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Wana Brands’ Joe Hodas Wins Denver Business Journal Coveted C-Suite Award, CMO Category

Strong leadership through COVID-19 among factors contributing to recognition for Wana’s CMO

BOULDER, Colo. (August 11, 2021) — Last year’s grim march of hurdles, roadblocks and mazes bewildered executives worldwide and hampered progress for many companies. But thanks to his blend of ingenuity, compassion, drive, intense partnership-building and infectious optimism, Wana Brands’ Chief Marketing Officer Joe Hodas helped navigate North America’s No. 1 infused cannabis producer through the storm while championing initiatives that introduced fresh innovative products, developed new partnerships and expanded the brand into new markets during a year of pandemic shutdowns.

Today, Wana Brands toasts Denver Business Journal’s selection of Hodas as the top CMO in the annual C-Suite Awards. The prestigious honor spotlights executives across the Denver metro region who stand apart for their commitment to business success and community.

“Executives in the cannabis industry often feel like we’re trying to get business done with both hands tied behind our backs. When the pandemic hit, everything from how we served our customers to how we advertised our brand messages changed. And such immediate change can make or break a company,” noted Nancy Whiteman, CEO, Wana Brands. “But Joe’s astute guidance and steady management through last year’s parade of trials verged on being superhuman. We at Wana Brands are honored by DBJ’s acknowledgment of Joe’s superb leadership during this profoundly challenging year.”

That challenging year included proceeding full steam on programs initially planned for 2020 that presented entirely new difficulties due to the widespread restrictions imposed by the pandemic. Those initiatives included launching the company’s revolutionary new line of fast-onset cannabis-infused products, Wana Quick Fast-Acting Gummies, into multiple new markets, which required Hodas to establish or expand partnerships with businesses in five new markets. In addition, Hodas spearheaded Wana Brands’ support of a two-year cannabis research program with the CUChange Cannabis Research program at the University of Colorado-Boulder. He nurtured new partnerships with the Last Prisoner Project, Black CannaBusiness Magazine and Oregon’s NuLeaf Project and worked to launch the company’s social equity initiative, Cannabis for Justice. All told, Hodas helped manage product launches in Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri and Oklahoma, as well as nine Canadian markets during the pandemic.

On top of implementing these planned initiatives, Hodas and his team needed to find ways to reach consumers who would no longer be lingering in retail stores due to COVID-19 restrictions. As a result, a shift in focus and strategy from in-store marketing to online and digital outreach, direct-to-consumer education and developing educational content for Wana Brands partners was required. Alongside these changes, a brand refresh, website improvements and a campaign-style approach to promoting products helped propel the brand’s existing product launch activities.

Joe’s passion for meaningful change spreads far beyond Wana and the cannabis industry. He sat on the board of Volunteers of America for 12 years, has been piloting a Meals on Wheels route with his family for 15 years, and serves as chairman of the Global Livingston Institute’s marketing committee. The Institute is performing transformational economic, health and wellness work in Uganda. A big supporter of the arts, Joe also led Wana’s support of Street Wise in Boulder and Art House in Denver, nonprofits that help artists and the arts flourish.

“I know executives throughout the Denver region who contribute immensely to the success of their businesses and who are devoted to their communities, many of whom have been mentors to me over the years. So winning this award is a humbling reflection of their guidance and emulating their contributions,” Hodas said. “The year of COVID was the most demanding of my life. I am grateful for Nancy’s outstanding leadership through it all, which allowed me and the rest of us at Wana Brands to pursue our goals with focus, creativity and strong partnerships. I am equally grateful for this amazing team of people beyond Nancy whom I have had the opportunity to work with and learn from during this year.”

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Shawna Seldon McGregor at 917-971-7852 or shawna@themaverickpr.com.

Wana Brands: Enhance Your Life.

Included in the 2020 Inc. 5000 list at #2,074 and boasting a three-year growth rate of 203%, Wana Brands is the No. 1 edibles brand in North America. Wana leads the industry in quality, consistency and potency, providing a range of different options that enable customers to select the specific cannabis experience they want. Wana products offer diverse product forms, a wide range of CBD/THC ratios, as well as a variety of different dosages, onset times and duration of effects. Wana’s best-selling quick onset products were the first to offer a Delta-9 “smoker’s high” experience in addition to 5-15 minute onset. Wana products are available in 11 US and 9 Canadian markets, among others imminently coming online. For more information or to subscribe to Wana’s e-newsletter, visit www.wanabrands.com. Follow Wana on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest. Subscribe to Wana’s Enhance Your Life Podcast.

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