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The New Chardonnay

Business & Economics Podcasts

Author and former ABC New correspondent Heather Cabot features candid conversations with thought leaders about innovation, reinvention, grit and resilience. From cannabis to tech to fashion to food, Cabot goes behind the scenes with leading entrepreneurs striving to create "The New Chardonnay" and finds out what makes them tick.


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Author and former ABC New correspondent Heather Cabot features candid conversations with thought leaders about innovation, reinvention, grit and resilience. From cannabis to tech to fashion to food, Cabot goes behind the scenes with leading entrepreneurs striving to create "The New Chardonnay" and finds out what makes them tick.





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Akerna CEO Jessica Billingsley on Managing Risk

In 2010, Jessica Billingsley co-founded MJ Freeway, the company that paved the way for the modern cannabis industry to be regulated from "seed to sale." In 2019, MJFreeway was spun into a new venture called Akerna (KERN) and as part of a new SPAC became the first cannabis compliance technology company to list on the Nasdaq. Now as Akerna's Chairman and CEO, Billingsley is one of the few women to helm a publicly traded cannabis company. According to new research by Arcview and the National Cannabis Industry Association only 8% of CEO's in cannabis are female. The longtime entrepreneur who holds a degree in computer science and communications from University of Georgia sat down with Heather in late 2020 to talk about how she leveraged her tech background into cannabis at the dawn of the industry, the challenges she faced in the early days and her advice to up and coming female founders.


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What's Next for Bruce Linton? Hemp, Psychedelics and Michigan

Heather catches up with cannabis pioneer Bruce Linton, founder and former CEO of Canopy Growth (NYSE: CGC), and one of the stars of her new book, The New Chardonnay. On the eve of Election Day, Linton shares his thoughts about the future of cannabis in America as five states vote on legalization including New Jersey and Arizona; why he is excited about his investment in Michigan cannabis company Gage; his increasing affinity for the future of industrial hemp across the globe; why he's hot on psychedelics and cooled on the outlook for over the counter CBD.


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Hacking Record Expungement: Code For America and Cannabis

Throughout the 2020 election season, the debate over cannabis reform has shed light on the challenges facing people convicted of low-level cannabis crimes to clear their records as laws change. As you'll hear in this episode, these out of date and increasingly invalid local convictions can hinder individuals from securing employment, housing and even bar them from volunteering in their children's schools. Governors in states including, Colorado, Illinois, and Washington have begun to issue pardons. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer just signed new legislation to allow people with certain misdemeanor marijuana convictions to apply for expungement. In California, high tech is helping to quicken the pace of record clearing thanks to a band of civic-minded software engineers from the non-profit Code for America. This episode, Heather chats with Alia Toran-Burrell, senior manager of Code for America's Clear My Record program and meets an individual who recently learned his conviction has been erased and is now able to move on with his life.


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What's Christian About CBD? God's Greenery CEO Puts Faith in the Faithful

Michael Klein, founder and CEO of God's Greenery, an online Christian community dedicated to CBD and a new line of hemp-derived products featuring CBD, reveals his epiphany about the intersection of faith and the booming CBD industry. Heather finds out how the entertainment exec, with stints at Conde Nast, MTV and Sundance Channel, stumbled into the world of cannabis and CBD and why he thinks the 41 million Americans who identify as Christians are an untapped market for plant-based healing.


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Colorado Takes New Steps to Diversify Cannabis: Meet the Woman Behind It

As Colorado passes a new law to diversify its pot industry including pardons for low-level marijuana offenders, Heather sits down with cannabis executive and social justice activist Wanda James. James, the first Black dispensary owner in US and a former Democratic campaign strategist, has been advocating for racial justice in Colorado and beyond for more than a decade. Her fight is deeply personal. Colorado's move comes as former Vice President Joe Biden in his race for the White House, continues to refrain from endorsing marijuana legalization in his platform - instead emphasizing decriminalization. James shares her reaction and predictions for the road ahead.


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Race, Covid-19 and Cannabis: The CEO Fighting for Social Justice

An illuminating and emotional interview with medical cannabis executive and activist Dr. Chanda Macias. Macias, known as "Dr. Chanda," is the owner of two medical cannabis ventures, Ilera Holistic, a cultivation and manufacturing business in New Orleans, and National Holistic Healing Center medical dispensary in Washington, DC. She is the first African-American woman in the US to own a medical cannabis license and holds a Ph.D. in cellular and molecular biology from Howard University and an MBA from Rutgers. Dr Chanda, a mother of four children, also serves as CEO and chairwoman of the national women's networking organization, WomenGrow and also as first vice chair of the National Cannabis Roundtable. She spoke with Heather on May 5, 2020.


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Therapy On-Demand: The Entrepreneur Tackling Mental Health With Tech

With Americans reeling from the pandemic and the economic woes it has unleashed, public health officials fear a spike in depression, suicide, substance abuse and domestic violence. Serial entrepreneur Bea Arthur, a former domestic violence counselor, shares with Heather the vision for her latest startup, the on-demand therapy platform, The Difference ( Arthur reveals the backstory behind her latest company, the problem she wants it to solve and how it all started with a crisis of her own.


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Common Mission: Two Founders Discover New Purpose in The Pandemic

Heather sits down with Lisa Sun, CEO and founder of Gravitas New York @gravitasnewyork, an innovative and inclusive fashion brand and Jane Park, CEO and founder of Seattle-based Tokki, @tokkigifting, a modern gifting company that sells reusable fabric gift wrap. Sun and Park share the story of how they turned a crushing business crisis into an opportunity to help front line responders. The two longtime friends on opposite coasts had just launched a new partnership when the virus hit. With bolts of colorful fabric piled high in New York and a team of seamstresses who could work from home, they marshaled their resources to start producing cloth face masks for essential workers. They quickly launched a "buy a mask, donate a mask" initiative to fund donations of N95 respirator masks to hospitals and have so far produced 4000 cloth masks for the general public. Before COVID-19, Sun had dreams of putting on another runway show at New York Fashion Week and Park was looking forward to a successful year promoting her new eco-friendly gift wrap. The friends mourned their big plans for 2020 and yet, unexpectedly found new purpose by figuring out a way to help. (Disclosure: Heather is an angel investor in Gravitas New York).


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Two Tough Mothers: Garden Society's Cofounders Keep Pushing

The cofounders of cannabis lifestyle brand Garden Society have faced wildfires, a hundred year flood and weathered California's rocky transition from its medical to recreational marijuana market. Now Sonoma County-based CEO Erin Gore and CMO Karli Warner are coping with the impact of coronavirus and quickly adapting to the new realities of operating during the lockdown -- not to mention working from home as moms to young children. In our candid conversation, these scrappy entrepreneurs share how they are hustling, partnering with other women-owned brands, all while trying to stay sane and healthy on the home front. Cannabis may be designated "essential business" in California, but nothing is business as usual in the age of COVID-19.


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The New Chardonnay Premiere Episode

Heather Cabot introduces The New Chardonnay, a new interview show featuring leading edge thinkers and their stories of enterprise, innovation, grit and resilience. This premiere episode features Andrea Brooks, founder and CEO of Sava, a cannabis e-commerce and delivery service in the Bay Area. As San Francisco prepared to shelter-in-place, Brooks and other activists quickly mobilized to lobby the city to keep legal pot dispensaries open. The movement made waves across the state of California and the governor ultimately declared marijuana businesses "essential." As the pandemic evolved, other states where cannabis is legal also exempted medical marijuana (and recreational retailers in some locations) from local lockdowns. Brooks shares the back story of how it all happened, how the pandemic is reshaping the cannabis industry and her predictions for the future of America's most widely-used federally illegal substance.