for the remainder.
Otherwise, I will be in the front row for Exercise & Recovery and Lifestyle & Creativity. Both will be amazing.
We always ask our interview subjects what advice they would have for a woman who is interested in getting into the cannabis industry. What advice would you give?
I am very lucky to have had access to amazing women like Danielle Jackson (Miz D) and Hilary Black. These two women come to mind because they have each taken very different paths to establish themselves as an influence in the cannabis industry, and have both been influential in the creation of our events.
In my experience, every business is a people business first. Surround yourself with likeminded people. Find mentors. Make sure your peers are having a positive influence on you.
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