Innovator. Disrupter. Entrepreneur. Just a few of the words people use to describe Karen Stewart.

Karen has over 25 years of experience in founding and building businesses that are disruptive. Her endeavors have included: Financial Broker Dealers in IDA & MFDA, Boutique Brokerage Firms; Real Estate Investment Firms; Insurance Brokerage; and Fairway Divorce Solutions, a national Divorce Solutions Company, which has disrupted the traditional Divorce system in Canada. She is also the CEO of Trusted Brand 2016 Inc. (a public company) and Bumble Bees Venture Capital Inc., a disruptive Venture Capital Company.

She is a best-selling Author of “Clean Break”, a book disrupting the status quo of the divorce system.  Karen has made many media appearances discussing the effects of divorce in today’s society. These appearances include: The Globe and Mail, ABC Money Matters, Entrepreneur Magazine, PROFIT Magazine, More Magazine, Financial Times, BNN, USA Today, Reader’s Digest, CTV, Slice™ and Breakfast Television. Karen is also a featured blogger on Huffington Post Canada and Divorce Magazine. Karen is a sought-after speaker, known for her inspiring and informative presentations. She has spoken at Vancouver’s Annual Wellness Show, Edward School of Business, Victoria Breathe Now Conference and Canadian Institute of Financial Planners.  Karen was awarded the Woman of Vision Award in Calgary and PROFIT Magazine’s Top 100 Business Women.

We spoke with Karen about the importance of sustainability and investing in women, in cannabis and beyond.

Why are environmentally sustainable business practices essential to the future of the cannabis industry?

Sustainable business practices are central to the successes of the cannabis industry, especially considering the disruptive nature of this industry. Growers must apply the learnings of traditional agricultural and food service practices to advance the industry and maintain quality and credibility. The plant represents a feminine harmony with the environment, which provides a great platform to showcase “out of the box thinking” and female leadership. Given the industry and negative perceptions, quality control and outstanding business practices are necessary to the cannabis industry as growers establish their market share and build businesses that will last.

“Mary Janes: The Women of Weed” focuses on three core values: gender parity, social justice, and environmental sustainability. How do you incorporate these into your work and the growth of your business/organization?

Bumble Bees Venture Capital is a purpose focused venture capital firm: Putting Wealth & Financial Leadership in the Hands of Females.  Bumble Bees is offering female investors a platform to invest in companies that are strategically lead by women. There is an enormous amount of capital sitting in the hands of females in North America who have simply lost faith and do not trust the markets or market players and–quite frankly–rightly so. While Bumble Bees is not industry specific, we invest in companies that are in some way creating a new market and/or making the world a better place.  We are not prepared to hurt Mother Earth for mere profits or Egocentric Leadership.  Bumble Bees embraces similar core values in that we believe that the world will be a better place with more gender parity, particularly in leadership roles.  The core value of social justice speaks directly to our position against anti-corrupt public and private markets.  There is an under-representation of female investors in the investment community and we are on a mission to change that.  “In the U.S. Less than 10% of all U.S. fund managers are women; women exclusively run about 2% of the industry’s assets and open-end funds.” (Bloomberg, 2016). The time and opportunity is now.

 

Learn More about Karen and Bumble Bees VC on LinkedIn.

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