We are leaders in the Illinois cannabis industry.
In 2014, with Illinois’ approval of cannabis for medical use, IWC founder Dina Rollman saw an unprecedented opportunity: A brand new industry was forming and the proverbial glass ceiling professional women have faced throughout history did not yet exist. Rollman wanted not only to keep it that way, but to ensure that as the industry matured, it did so with women poised to lead.
Out of that ideal, IWC was created that same year to serve, support, and advance women connected to Illinois’ regulated cannabis industry. Today, Illinois Women in Cannabis is the leading cannabis industry networking organization in Illinois. Organized as a 501(c)(6) nonprofit, IWC hosts multiple networking and educational opportunities for women, men, and organizations annually.
IWC is comprised of members with skills as diverse as advertising, marketing, law, finance, accounting, patient care, agriculture, horticulture, retail, and more. These stakeholders are fueling our organization’s activities and growth.
From government regulators to patient advocates and everything in between, our members have been on the front lines of the Illinois cannabis industry since its inception and IWC has been there to support them. We are committed to doing everything we can to ensure that as the industry develops and matures, it does so with women at the forefront.
By 2025, the number of people employed in Illinois’ regulated cannabis industry is estimated to grow to more than 63,000 — the number of people employed in the industry will be about the same as the current number of Illinois elementary school teachers.
IWC is excited to continue to support this growing industry and community, open up employment and career opportunities for more women, and help those engaged in the field to develop their networks and skills.
What we do
Networking is key to creating an inclusive cannabis industry. By bringing women together with other professionals throughout the industry, we can build female-powered businesses that will profoundly change our communities for decades to come.
Many of our members work at the highest organizational levels in almost every part of Illinois’ cannabis sector. Their leadership and guidance can help women reach their potential throughout the industry.
We create leadership opportunities for women throughout Illinois. Many of our members got their first entry-level job in the industry through one of our events and then watched their careers take off because of the support they received as members.
We are committed to raising public awareness about the Illinois cannabis industry and the varied uses and medicinal benefits of cannabis consumption. We are also dedicated to providing timely and reliable educational resources through our website and social media channels for those looking to learn more.
We lead efforts to change federal and state policy to destigmatize cannabis use, increase access, and foster opportunity and equity in the industry. From mailing campaigns that lobby local politicians to support responsible cannabis use to featuring legislators as speakers at our events, our members have the opportunity to influence cannabis policy.
If it weren’t for my involvement with IWC, I would never be in the position I am in today. The networking I did through IWC landed me a position that has allowed my cannabis career to take off.
Meet our leadership team
Dina Rollman is the co-founder of Illinois Women in Cannabis and serves as its president and a director. She is also senior vice president for Government and Regulatory Affairs at Green Thumb Industries, a Chicago-based multi-state operator of licensed marijuana cultivation facilities and dispensaries. Dina earned a B.A. from Oberlin College and a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law. She is passionate about helping women succeed in the cannabis industry and helping the industry enjoy continued success as it grows.
Vanessa Bachtell is a director and vice president of Illinois Women in Cannabis as well as co-chair of its Events Committee. She is a principal at the law firm of Goldberg Kohn Ltd. and a member of the firm’s Corporate, Securities and Tax Group. She is also a member of the Illinois Cannabis Bar Association. Vanessa earned her B.A. in English, cum laude, from the University of Arizona and her law degree from Northwestern University School of Law. She is proud of IWC’s contributions to the growth and success of the Illinois cannabis industry and remains committed to the creation and promotion of opportunities for women in it.
Kalee Hooghkirk is a board member and co-chair of IWC’s Professional Development and Events Committees. She is the owner of Full Spektrum Services, founder of United Hemp Co., president of the Illinois Hemp Industries Association and leads the Illinois Hemp Professionals Group. In addition, she is a medical patient and traveling cannabis educator. Kalee has partnered with local physicians to assist prospective patients in becoming eligible for the Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program. Through her IWC platform Kalee hopes to inspire others to think “outside the box” by supporting and encouraging non-traditional entry routes through the hemp space and ancillary services.
Carrie Armour is a director of Illinois Women in Cannabis and currently chairs IWC’s Education and Advocacy Committee. Carrie has more than fifteen years of experience representing physician organizations and companies as a government affairs attorney and advocacy consultant. Her policy work focuses on expanding cannabis education and training. She holds a B.A. from Miami University and a Juris Doctor from Loyola University School of Law. She is also a member of the Illinois Cannabis Bar Association. Carrie is excited to work with IWC to expand educational and professional opportunities for women in the cannabis industry and is committed to the growth and success of both the medical and adult use markets.
Gina Gault is a valued board member and serves as secretary for Illinois Women in Cannabis. Gina joined IWC in 2017 to assist them in their mission to reach and empower women of all backgrounds. She is an active social media influencer making great connections, fighting stigmas, and championing practical social norms. Gina works as the Community Outreach Specialist with Rise Dispensaries sharing the benefits of medical cannabis, uplifting her community, and inspiring others to do the same. She believes strongly in IWC’s mission and hopes to empower the canna-curious to educate themselves and find rewarding careers in the industry.
Amor Montes de Oca
Amor Montes de Oca is the first Executive Director for Illinois Women in Cannabis. Formerly, she served as Director of Strategic Initiatives for 2112, Chicago’s first incubator for creative entrepreneurs, where she focused on creating meaningful programming, raising capital, and developing advanced professional development initiatives for members. Amor received her B.A. from DePaul University. Using her experience helping start-ups scale, Amor sees vast opportunities to create more equitable economic opportunities, drive innovation, and encourage entrepreneurial initiatives within Illinois’ burgeoning regulated cannabis industry.