AC Braddock has helped pilot Eden Labs through a period of tremendous growth. Since Braddock took the reins as the Seattle-based company’s CEO, Eden Labs has seen its revenues grow by 500%, she said.
The company’s line of CO2 extraction machines are among the most innovative products in the cannabis industry. Founder Fritz Chess started the company in 1996, when only about 10% of Eden’s sales were marijuana related. Chess, however, was always more interested in the research and design aspect of the business. Braddock joined the company in 2006, often delivering bits of business strategy and marketing advice to Chess. She knew Chess was far more in love with the science of the industry than running the business, she said.
In 2010, Braddock traded in her successful real estate career for her position as the CEO of Eden Labs and the company’s profile has been on the rise ever since.
She has quickly become active in the industry and regularly speaks at conferences and meetings. Braddock admits that the spotlight was nerve-wracking at first, but in short time her anxiety was overrun by her passion for the industry.
“Once you get into this industry you automatically become an activist,” Braddock said. “Whether that’s what you think you’re doing or not, you are.”
When she first joined Eden Labs, Braddock was mainly doing consulting work and some marketing endeavors like product placement, customer service and ad sales. Beforehand, Braddock already had successful real estate career and also worked in sales and marketing for the Built Green Program, a program that helps builders understand how to build green sustainably.
Braddock saw that her experience working with eco-friendly companies fit perfectly within cannabis. And the cannabis industry was also a perfect fit for her and her love of whole plant medicine. It provided her the opportunity to continue working in a green, organic and sustainable industry.
Her position as a leader in the industry has been reinforced by the other women she has met at events throughout the country. A recent meeting stuck out for Braddock, when she met a young woman at a cannabis competition in Sonoma, California. The young woman, already somewhat familiar with both Eden Labs and the company’s CEO, had assumed Braddock was a man. The realization that the CEO of a major company was a woman had a positive impact on both ladies.
“I could just see that turn something in her,” Braddock said. “It was just so inspiring to watch that. The fantastic thing about a lot of these women’s groups right now is that up until 2014, I could go to an event and there would be like 60 men and two women in the room and that has completely changed. There are so many women getting into this industry, a lot of them are young women and there is no glass ceiling for them. They can start small businesses and they can become pioneers.”
The paradigm shift that has led many women to become CEOs in the cannabis industry is a trend Braddock hopes to see continue. She said the momentum is pulling the industry in the right direction. Knowing that discrimination still exists and will most likely continue to exist on some level is a leftover fragment of the old cannabis industry, she said.
“It’s so amazing to be in a position to be able to mentor and inspire these women,” she said. “It’s really going to change the face of the image of cannabis – all the social issues involved with cannabis, the paradigm shift that is happening in cannabis – it’s incredible.”