The legalization of medical applications for cannabis has been a disputed subject all around the globe over the past years. Besides being presumed as the god’s herb that helps shake one’s angst and jitters, cannabis has several other primary purposes to fulfill according to medical science. AC Braddock, the CEO of an internationally known and respected 25-year-old technology company Eden Labs has spent the last decade holding up her vision to increase awareness regarding the remedial properties of plants through education and advocacy using green extraction technologies. In 2009, she envisioned that the purity of Supercritical co2 and ethanol derived products as a necessity to legalizing medical cannabis. She considers cannabis as a catalyst for social change, and through her leadership, she has successfully managed to help create a sustainable and standardized market for this exponentially growing industry. However, there are still some major concerns which she deems extremely necessary to address. She mentions, “The continued politicization of alternative medicine, environmental protection, etc. that are in direct conflict with the wave of modern, mission-based business, especially those that support health and wellness of humans and the planet. I believe in the fundamental science that supports a change in business practice and human health and wellbeing.”
A thought leader in modern business practice, a unifier across industries, and an inspirational speaker in this emerging industry, Braddock is shaping the future of cannabis. But her goal is much broader.
Being a career entrepreneur, Braddock keeps an eye on multiple industries for product placement, and related business strategies while maintaining a strong corporate culture and infrastructure for effective growth. It is through this enthusiasm and tireless dedication that Braddock guided Eden labs through 100% year over year growth over several consecutive years since she came on as CEO in 2009, placing hundreds of systems in businesses and universities around the world. Eden labs has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing women-led companies in Seattle, WA and has its name cemented as the pioneer of extraction for healthy cannabis concentrates. Apart from cannabis, Eden labs also specializes in the research and development of other products in biofuels, flavorings, environmental remediation, functional foods, natural products, supplements, nutraceuticals, distilling, etc. Their primary goal is to sustain the health of the world, one drop at a time, and also, to provide the fastest, affordable, reliable and most advanced CO2 and ethanol extraction for the cannabis industry. Braddock asserts, “This starts in our R&D lab doing proof of concept experiments that provide healthier options for human consumables. At the heart of what drives our team is a belief in the power of plants and plant medicine. This driving force has led us to build a company that is conscious of our communities and the future of our planet.”
“The choices we make in life when we follow our instincts build on each other, layer upon layer, to create more opportunities in areas that move us.”
Braddock is past chair of NCIA (National Cannabis Industry Association), the current Vice-Chair of The Cannabis Alliance of Washington state, she serves on the Steering Committee for Green Flower Media as well as the Advisory Board for Extraction Magazine. She is also a founding supporter of three Cannabis Women’s groups and is featured in the documentary Women of Weed. When asked about what factors influenced her career choice and trajectory, she replies, “I am an entrepreneur and humanitarian. The choices we make in life when we follow our instincts build on each other, layer upon layer, to create more opportunities in areas that move us. There were a few points that lead me to this career path; one was big agriculture coming to the conclusion that unrotated crops and high levels of pesticides had made our food supply less nutritious and toxic. Another was recognizing that driven people often do not take care of themselves, take time for friends and family or know how to simply breathe. In 1991, I read The Natural Mind by Dr. Andrew Weil. That book inspired me to choose a path that would combine my passions and an entrepreneur’s drive. I began learning about nutrition, plant medicine, and environmental stewardship. In about 2000 I met Fritz Chess, the Founder of Eden Labs and I recognized that his knowledge of plant extractions and the coming cannabis industry would bring together, plant medicine, nutrition, environmental awareness, social equity and the coming wave of modern business practices. I am grateful to be here, at this point, and I look forward to what cultural change will come from refocusing on the forgotten and disparaged connection we have with each other and the planet. “Business as usual”, ruled by the few who relish deceit and subjugation, pillaging and poisoning the planet and people needs to end.”
In a new market that is constantly fighting prohibition, modifying people’s perception without getting involved in propaganda and racism can be one hell of a challenge. But through her unwavering determination and a keen eye, Braddock has learned quite a few tricks of her own. She shares, “Changing hearts and minds in order to simply bring a health and wellness industry to the forefront of our culture is a daunting task on top of all of the other usual business challenges. I have learned so much, not only about myself but also about how to elevate others and the seemingly endless tenacity of people behind social justice and changing our medical system. Now it is time to marry cannabis that treats our Endocannabinoid system with other medicinal plants. The natural products industry should include ALL plants to provide preventative health care.” As someone who doesn’t dwell on ignorance and status quo in the world, Braddock simply believes in intuition and voice. She measures her success by glee on the face of her team members and customers. She says, “My team is by far the most effective tool I have to compete in business. Our company culture is obsessively solution-oriented and everyone is encouraged and expected to participate in creative problem solving by sharing their ideas, actively listening, owning their work and being vested in our mission as a company. This philosophy of inclusion, patience, focusing on the goal, letting the small things go and a lack of ego-driven hierarchy has helped me in business, board involvement, political action and in every personal interaction I have had. Once in a while, you run into an obstacle that refuses to give on these principles, but I remind myself that fluidity overcomes or simply goes around the inflexibility caused by self-inflicted ignorance perpetuated by prejudice and a lack of intellectual curiosity and empathy.”
Outside work, Braddock loves to spend her time outdoors mostly skiing, gardening, hiking, and surfing. Moreover, she is also a Kundalini yoga teacher and currently focuses on her overall health and mindfulness through daily yoga and meditation. She also enjoys reading and considers herself significantly influenced by books like The Natural Mind by Dr. Andrew Weil, Blink and Outlier by Malcolm Gladwell, and Strength Finders in terms of career.
“Believe in and use your intuition and voice”
Braddock advises aspiring women changemakers to, “Believe in and use your intuition and voice, select your business partner or company carefully by making sure they respect your position, ideas, and growth personally and professionally. If a company is mission-driven, they are more likely to embrace a culture of inclusion and creativity.”
To bring a substantial change, Braddock has a steady goal in her mind. She shares, “I believe my legacy will be the support I give women and providing a much larger platform for the health and wellness industry, especially in cannabis and nutraceuticals, but who knows? I have another career brewing after this one. It is still in health and wellness, but is more finely tuned to the connection between humans, spirituality, and nature.”
“My end game,” Braddock concludes, “is to change our health care system and how we interact with nature. To reintroduce us to what we have lost backed by new science in how truly integrated we are with everything. We have lost the innate connection humans once had with their immediate environment and the care we took of each other as a clan, family and community.”