What I Do: Women Grow

BY GAYLE JO CARTER February 25, 2019


An Aspire series exploring interesting women doing interesting work around the globe.

Who: Dr. Chanda Macias, acting CEO, Women Grow

What: “Besides serving as acting CEO, I am also the Chairwoman of Women Grow’s Board of Managers.” Women Grow was created to connect, educate, inspire and empower the next generation of cannabis industry leaders by creating programs, community and events for aspiring and current business executives. Founded in 2014 in Denver, Women Grow is a for-profit entity that serves as a catalyst for women to influence and succeed in the cannabis industry as the end of marijuana prohibition occurs on a national scale. 

Why: “I am a research scientist and earned my PhD in Cellular Biology from Howard University. I extensively studied cancer, including breast cancer and colon cancer, which evolved into developing a model to understand how the mechanism of prostate cancer metastasizes to bone. In 2007, I was the recipient of a Minority Health International Research Training grant from the NIH [National Institutes of Health] that allowed me to study for several months in Africa, where I studied malaria and ethnobotany [how people of a particular culture and region make use of indigenous (native) plants]. There, I learned how natural medicine was being used by local communities. This sparked my interest in plant medicine in general and the use of cannabis as medicine.”   

Where: “I am a woman who wears many hats.  Besides my work with Women Grow, I am also the CEO of National Holistic Healing Center (NHHC), the #1 medical cannabis dispensary in the Washington, D.C. area.  NHHC is an alternative healing center where patients are consulted regarding their specific needs with a recommended treatment plan. After long research and speaking with patients I created a CBD [a naturally occurring compound found in the resinous flower of cannabis] line of products that I will be rolling out nationwide. We have started with our tinctures [tinctures are a concentrated liquid herbal extract] and will announce new products before the end of first quarter. Last month, I closed on a partnership with my team and Southern University in Louisiana to launch the second cultivation facility in the state. In doing so, I became the President of Ilera Holistic Healthcare.

When: “24/7!  My work with Women Grow and NHHC, as well as being a wife and mother, means that sometimes the hours are long. But I feel lucky to be where I am in the cannabis space and enjoy interacting with patients and others whose lives have been positively impacted by the work that I do.”

How: “I am fortunate to have solid teams. It really is the key to success. The  National Holistic Healing Center team has been with me since 2015. They continue to have my back as we grow and expand our dispensary. In 2018, I took on the leadership role of Women Grow. Our headquarters team, from executive officers, directors, to our market leaders across the country are simply amazing. These ladies go above and beyond in bringing their best to this industry. I am proud to join them in this space.”

Best part about your job: “Seeing NHHC patients achieve true healing and have an improved quality of life and educating women and minority entrepreneurs.”

Worst part about your job: “Traveling and being away from my family is hard, but they are extremely supportive of this work.”

Chanda Macias | Photo Courtesy of Chanda Macias

Write to Gayle Carter


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