Exeleon Magazine

Sophie Felix: Empowering Women Business Owners in The Cannabis Industry

Sophie Felix_Exeleon Magazine_ICBWA

Words are said to be the most powerful force available to humanity. They can make, break, humiliate, push, motivate, or empower us. Or just like in the case of Sophie Felix, they can bring confidence within us.

To Sophie, it feels like yesterday, when she heard these beautiful words from her grandfather, “You’re going to be the star in our family.” At that moment, Sophie had no idea what those words were or what they meant.

However, decades later, these words have come up to show their true meaning to the entire world. Today, Sophie Felix is recognized as an award-winning entrepreneur and devout philanthropist. And she is indeed a star of not only her family but also of the business parlance.

Experience Made the Difference

With a healthy and confident childhood, Sophie stepped into the corporate world with a company that was subcontracted by the Department of Defense. She developed under the shadow of a CEO who is a titan in the business. With prominent names associated early with her professional journey, Sophie dealt with the contracts in her job which were created to make warships.

Therein, Sophie mastered all the skills and learned all she can about contracts, negotiating, philanthropy, and also got first-hand experience managing crews of workers on multi-million-dollar contracts. Afterward, the time came when she observed her skills for recognizing Talent in the industry and established her first company HBM Talent and Management.

Sophie eventually stepped away from her job with the Department of Defense to implement the knowledge acquired to pursue being a talent manager and entrepreneur. After signing up some high-level talents for HBM, she shifted to cofounding Peace Love & Protein and ICBWA.

Leadership is All About Giving Back

For Sophie, a transformational leader is someone who has the courage to use their skills to pursue the betterment of their community. The one who knows when it’s the right time to pivot to obtain success when taking risks and who can also develop a strong team and create other leaders. Sophie also calls on the philosophy that there’s no point in doing anything if you are not making a difference in the community.

This understanding of leadership and philosophy led Sophie to establish the International Cannabis Consulting Business Women’s Association (ICBWA). With ICBWA, Sophie envisions helping women unleash their power and potential as business owners in the cannabis industry.

Sophie has been involved in the CBD industry way before there was a cannabis gold rush. She learned about the strains of THC and the benefits of extracting CBD oil so people could take it without having the feeling of being high.

However, when she began advocating for and was asked to speak at some of the country’s biggest expos, she noticed a gap in the industry. While she did get a good response, she was quick to notice the limited number of female participants in the field.

Hence, through International Cannabis Consulting Business Women’s Association (ICBWA), Sophie is on a mission to ensure that all women have the opportunity to hold a valuable, equitable, and powerful position. ICBWA also foresees a more diverse and inclusive industry with women from all backgrounds at the forefront of growth and innovation.

Breaking the Stereotypes

Before founding ICBWA, Sophie faced the biggest roadblock of her life where she was not taken seriously. Even after meetings as a strong leader, she was strongly judged on the basis of her looks and other stigmas. She asserts, “I learned early on I had to change the stigma by learning ways to prove I’m not just a cute-looking Latina who smokes good pot and tans all day. I made it clear I’m actually one of the top business leaders in this country and when you are speaking with me or about me you better put respect on my name.”

And now as the President, Sophie Felix oversees all the operations, including communicating and delegating tasks with the Board Members, Advisory Board Members, and Sponsors. She’s busy going to meetings, securing funding, developing marketing campaigns, and ensuring compliance as the firm is certified as a tax-deductible non-profit 501(c)(3).

Overall, Sophie ensures that ICBWA members consistently receive resources and new information which include Business Development, Diversity & Social Equity, Laws, Compliance and Regulation, Employment Regulations, Youth Education, Civic Participation, and Community Outreach.

Sophie has also shattered the stereotypes of the industry by bringing a Telly Award, Hometown Hero Award, an award for being known as one of the Top 100 US Business Leaders of 2021 in this year only.

Empowering Leaders

Whenever a new member joins the ICBWA family through its one-year signup program, she (the new member) is highlighted in the firm’s newsletter and social media platforms. On top of that, the member gets to meet the executive board to see how she can best benefit. ICBWA also makes sure to bring partners and resources to the table and develop a community of intelligent, powerful women, and the collective sisterhood.

As per Sophie, true leaders know what their purpose is so everything they are doing is coming from their hearts. And to be successful, these leaders must put their team first and always maintain the overall visions for the future

As such, Sophie’s advice for emerging players is to educate themselves on the different aspects of the relevant market and expertise. She elaborates, “Know what you’re talking about because there will be people who will call you out! Know the plant and the benefits, stay current on the laws and regulations, get consultants when needed, brand yourself as the best version you can be, and build a solid reputation of being a woman of your word.”

Future of Open Opportunities

With the increase in the number of states legalizing recreational cannabis, Sophie Felix believes that the road ahead for the industry is full of opportunities. She’s happy to witness the growth of more corporate businesses and entrepreneurs alongside the increasing number of women taking up more high-level positions. As far as the industry goes, Sophie envisions a rise in funding for programs to educate the public on the benefits of cannabis especially for individuals who are experiencing PTSD, mental health issues, and anxiety.

On the personal side of things, Sophie wants every ICBWA member to thrive and make more money. In the coming years, she would take the topics of Diversity and Social Equity head-on while keeping her keen eyes on the statistics. All-in-all, the transformational leader is confident where ICBWA stands right now and she’s feeling the momentum and support to elevate it.

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