Cristina St. Germain
Operations Manager, Grupo Flor
Tell us about Grupo Flor and your role?
I work for a vertically integrated cannabis company in the Salinas Valley as Operations Manager. At times, my role is to be the “operational oil” for the company where I ensure that projects run effectively, efficiently and map back to business objectives.
What was your very first introduction to the cannabis industry?
In 2011, I worked in an Aptos dispensary during the grey market medicinal years. It was definitely a learning experience. To this day, I'm most proud of the role I was able to play in helping the elderly and sick find comfort, or a solution, for their pain.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned since you’ve been in the industry?
TRUST. You have to trust who you work for, who you work with, and trust yourself. If you don't have trust, then it's time to change something. When I first started, I learned how to discern if someone/something was worth trusting and to trust my own experience, training, and skills in any endeavors.
What is your proudest moment since you’ve started down the path as a cannabis entrepreneur?
My proudest moments as a cannabis entrepreneur comes when I'm having a "cannabis conversation" with someone and they leave with a broadened understanding of the plant's multifaceted value. That's the ultimate feeling.
10 years ago, what did you think you’d be doing now?
Lawyer or Artist. I was always conflicted by my two As. The "Type A Go-Getter" and the "Type A-rtist". During school, I thought that I would fall into something I was good at, something I liked, or something in a totally different arena. At Grupo Flor, I have landed someplace that's on par with my earlier prediction.
How would you describe the cannabis industry in Monterey County?
It's definitely growing. Stores have opened left and right in the cities that allow cannabis within Monterey County, and consumers are starting to get a solid variety of product options stocked locally. It's exciting to see the job creation for our local community.
From your experience, are there similar traits that those working in the cannabis industry share?
I usually find that anyone in the cannabis industry has a passion for the pursuit of happiness. People have found the plant to be a path to that happiness.
How do you think people in the cannabis industry should think about the value of marketing and where should they focus their marketing budget?
Marketing is a straight connection to your audience. The internet and social media allow for brands and companies to reach out and converse with the culture and the industry. Everything in life is about connection, and marketing can act as a massive invitation to the world.
What is your advice for hopeful cannabis entrepreneurs?
Learn about the plant. Learn about business. And make friends, connect and network. Those are the three core elements of having a successful business.