Michelle Williams is the Operations Manager, assisting the Managing Director of Recruiting Operations at FlowerHire, and the Human Capital Advisor for Organización Nacional de la Industria y Farmacuética de Cannabis (ONIFARC).
She is one of the few people who is working in both the United States cannabis industry and the emerging Mexican cannabis industry.
Before Michelle started working in cannabis, she was working as a recruiter for an interpreting agency. She was burnt out and knew she was meant for something else. She had a gut feeling that everything was going to work out. She quit her job – without a backup plan – and trusted that something good would come.
Michelle found a job at Headquarters which helps growing cannabis companies improve operational efficiency, reduce cost, and is trusted by many leading cannabis companies.
Michelle was connected with FlowerHire by Headquarters, and since working with her, FlowerHire’s operating efficiency has significantly increased.
“I look forward to the Mexican cannabis industry catching up with the U.S. market. The U.S. is so much more developed with companies, cultivation facilities, procedures, and structures.“
– Michelle Williams
What were you doing before working in cannabis?
I used to work as a recruiter for an interpreting agency in the Human Resources department. I conducted evaluations and assessments to see if people would be a good fit for an interpreting role. Working at the interpreting agency gave me the opportunity to build my communication skills and connect with people.
I also worked in digital marketing as a consultant and an advisor for various clients including brands and politicians. I supported new product launches and created campaigns. Digital marketing allowed me to nurture my creative side and develop my creative process and strategies.
YOUR CANNABIS JOURNEY
What drew you to the cannabis industry?
I’ve believed in the power of cannabis for at least the last 10 years. I believe the plant can have a positive impact on people’s lives – for both mental and overall health. Working in cannabis was a dream job for me.
In Mexico, the cannabis industry is not yet legalized. So when I found this job online, I was incredibly grateful. Being able to work for a company that is passionate about the same thing is such a blessing.
Tell us about how you found the job at FlowerHire.
Working for FlowerHire is a dream job and everything just fell into place. I was looking for a job because I was super burned out in the interpreting agency. While I loved the people I worked with, I knew I needed something else to grow my career in the direction I wanted it to go. I quit the job without having a backup plan, and I just knew something good would come.
I found a job posting at Headquarters for virtual assistants and decided to give it a try. In the first interview, they mentioned it was for FlowerHire, a cannabis recruiting agency. I didn’t even know cannabis recruitment agencies existed. But it was a job in cannabis, a foot in the door, and I knew it was for me.
I’ve been working at FlowerHire for over a year now and I’m super proud to be a part of the team. It’s like a family. I assist Samantha Harrington, our Director of Recruiting Operations. As the manager of operations, I work with data, reports, numbers, job postings, and everything involving operations and helping the team as needed.
We plan to start operations here in Mexico doing consulting and advisory as cannabis moves closer to legalization. The ball is starting to roll here, slowly, but it’s rolling.
What was the transition like? Are there any skills or experiences that supported you in getting into cannabis?
The transition was fantastic, actually. At first, I was amazed. In Mexico, cannabis isn’t even an industry yet.
Having prior experience in recruitment really developed my communication skills. It helped with my ability to talk to people, be outgoing, and always be curious about what other people have to say. Communication skills and understanding that I have a lot to learn from people are useful skills.
What’s the biggest difference between interpreting and cannabis?
The biggest difference is the amount of networking and the fast changes that are always happening. Cannabis is an industry that is actually having a positive impact on people’s lives.
Recruiting in the interpreting agency was very standardized. We hired people, we onboarded them, and we sent them to take calls. And that’s it. The communication was very one-sided. We told them the role, the steps to follow, and the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for how to do the job. If someone doesn’t do the job right, they get cut off, and someone else is found to do the job instead. There was a high turnover rate.
In cannabis, we’re making new connections every day, and we have to keep up with all the changes that are happening so fast. For example, there are regulations that apply in one state and not in other states. We’re also focused on supporting job candidates’ long-term success in a role.
What’s one thing that everyone coming into the cannabis industry should know before making the transition?
When you’re looking for a job, many people look for stability. Cannabis is an industry that changes all the time. In my first interview, I mentioned I wanted stability. My interviewer made it clear that cannabis is not stable because the industry is constantly evolving.
This was such an important thing for me to know right away. And it’s something that everyone looking to work in cannabis needs to know. Cannabis employees need to have the ability to keep up and be agile as the industry changes.
It’s essential to have patience and perseverance – and know that anything worth having takes work. Be consistent, make connections, and stay informed. Be curious and keep learning.
Where do you see your career go in cannabis?
I’m so excited to be involved in the Mexican cannabis industry from the very beginning. I’ve been making connections and getting ready for legalization. I want to lead FlowerHire in Mexico, and then maybe eventually Latin America.
The Mexican market is coming soon. Mexican investors, businessmen, investors, and politicians already want our services. This year, I hope we can start an advisory practice, and then eventually recruit.
I look forward to the Mexican cannabis industry catching up with the U.S. market. The U.S. is so much more developed with companies, cultivation facilities, procedures, and structures.
I would like to see the regulations change here too. You’re allowed to consume, but you’re not allowed to carry cannabis on you and could get arrested for it. It doesn’t make sense.
What are one or two things you’d like to see change in the Mexican cannabis industry?
The first thing is to have legalization here in Mexico. I want us to start working towards an industry like the one in the United States. Regulations here are tricky. We’re waiting on the government, but people are already making moves. We do have dispensaries in Mexico, but it’s only CBD and Delta-8 – to Delta-9 THC products.
Second, definitely decriminalization. In the U.S. there are people who are in jail for having just 10 grams of cannabis on them. I don’t think it’s fair that in some states people are free to consume, while in other states people have life sentences for the plant. It doesn’t resonate well with me at all.
I’d also love to see more women in the industry and more inclusivity.
Headquarters helps growing cannabis companies improve operational efficiency and reduce cost and is trusted by many leading cannabis companies. Michelle was connected with FlowerHire by Headquarters, and since working with her, FlowerHire’s operating efficiency has significantly increased.
Here are some of the other interesting and inspiring people you can meet in our Talent in Cannabis Profiles:
Amanda Reiman and her dedication to social change
Mike Gray and the importance of cannabis genetics
Otha Smith – renewable energy sales to cannabis entrepreneur
Herlena Harris – the winding path to cannabis
Cherissa Jackson – Matching cannabis products with DNA
Tiffany Garcia – From unregulated to the legal market