As part of our women’s history month conversations series, we had the pleasure of sitting down with our friend Anja Charbonneau, Editor in Chief & Creative Director of Broccoli Magazine to find out more about what drives her and hear what’s next for Broccoli Magazine.
WLM: Tell us about what got you started with CBD?
AC: Portland has legalized cannabis for coming up on 4 years now. It was interesting to see the marketplace evolve and I wanted to contribute to it. I got started with CBD once I began writing about it.
WLM: What compelled you to create Broccoli Magazine?
AC: It was a combination of seeing a big gap in the landscape of our industry’s media and knowing there are women out there who are cannabis believers.
WLM: Did you use CBD religiously before starting Broccoli Magazine?
AC: When we started, no one was talking about CBD so it’s been a huge transition over the past year in a half in terms of product knowledge. Mary’s Medicinals was my first introduction to CBD.
WLM: What makes Broccoli Magazine unique?
AC: The most revolutionary aspect is we don’t just talk about cannabis, we talk about it in everyone’s day-to-day lives in how we situate their products. Telling stories about art, history, and film is a great reflection of the industry.
WLM: What is the best advice you were given when starting Broccoli Magazine?
AC: I’m not sure if there was any advice, but, what I noticed as I was doing research is everyone was onboard and there was so much support because of the need in the space for media for women who benefit from cannabis. All of the success stories and how it’s helped people was really powerful. There have been so many transformations that have influenced me in a strong way. I didn’t want to make a magazine just for fun, I wanted it to be valuable for people
WLM: What’s your recommendation for using CBD for the first time? What advice would you give new users on how to dose and what to expect?
AC: I think across the board we are in an awkward time with CBD’s newly legal but unregulated status so the first step is to find reputable brands and companies who share their test results. If you buy products at a dispensary, make sure those are well vetted and tested products. For those of you who are ordering CBD online, find an honest brand. Listen to your body and how you are reacting to it. CBD is not a “magic-bullet solution” so you might have to take on other routine wellness changes to help and try and solve everything else.
WLM: What do you have planned for your company in the next year and 5 years in terms of new developments, projects, expansion?
AC: We have a big festival coming up at the end of May called In Bloom. It’s a 3D expression of the magazine with an arts and culture focus. There will be lectures and workshops amongst other things, as we find ways to facilitate connection with the people that are coming. We want people to connect, talk to one another, and share experiences.
WLM: What is your favorite topic to write about?
AC: In general, I like picking really random content. History pieces excite me, specifically, the hidden figures of history and women from the past. It’s nice to find these female counterparts to men we know so well.
WLM: This is Woman's Month and the theme is the better the balance, the better the world. #balanceforbetter. What tips would you give fellow women to help them achieve more prominent roles in the workplace?
AC: You just have to advocate for it and demand it. There are different sides if you are a consumer or in the industry. As a consumer, buy from a woman founded company. If you’re working for a company, how can you deepen the influence of women beyond the marketing campaign? A lot of men in leadership don’t even realize they surround themselves with people like them because they are used to it. Increase diversity across the board.
WLM: Have you experienced any barriers as a female in terms of leadership? If it has affected you, how did you overcome those barriers?
AC: I have made a conscious choice to work mostly with women. Since I’m running my own company, I have a lot of freedom. I have been to events, meetings, dinners, and I’m the only woman there and yes, there are sexist comments. I have removed myself from those situations that have been a nightmare for women. If I can build something on my own that mirrors my value system, that’s what I’m trying to do.
WLM: Who are your female role models?
AC: I have always been drawn to women who have broken barriers so a lot of the women we write about in the magazine are my role models. In the first issue, we did a profile on a woman who was an art nun. Her art looks like Andy Warhol pop art. She was politically engaged and got the community so rallied behind her as she used art to inspire people to take action. Corita Kent was her name and I was excited to share her work in the magazine. She had a cool path of being a nun and finding art as an expression. Later, she left the church because they didn’t understand her activism but her art resonates so much in today’s society. Finding something from the past you can hold onto is great. It’s important to pull inspiration from the past to make it real in our lives today.
WLM: What keeps you up at night?
AC: Planning the In Bloom event coming up in May and running a multifaceted business is draining at times!
WLM: What keeps you going during the day?
AC: The exact same thing as what keeps me up at night. I’m inspired by the work we are doing and it’s motivating in the way people are reacting to it. The extended community has materialized around us. Having the chance to plan new things such as the festival, keeps my brain fresh.
WLM: What advice do you give women who are trying to get ahead in their career?
AC: It’s just about finding the right people to work with. You can have a boring job but still enjoy it because of the people you work with. If you just want a good job but the people aren’t in line with you, it might not be a good fit! This world has a lot of opportunities.
WLM: Thank you so much for your insights and your leadership in our industry.