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Q&A with Cynthia Salarizadeh of KCSA Strategic Communications



Cynthia Salarizadeh

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Salarizadeh

The future of cannabis is female! December is DOPE Magazine’s Women’s Issue, and we wanted to continue to highlight women across the industry on all our platforms. We sent a questionnaire to outstanding women in cannabis—some familiar to us, some new—and will be showcasing their answers in individual blogs this month. Check out our December Mag for more profiles of the badass women you need to know!

Today’s story highlights Cynthia Salarizadeh, Managing Partner KCSA Strategic Communications, Founder AxisWire, Founder Saka Wines, Co-Founder Green Market Report & Industry Power Women

DOPE Magazine: Who are some of your greatest role models?

Cynthia Salarizadeh: Angela Merkel, Arianna Huffington, Audrey Hepburn, Eleanor Roosevelt, Cleopatra, Michelle Obama and Barack Obama!

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career?

Institutional money is still not readily available to women in any industry. Obtaining capital is always a challenge and not a task for those who become discouraged easily. Bringing on the right investors has been a unique challenge for sure. In addition, as a rookie I shared a lot of ideas with people … and watching unethical people, who have proven to have none of their own, take them before I was in a position to expand upon them has also been a unique challenge as an entrepreneur.

What’s something someone would never guess about you?

I am a die-hard Eagles fan and picked up quite a few tricks from my mother as far as cooking.

What’s your go-to self-care routine?

Champagne with a mani-pedi and a blow-out. I find running to the beach to be the perfect way to clear my head and re-center.

Favorite “guilty pleasure”?

Netflix binge and an edible.

Where do you see your career/business headed in five years? Twenty? 

I like to keep my plans quiet, but I foresee some acquisitions, exits and possibly a public offering. 

How do you feel about the industry-wide assertion that cannabis is a female-friendly space? 

I would agree that the cannabis industry is absolutely friendlier than all other industries. We were afforded a (rare) level playing field as institutional capital and Wall Street were late to the party due to hesitation and restrictions based on risk of entering the space of a federally illegal substance. That said, it is still way behind where things should be for equality in the workplace among genders. In addition, the percentage of advantage that we have experienced compared to other industries has been seen a reduction in recent months, and females must work hard and together to keep our edge.

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A very successful business woman and philanthropist.

If you could talk to yourself five years ago, what advice would you give? 

Do not waste any more time. Just go for it. Everything you need is inside of you and you will figure it out as you go. You got this.

What advice do you have for other women looking to get into the cannabis space?

Be smart. Follow your heart and do what you love, but be cautious of who you work with and trust. Keep your ideas to yourself until you need to share them. Get good lawyers before doing anything. Go slow with partnerships … you never know someone until you have actively worked with them, get references and check out past experience. Do not give too much of your company away – hold steady and bootstrap until you have to raise capital. There is nothing worse than watching people raise a bunch of money with no substance. Build something beautiful and hold it close to your chest. Find people you trust and keep your circle tight.

Recommend a book, album, and movie you think everyone should read/listen to/watch while stoned!

Watch The Office. Listen to the White Album by the Beatles. Read The Art of War.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Embrace your flaws and never worry about what people think of you. Worry only about yourself and what you are doing. People will always find something wrong with you, especially those that are jealous or miserable with their own lives. Keep your eyes on the prize and always think positive.

What’s your favorite cannabis product?


What’s the one thing you would bring if you were stranded on a desert island?

Personal water desalination device.

What do you hope for the future of the cannabis industry?

Full legalization globally and a strong industrial hemp industry.

Fill in the blank:

I could never live without: A purpose.

What do you think needs to happen before we achieve federal legalization of cannabis? 

Cannabis banking allowance.

What’s your smoking/cannabis consumption ritual, if you do partake in cannabis?

I prefer micro-dosing edibles on weekends when I can fully relax, although that is not too often these days.


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