The New Culture of Cannabis - Postponed

Harvard Business School Alumni Club of Chicago

Michigan Ross Alumni Club of Chicago

Chicago Booth Alumni Club of Chicago

March 30, 2020: 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM

Thank you for your interest in this event. We have been closely following the evolving situation with coronavirus (COVID-19), and have decided out of an abundance of caution and for the safety of our community and visitors to postpone this event. If you have registered and paid for this event, you will be receiving a full refund. We will keep you informed if we have any information about rescheduling. For the most up-to-date information about coronavirus and Chicago Booth, please visit the Chicago Booth Coronavirus Updates webpage.


Gleacher Center
Room 100
450 Cityfront Plaza Dr
Chicago, Illinois

Event Details

Join us for a new series 'National Themes with Chicago Community Impact.' In this first event, we'll explore the changing cannabis landscape globally, nationally, and locally.

This event kicks off a new collaboration series between Chicago Booth, Harvard Business School, and Michigan Ross.

In this first event, we're bringing together a diverse panel of leaders in the Cannabis industry to explore and discuss the recent policy changes, the short term impact and learnings, and predictions for the future.

Sponsored by IET Cannabis & Hemp Testing Solutions




Register Online

Deadline: 3/28/2020

Speaker Profiles

Kevin Pilarski (Speaker) '04
Chief Commercial Officer, Revolution Enterprises

Mr. Pilarski brings over 35 years of experience in the management consulting, capital markets and asset management industries across both public and private capital markets. Revolution Cannabis operates smart, technologically advanced facilities that are designed to produce pure, consistent medicines in new, reliable forms.
Prior to joining Revolution, Kevin served as Senior Managing Director for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) management consulting advisory services serving some of the largest global financial services industry market leaders. He has assisted clients plan and manage complex business transformation projects and improve business processes. Partnered with global financial organizations developing strategies for regulatory change, increasing profitability/market share, overcoming payment/settlement system challenges and managing complex financial/operational processes.
Kevin has served as Partner, Chief Operating Officer and Portfolio Manager for Kilkenny Capital Management, a long/short biomedical alternative asset management firm. He was the Chief Compliance Officer and Director of Global Derivatives/Alternative Investments for Dow Jones & Co., and Vice President of Sales for Cantor Fitzgerald's eSpeed division, the first electronic bond trading platform.
Kevin holds a MBA from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business and a Bachelor of Science from Miami University's Farmer School of Business.

Mahja Sulemanjee Bortocek (Speaker)
CEO, High Haven Cannabis

Mahja Sulemanjee Bortocek is the Founder and CEO of High Haven, a cannabis consulting firm and a dispensary agent responsible vendor trainer for IDFPR. She brings with her over 15 years of experience in healthcare business development, including four years of experience in cannabis business development. Over the past 3 years, Ms. Sulemanjee has built marketing, outreach, and public relations strategies for an Illinois-based Multi-State Cannabis Company and is now establishing herself as a "green" entrepreneur. Mahja has acquired her Master's in Public Health and her Master's in Business Administration. Her passion to help others is noted in her valiant and persistent efforts in community service. She has been awarded and held officer positions, as a board member for several non-for-profits, and healthcare-focused organizations. Her efforts continue to aid the communities where she lives and works. Mahja aspires to bring awareness, safe accessibility, and compassion to healthcare and the new emerging hemp and cannabis industries.

Charles Wu (Speaker)
CEO NEXEM and Chief Revenue Officer of Minorities for Medical Marijuana

NEXEM is a global manufacturer, direct seller and solution provider of cultivation technology solutions to indoor grow facilities and greenhouse cultivators across North America.
Charles is an executive, entrepreneur and investor that specializes in identifying and executing explosive growth strategies. He has experience in the cannabis, vertical farming, direct response, media, wireless telecommunications, finTech and AdTech space. While still in college, he organically bootstrapped ConVergence into a $20 million technology infrastructure company that achieved over 1,000% revenue growth over a three year period was recognized as one of the fastest growing privately held companies by INC Magazine in 2007. In 2008, he launched IPpay, a payment technology platform and in less than 3 years, organically grew the business to $1 Billion in payment processing volume. In 2011, he obtained over $50 million in financing through the US Department of Agriculture and negotiated the first non-traditional competitive-carrier spectrum lease and 4G LTE roaming agreement with Verizon to build-out underserved markets throughout Illinois and Indiana.
Also, in 2011, Charles started his angel investing career by becoming one of the founding investors of PodPonics, a vertical farming technology company. In late 2015, Charles became involved in transitioning PodPonics from a CPG-brand with a technological advantage into a tech enabled vertical farming solution provider. After the successful deployment of this technology in the middle east and a 9 month collaboration between PodPonics and EarthBound Farms, the largest North American grower and processor of Organic Packaged Salad Mix,
Charles launched Nexem in 2016 to assist in adapting and commercializing this technology for indoor cannabis cultivation. Since then, the 25 members of the Nexem team have become industry leaders in the design, consulting, build and implementation of High Tech Indoor Cannabis Cultivation Facilities across North America.
In addition to providing "best-in-class" technology for Cannabis cultivators, Nexem "touches the plant" by operating a 40-acre outdoor hemp facility in Marseilles IL, a 3,000 square foot hemp genetics & breeding facility in Chicago and Nexem has currently entered into joint ventures with 3 different publicly traded MSOs to acquire social equity licenses in limited license states.

Marcus Naramore (Speaker)
Director of Business Development & Marketing, Edgemont Group

Marcus works with the Edgemont Group in the Washington state I-502 recreational cannabis market.

Edgemont Group delivers a suite of cannabis oil and vapor offerings through its Leafwerx and Full Spec brands through a single-source production methodology. This single-source methodology brings cultivation, extraction, and product formulation together in an integrated in-house process that focuses on quality, cleanliness, and consistency from soil to oil.

Within Edgemont Group, Marcus has built a sales team and sales process, established strong brand positioning, driven product development, and navigated a uniquely competitive marketplace in a highly regulated environment. Edgemont Group's brands have grown into cornerstone offerings in Washington state, and are positioned to expand to multi-state offerings in coming years.

Prior to his work with Edgemont Group, Marcus has worked as a Business Development Executive for Infosys and as an educator within the Teach For America program.

Marcus is joined in the conference by Leo Matz, who works as the Chief Operating Officer at Edgemont Group.

Marcus holds a Masters of Business Administration from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Science from John Brown University.


Nicole Yelsey, '12