Women EmpowerX Women EmpowerX

Women EmpowerX

By Fallon Keplinger

Women EmpowerX Women EmpowerX

On June 15th Washington, DC hosted Women EmpowerX, an expo geared towards female leaders, entrepreneurs, and executives. I was able to attend one panel discussion on Women in Canna-Biz

Moderator: Sacha Cohen- my publicist. Sacha is an award-winning communications executive and the founder of Grassfed Media. Throughout her career, she has worked with such high-profile organizations as AARP, Hilton, the U.S. Mint, and National Geographic to develop effective PR, content, and social media strategies and launch highly successful online marketing campaigns. 


Dr. Manisha Singal, an internist in Washington, District of Columbia and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including BridgePoint Hospital Capitol Hill and BridgePoint Hospital National Harbor. She received her medical degree from George Washington University School of Medicine and has been in practice for more than 20 years.

Elana Frankel, founder of Indigo and Haze. In 2015 Elana Frankel, fractured her skull. One second she was chatting with girlfriends; the next, she was having a CAT scan. Her Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) left her bedridden with a swollen brain and loss of senses – smell and taste. The traditional solution for TBIs, did not work for her lifestyle. When her husband found research being done in Israel using CBD to treat soldiers with head injuries, she told him that she was not going to smoke pot. “I could barely string a sentence together.” He explained CBD is the non-psychoactive plant extract that has anti-inflammatory properties. She changed her tune.

As she began to heal and slowly return to the world (faster than expected), she wanted to take the knowledge and create a place for others. It needed to be a place that reflected her aesthetic, a “high thread count hippie lifestyle,” and with product that has great design.

She partnered with the best CFO, COO and business development people she could find (guys) and built a team to execute the vision. Thus, Indigo and Haze was born.

Ebony Panye is a 2011 graduate of Potomac Massage Training Institute with over 7 years of experience as a licensed massage therapist, specializing in myofascial therapy. She began studying traditional herbal medicine in 2013 at the Mid-Atlantic School of Herbalism with clinical herbalists including Claudia Joy Wingo, the director of the three year program.

The medicinal uses of cannabis and hemp were beginning to be formally recognized nationwide including in Washington DC. As Ebony saw more and more people take a sudden interest in plant medicine, the impact and importance the legitimization of cannabis and hemp would have for herbal medicine as a whole immediately became evident.

After graduating from the Mid-Atlantic School of Herbalism in 2016, Ebony set out to connect people to the full scope of traditional herbal medicine by harnessing the excitement around the rise of cannabis and hemp. Knowing that she would need an expert and mentor to carry this vision to success, Ebony enlisted the help of Claudia Joy Wingo to co-found District Herbs into the company it is today. The two are excited to bring their line of medicinal loose leaf teas and hemp salve for pain relief to the community and though the journey has been long, it has only just begun.     

It was great to see so many female leaders in one room sharing the space. Here are my take aways from the panel.

  • Cannabis is a tough industry. Banking is going to be hard and advertising is going to be hard.
  • Know which banks are cannabis friendly.
  • Federal law and state law are not aligned. Be careful you don't put yourself at risk.
  • Educate yourself about the plant; the stigmas, the social currency, the history, and the allies of the plant.
  • Know where your cannabis is grown
  • Know how your cannabis is grown
  • Know what happens to your cannabis before you get it
  • Know the difference between cannabis and hemp
  • Find a producer you trust, go to the farm and get all the information
  • The cannabis industry is going to be 10 times harder for women
  • The cannabis industry is going to be 10 times harder for people of color
  • Start networking with women
  • If you don't see something you need in the industry, make it yourself
  • Join WomenGrow
  • Have a good team
  • Have a good lawyer
  • Have a good accountant