The Executive Page: Shanel Lindsay

President and founder of Ardent Cannabis, a Boston biotech firm that provides at-home decarboxylators

by Kristen Nichols

What was your biggest business “aha” moment?

I’ve been a cannabis patient for more than 15 years to treat an ovarian cyst. I had always relied on at-home methods for creating medicine but knew they weren’t really accurate and reliable. Testing these methods in the lab demonstrated just how imprecise they really were. That’s when I realized I couldn’t get the results I wanted using the options available. I knew then I had to create something that would.

What’s your top tip when hiring for executive-level positions?

Have a clearly defined role and ideal candidate profile in mind when writing the job description. Map out what you expect from candidates and what “essentials” they must bring to the table. That said, don’t get tunnel vision. Being a leader is about thinking outside the box, so there’s nothing wrong with considering someone who doesn’t fit your mold. Above all, look for people who aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and get dirty. Executives should lead by example and with humility, so that should be at the top of your list.

What’s your biggest lesson learned in the cannabis business?

Being naïve about how essential it is to have a plan B, C and D in this industry.

Best tip for staying on top of a fast-changing industry while also taking the role of a traditional executive?

Read as much as you can about the industry. I tell my new hires at Ardent that they should follow a number of different information sources and use a critical eye when reviewing cannabis news. Building business relationships with a diverse network of professionals within and outside the industry is also critical to success. In fact, it’s the key to fully incorporating cannabis into the broader business landscape.

How do you know when to go it alone and when to work with others?

When I started Ardent, I had well thought-out one-, three-, five- and 10-year plans. No matter how many units we sell or new products we develop, I always refer back to those plans. If I see an opportunity to work with someone who will help both of us further our goals, and if I really believe in a person and the product they offer, I’m happy to work with them. That said, every decision and partnership is forged with our underlying goals in mind.