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Women's Month at Pure Sunfarms - Meet the Women in Weed - Village Farms International

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April 1, 2022

Women’s Month at Pure Sunfarms – Meet the Women in Weed

No alt text provided for this imageMEET: JUSTINE LANTEIGNE, DIRECTOR OF QUALITY
Justine and her sister are the daughters of two dairy farmers, so the concept of working hard has always come naturally to her. Growing up in rural Ontario, she remembers spending her days helping with daily chores around the farm like delivering eggs to neighbours or mowing the grass.

Justine’s relationship with cannabis began through medical use and grew from there. Her career in cannabis started back in 2016 as a Quality Assurance Technician, where she learned all about regulations, implementing new processes, and launching new products. Now, as the Director of Quality at Pure Sunfarms, she inspires and leads her team to quality excellence, drawing from her many years of experience. One thing that continues to inspire her about the cannabis industry, is the level of passion and pride that people bring to their work, which she tries to model every day.

When she’s not at the greenhouse, you can find her on the volleyball or basketball court, crafting and puzzling, exploring new local restaurants, or spending time in nature at her lakeside trailer.

Justine’s superpowers are echoed by anyone that works with her: her understanding, and her decisiveness. She looks up to Betty White as an inspiration. “She was someone who lived for almost 100 years and still had a positive outlook on life. She inspires me to not always take myself so seriously, and to enjoy life to the fullest.” Justine’s advice for other women is:

“Don’t be too hard on yourself—and always ask for help.”

 

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MEET: TARLYN CAMPBELL, DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS SOLUTIONS

Tarlyn, who goes by the nickname “TK”, grew up in a blended family, as the second child out of five. She laughs about a memory of her sixth birthday when she asked for a pony but ended with a little brother instead (whom she shares a birthday with!). TK’s father sadly passed away in 2010, and while things aren’t what they used to be, her family stays close-knit by cracking jokes and supporting one another no matter what. She lives by the advice: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” (African proverb).

TK says her superpower is her true grit — the courage and passion to set a goal, and the resilience to follow through. She thinks some of this tough spirit might have been inspired watching countless re-runs of her favourite movie, Erin Brockovich.  She also admires Ruth Bader Ginsberg, for her dedication to women’s rights (while she was also a wife and mother).

Her philosophy for success is this: to learn and grow as a team, to lift others up with you, and to trust the process. 

TK is the Director of Business Solutions at Pure Sunfarms. Day-to-day she oversees the smooth execution of business processes from seed to sale and all things in between. When she’s not at work, you can find her outside tending to her home garden, swinging her clubs on the golf course, or enjoying long walks with her dog, Bindi.

 

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MEET: NAVREET SANDHU, PAYROLL SUPERVISOR

Navreet’s journey began in the small city of Jalandhar, India, where she grew up in a progressive family.   She pursued her education in London, thanks to her dad who was determined to instill independence in her. She believes these experiences help her every day to make decisions with patience and confidence for herself and her family of four. She is also grateful for the fresh perspective of her two daughters who motivate her to see the world in a different way.

Navreet immigrated to Canada eleven years ago where she restarted her career in finance. At first, she was apprehensive to join the cannabis industry, but the professional, and open environment at Pure Sunfarms made it exciting to try something new.  She takes pride in her role as Payroll and Benefit Supervisor in this budding industry.

When Navreet’s not crunching numbers and getting ready for payday, she enjoys watching documentaries or diving into a history book. She considers herself a bit of a history buff and loves to learn about how different times are compared to today. She also loves to dance, a hobby she has treasured since she was a child. Like she tells her daughters, Navreet believes in the strength and power of all women and, encourages them to go after anything they strive for. No dream is too big or too small.

“Any woman who defies the odds and helps to create a pathway for the next generation deserves our respect and admiration.”

 

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MEET: PANIA LINCOLN, MANAGER OF COMMUNITY RELATIONS

Pania, better known as “P”, was born in Aotearoa/New Zealand and is the youngest of seven children. As a teen, she lived in a communal living space with 20 anarchist feminist activists, where she learned about politics, social justice, and how to cook the best vegan food. After this unconventional (but amazing) upbringing, she spent the next 13 years in Tokyo: learning Japanese, volunteering, running her own non-profit, and working for an NGO called Peace Boat. She’s visited all 7 continents, including over 100 countries, and has circled the globe an astonishing 13 times.

Since joining Pure Sunfarms, P has been passionate about breaking down the bias that surrounds cannabis. Her work as Manager of Community Relations is incredibly interdisciplinary, from liaising with local community groups in Delta, to organizing team volunteer opportunities, to making sure our very own honeybees are well kept on-site. For P, community and social responsibility are at the heart of it all.

P loves spending her downtime with her partner and their two-year-old daughter, working on their garden, making homemade pizza, and enjoying craft beer with a side of live music.

She says her superpowers are standing up for what is right, being open to receiving new knowledge, and her detail-oriented nature. For P, the most influential women are not famous, they are the strong women who have been her mentors; those who lift others up, and do what is right, regardless if anyone is watching.

She finds inspiration in one of her favourite poems by Rupi Kaur:

“i stand on the sacrifices of a million women before me thinking what can i do to make this mountain taller so the women after me can see farther

 

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MEET: CHERYL JACKISCH, DIRECTOR OF PLANNING

Cheryl is a born and bred Vancouverite, although her love for warm, tropical weather keeps her deeply connected to her island roots — her parents are originally from the small African island of Mauritius. She admits even though her mom and her don’t always see eye to eye, she’s appreciative of her guidance because it has always empowered her to go against the grain. This gave her a sense of security and the confidence to do anything she put her mind to.

Cheryl is not afraid of a challenge, her willingness to learn and try new things out of her comfort zone is what brought her to Pure Sunfarms. She loves the constant evolving nature of this industry and that there’s never a dull moment in cannabis. Her skills in planning and project management shine through in everything she does, which is why her peers often say that Cheryl naturally brings a sense of calm to a situation.

To recharge and enjoy her beautiful BC backyard, Cheryl loves getting active by the water, playing beach volleyball and kitesurfing.  She also channels her inner yogi through her hot yoga practice and enjoys throwing down in the kitchen.

Cheryl’s advice for other women is:

“Don’t be afraid to take on challenges you’ve never done before, or for which you may not have all the answers. Be confident in your ability to figure it out as you go — and where you need support, don’t be afraid to ask.”

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MEET: JASSY MANN, MANAGER OF NURSERY LABOUR

Jassy is a greenhouse veteran. She has been working under the BC sun inside our Fraser Valley greenhouse for 12 years. She started her career with Village Farms as a young adult while juggling school, learning a new language and immigrating from India. She admits she has gone through times that have challenged her immensely, but she never lost her positive attitude and gratitude for the opportunities she has had. The trying times gave her a new perspective: life is too short to not be happy and enjoy every moment. She now raises her thirteen-year-old daughter as a single mom with the help of her supportive parents. Jassy’s dedication and work ethic has certainly paid off—she excitedly shares she just purchased a brand-new apartment.

Her love of plants is undeniable, and her motherly instincts shine through as she talks about the time she spends in the Pure Sunfarms nursery, tending to our mother plants and watching clippings sprout roots. Outside of the greenhouse, you can find her watching her favourite movies and shows or spending quality time with her family.

Jassy thinks practicing patience and actively listening to others has helped her in many aspects of her life. She is grateful to her mom for instilling values of confidence and acceptance in her, because of this, she is grounded in the belief that “if one door closes, another will open, so don’t stress just have faith.”

Jassy’s advice to other women is this:

“To have a great life, go after anything you want with confidence and humility.”

 

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MEET: SARA TURCOTTE, SENIOR MANAGER OF TRADE MARKETING

Sara grew up in a large, blended family in Coquitlam, BC. She has five siblings and remarkably, 24 first cousins! In her spare time, she adores anything to do with enjoying delicious food and spending time with her loved ones. She also loves travelling, hiking, reading, thrifting, and working on home restoration projects.

Before Pure Sunfarms, Sara worked in the public health sector where she learned more about the cannabis industry. She worked closely with long-standing advocates for cannabis legalization dedicated to reducing the stigma. As she gained an interest in the cannabis sector, she knew she had to work at the right company—and she hasn’t looked back.

When considering the women who inspire her, Sara says she looks up to her grandmother, who not only single-handedly raised five children, but also, owned and operated her own animal kennel in the 1970s to provide for her family. Although she faced many hardships, she always remained so positive. Sara says her grandmother encouraged her to travel, shared her love of the arts, and always pushed her to try new things—even if they felt out of reach. “She taught me to always be curious, which I consider a skill and a gift.”

Sara’s advice to other women is to advocate for themselves, and for others. Whether that has to do with managing your career, making a large purchase, visiting the doctor, investing, or anything else, she says to “ask for what you want and take every opportunity to advocate for those around you.” She also says:

“Asking for support from other women is incredibly important—there is beauty and power in women supporting women.”

 

No alt text provided for this imageMEET: CÉLINE TEA, MANAGER OF FINANCE PLANNING AND ANALYSIS

Céline was born and raised in France to a family that values sharing and caring for one another above all. She is the youngest of three siblings and remembers being a tomboy growing up (thanks to her two older brothers). She shares that her family and extended family lived through the Pol-Pot genocide from 1975-1979, which resulted in family members being spread across Europe, USA and Canada. Céline is fluent in five languages: French, English, Spanish, Mandarin and Teochew (a Cambodian dialect) which she considers the superpower that allows her to bring her core value of diversity to everything she does.

Although her skills as a Financial Analyst are what brought her to the cannabis industry, her curiosity and interest in the cannabis plant are what have kept her attention. Prior to joining Pure Sunfarms, she never knew the cannabis plant required so much precise care to grow. Running 5-7km is a part of Céline’s daily routine outside of work when the weather allows, otherwise, you can find her in the kitchen baking some of her favourite pastries—apple pie, tropézienne, tiramisu and crêpes.

Someone Céline sees as resilient is her mum, who at the age of 11 lost her own father and took the role of a parent as the oldest of 8 siblings. To Céline, her mum is the most courageous person she knows. She also admires Indra Nooyi for her ability to balance a career and family–something that is not always easy for women.

Céline encourages other women to

“Never let anyone tell you that you’re not capable of doing what you want to do—it’s okay to be your own cheerleader.”

 

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MEET: JULIE NEZGODA, ENGINEERING MANAGER OF FACILITIES AND PRIMARY PROCESSING

Julie grew up in a small town in the countryside of South Brazil called Sao Mateus do Sul. Although she loved the idea of raising a family where she grew up, she also had the urge to explore the world. She enjoys challenging herself—not only did she leave her hometown and her family at the age of 17, but she also enlisted in the Brazilian Navy, moved to Canada and went back to university to continue her education. She says being in the military taught her many things like how to stand up for herself while still having respect for others, and how sometimes, we need to step outside our comfort zone and reach for the stars.

Julie joined the cannabis industry a few months before legalization in Canada and says even though she never imagined working in cannabis, being part of a new industry made her realize that everyone has the potential to make a difference in cannabis. As an Engineer, the thing that amazed her the most about the cannabis world was how much technology is involved in the process. She says, “Most people don’t realize how complex the environmental controls we have in place are and how much technology it takes to operate.”

Julie is an explorer at heart and loves living in BC where she can drive a few hours and be off the grid, be one with nature and find a moment to disconnect and reenergize.

Julie’s advice to not only women but to everyone is to:

“Take responsibility for your own happiness and success. Other people’s actions should not control how you feel or react.”

She believes “there are no shortcuts in life. Take the time to plan, and work hard to cross each milestone. It’s fulfilling to see how far you can get, and how you can positively impact others on your journey.”

 

No alt text provided for this imageMEET: MICHELLE HAZLETT, MANAGER OF BRAND PLANNING AND DIGITAL MARKETING

Michelle comes from a close-knit family. One of her key memories from childhood is being surrounded by a strong female network including her stay-at-home mom, aunts, grandmas, and older sister. She loves to travel and has been all over the world with her family. In 2017, Michelle spent some time living in Dublin, Ireland. While she was there, she also took the opportunity to travel Europe, exploring 7 additional countries.

Before Pure Sunfarms, Michelle spent her time working across a variety of marketing sectors on digital and integrated projects. In her previous roles, she worked with clients in very well-established industries, which is what made the emerging cannabis industry so intriguing.

She remembers the lasting impact of walking into the Pure Sunfarms greenhouse for the first time: “It was overwhelming but in the best way possible—there is so much natural beauty with the plants and the scale of our operations is something you really have to see to believe.” She loves that she’s always learning something new in the cannabis industry, it keeps every day exciting.

In her downtime, you can find her in the kitchen cooking, trying out new restaurants, or playing board games with friends and family.

Michelle’s words of advice to other women are this:

“Don’t let your inner saboteur tell you that you can’t do something. Allow yourself to acknowledge that you don’t know everything, and you don’t need to. You may not know how to do it yet, but you have a whole toolbox of skills that will help you figure it out.”

 

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MEET: ANA YAP, MANAGER OF REVENUE

At the age of three, Ana immigrated to Canada from the Philippines with her family of five. As the youngest, she always felt like her older siblings were ten steps ahead of her but even then, they always looked out for her. As working-class immigrants, Ana’s parents taught her the meaning of hard work and the importance of being kind and respectful. She still turns to them to share life’s big moments.

After she completed her CPA designation, and as Canadian legalization of cannabis loomed on the horizon, Ana was placed on cannabis engagements within a public accounting firm. When she joined Pure Sunfarms, she quickly found that being part of a team in a growing environment was full of opportunities and wins. Today, she continues to nurture her desire to learn and understand the why’s and how’s.

On her days off, you can find her hiking with her German Shepherd, Grizzly, backcountry camping, or shooting with her camera. She thinks her ability to stay calm and positive is why she likes to challenge herself through activities like bouldering, cooking, and weightlifting.

Ana says she admires Michelle Obama for her ability to navigate her obligations and make decisions based on her values vs. people’s expectations. This resonated with Ana because she believes women tend to prioritize others’ needs before their own and it is such a good reminder that we all go through it.

Ana emphasizes the importance of asking questions and says:

“Don’t be afraid to ask; people are more willing to help than you realize. Whether that means asking for opportunities to learn, for support when you feel overwhelmed, or simply to chat, there is no shame in reaching out.”

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