Wisdom From The Women Leading The Cannabis Industry, With Dr Bridget Williams of Green Harvest Health
An Interview With Candice Georgiadis
Enjoy the journey! I have never had more fun, felt more in tune with myself and my purpose than being in cannabis, I even enjoy falls because I know the next step is a bigger success.
As a part of my series about strong women leaders in the cannabis industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Bridget Cole Williams.
Dr. Bridget Cole Williams, MD., is an established board-certified family physician, author and the CEO of Green Harvest Health, medical cannabis and integrative clinics located in Ohio. She has nearly 20 years of experience as a family physician.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the cannabis industry?
My interest in cannabis began with one amazing patient approximately 15 years old that was courageous enough to ask what did I think about utilizing marijuana as medicine for her recently treated breast cancer and her newly diagnosed diabetes. Respectfully, I thought she was nuts! During that time many patients were asking about numerous homeopathic treatments and practices, so it was not uncommon for me to research an herb or trend in supplements but she was the first to ask about cannabis. Despite my initial reservations, I gathered information about this distinctive plant. Much to my surprise there was incredible medicinal possibilities for this unjustly villainized plant. I chose to support my patient on her journey as she made edibles and inhaled cannabis and I researched dosing and created titration schedules. Over months, I saw her body fat decrease and her blood sugars become balanced. She was sleeping better, her productivity at work was improving and her stress was incredibly better. From there I knew I needed to know more. When medical cannabis was legalized in Ohio, I decided to become a certified cannabis educator and life coach. It was time to provide the care I felt my patients requested. To do so, I opened my own offices and supported patients with personalized care by providing empathy, education and encouraging empowerment.
What I did not expect was what cannabis would do for me. I had been fascinated by cannabinoid medicine for years. I knew if it were ever legalized in my area it would provide a medical alternative that could change lives. However for me, it gave me freedom from the confinements of traditional health systems. It brought together my desire to help patients reclaim and own their wellness and potentially get off some medications that often become a crutch. Cannabis allowed medicine to make sense to me again when I was close to leaving the medical professional entirely. I was burnt out and had lost faith in our current health systems that have replaced the art of medicine with pharmaceutical medicine. My days were filled with pressured 15 minute visits that pushed a pill for every diagnosis.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
People often assume that I do not lead a company. People assume it is my male business partner, or a brother or parent. I realized that no matter my education or achievements for some they will see me as an equal and that can not stand in the way of dreams and desires but fuel me to do even greater things
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
My biggest funny mistake is facebook fighting! Early on I had no idea the ridiculous outlandish behavior of social media trolls. I have had trolls share that I was going to hell because I helped patients obtain cannabis cards, That I was a demon because I was getting people high off my CBD products, and I was a thief because I charged a fee for cannabis evaluations and consultations.. I will spare you the ridiculous details but trolls send you down a rabbit hole of nonsense that is a complete waste of time and benefits no one. Don’t do it!
Do you have a funny story about how someone you knew reacted when they first heard you were getting into the cannabis industry?
Many days I would never tell people what I did so I would not have to deal with the judgment or stigma. However one day I was in a particularly mood at the eye doctor and although I knew my doctor was very conserative I decided to challenge him and tell him I was a cannabis doctor. To my surprise he turned around and sat on his stool and for the next 20 minutes proceeded to share with me that he was a daily cannabis user and it greatly benefitted his mental health and treated his insomnia. Lesson: You can not judge a book by its cover.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
So many people have helped me grow my business and my personal growth during my development. When I was ready to take my business to the next level, I searched for a business consultant. I found Khadijah Adams and with that first conversation, I knew she could help me see the cannabis industry for a new perspective as well assist in my personal goals. She is a beautiful and caring woman with a strong ethic and heart of a lion.
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Always, Our second book Courage in Cannabis will soon be in production. Courage in Cannabis is an inspiring book of heroes that share how cannabis has helped and changed their lives. Our first book was an amazing #1 best seller and we can’t wait to bring together the stories of more amazing people and allow them to have the experience of sharing their stories as well as helping others with journeys,
Ok. Thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. Despite great progress that has been made we still have a lot more work to do to achieve gender parity in this industry. According to this report in Entrepreneur, less than 25 percent of cannabis businesses are run by women. In your opinion or experience, what 3 things can be done by a)individuals b)companies and/or c) society to support greater gender parity moving forward?
a)individuals Find a Mentor who can help you navigate the cannabis landscape and help you develop relationships
b)companies Promote women into positions that help influence and change company culture including executive and board positions. Also require that women make up a certain percentage of the cannabis workforce
c) society Advocate and fight to pay women the same as their male counterparts
You are a “Cannabis Insider”. If you had to advise someone about 5 non intuitive things one should know to succeed in the cannabis industry, what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each.
- Partner with excellent people- no one gets far all by themselves. Often because of fear we often work in silos. Not wanting to share our concepts because someone might steal it or belittle it. Seek the partners, mentors and consultants that have done more and offer more and envision more so help you elevate your dream.
- Support other women. We reap more with collaboration than with competition. We should push and support one another. I am on a journey with a number of women in different parts of the industry that we cheer for one another and celebrate our successes.
- Do not best friend your employees. Women feel pressured to be “friends” so they don’t appear as “bitches or bossy”. If you are the boss, be the boss and they will represent you.
- Do what you have always loved and sprinkle it with cannabis. When you do that you will create a unique niche in the cannabis industry that is needed and is unique to you!
- Enjoy the journey! I have never had more fun, felt more in tune with myself and my purpose than being in cannabis, I even enjoy falls because I know the next step is a bigger success.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the cannabis industry?
- Being a part of a movement and history
- Engaging with patients that finally feel empowered in their wellness and cheering for their successes.
- The beautiful and unique people that cannabis attracts.The greed of cannabis can bring in some undesirables, But the plant can truly attract loving, giving, kind, strong, spirited people that are amazing
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?
- Lack of social equity and the opportunities for legacy growers and entrepreneurs.
- Inconsistency in cultivars and products- patients need consistent cannabinoid and terpene concentrations for the most sensitive conditions (epilepsy, parkinsons, autism etc)
- Policies and compliance always shifting and changing- rules are not created to support patients….
What are your thoughts about federal legalization of cannabis? If you could speak to your Senator, what would be your most persuasive argument regarding why they should or should not pursue federal legalization?
With legalization we can have better research so the ability to understand cannabis beter is hinged all government involvement that is completely standing in the way of proper healthcare and freedoms.
Today, cigarettes are legal, but they are heavily regulated, highly taxed, and they are somewhat socially marginalized. Would you like cannabis to have a similar status to cigarettes or different? Can you explain?
I do believe cannabis legalization will be highly regulated and that is no surprise. However, I think it will be seen more the way alcohol is seen. Socially acceptable over time , a personal choice more than a personal mistake
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Follow your bliss and doors will open where there were only doors before.” _ Joseph campbell.
A staff physician shared this with me before I graduated medical school. I was so indecisive about my next step. This quote has guided me during my difficult decision and I have always seemed to be in the place I was meant to be.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
Within the cannabis space, Removing cannabis as a scheduled one medication will lead to legalization, more research, more medical benefits and decrease stigma.
Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you only continued success!