5 Questions with Andy Greenberg and Sharon Krinsky of Society Jane
Posted: January 28th, 2020
At Garden Society we aspire to become the most positive and trusted cannabis brand for women, so it’s our pleasure to welcome Andy Greenberg and Sharon Krinsky to our Fresh Perspective Q&A series. Andy and Sharon are the founders and women behind Society Jane, which they describe as, “the cannabis concierge for discerning women.” Andy is a graduate of the University of Michigan and University of Oregon Law School but got her higher education in cannabis through an exemplary attendance record at over 150 Grateful Dead concerts and countless live shows over the years. However, it wasn’t until one of her sons was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease that she started to research the medical uses of cannabis and found a universe of therapeutic applications. She co-founded Society Jane with her friend Sharon, an advertising industry veteran who spent 20+ years creating ads for some of the largest consumer brands in the world. Sharon studied Journalism at the University of Rhode Island and is a recent graduate of Oaksterdam University, the Oakland, CA cannabis college that the Washington Post called, “the Harvard Business School of marijuana.” Together they formed Society Jane to make cannabis more accessible to women, with an emphasis on education, low dose options, and a personal focus on individual needs.
Thanks so much for joining us this week as we delve deeper into our Fresh Perspective series. We feel like sisters here, all working toward a common goal of providing education and lower dose, premium cannabis to discerning women. While we thoroughly enjoy creating these products and destigmatizing cannabis, we’re curious as to what brings you joy?
Sharon: Taking something from a fleeting thought to a fully formed, tangible thing brings me great joy. I’ve spent the bulk of my career on the strategy and the creative side of advertising, the journey from “what if?” to “here it is” never ceases to amaze me. Whether it’s a TV commercial, an omelet or a cannabis delivery service, I find the process of creating to be magical, really.
Andy: Going out to hear live music. Taking my dog to the beach. Having time to read! Taking a cannabath.
A cannabath sounds amazing! It’s been a little chilly and damp here in Sonoma lately so that sounds like the ultimate luxury. Speaking of the weather, what’s it like to be a female leader in today’s climate?
Sharon: In my previous career, I was an outlier in the advertising industry. As recently as four years ago, only about three percent of the creative directors in the U.S. were women, and even fewer were chief creative officers of an advertising agency. So I was always very aware of my unique place in the industry (as were my colleagues and clients). Add in the fact that I was a mother of small children as well, and I was pretty much a unicorn. And I loved that! Challenging stereotypes and exceeding expectations brings me almost as much joy as creating things. It’s energizing and definitely fuels my competitive drive.
Today, I am in an industry that feels more balanced in terms of women in leadership roles, which is wonderful. We still have a long way to go, mind you, but I’m finding that the titles of CEO or Founder don’t automatically come with the qualifier of “female” when a woman is in the role. These days my energy is more focused on challenging stereotypes, dispelling myths and removing the stigma of cannabis use among women. Women are still on the sidelines looking for permission to join in. We try to give them permission every chance we get.
Andy: It can be both supportive and satisfying, and at the same time lonely and frustrating. I had a (male) law partner once give me the book “The Art of War” and tell me it was the best way to succeed. I never want to feel like I am going to war every day, and many women leaders I talk to still feel as if they are forced into a “going to war” mentality. On the other hand, at least in the cannabis industry, women on every level of the seed-to-sale chain are supporting each other, commiserating with each other and giving each other encouragement.
Who wants to feel like they’re going to war everyday? Certainly not us. But, we do like encouraging women to get off the sidelines. Confidence is contagious so the more strong female leaders we have, the more girls will grow up with role models and examples of strong female leadership throughout their lives, and the more it will become the norm. While we’re on the subject of role models, what lessons did you learn from your mother, a mother-like figure, or a notable woman in your life?
Sharon: I am the youngest of six girls in my family. No boys, no brothers. The only male energy in the house was my father’s. And strangely enough, I think my most valuable lessons about being a strong woman came from him. There weren’t “boy chores” and “girl chores” in our house. We all cooked, cleaned, mowed the lawn and changed the oil on the car. We learned to use a handsaw, build a brick wall and paint a ceiling. He didn’t simply tell us that we could do anything a boy could do, he actually had us do it. What a confidence builder!
Andy: “Being nice is overrated” – I grew up in Minnesota where being nice for the sake of being nice is a thing. My mom encouraged me to be kind and compassionate. “Sometimes a relationship is not worth all the compromises you have to make to maintain it.” Sage advice, really. “Get outside and move.” “Get a dog!”
What a great lesson from your dad, Sharon. When girls aren’t limited by gender stereotypes the world becomes wide open to them at a young age. Sometimes as women it can feel like if we aren’t overly nice or happy all the time we’re considered cold or unfriendly. We all have our moments, but true friends see us for who we really are, warts and all, and they respect our flaws as well as our accomplishments. Can you share a valuable lesson or gift from girlfriends or a girlfriend?
Sharon: Most everyone is familiar with the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” And I wholeheartedly support that. But I also think it takes a village to raise a mother; a village of other mothers who can share their wisdom, their heartbreaks and their joys. Sometimes all it takes is for another mother to look at you and say, “I know how you feel; it’ll be ok” to turn desperate times into hopeful times. I am so grateful to my girlfriends/mother-friends for telling me it’ll be ok.
Andy: “What are you saving it for? Wear the good jewelry!” – Lauren. From Shelley: “Go to New York, travel a lot, see a lot of Broadway shows.” From Laurie: “Be a loyal friend. Pack light. Do yoga. Dance a lot. Get out and hear some music!”
All great tidbits of wisdom. We like to think everything works out in the end, but it’s important to remember to live in the moment. Don’t put anything off because you never know what tomorrow may bring. Life is short so live responsibly and without any regrets! At the end of the day, what matters to you most?
Sharon: At the end of the day what matters most to me is the well-being of my children. Perhaps it’s not very enlightened or progressive, but it’s true. If they’re happy, I’m happy. And if they’re miserable, I’m miserable for them. My boys are 24 and 20 now and I feel that even more acutely than I did when they were kids. All I want is for them to be healthy, happy and fulfilled in whatever way is meaningful to them. I’d also like them to live a little closer, but you can’t have everything!
Andy: Integrity. Honesty. Good communication.
It’s true when they say “once a parent, always a parent”. That maternal instinct never goes away no matter your, or your children’s age. The strongest relationships on integrity, honesty, and communication, whether it’s work, friends, or family. Thanks so much for joining us today Sharon and Andy and sharing your fresh perspective and insight. Follow along on social media Andy (@andygirl11) and Sharon (@skrinsky) and make sure to stay up to date with the latest from @societyjanefun.