Tonya Rapley-Flash is a highly sought after entrepreneur and consultant. With more than 12 years of experience in marketing and community engagement, Tonya has helped both established and startup companies forge meaningful connections with their audiences. Her past client list ranges from grassroots non-profit organizations to Fortune 250 companies.
She holds a Bachelor's degree in Public Administration from Florida International University and a Masters in Urban Policy Administration from Brooklyn College.
She founded Cannaclusive, a company that’s working to solve the inclusivity issue in cannabis. She’s on a mission to make it easier for brands to communicate with diverse audiences and ensure that minority consumers are not an afterthought, but a valued ally in the fight for legalization and destigmatization.
We caught up with Tonya for some advice and wisdom.
Why did you start Cannaclusive?
I co-founded Cannaclusive because we recognized the need to include black and brown people in the growing cannabis movement. As someone who studied public policy and works with societies most vulnerable members on a regular basis I fully believe that cannabis can be both an economic empowerment tool and a powerful, accessible medicine.
What is your advice to those in cannabis?
Protect your interest, but help others. We've encountered a lot of red-tape in this industry and I know it's by design, mostly to keep those without resources out. If you've successfully navigated that red-tape, help others. Make it easier for someone else to get started in this industry because it isn't about individual success, it's about collective success.
How do you feel about inclusion in cannabis currently and what are you doing to work toward it?
I think the cannabis industry realizes where other industries such as the tech industry went wrong. I think at the core they want to champion inclusion, but might not know what that looks like. Which is why we are here, to help them out in their quest to be more inclusive.
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