Women to Watch: Lyndsey Martin
In 2016, Lyndsey Martin started gathering women in her home under a movement called the Red Tent. The Red Tent was a gathering of women in celebration of their femininity and their mood cycle; pulling on native american traditions of women in the tribes separating themselves from the men during their moon cycle in order to bond and share wisdom.
When getting involved with the cannabis industry in Missouri, Martin saw how close-knit the community really is and even saw competitive brands supporting each other, as well as growing and maintaining friendships. She saw the amazing women in powerful positions and was inspired to become more involved. Through the Red Tent, bringing women together seemingly creates magic and she wanted to bring that magic to the women she was building relationships with in the cannabis industry. Thus, the Green Tent was born in the back room of a Saint Louis wine bar in September of 2022.
The Green Tent is a networking event for women in the cannabis industry that currently takes place in Saint Louis and Kansas City. The event is structured as an open networking event with a panel discussion. The panel consists of women from all levels of the industry, budtender to founder. There have even been guest patients on the panel to offer their insight.
As the founder and sole organizer, Martin has a massive undertaking in organizing and executing the events and promotion. but she does so with the help and support of friends and loved ones.
“This has been such a beautiful thing to see. The event’s existence seemingly brings people together inadvertently, and the support I have received has been overwhelming and I am beyond grateful for everyone who has helped and attended. I have gained so much from them all.”
How did you get into cannabis?
In 2017, I visited a friend in California and spent the majority of my time there helping on a farm in Big Sur. I helped harvest and trim in the most beautiful forest I’ve ever visited. That experience gave me a taste of working with the plant. A year later, I was laid off from my corporate job and I took the opportunity to reset my life. I sold my house and most of my belongings and set off to travel and find a new life. I went to India for yoga training and then traveled around the US. I found a work-trade program that led me to Crestone, CO, a town of 138 at the foot of the western slope of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range in the San Luis Valley. In Crestone, I worked on a farm touching every process from seed to trim and even some seed sales. My goal was to learn how to make medicine. Having a background in herbalism, I knew of the benefits of cannabis and specifically RSO. I spent a couple more years finding my way. I landed back in California this time as a CrossFit coach but when COVID hit, financial challenges in California brought me back to the midwest where I have family.
In Missouri, I started attending expos and meeting people in the industry. I was offered a part time job as a brand ambassador with Midwest Canna Demos and also was able to help with some events which I soon found was my passion. I assisted with budtender appreciation parties and Blaze, the cannabis brand showcase to include the Pre-Conference VIP party. As I began to grow and connect within the industry I saw a need for a space for women to connect and the Green Tent came to life.
What is it like being a woman in your field?
Honestly, it’s great. The cannabis industry in Missouri has shifted and grown so quickly from my first experiences. I have never had a terrible experience to note but I do see an even more positive shift happening. There are so many intelligent, inspiring and successful women running cannabis companies here in Missouri. I believe that we have earned and gained the support of our male counterparts.
I find that at times we can expect unfair treatment in the presence of male leaders but it is our responsibility to not shrink to fit that dynamic. I am not saying that unfair treatment does not exist but we can choose one of 2 paths. We can stay in a mindset of a “victim” and cry out for justice or we can lead by example, work really hard and take our place at the table. If it’s a little more challenging than it should be, we still win because those challenges foster resilience, growth and mental fortitude which is needed in all areas of life anyway.
I will also say that being a woman can be challenging more so in the face of other women. The attributes of our femininity lend to care, compassion and nurturing which requires emotional sensitivity. When we are challenged, this sensitivity can come across in ways that lead to little dramas and make working together difficult. Experiences within this dynamic played a large role in my decision to start the Green Tent. I wanted to create a fun, safe space for women to come together to support one another rather than tear each other down. I also wanted to nurture, pamper and make my ladies feel seen, heard and special for who they are, women!
What if any challenges have you faced that you feel men in the industry don’t generally deal with?
It is difficult to say that any challenge is specific to women only. I have spent much of my life in male dominated industries. The Marine Corps to start; and then the finance and corporate healthcare industries. I have seen men and women alike experience the challenges I have faced. Nonetheless, I did experience sexual harassment (and assault). I also was not promoted for 6 of the 7 years I spent in the finance industry. Did that have to do with my being a woman or just poor leadership, it’s hard to know.
What is the mission statement of The Green Tent?
The mission of the Green Tent is to bring together women from all levels of the industry from budtender to CEO to learn from one another and also share resources. The goal of the event is networking but also education and open discussion about topics relevant to us as women in the Missouri cannabis industry.
What advice or encouragement would you give to other women in the cannabis industry?
Follow your heart and don’t give up. Try different things and don’t be afraid to go after the role you desire the most. It might take some patience but you will eventually get there. Above all, make connections. The more people you know, the easier it is to do your job and the easier it will be to find the role that you really want if you aren’t already in it. This industry is special, the relationships set it apart for me. I’ve never experienced a “work” community like this outside of the military. There is something to be said for “going through the trenches” together, it brings you closer. I think we all know what being in the trenches feels like now that we are in a recreational market. Also, come to the Green Tent and meet all these amazing ladies. You will walk away inspired, I promise.
What do you consider your greatest professional accomplishment?
I feel my greatest accomplishment has been leaving a career and a life that made me miserable in pursuit of passion. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life for a while but I knew it wasn’t sitting in a cubicle every day like a robot. I was not living and I am so grateful that I was able to figure that out and make a change. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, I just knew I wanted to help people. That was my jump off point and after that I had to dig into who I was in order to find out what I wanted to do. I went down a lot of paths and at times it felt like failures but in hindsight, I was gathering pieces to the puzzle and that part of the journey was a lot of fun. My cliche advice would be to understand that you don’t have to have it all figured out right now. We have to be equipped with the knowledge and experience to actually execute a career and life filled with passion. Allow yourself to gather the pieces and enjoy the process.