Rishi Gautam brings a vast array of cannabis management knowledge and expertise to the GrowForce team. Rishi structured and ultimately participated in the initial financing for MJardin in 2014, and has been a Director of MJardin since inception. Prior to joining MJardin as Chairman & CEO in 2017, Rishi co-created and ran a private investment firm since 2010 alongside fellow colleagues from Goldman Sachs, where he advised and invested in a variety of emerging growth markets including legal cannabis, eSports and population health management. Rishi began his career in the analyst program of Goldman Sachs, and then subsequently moved to Lehman Brothers/Barclays where he ultimately co-led an investment team in San Francisco. Rishi graduated from the University of Miami with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and also received a Masters in Accounting from Florida International University. Rishi is an actively-licensed CPA.
James R. Lowe | Executive Vice President of Operations
James has spent most of his career focused on the commercial production of cannabis and has been involved with the CO medical marijuana industry from inception. He has overseen the design, construction, and/or management of over 75 commercial cultivation facilities throughout the US ranging from 3,000 sq. ft. to 8-acres. James’ experience in the most highly regulated cannabis markets in the world is unparalleled and provides a unique comprehension of commercial cannabis cultivation and industry regulations. Prior to co-founding MJardin, James founded and served as Chief Executive Officer for Cloud 9 Support, an independent cultivation management company with more 100+ employees in 10 cultivation facilities that served as the basis for MJardin’s initial management contracts. Before starting Cloud 9, James served as VP of Operations for Novan Solar (Golden, CO) and Senior Project Developer for S.O.L.I.D. Solar (Phoenix, AZ and Denver, CO). James attended Appalachian State University in Boone, NC focusing on Industrial Technology with a concentration in Renewable Energy and minoring in Business Administration.
Chris Seto | Chief Financial Officer
Chris Seto has over 20 years of capital markets and financial management experience. Chris joined GrowForce in 2018 as Chief Financial Officer, where he oversees the financial management of the company including budgeting, financing, mergers & acquisitions, financial reporting and internal controls. Chris was previously an investment banker for fourteen years with Paradigm Capital, UBS Securities and CIBC World Markets, where he provided strategic, financial and capital raising advice to companies across the Diversified sector –advising and executing on over $80 billion in completed transactions. Prior to his career in investment banking, Chris gained extensive financial management experience in the telecom and healthcare industries where he held management positions at Bell Canada and Warren Shepell – leading divisional and company finance and accounting functions.
Chris is a graduate of McMaster University (B.Com 1996) and the Richard Ivey School of Business (M.B.A 2002), and received his Certified Management Accountant designation (C.M.A. 1999).
Jeannette Harkin | Vice President of Corporate Development
Jeannette Harkin has over 15 years of experience leading strategic initiatives at organizations worldwide. Her expertise includes process optimization, project management office start-up and execution, IT strategy and organizational design. Jeannette joined GrowForce in 2018 to lead strategic projects and manage operational growth opportunities. Prior to joining GrowForce, Jeannette was a Director at Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund with a radical management culture. At Bridgewater, she led the formation of the Dalio Family Office and Foundation. Prior to Bridgewater, Jeannette was in Management and Strategy Consulting for 9 years leading project delivery teams. Jeannette graduated from Emory University with a degree in Economics.
Eric Gattoni - Vice President of Business Infrastructure
Eric Gattoni, previously Vice President, Operations for FirstService Residential, is stepping into his new role as Vice President, Business Infrastructure for GrowForce, a new Canadian cannabis company.
In his new role, Eric will lead the development of the GrowForce’s strategic plan and drive growth through the business’ asset portfolio. Eric is also responsible for the business management of the international portfolio of physical assets including cultivation centers and retail locations.
Brett Kennedy | Vice President of Operations
John F. Kennedy | Vice President of Marketing
John F. Kennedy serves as GrowForce’s Director of Marketing leading all category, customer and consumer strategies for both the Medical and Recreational portfolios. John has over 20 years of marketing & sales experience in the beverage alcohol industry, where he leveraged consumer & market insights to build world-class consumer brands in regulated markets around the world. John started his commercial career in Toronto with Molson Canada and Heineken Canada. John then spent 10 years with Heineken International in Amsterdam launching the Heineken Brand in the global markets of Russia, Romania, Poland, South Africa & Nigeria before moving to New York to lead the integration Dos Equis, Tecate and Newcastle Brown Ale into the Heineken USA portfolio of brands. In 2012, John returned to marketing leadership roles in Canada with both Molson Coors and Weston Foods. John is a graduate of Queens University with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and has an International Management & Leadership certificate from INSEAD.
Pat Witcher | Vice President of Strategic Partnerships
Patrick Witcher holds over 20 years of experience in local and federal Law Enforcement. Patrick joined GrowForce in 2018 as VP Strategic Partnerships to lead GrowForce communications with provincial and municipal authorities throughout Canada and further develop the relationship with Health Canada under the ACMPR. Prior to joining GrowForce, Patrick’s prestigious law enforcement career included serving as Special Agent, earning Top Secret SBI Clearance within the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, and various roles throughout the Kansas City Missouri Police Department. Patrick also proudly served in the United States Air Force and Strategic Air Command Elite Guard, receiving many medals and awards including the Joint Services Commendation Medal and the Air Force Commendation Medal. Patrick used his vast law enforcement experience to transition to the marijuana industry to run a successful vertically integrated operation as President of Buddy Boy Brands, one of the largest legal marijuana retail brands in the United States, and as Chief Compliance Officer at MJardin. Patrick holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice Administration (graduated Summa Cum Laude); United States Drug Enforcement Administration Academy, Quantico, VA; Kansas City Missouri Regional Police Academy (Valedictorian); United States Air Force Police Academy (Valedictorian).
Danny Valentino | Vice President of Technology
Danny Valentino is a technologist with over 20 years of experience in complex business systems, communicating the value of technology within organizations and aligning technology with business strategy. Danny has held several positions during his career in areas of architecture, software development and sales, system implementations, project management and infrastructure deployments.
Danny started his technology career as a consultant working at Kraft Foods and quickly progressed his business and technology acumen working at companies such as Indigo, ClicData and IBM. Danny's vast industry experience in Retail, Technology, Consumer Packaged Goods, Supply Chain and Pharmaceuticals gives GrowForce a technological advantage in the delivery of its vertically integrated model.
Prior to joining GrowForce, Danny was The Home Depot Canada's Enterprise Architect and was responsible for the architecture of technology used by the Canadian Division and was instrumental in the launch of Home Depot Canada's digital platform and Interconnected customer experience.
Jocelyn Advent | Director of Public Affairs
Jocelyn Advent is the Director of Public Affairs for GrowForce. She joined the company in July of 2018 after 3.5+ years at Economic Development Winnipeg as a Business Development Manager with the YES! Winnipeg team. Through her experience with EDW she has assisted numerous companies establish or expand operations in Winnipeg, including cannabis projects in the Life Sciences and Agribusiness sectors. Her projects have led to $122M in capital investment and $34M in value of payroll for the city of Winnipeg. Prior to this role Jocelyn had a 16 year career at the University of Manitoba and worked on various change management and training/development projects, including 5 years in medical education. She oversees the areas of community engagement, media & public relations, and university partnerships. Jocelyn graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Bachelor of Education in English.
Kara Devine | Director of Corporate Development
Kara Devine has six years of experience in business development and marketing. She joined GrowForce in 2018 to lead application licensing efforts, project management, and corporate development initiatives. At MJardin, since 2016, Kara focused on investor relations and project management, and managed various domestic and international cannabis license applications. Prior to MJardin, Kara worked in the aerospace and automotive testing and research industries where she coordinated government and international testing and research applications, enhanced the customer experience, and managed all marketing initiatives and client relations across diverse markets including transonic wind tunnel testing, aircraft modifications and testing, and ground vehicle testing and research. Kara graduated from Canisius College in Buffalo, New York with a Bachelor of Arts degree, and received a Masters degree in Literacy.
Jenn Juby | Director of Retail Operations
Jenn Juby is an accomplished and passionate senior business leader with a career-long track record of exceeding revenue and profit targets. She has a reputation of developing high performance teams that deliver exceptional experiences and represent the very best of the brand’s values, mission, and culture. With more than 20 years of successful and progressive leadership experience in retail and hospitality, she has honed her skills to lead, inspire, and drive brand engagement to accelerate sustainable business growth. Jenn has held multiple leadership roles at Starbucks including District Manager and Regional Director of Operations. She has also served as the Director of Operations for FRESHii, Regional Director of Jack Astor’s, and is the Founder and Managing Director of the Women with Influence Network (WWIN). Jenn studied Psychology and Business Administration with a minor concentration in Philosophy at the University of Windsor, Ontario
Ashley Masri | Manager Patient Education
Camila Angarita | Project Administrator
Camila Angarita brings international experience within the life science industry and NGO’s organizations. Prior to joining GrowForce, she provided support to multi-functional departments that delivered services across the product development lifecycle. During her studies, Camila also had exposure of working on a research project with indigenous communities worldwide.
In her new role as project administrator, she is responsible for the coordination and implementation of GrowForce initiatives as it continues to expand
Ben Powell | Associate Capital Markets
Ben is the Senior Associate for Capital Markets at GrowForce. He joined the company in September 2018 after 1.5 years with Deloitte’s Financial Advisory practice in Toronto. Prior to Deloitte, Ben spent 3.5 years at Macquarie Bank in Calgary, Alberta performing operations and trade analysis for the crude oil marketing and trading team. Ben graduated from the University of Victoria with Bachelor of Commerce and has received his Chartered Financial Analyst designation.
Wendy Xue | Corporate Controller
Wendy Xue has over 15 years of financial auditing, accounting and financial reporting experience with accounting firms and publicly listed companies in various industries. Wendy joined GrowForce in September 2018 as Corporate Controller where she assists the CFO. Her focus is on the company’s financial accounting, reporting, internal policies & procedures and external regulatory compliance. Wendy has been a Financial Controller of TSX listed companies in Canada for over 7 years. Prior to that, she worked in accounting firms and with a SEC listed company in the US. Wendy graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor of Commerce and Concordia University with a graduate Diploma in Accountancy. She received Chartered Accountant designation in Canada and Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation in USA, which are both active and in good standing.