Before becoming Eaze’s Vice President of Product in 2016, Natasha Pecor led the alcohol portion of Amazon’s Prime Now business. An expert in product development and technology, Natasha’s other prior positions include Head of Platform at Yelp, working in early-stage investing at Freestyle Capital and building analytics tools at Deloitte Consulting. In this interview, Pecor shares how she’s applying her experience to trailblazing new technologies for the legal cannabis industry.
DOPE MAGAZINE: What aspect of your career do you feel made you most capable for your role at Eaze?
Natasha Pecor: At Amazon, we were facing alcohol regulations that had seen little change since the end of prohibition and varied state-by-state. Experience working in a highly-regulated on-demand delivery space has been particularly beneficial in my role at Eaze.
What makes you passionate about the cannabis industry?
Social equity is very important to me, as the cannabis industry is working to right a lot of the wrongs of the past. It is well known that the war on drugs negatively impacted black and Latino communities. Eaze invests significantly in social impact programs and works to educate consumers on the safety and wellness aspects of cannabis.
Do you feel shifting into the cannabis space resulted in any outside judgement from your professional colleagues?
When I joined Eaze in 2016, adult-use cannabis had not yet been legalized in California, so there was still a lot of [negative] stigma associated with the industry. I had to trust my instincts because I believed we would be on the right side of history. It was a risk, but I feel it has paid off as I’m passionate about and proud of what I do. I was also pleasantly surprised by the positive reaction from my colleagues. It opened the door for other tech professionals to speak openly with me about their interest in the industry.
What have been some of the most challenging aspects of your position?
Building a culture that stays calm and focused in the midst of ongoing change. Since I’ve started at Eaze, there have been many regulatory and legal shifts that are simply outside of our control. For example, Google recently announced changes to their cannabis apps policy. That was a moment that could’ve been filled with panic, but instead, our team got together, made a plan and executed on it. In cannabis, you have to be resilient.
What advice do you have for tech-minded individuals hoping to break into the cannabis industry?
You need to be motivated by and excited about change. Rapidly shifting regulations mean things can be unpredictable, and you can’t plan two or even one year in advance. People who think outside of the box, are creative problem solvers and come into the industry knowing that there isn’t a standard playbook are the ones who will succeed.