Executive at Napa Valley Fume cannabis firm wins Pride Business Leadership Awards
Ian Hackett, president of cannabis company Napa Valley Fumé, is a 2022 winner of North Bay Business Journal’s Pride Business Leadership Awards.
I am a 50 year old out and proud gay man. I was born and raised in San Francisco and lived abroad before coming home to finish university and start my career in marketing and branding.
I moved into the cannabis industry three years ago after 20+ years of working for technology companies in Silicon Valley, and beauty, retail, and health and wellness companies in San Francisco.
I joined Napa Valley Fumé–a vertically integrated cannabis company–a couple of years after voters passed Proposition 65 allowing for recreational cannabis use in California.
As president, I oversee cultivation, operations, brand, product development, marketing, sales, and human resources.
I relocated from San Francisco to Guerneville full-time at the start of the pandemic after a decade of being a ‘weekender’ to the area. I have been with my partner for 23 years and we have two dogs – Coal (15yo) and Luc (6yo).
What is the personal achievement you are most proud of and why?
The personal achievement I am most proud of is participating in the AIDS Lifecycle–a 545-mile ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles that raises money for HIV/AIDS services and helps raise HIV/AIDS awareness. My team and I raised a lot of money for a great cause, we trained with a purpose, and I put my body to the test over the seven-day ride.
What steps would you like to see in the North Bay business community to prioritize diversity and inclusion?
I will always answer this question the same way. Make diversity and inclusion core parts of your company’s values.
Over the course of my career, I have heard hiring managers and HR teams focus on looking for more of what they already have. More engineers from MIT, more designers from Stanford, and all the companies I have ever worked for have incentive programs for employees to recruit their friends to come work for the company.
The challenge I see with this approach is that they are seeking out like individuals. If you hire friends of your employees their views will be similar, their preferences will be similar, and the way they think will be similar; they are more than likely friends because they have more things in common than not. That is why hiring people you know–by default–limits the diversity in your organization.
We should be actively seeking out fresh and new perspectives. People see things from different vantage points based on their environments. It’s critical that hiring managers and HR teams include a wide variety of talent when sourcing candidates for an open position.
This needs to come from the leadership team, and be a core part of your company’s values, and in turn the culture.