Cannabis Podcast The Hemp Revolution

Shauna Levy: Leading the Charge to Legalize Consumption Lounges in Canada

Episode 93 - Shauna Levy

Shauna Levy is a respected Canadian cultural visionary who helped establish Toronto as an internationally recognized destination for design excellence.

She was the President and CEO of the celebrated arts and design hub, Design Exchange (DX), co-founded the internationally acclaimed Interior Design Show (IDS), North America’s largest contemporary design fair.

Her journey was always about making things accessible to a broader market, democratizing, building something, and putting Toronto on a platform. So, when her former board director at Design Exchange, Lorne Gertner, invited her to work with him in the cannabis world, it made total sense.

Shauna’s passion for creating a sophisticated, normalized cannabis culture is the inspiration behind ByMinistry, an experiential lifestyle brand with the mission of shifting the perceptions around cannabis and becoming the global epicenter and culture authority in a world.

She’s also has been leading the charge to advocate and encourage the government of Canada to legislate cannabis consumption spaces.

Here to share her skill sets and knowledge of the industry and to tell a little story about how she is creating change through cannabis, is no other than Ms. Shauna Levy. Let’s hear it.

The day that those types of products are accessible, I’ll feel like I have done a good job of helping to redesign and redefine what the industry is and really be able to help people on a much broader scale. – Shauna Levy

Download The Episode Companion For This Episode

Some Topics We Discussed Include

4:05 – Shauna shares a little bit about herself and how she got into the canna-boom
11:57 – The specific problems they want to solve when they started the company and some of the most significant barriers that they came across with
31:37 – A higher purpose that they want to accomplish
33:19 – What she hopes, as a woman, to represent to in the industry
37:13 – Connect with Shauna Levy
39:00 – Final words

People Mentioned / Resources

Connect with Shauna Levy

Connect with Sonia Gomez


Sonia Gomez: What’s up, guys? Sonia Gomez, coming to you from Denver, Colorado, super excited to be here on another rockstar episode of The Hemp Revolution Podcast, where we are sharing and telling the real story of the cannabis industry from the eyes of the entrepreneurs and innovators who are pushing us forward. If you are a person looking for products that you can depend on to deliver the results you’re looking for, check us out at for some of our favorite picks. 

And if you are a budding entrepreneur or business owner looking to break through the glass ceilings, avoid any of the many pitfalls or cracking through the brick walls that this industry presents have no fear we are here. Check us out at we are happy to help get you connected to the resources and relationships you need for merchant processing, manufacturing stable supply chain fulfillment, compliance, and any of the other things that you could possibly need to set seed. 

As you know it is our mission to empower you with the truth about cannabis and hemp so that you can make empowered educated decisions about how you want to care for yourself. The people that you love and the conditions that you may be suffering from. No opinion is better than the incredible people who are fighting this good fight every single day so that you have safe and legal access to this remarkable plant medicine. 

I will say that it is a combination of multiple things that will help you ultimately achieve the balance that you’re looking for. And no one knows better than our guest today, Miss Shauna Levy, who is the CEO of ByMinistry. ByMinistry is an experiential lifestyle brand with the mission of shifting the perceptions around cannabis and becoming the global epicenter and culture authority in a world where cannabis is integrated into everyday life. 

The flagship property will open in Toronto in 2020, alongside multiple pre-opening experiences and properties. She also has plans to expand across North America over the next five years. As the CEO of ByMinistry, Shauna is determined to elevate perceptions and normalize the conversation and cannabis culture. She’s working with the government and leading the charge to legalize consumption lounges in Canada. She is a passionate advocate for creating sophisticated cannabis experiences that are seamlessly integrated into everyday life. 

Shauna is respected as a Canadian culture visionary, who in her former roles, including being the president and CEO of Design Exchange or DX. Helped establish Toronto as an internationally recognized hub for design excellence, innovation, and creativity. Here to bring her skill sets and knowledge of the industry and to tell a little story about how she is creating change through cannabis in Canada, helped me welcome my good friend Shauna Levy. What’s going on Shauna, how’s it going? 

Shauna Levy: Wow, that’s an intro. Thank you. 

Sonia Gomez: You are welcome. Not difficult to make you look and feel [inaudible] because you are my dear. Why don’t you like a dirty– I know what I love about you. But why don’t you share a little bit about who you are, what your background is, and how you got in the cannabis boom with our audience who may not know as much about how incredible you are?

Shauna’s Background and Transition to the Canna-Boom

Shauna Levy: Oh, thank you. That’s very kind. So, my background is primarily in the design world, not as a designer per se, but more as someone who promoted and marketed design and really helped to establish Toronto as a destination for design. My first project of my first business was, I co-founded an event called The Interior Design Show or IDs, which is North America’s largest design fair, now owned by one of the largest exhibitions, the largest exhibition producers in the world. 

And so we created this event where people had an opportunity to see what was going on in the market. It was at a time when design was just becoming a household word, and people were starting to decorate design your home, the beginning of people watching decor TV shows, decor magazines coming out. And so we created this unprecedented event for people to actually have access to that product directly, as opposed to having to be wealthy and go through designers and architects so democratizing the world of design. 

And we built that up. And it was a very exciting experience, and exciting to see how it impacted the city. And I recall the days of going to the Milan fair, which is the most important design fair in the calendar year and walking into these huge, hundred thousand square foot booths. And trying to not only sell the show to the global furniture manufacturers but just sell Toronto. I mean, nobody even knew where Toronto was. 

And so it was really a struggle in a sense, but it was very rewarding because now Toronto was one [00:05:59 unintelligible] Design Center. From there, I was approached by Design Exchange, which is Canada’s Design Museum. And I was brought on to give it a public face. And I really enjoy building things and creating moments for the public to become excited and inspired, learn new things. 

And so that was an exciting opportunity for me to be able to talk about design not just in terms of luxury, but also in terms of how it can make your day better overall. Because when you think about it, from the moment you wake up. From your toothbrush to the moment you go to bed, every item that you’ve used, or whether it’s a bicycle or a bus or a vehicle or your notebook or your eye gadget, everything has been designed by someone and so, to be able to tell that story was quite exciting. 

And I had the opportunity to work with Pharrell Williams, who guest curated a show for us called This Is Not a Toy by that was all about urban vinyl designer toy so that was a really exciting moment. And what that shows it really was a blend of what you would call high culture or highbrow culture with what some people might call lowbrow culture. Personally, I don’t differentiate. And that was really what the show was all about is how street art or street design is very much the same as can be the same as high design. 

And certainly, we’re seeing that now in fashion, in terms of the emerging of streetwear and street fashion with high fashion. Some of my Virgil Abloh, for example, really has brought those two worlds together in a really seamless, beautiful way. And the prices that his running shoes go in the aftermarket, so definitely a testament to that too. 

And so, I also brought in the Christian Louboutin Exhibition, of course, the red cold shoe [00:07:57 unintelligible] Museum in North America brought it in, and then one of my most exciting moments for me was working with United Nations, looking at how design can make the world a better place. And so we centered the events around the Sustainable Development Goals. I looked at issues around health and education, food, and how we are designing cities and homes in light of making the world a better place and accessible for all people. 

So if I look back and I look at my journey, to me, it was always about making things accessible to a broader market. It was always about democratizing. it was always about building something. It was always about putting Toronto on a platform. And so when one of my former board directors Lorne Gertner, from the design exchange approached me to come to join him to work in the cannabis world and create this cultural lifestyle moment for the cannabis world. To me, it made total sense. 

Lorne has been in the cannabis world for many, many years. He was one of the very first in Canada to be investing in cannabis, and one of the very first medical grower licenses. He co-founded Tokyo Smoke which is a very significant brand in the cannabis space that was purchased by Canopy. So I knew I was joining someone who had the knowledge that I might not have had at that moment. I knew what I was bringing to the table but it was really important that the person that I was coming to work with had the cannabis knowledge and as a result, in the last year, I’ve learned a tremendous amount from him and from the other people on my team and who I work with. So that’s how I came to this moment. Did you want me to talk about ByMinistry now or another question in the interim?

Sonia Gomez: Girl, I have so many questions. First of all, congratulations and how amazing. Are you my spirit animal like every– I love design. I love fashion. I was in the beauty industry for like 10 years before. That was what I used to– That’s what I did all the time with the Paul Mitchell organization. I did makeup and hair and I was the African American hair care specialist. So design, anesthetics and experience and creating ways for people to interact in a community’s culture, how they look and feel and what their new environment looks like and feels like and what how that contributes to their overall experience and memory. I’m all about that so I love the work. 

I’m super aware of the work that you did in Toronto, which is so, so cool for Al Williams is like somebody that I really, really admire for how he’s bridging cultures. He actually discovered one of my favorite artists, Maggie Rogers. And so I just love all names mentioned and the work that you’ve done. So that’s incredible. 

Shauna Levy: Thank you.

Sonia Gomez: I definitely want to ask you about your business. But I think before we get into your business, there was a specific problem that you guys wanted to solve and knowing that you guys are in this industry, whether you’re in Canada, we were heavy participators in the legalization up there and throughout the country as well, many, many trials and tribulations, many restrictions, many things that could prevent someone like yourself and into being successful or making the kind of impact let alone income that you need or want to make so that you can continue to do incredible work in the world and enjoy your life. Before starting your company or whilst starting the company. What were some of the biggest roadblocks that you guys came across, and what was the specific problem that you wanted to solve when you started ByMinistry?

Problems They Want to Solve and Some of the Most Significant Barriers

Shauna Levy: So, I mean, I was fortunate that Lorne when [00:12:15 inaudible] approached me, he had already raised significant or sufficient revenue and money to be able to launch it. It was at the time, it was right after he had sold Tokyo Smoke and it was still at the time when the industry was quite strong and the market was quite strong. So the challenges that people are facing now in terms of raising funds, we didn’t have those challenges, and those challenges though I know I’m fully aware exists now. 

What was challenging and what remains challenging is, and we talked about this every day is how incredible it was that Canada was the first out I mean other than Herbalife Of course, to legalize but yet at the same time, it’s been so clunky. And it was almost like we’re gonna pass it through, it’s gonna help us win the election, people want it. But then there wasn’t enough thought given to how to roll it out. And I think that there was, not everyone agrees with me. But I think that there was also a really a fairly myopic view of what the cannabis industry is or what it can be. 

What I mean by that is that there are people who have been cannabis users for many, many years. But then there’s a whole community of people or whole psychographics of people who’ve never used cannabis. And not just because it wasn’t legal, but just because maybe they don’t want to smoke or they have a different idea of how they want to live their day. And so, for us, it’s really about getting those people how do we communicate with those people and to communicate with those people we need to be able to do certain things like be able to market and brand products. Be able to have edibles that are really delicious and may like organic ingredients and are beautifully made. Like being able to have a space that’s really beautifully designed and be able to serve beautiful food. 

I mean there are all these things that we need to do or be able to buy really amazing, effective anti-aging skincare or topicals and so forth for various other health conditions that we just simply can’t sell in this market yet. And coming from the design world, brand and design is so important to me. And there’s nothing like walking into a really well-designed shop or going on to a great website and seeing beautiful packaging. I mean your battles [00:14:59 unintelligible] like their packaging is beautiful. And so we can’t do that in the cannabis world. So we have to be in Canada. So we have to be very, very creative about how we get our message across and how we communicate with people. 

So that definitely is a challenge that existed then, continues to be a challenge now. And from what, even a conversation, I learned in a conversation this morning, a challenge that might not be easily solved in the very near future either. So that to me is definitely one of the biggest challenges out there. 

Sonia Gomez: Yes. I would have to agree. I think that it’s still really difficult. The consumer doesn’t know what they don’t know and the business owner is moving so fast. And this is a lot of why we moved our brick and mortar business into the online form because we recognize that how companies were innovating was far faster than how the consumer was absorbing the information or ultimately being overwhelmed by their options? And I think–

Shauna Levy: So, think, sorry, go ahead. 

Sonia Gomez: That’s okay. I was just gonna say I think that it’s so super important that companies like just take a moment to stop and think about, who are they serving and what problem are they solving? And how do they craft a message, their mission, their packaging, and the conversation that they’re having with their community? How do you craft all of that stuff to be cohesive and look and feel and messaging so that your marketing is ultimately effective in capturing and connecting with a customer base that you want to serve? And I think so many folks were just anxious to get something out there that they skipped right over the thought process on like, Who are we serving and what problem are we solving what’s our graphic? Like you’re not going to sell bohemian pillows to somebody who likes some clean modern design. Do you know what I mean? 

Shauna Levy: Yes. 

Sonia Gomez: Like, it’s just gonna be a crossover. So I’d love to hear from your perspective when putting together ByMinistry, what was some of the thought process that you guys put in? And why did you go for a lifestyle integrative sort of brand culture rather than creating products or services that would solve “pain?”

Shauna Levy: So I wouldn’t say the two are mutually exclusive. I would say that they do overlap. And I’ll explain that in a minute. But I think that the challenge would be to just stay in the retail landscape in Canada. To your point, what I think happened was, growers went out and so producers went out and said, people just want, people want to get high. They want the highest THC they can get, as opposed to saying, Well, you know, there’s a demographic or psychographic of people out there, they don’t want to get super stoned. They just want to feel good or they have anxiety so they want to be relaxed. 

Or this is a woman who just worked 12 hour day, has to come home and make dinner for her kids and deal with all kinds of other issues with her parents and god knows what else and just want to relax. Doesn’t want a glass of wine because she doesn’t want what it’s doing– [00:18:22 unintelligible] screw around with her liver, doesn’t want to screw around with her weight, she wants to settle down and have a nice quiet evening. 

There’s a really a lot for that person out there in the legal market currently and so that to me is a big challenge. And so when we started to look at ByMinistry for us, it was really about that your life shouldn’t have to change to accommodate cannabis or cannabis should accommodate your lifestyle. So just like in any other consumer packaged goods product, if you ought to any products like whether it’s clothing or perfume, you’re going to find a range of products that appeal to different psychographics and different intro. 

And it’s the same thing in cannabis we’re seeing the differentiation of market. We’re seeing the growth and the evolution of the market. So it’s not just about buying a bag of flour, but it’s about all kinds of other delivery systems, whether it’s edibles or topicals, and so forth. And so we felt that on-site consumption was something that we wanted to really dig our heels into because we felt that was an opportunity to create an experience around cannabis. 

And when people think about on-site consumption, they think about the limited experience they’ve had, which is generally Amsterdam coffee shop. And which to me, again, is not really my thing. I mean, I get it, and maybe we’ll find an Amsterdam like I’ll go to for fun, but it wouldn’t be a place that I’d hang out all the time. And so if I wanted a place where I could consume cannabis, I want to place a space that was designed by a great architect. I want food by one of the best shops. I want a mixologist making cannabis drinks that are award-winning mixologist and want great music. I want the kind of vibe that I look for in a restaurant or in a retail environment or in another type of experience. 

And we know that the retail market is going in the way of experience we know it isn’t just about buying products, we know it’s about offering experience. So if you’re going to sell a product, we should really have experience there and experience that speaks to a psychographic and these are not currently being matched in the cannabis market. And so ByMinistry at its core is really a non-tech consumption brand, which when legal will be opening on-site consumption lounges, but in the interim, we’re taking a bit of a Trojan horse approach where we’re really honing in on adaptogens and superfoods and health and wellness. 

And so the focus really for us is cannabis to us is really just like another adaptogen or philosophy rather it’s really cannabis is like any other adaptogen with superfood quality. So if you’re going to put some spirulina or Chas are Lion’s Mane in your city in the morning, why wouldn’t you put a little bit of CBD or THC in it to give yourself a boost or the show or whatever effect it is that you’re hoping to have. 

Cannabis is like any other adaptogen with superfood quality. - Shauna Levy Click To Tweet

And so, so that’s really the concept is that we’re starting with this plant-forward kind of approach. We’re opening up a matcha bar at the end of the month here in Toronto. It’s a very speakeasy kind of approach and lianoid behind a building designed like a high high high design. Inserting a whole range of infused smoothies and lattes and pastries and so forth, but not infused with cannabis. It’s infused with different types of adaptogenic superfoods one day, we hope that we’ll be able to infuse with cannabis but right now it’s not legal.

Sonia Gomez: I am so excited. Like I cannot tell you I completely share your sentiment around seeing and hearing of all of these like dodgy sort of consumption lounges or like when I see it or research it on the internet or I’m invited to go and I actually take them up on the invitation. I get there and I’m like, I have not been in a place like this since I was 16 years old [00:22:34 inaudible] Like somebody get me out of here. If one more person offers me a cheap goddamn Martini I’m gonna go. [00:22:42 inaudible] 

One of two experiences that I’m looking for in a consumption lounge, daytime is like I want to be able to go in, have a great cup of coffee or a tea or matcha or like a boba tea, have a cozy place to like have a business meeting, be able to vape or smoke or have my array of things that I’d like to get while I’m there and enjoy and sit and stay awhile. In the evening time though, I want to have like my posh dress with my sequined jacket, my great pair of shoes, and a handbag that somebody’s like, Oh my God, your bag is so cute. And my hair is on fleek. And I’m like single ready to mingle type vibe. Do you know what I mean? Like, great energy, great music, not too overbearing, chill and a good environment. Like, meet a group of girlfriends who are sophisticated and can have a great drink and enjoy some cannabis too, you know?

Shauna Levy: Yes, yes. Yes. I mean, that’s really the idea is creating this kind of experience that is unprecedented and approachable but, you alluded earlier too, is there a religious context to the background to the ministry. And it’s really, it’s more about, we’re hoping to be the source for education or your guide through the cannabis world, a trusted friend or trusted resource in terms of experimenting and trying new things in Canada. And again, we’re looking at it from the edibles perspective, from the beverage perspective. I mean, it’s really looking at new delivery systems versus smoking, for example. Yes, and anyway, and so far, it’s been an exciting journey, and the response has been really supportive. 

And this weekend, we’re actually launching a series of– we’re launching our culinary division. So we’ll be offering cooking classes and cooking workshops, and Chef talks and we’ve hired the chef from a chain here called The Drake, which is Drake Properties, which is a pretty famous chain of hotels and very boutiquey high design hotels and restaurants. And so he’s joined our team to develop our culinary program. And so he’ll be leading those the cooking lab and the cooking courses. And then we’re also doing infused catering. And so we’re launching a series of infused dinner this weekend. So we’re opening ourselves up to the world in only a couple of days. So exciting moments. 

Sonia Gomez: Oh my gosh, so much to celebrate. I can get my invitation in the mail for the opening. Sorry, not sorry for the shameless plug.

Shauna Levy: Of course, you’re on the list.

Sonia Gomez: I need to be on that list. Okay, I’m coming cameras and toes, gonna be so fabulous. Congratulations. I’m so excited. 

Shauna Levy: Thank you.

Sonia Gomez: Are you guys gonna be doing like educational events? Where you have like many speakers or creating like a media hub for folks to be a little bit about how you’re going to pull in the community to your [unintelligible]? 

Shauna Levy: So we’ve brought on board a nutritionist, as well as a cannabis chef. I mean, Ted is working in cannabis as well, but someone else is working in cannabis cooking for a long time. And we’re partnering with a bunch of other businesses in town–yoga and meditation centers and other businesses that have a health and wellness focus. And we’re curating a series of workshops that will happen on a monthly basis throughout the city. Until we have our main larger location, we’ll be doing them in a pop-up format with different partners, but eventually they’ll all be taking place in one location. But again, the idea is really and as I was saying earlier, education is really the big piece here. 

I recently did a– I was invited to a lady lunch before the holidays as a fundraiser and I gave away– I had a friend– anyway, long story but I gave away these candies that were infused with CBD and beautifully crafted, beautifully made chocolates that were CBD-infused. And after I left, I had to leave early, and I picked one of the women what happened like was like these ladies take them or when they’re like turned left behind because I wasn’t sure how they would respond and she said, “Oh my god, Shauna, people couldn’t get enough. Everyone was trying to steal everybody else’s.” So I think that there’s like this, like hunger for product and hunger for knowledge about cannabis, especially, I would say for like the 45+ demographic, because they just don’t know what’s out there. They don’t know how it will impact them. And for everybody, it’s different and as we know for the same person on two different days, the answer the effect can be different. So a lot of education is required. And so we feel that that’s a very important piece of what we should be offering.

Sonia Gomez: Amazing. Well, it sounds like there are just so many different ways that we can continuously work together. These are the exact type of things and as far as how the industry is innovating on a global scale that I love to highlight because cannabis is truly becoming a mainstream conversation. And for me, it’s important that we have informed conversations and are providing education that allows the everyday Joe to have an empowered, educated, informed conversation so that cannabis starts to remove itself from the stigma that has plagued in our industry and this plant medicine for so many generations, and we really move into the future with accuracy and fact-based education that’s not so stark and cold that it’s only designed for medical people but didn’t really have like an everyday conversation that makes us feel confident and comfortable to view and use cannabis as a part of ou recreation or light or healthy lifestyle and maintenance, as well as an effective management tool, first symptoms associated with any of these chronic illnesses or ailments. 

Shauna Levy: Yes and I mean, all the research is showing that the big opportunity for cannabis is actually in the middle of medical and recreational. It’s actually in the health and wellness space and so that’s where my frustration lies because, in terms of government legislation in Canada, the health and wellness piece is not being addressed.

All the research is showing that the big opportunity for cannabis is actually in the middle of medical and recreational. - Shauna Levy Click To Tweet

Because right now, currently, if you have a medical prescription, then you can order your cannabis online, which is fine. But if you want to take it for, if you get anxiety or headaches or preventional, cramps or you want to take it for any of those things, it’s not really quite medical, but it is health and wellness. But what are you doing? You’re going into a dispensary and talking to a budtender about your menstrual crown. It doesn’t make sense.

Sonia Gomez: [00:30:42 unintelligible]

Shauna Levy: Exactly. It doesn’t make sense. That’s what I was saying earlier about this sort of myopic view of what cannabis is, but I don’t think that people are understanding the huge opportunity that cannabis actually has and that it isn’t just about getting stoned and high and while you There’s a market for that. And yes, there is interest in that and there’s a place for that, that isn’t the only opportunity for it. And so my hope is that things will change fast so that we can get access to those kinds of products. And a lot easier than we currently are.

Sonia Gomez: Amazing. What is your higher mission like when creating the business, recognizing the opportunity, integrating the things that you love, into a new and exciting industry? All incredible. What is the higher purpose or higher mission for you and your partners to accomplish that when you look back in 12 months, or when you look back in three years, you can say, Wow, we’ve really made some headway and I’m so excited that we’re well on our way to accomplishing this?

A Higher Purpose That They Want to Accomplish

Shauna Levy: What I think it is, as I was saying earlier, it’s about normalization, destigmatization. It’s Understanding but there is a whole other world that cannabis is helpful for, there’s a need for it, that it isn’t just about Seth Rogen and [00:32:28 unintelligible] I mean, there’s more to it than that–topicals, beauty products and there are so many things that it can help with and that I’m hoping that all of that will become normalized and much more easily accessible than it currently is. That to me, I mean, the day that those types of products are accessible, I’ll feel like I have done a good job of helping to redesign and redefine what the industry is and really be able to help people in a much broader scale.

Sonia Gomez: Amazing, I love that. Another question that I had for you being a woman business owner in this space, and this is a lot of my focus, I think that women are a minority in the industry and we’re certainly still earning our respect as far as being partnered or higher level in the executive teams. For you as a women entrepreneur in the cannabis industry in this incredible, innovative time that we are, at the very cusp of the wave or the very front of the wave right now still, what as a woman do you hope to represent or inspire in other women who could be standing by and looking to integrate their skill sets or participate in the growth of a brand or as in the industry as a whole?

What Shauna Hopes to Represent as a Woman in This Industry

Shauna Levy: So I would say that, unfortunately, cannabis isn’t unique in that way, and women are still battling for seats around the table, around the boardroom table in most industries. and the reason we’re seeing in cannabis is because so many people came from the finance world, and that industry is so heavily dominated by men. And the access to capital is so much more dominated by men than then than there are opportunities for women. And so, that unfortunately, is still continuing. My hope is just that women will continue to accept the challenge and fight for what they want, but I look at the industry. 

My hope is just that women will continue to accept the challenge and fight for what they want. - Shauna Levy Click To Tweet

I was very fortunate in my career and that I was never really subjected to the challenges of working in male-dominated offices or industries because I worked in a female-dominated industry as being in culture design. And this is my first time actually wear it in boardrooms and in meetings, and I’m the only woman at the table and you have to lean in. I mean, Sheryl Sandberg wasn’t wrong about the value you have to lean in and you have to say what you want to say. And you have to speak your mind. And you can’t defer. You just got to do what you got to just take a deep breath and just fucking do it.

Sonia Gomez: Just scroll. You hear that ladies just fucking do it. Grow a pair and get out there.

Shauna Levy: You know what, at the end of the day, who’s going to do it for you? Yes, I understand that mentorship and certainly– I mean, I spent a lot of time with other women and talking to other younger women about their careers and trying to help them navigate whatever obstacles they were being confronted with. But at the end of the day, you just have to do it. 

My first job when I was 17 years old, my father told me I have a job because I want to make long-distance phone calls to my boyfriend in California and those days long distance calls are expensive. And so if you want to use a phone, you better go find a job. And I was like, damn. And so I went and I ironically got a job doing phone surveys. And I called up people and say hi Is this the woman of the house and would ask her questions about feminine protection products. And so I heard the word no, over and over and over again. People hanging up on me saying all kinds of rude shit. But you know what, it was one of the best lessons I ever had because it taught me to grow a thick skin. It taught me not to be afraid. It taught me to pick up the phone and it just taught me to push. It taught me to be able to walk into a 100,000 square foot booth in the middle of Milan and speak my mind. It taught me how to push for money for culture in front of government politicians. It taught me how to go up to socialize at cocktail parties and ask them for their time. It taught me how to raise money. It taught me all of those things. So at the end of the day, You have to just push yourself you have to just do it.

Sonia Gomez: Such great words of wisdom. I was actually gonna ask you what are your words of wisdom for [00:37:00 unintelligible] but you just dish it out on a silver platter. If folks want to follow you and your journey and what you’re doing and when you’re doing it or potentially buy a ticket to any of these incredible events or venues that you are opening, where can they find you and how can they be a part of what you’re doing?

Connect with Shauna Levy

Shauna Levy: Hmm. So they can follow us on Instagram @ByMinistry. They can follow which is the same handle on Twitter. And then for me personally, on Twitter I’m Shaunalevy and on Instagram I’m @shaunalevy18

Sonia Gomez: Amazing for those of you guys who are tuning in, I know that that rock your socks, and I’m over here what on my, we got a snail trail hopping. I’m so about the stuff that I never get to talk about like fashion and lifestyle and beauty and like of all the things that make the world go round. Don’t even think twice that you don’t look in the mirror a minimum of six times on your way out the door and when your come over you’re not self-conscious about your fucking baby stained couch. So, I love that you’re bringing the elegance and eloquence that high society has to a mainstream industry and really helping to bridge the gap between the sophistication and the excitement that cannabis brings. 

So I’m super excited to watch and celebrate success. As I mentioned before, really excited. I’ll be checking the mail daily for my invitation. And I think you guys are just going to do so incredible. And I’m really excited to see some of the US locations opening up in Denver, New York, LA, Chicago, and all of the other cool places that there are to visit here. What are some final words that you have to share with us before we end today’s interview? 

Final Words

Shauna Levy: Oh, my. I was hoping you were gonna ask me about what I’m most excited about reading these days. And I was just going to say that the one thing– I’ll I guess I’ll leave it with a podcast that many out there are probably familiar with as well, another one but that is a good one to listen to as well as NPR is how I built this. And that’s all interviews with CEOs and how CEOs from a whole range of industries have built their companies. What I love about that is being able to take their learnings and then look at and analyze how to adapt those learnings to the cannabis industry. 

So one of my favorites is actually Soulcycle. So I recommend everyone go to founders of Soulcycle because there’s a lot of really great learning even little small things that you think are insignificant that actually can make or break a business. So I would say, it’s great to hear about what other people are doing. And I’m excited to be in the industry. And I really appreciate you giving me this time because it’s been fun. And if it weren’t for people like you, people wouldn’t really know as much as they do know. And the industry really needs people like you. So thank you for what you do.

Sonia Gomez: Thank you for what you do. You guys make my job easy. This is like my favorite thing. And I absolutely love that podcast and there are a few others that I listened to all the time. So definitely go and check that out. All of the social media handles and websites mentioned are also going to be posted here around this interview and in the blog along with show notes, tweetable, and all of the other show highlights that we mentioned from today, so make sure that you check that out. 

And for those of you who are tuning in, I just want to express my gratitude to you guys for being a part of this incredible community and reminding you that because you have liked and shared content like this with your friends and family and community we’ve been able to impact hundreds of millions of people’s lives with our content and education. So I encourage you now to go ahead and like and share, make sure that you tag five people that you know are going to receive benefit from hearing interviews like this and getting in touch with folks like ourselves. 

This is a truly our mission to help empower you with the truth about cannabis and hemp so that you can make educated decisions about how you’re participating in the growth of the industry, how you are selecting and using products to care for yourself, the people that you love, conditions you may be suffering from, or otherwise caring for this beautiful gift of life that we all get to enjoy. If you’re someone looking for products or education on the brands and products that are available in the marketplace, check us out at for some of our favorite picks. And if you’re a budding entrepreneur or established business looking to break through the glass ceilings and brick walls, check us out at, we are happy to help. I’m your hostess with the mostess Sonia Gomez. And this is the Hamp revolution. We’ll see you on our next show, guys.

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