In honour of International Women’s Day, we want to highlight the incredible female voices on the Eggs Canna team. From our woman founder to our women store managers the diversity is strong. From “dude culture” to big business other industries can be very patriarchal, and Eggs Canna wants to change this – to make it a safe space not only for women but for everyone. Throughout our community Eggs Canna aims to amplify the power of women and crack down the gender bias.
Join us leading up to International Women’s Day as we shine the light on the incredible women that are a part of the Eggs Canna team. The fifth person we want to highlight is Oana Cappellano, our fearless leader, our president & Co-Founder at Eggs Canna. Oana’s Cannabis journey is featured in this Q+A.
President & Co-Founder Eggs Canna
Why/how did you get into the cannabis industry?
Andrew (our other Co-Founder) has been cultivating cannabis for many years; one day, he approached me and just said, “Would you open a cannabis retail store with me?” At the time, I was working at the BC Cancer Agency as a Nursing Coordinator and had seen firsthand the many benefits of cannabis for a wide range of illnesses including cancer – so I was very excited for this opportunity. The first thing I did was let my parents know that I would be resigning from the Cancer Agency to open a cannabis retail store — which at the time was very much in a “grey area” of legality. I picked both my parents off the floor after they had a mini heart attack, and Andrew and I began the hunt for our first location.
What advice do you have for women looking to make an impact in the cannabis space?
I have met many talented women in the cannabis industry, and I’ve found for the most part this industry has been one of the most inclusive. I believe that women have a natural knack for cultivation (we are generally nurturing by design), and I have had the pleasure of meeting many talented women growers. The best advice I have for any woman getting into any industry is to be brave and try it – there could be someone out there less qualified doing what you love only because they had the fortitude to try something new!
Did you ever dream of being in cannabis industry?
This is a hard question for me! As I have stated, Andrew has been a grower for 20+ years and so I have been around cannabis for a very long time. I have always been passionate about the subject – I believe in its many healing properties and during the early prohibition days, I did a lot of advocacy work. Having said all of that, did I think that Andrew and I would have built Eggs Canna to become a well-recognized brand and now be launching our cultivation facility? That part is still surreal to me at times and if I had my pick of any industry, this would still be my first choice!
What are some of the challenges that still exist that made you WANT to be in this industry?
I have been fortunate to be part of this industry pre-legalization and have seen its growth (or lack thereof) from the start. Some of the difficulties that as a budding industry we are still experiencing that I personally would like to help with are: government overreach, over-regulation, monopolization, and ensuing subsidizing by taxpayers of government retail outlets.
How does a women’s presence in cannabis change the way that the industry is viewed and perceived?
I believe that women can bring a softer presence — during the early days, this “woman presence” was beneficial in curbing many of the stigmas attached to both cannabis cultivation and its use. As a woman and mother, I was able to speak to the use of CBD as an anti-seizure and antispasmodic in both children and pets, and people listened with an open mind. I think this same information delivered by a man would not have resonated as impactfully. During the early days of our stores, we were on a mission of sorts to change the perception of cannabis, and a large part of that was research and how we should deliver the information found — many of our female managers took it upon themselves to teach our customer community about the multitude of awesome and healing properties of cannabis.
What do you think helped you the most to make a career as a woman? What’s the biggest factor that has helped you be successful?
Tenacity, grit, and sheer determination to succeed against all odds! I have a reputation in this industry of being a tough cookie who isn’t afraid of speaking her mind — the ability to say no and be firm in negotiations I think has contributed immensely to my success as a respected businesswoman. I feel that as women we struggle with that balance of being kind and nurturing while also being firm and direct — find your inner strength and play off it. As simple as this sounds, I started with a strong and commanding handshake after a lawyer made a comment that my handshake wasn’t all that it could be! I quickly learned that setting the tone with your male counterparts right out the gate gives you a sense of strength and confidence that helps in any situation.
How many people did you have to convince that Cannabis isn’t a dangerous substance?
Oh boy, I mean I lost count at 10,000 — I remember the look on people’s faces when I used to tell them that women produce cannabinoids in breast milk! That was always a fun conversation.
How many times have you been the only woman in the room when it comes to cannabis? How do you deal with it?
Many times, and I love it! Once you find your inner strength, you can take these situations on with a sense of adventure and end up loving the challenge. Although, I have to say, most people I have met in the cannabis industry have been inclusive and wonderful to work with.
What was your family’s reaction to being in the cannabis industry?
At first, they were completely opposed to it! Now they of course love this industry and support my decision.
BONUS QUESTIONS: What is your favourite Munchie?
I am obsessed with chocolate, anything with chocolate!
What is your favourite method of consumption?
Vapes! I love that they are discreet and I can control the high — I’ve had a couple of “missed calculations” with edibles lol.
The International Women’s Day 2022 Campaign theme is #BreakTheBias, which is why Eggs Canna is #CrackingTheBias:
Imagine a gender equal world.
A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.
A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
A world where difference is valued and celebrated.
Together we can forge women’s equality.
Collectively we can all #CrackTheBias.
Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day.
We can crack the bias in our communities.
We will crack the bias in our workplaces.
Together, we can all crack and creak the bias - on International Women’s Day and beyond.