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Kelly Williams

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Getting into Noble Territory’s job fairs requires a password and a secret handshake—or at least a high level of military clearance. The company provides career services and partners with organizations to host hiring and networking events in support of veterans and the intelligence community.

Williams created the Newark-based company in 2014 after working with the Department of Defense for almost a decade. “I wanted to address a social problem of very qualified veterans needing active and gainful employment,” she explains.

Through that process, Williams learned about medical issues resulting from their deployments. Medical cannabis has been proven effective in treating PTSD and chronic pain, so in 2017, Williams formed Cannadigm Ventures to provide business and policy advisory services in the hemp and cannabis industries.

Cannadigm works with advocacy groups, state legislators and national experts to ensure the implementation of best practices. Williams’ long-term goal is to open an integrated health and wellness center. But the medical marijuana field isn’t always welcoming to female business owners.

“The glass ceiling is pretty thick in the cannabis industry,” Williams concedes. “I think it’s because women get only 5 percent of venture capital funding and that’s a barrier for us.” Still, that hasn’t stopped Williams from being named director of strategic advancement and legislative affairs for the American CBD Network.

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