I was first introduced to Liesl through Benzinga, the business of doing canna-biz event held in Miami Beach. Our paths kept missing, not your fault Liesl- I know you made a massive effort on my behalf. The world is a much smaller place now that I’ve become acquainted with Liesl and her intriguing staffing agency. She possesses humility. She is forthright and richly ambitious. When you speak to her, her words flow in a cadence that shows me that she smiles when she speaks. Does anyone else do this? I doubt it. As quickly as our hour or so on the phone wooshed by, I left our call thirsty for more information to the success of her company, her future.
My life is better knowing that Liesl Bernard could help me, should I ever need her staffing services. Why? Personal touch, not a typical cookie-cutter approach.
Liesl focuses on cannabis, not on everything else in the world of staffing. This granular approach is the way I’d want to be treated, should that time ever reveal itself, back to the present tense. Liesl is the kind of person who is intensely pragmatic, yet she has the dimension missing from most creative minds. That is something that cannot be taught. It is her intuition. And it is innate and kind.
A trait not forgotten by myself. Thank you Liesl for showing your reverence to our plant.
Warren Bobrow=WB: Please tell me where you are from? Where you are now? Why cannabis? What was your path to the plant?
Liesl Bernard=LB: I was born in Pretoria, South Africa and I have been privileged to live in many parts of the world including Alaska, Washington State, Oregon, Australia, Singapore, Hawaii, and most recently La Jolla, California. The philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” To me that means living with intention. That seems to be particularly applicable to my own life and how I became so committed to the cannabis and CBD industries. While I definitely didn’t target this as a life goal when I was young, everything that I have done over the past three decades seems to have put me on a collision course with global executive search and staffing in cannabis.
“CannabizTeam & CannabizTemp teams”
I have always had the desire to be an entrepreneur and it all came together very unexpectedly in late 2015. At the time I was a single mother and senior executive leader at a large global executive search and staffing firm where I managed various business lines. When a cannabis company approached me to help them find a CFO, my then employer told me that I could not do work for clients in the cannabis industry. I saw the opportunity and jumped on it and the rest is now history. CannabizTeam is now the world’s largest executive search and staffing firm focused exclusively on the cannabis and CBD industries.
WB: We discussed on the phone your past, but what is your current state? Six- and twelve-month goals? Why cannabis?
LB: My current personal state is mostly one of appreciation and gratitude. Our business is growing rapidly, and I have an incredible team of recruiters that are very passionate about what we do. At the end of 2019 we expanded into the Midwest market with a Chicago-based office and just this past month we opened a Miami office. Our new CannabizTemp subsidiary just celebrated its 6-month anniversary and has succeeded beyond any of our expectations. On a broader level, I am so extremely blessed to work in a growing global industry where we genuinely help people improve their lives and companies improve their bottom line. For the next 6 to 12 months I expect both CannabizTeam and CannabizTemp to continue to expand rapidly. We are presenting at the London CBD show in the UK in May and are in discussions with potential partners to establish a UK/EU presence. I would also like to establish a CannabizTeam New York/New Jersey office by year end. We are keeping a close eye on cannabis legislation and the cannabis/CBD job markets in both states.
WB: What kind of obstacles do you face in your company? How have you accomplished what you have? Business acumen? B-School? Stigmas? How do you handle them? Please tell me about your company? What makes you the best at what you do?
LB: I am not sure if the success of CannabizTeam can be traced to any one factor. We’ve always been confident that we had a great business idea — best in class executive search and placement exclusively focused on the cannabis industry. My own experience over two decades of global executive search prior to founding CannabizTeam certainly has helped our team be prepared for many of the challenges in recruiting in this new industry. As with any successful business, I also would have to give much of the credit for our success to the amazing team of men and women that I get to work with every day at CannabizTeam and CannabizTemp. We emphasize to our clients on a daily basis that having the right management team and staff in place is critical for any successful venture. That applies to our business as well.
WB: Do you cook? If so, do you ever cook foods from your family past? What is your favorite thing to prepare? Favorite restaurant? Where? What kind of food?
LB: I love gourmet food, great wine and travel more than anything and have made a personal commitment to exploring a new country every year. I also love to be active and to do cycling trips for a lot of our travel. Some of the recent road cycling trips I’ve done recently include Portugal, Spain and Italy. It is always a fantastic experience to merge the local culture, food and great wine while exploring beautiful countryside villages in Europe. At home, we more and more love to cook creative dishes with fresh local produce. To me, one of the ultimate pleasures in life include sharing a wonderful view, a great meal and or delectable wine with someone you love.
WB: What is your passion?
LB: My passion in life is to cultivate an adventurous, open heart and to be more present and engaged with everyone with which I interact. My number one passion in business right now is to continue growing CannabizTeam. We have a great team of highly intelligent and engaged recruiters that find our clients exceptional talent for every role. We take great pride in placing professionals with not only the right experience and skill sets to a do a specific job, but that also people fit into each company’s unique culture. Our company motto is Aim Higher – which pretty much sums it all up!