November 25, 2019 – Executive recruitment and talent advisory firm Protis Global is expanding its board practice to include a vertical focused on the placement of women board members, for new and existing clients. Samantha Ford, senior vice president of cannabis business development, will lead the initiative, while continuing to centralize her efforts around the cannabis industry.
The firm said that Ms. Ford, who is based in the San Francisco Bay area, will be the first recruiting professional to focus, specifically, on the placement of women board members within the cannabis industry.
“This is a natural segue for Samantha as she has built dynamic relationships with prominent women occupying executive roles, both, in cannabis and other traditional consumer packaged goods companies, both private and public, as well as, PE, venture capital and not-for-profit,” said Michael Bitar, partner and managing director of Protis Global. “Through these efforts, she has taken on searches for women board roles in the cannabis industry and has made numerous introductions to current clients of women leaders (with both cannabis and non-cannabis backgrounds) who are interested in board/advisory opportunities.”
Ms. Ford said that company boards should reflect the communities that they serve by bringing diversity and inclusion into the boardroom. “Within the cannabis industry, a number of leaders have taken the charge putting women on their boards; Acreage, Tilray, iAnthus and Caliva, are just a few,” she said. “I’m encouraged by the interest of many of the CEOs I’ve been talking to in cannabis who are excited by my new initiative and have conveyed a strong interest in adding women to their board.”
A Vital Resource
Earlier this year Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown signed California Senate Bill 826, which requires California-based, publicly held companies to have a minimum of one woman on their boards of directors, by the end of 2019. “By the end of July 2021, companies have to have at least two women on boards of five members and at least three women on boards with six or more,” said Ms. Ford. “I aim to be a vital resource for these companies, helping them increase their female representation.”
Another initiative that Ms. Ford founded and is building out is a group, Women Leaders in Cannabis (WLC), based in San Francisco. The mission of the group is to bring together founders, investors and other industry professionals, said Protis Global. Through its vast network of connections, WLC is looking to connect and introduce each other to partnership opportunities, funding, and potential acquisitions.
Protis Global, founded in 1995, is headquartered in Miami. Its specialties include consumer package goods, banking recruitment, global food and beverage, cannabis, hospitality, fast moving consumer goods, adult beverage, talent attraction, employer branding.
Last month, in looking to expand its reach into the booming wellness space, Protis Global brought aboard James Meder, founder of training facility Fast Twitch, as a health and wellness specialist and senior business developer.
A strong network of contacts and relationships allow Mr. Meder to bring a robust set of connectivity, skills and knowledge to Protis Global’s client partnerships in the wellness space, said the firm. Mr. Meder has been working closely with Protis Global’s marketing, and data and analytics teams to engage the wellness space in a strategic manner which incorporates metrics and outreach tracking to help mitigate procedural bottlenecks and mechanize his business development process overall.
Mr. Meder has a proven track record for growing and developing a brand as well as developing the people within the organization. Prior to joining Protis Global, he founded a comprehensive performance facility which he grew to seven facilities across three states. Through this company, he was able to garner, develop and maintain a robust Under Armour Elite Training facility partnership as well as train NFL, NHL, MLB and NBA athletes. He has hired and trained over 100 coaches throughout the duration of his company’s growth.
Mr. Meder said that he has known Protis Global’s founder and CEO, Bert Miller, for some time and has relied on him for advice during several key moments as Mr. Meder scaled his business in the past.
This spring, Mr. Miller, through control of MRI Network Holdings, acquired Management Recruiters International Inc. (MRI) from CDI Holding Co. LLC, an affiliate of CDI Corp. and a portfolio company of AE Industrial Partners LP.
“Protis Global has been a member of MRINetwork since 1995, and today is one of its 10 largest members,” said Mr. Miller. “I understand intimately the challenges faced by independent search and recruitment firms in our rapidly changing industry.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media