Interim CEO and President of AZC3
Co-Founder Sun Valley Health and Empower Clinics
Dustin Klein is the Co-Founder of Sun Valley Health & Director/SVP of its parent company Empower Clinics llc. CSE:CBDT. Mr. Klein has more than two decades of entrepreneurial experience in establishing emerging markets in the telecommunication, automotive, and cannabis industries. He has held corporate management positions with Verizon, T-Mobile, Centurylink, Infiniti, and ADP. Dustin has managed thousands of people across these industries with a reputation for building strong teams and independent leaders. Holding a B.S. in Performing & Visual arts, Dustin has cultivated a popular media presence for Sun Valley. Dustin has extensively traveled the US building relationships, speaking at cannabis expos, and has been interviewed by NBC, ABC, Leafly, and Weedmaps. In addition, Dustin was also featured on Season Two of ‘The Marijuana Show’.
Susan S. Hwang
AZC3 Vice President
CEO & Class A Member, Jamestown Center, Inc.
CEO of SH Management Services, LLC
Susan S. Hwang is a South Korean immigrant and cannabis business entrepreneur who has been a vested industry stakeholder since 2012. Susan presides over a diverse portfolio of vertically integrated cannabis brands and a national chain of licensed dispensaries. She is the CEO and Class A Member of Jamestown Center, Inc., a corporation comprised of several Arizona facilities including Jamestown Yuma Dispensary and Eloy Cultivation. Susan also serves as CEO of cannabis consulting firm SH Management Services, LLC, and national brand Daily Dose. In 2019, Susan will launch a first-of-its-kind cannabis retail concept Best Dispensary focused on medical cannabis health care for cannafamilies and focus on pediatric to geriatric patients. The new dispensary model will debut in Los Angeles, California, Mesa, Arizona and Yuma, Arizona.
Susan, familiarly known as Mamu Su, came from humble beginnings where hard work and education were prioritized. Susan credits much of her success and philanthropic constitution to her parents who taught her the values of compassion and equality for all. Susan emigrated to the United States at age 12, sharing one suitcase with her father and sister. She later pursued degrees in biochemistry and microbiology from Arizona State University with plans to start a career in medicine. When cannabis legislation passed in Arizona, Susan’s innate entrepreneurial spirit inspired her to change courses and she ambitiously began her foray into the cannabis space.
Despite having to overcome many challenges as a minority woman, Susan has become a recognized industry leader and a community champion for the underserved. In the early stages of her cannabis journey, Susan did not have the capital support of many of her competitors. Instead, she channeled her inner business acumen and ingenuity to acquire her first licenses, writing her own applications with a dedication that continues to fuel her entrepreneurial endeavors.
Susan has spent seven years in executive level positions, intuitively navigating the fast-paced nature of the cannabis market and building an impressive resume along the way. Susan is the 2019 Market Leader of Women Grow Phoenix, a national organization connecting diverse professionals from all segments of the industry. Susan leads monthly networking events and educational seminars with 350+ attendees to empower the next generation of cannabis entrepreneurs.
In turn, Susan has made it a priority to give back in other ways. She actively supports politicians and causes committed to legal medical cannabis, gender and racial equality, and overcoming the opioid epidemic. She is a volunteer for Girls who Inspire, Volunteer and Empower (G.I.V.E), and received the Spotlight on Success Local Heroes Award by One Community’s LGBTQ activists. Susan looks forward to expanding her cannabis expertise into new sectors, including a luxury smoke shop brand, Mama Su’s Luxury Bongtique in downtown Los Angeles, CBD cosmetics/skincare brand, Inclusive Cosmetics and AZ School of Cannabis as well as licenses in the newly legalized medical cannabis market of South Korea.
Rebel Rock Accounting
Co-founder and CFO
Melissa works hard, but she also works smart. She combines strategy, skillful execution and the latest accounting technologies to oversee cash flow management, outsourced accounting services, budgeting, due diligence, and audit readiness at Rebel Rock Accounting, where she serves as co-founder and CFO.
A Certified Public Accountant, Melissa provides valuable financial guidance and expertise for cannabis companies of all sizes and structures, expertly driving company goals with confidence. She takes the anxiety out of the audit process, working closely with leaders to organize, prepare and complete any necessary processes and reports.
Melissa’s accounting experience spans numerous industries, both domestically and internationally, including healthcare, insurance, hospitality and, of course, cannabis. In addition to serving as a principal with Rebel Rock, Melissa co-founded Rebel Strategies, which focuses on the M&A side of the cannabis industry. With Rebel Strategies, Melissa prepares companies for acquisitions and/or funding events, while also sourcing the capital behind those transactions. And if that wasn’t enough, Melissa is also CFO and Partner for High Rock Accounting, which places an emphasis on utilizing technology to strategically make day-to-day and long-term financial decisions, while pursuing company goals and compliancy. At Rebel Rock, Rebel Strategies, and High Rock, Melissa helps companies remain competitive and efficient in increasingly high-pressure and high-stakes environments.
Before launching multiple successful companies from the ground up, Melissa served as the Manager of Global Revenues and Receivables at Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. She performed in-depth reporting and analysis and worked closely with senior management to develop comprehensive financial analysis that influenced company direction.
Melissa also served as an Audit Supervisor for McGladrey and Pullen and RSM, providing assurance services to clients including for-profit, government and non-profit institutions. In these roles, Melissa quickly staked a reputation as a trusted advisor, delivering in-depth variance analysis as well as complete audit plans and procedures.
Committed to giving back and advancing her industry, Melissa serves on the Arizona Cannabis Chamber of Commerce board, a strategic group of entrepreneurs, attorneys and other cannabis industry leaders. She’s presented at MJBizConINTL, sharing insights on due diligence for cannabis investors. She is also widely published, including contributions for Green Entrepreneur, Cannabis Business Times, and the Phoenix Business Journal.
Melissa earned a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from University of Arizona, and a master’s degree in Accounting from Arizona State University. Always seeking out new experiences, Melissa enjoys traveling, hiking and staying active. She also adores spending time with family, including her husband, two step-children and two Boston Terriers.
Co-Founder & Owner at Pure Labs
AZC3 Board Member
Barb is the co-founder and owner fo Pure Labs (www.purelabsaz.com), a premier cannabis and hemp testing lab based in Phoenix. Pure Labs' emphasis and mission is to provide state of the art testing solutions, with the fastest turn around time in Arizona. This includes comprehensive testing of moisture content, water activity, potency, terpenes, residual solvents, microbials, pesticides, mycotoxins, and heavy metals.
A seasoned entreprenuer, Barb has lived on multiple continents and has owned numerous businesses. She and her husband Scott are actively involved with multiple local charities including Girls on the Run, the Saint Mary's Food Bank, Fresh Start, and Plastic Bank. She also sits on various boards including the Yarnell Water Board and the Arizona State University Art Museum board.
Senior Account Executive, Gilbert Insurance Group
AZC3 Board Member
Danielle Hernandez is a seasoned Insurance Consultant with experience consulting a variety of industries within her 16 years of experience. She has worked with a range of business sizes from small business up to Global Entities. For the past 4 years Danielle has been involved with local, national and publicly traded REITS within the Cannabis Sector.
Danielle also focuses her insurance expertise within Construction, Manufacturing, Trucking and Technology Risk Management. Because of her extensive experience, Danielle was able to collaborate with carriers regarding specific coverage and language necessary to protect Cannabis entities and to create programs and features to improve offers from Insurance Carriers.
Currently, Danielle is collaborating with various aspects in the insurance industry to promote for and lead in education for the Cannabis sector. This September, Danielle will be leading an education seminar regarding Insurance Considerations for her fellow insurance community.
Janet Jackim Esq.
Partner at Zuber Lawler & Del Duca LLP
Janet Jackim is a former Vice President, Real Estate, and Assistant General Counsel at The Circle K Corporation. A Best Lawyers in America® honoree, Janet brings big company business practices and legal skill to small and medium-sized businesses. For the past four years, Janet has focused her practice on advising businesses making their mark in the cannabis industry: dispensaries, farmers, cultivators, and producers; investors, partners and lenders; vendors; and landlords and tenants. During 2011-2013, Janet served as counsel to dispensary certificate applicants and thereafter was key to settling partner disputes, buyout transactions and restructuring businesses. Her sound legal advice, coupled with advanced technical, operational and financial business acumen, provides a robust representation in this emerging, rapidly changing industry. For industry leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators, Janet’s creativity is an added plus to analyzing and resolving the cannabis client’s issues.
As the industry grows and matures and Arizona and federal laws evolve, Janet stays current in assessing developments applicable to her clients and how they can adjust and realize upon presenting opportunities. Janet Jackim has completed more than $1 billion in mergers and acquisitions (sales price) of large and small businesses during almost four decades as a cannabis, commercial real estate and business attorney. Over the past two years, leadership at numerous Arizona dispensaries and cultivation facilities has changed hands, reflecting an industry in transition and promises of bigger rewards in the event the voters approve a recreational/adult marijuana initiative. The pace of these changes is likely to continue during 2019. Many of the acquiring companies are cannabis conglomerates from other states, requiring Arizona counsel as they seek to add to their portfolio of operations. Arizona’s regulatory environment facilitates the change of control of dispensaries. Acquisitions of dispensary and cultivation operations, newly licensed farm fields, strategic partnerships between dispensaries, farmers and exclusive vendors and the reassessment of management services are common topics of Janet’s daily work. Cleanup and refinement of poorly or quickly drafted entity documents, services agreements and licensing protections are critical to maintaining licensing, creating a competitive advantage and retaining bargaining power with vendors.
Positioning a cannabis company’s next phase in the growth cycle is key in this highly competitive industry, whether by acquisitive or organic growth, strategic alliances, internal, equity or debt restructuring, merger or initial public offering. Janet and her seasoned Zubner Lawler & Del Duca colleagues offer critical employment, litigation, securities, appellate, restructuring and corporate business experience for these transactions. To keep abreast of daily Arizona and federal cannabis news and developments, Janet actively participates in the Arizona Cannabis Bar Association, the International Cannabis Bar Association (National Cannabis Bar Association), and numerous other industry organizations, including the Marijuana Industry Trade Association and Hemp Industry Trade Association. Janet is also a contributing member of the Meritas Cannabis Practice Steering Committee of North America, working with law firm affiliates across the United States. In June 2019, Janet spoke at the State Bar of Arizona’s annual convention on “Arizona Cannabis M&A Transactions: Not Your Typical M&A.”
Proven Media, CEO
Kim Prince specializes in strategic investor and marketing communications for medium to large-sized, compliant-conscious companies. She has a strong background in corporate messaging strategies, public relations, and strategic communications for corporations, brands, and C-level executives. She has a passion for helping clients succeed and founded Proven Media in 2009 in order to do so. Proven Media is a reputable, results oriented company that serves B2B and B2C companies throughout North America, and was recently named one of the Top 5 Most Powerful Cannabis PR Firms by the NY Observer. She was named a "Star Maker" by NV Magazine for her work in promoting clients and brands.
Outside of the cannabis industry, Prince has served on the board for the non-profit Foothills Caring Corps, and served on the boards of other non-profit organizations including Career Connectors, the Carefree/Cave Creek Chamber of Commerce, and the Foothills Community Foundation. She is the former membership chair of the Arizona Business Marketing Association, and a graduate of Northern Arizona University.
Prince was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year and the Alliance All-Star Award from ASU West and the Phoenix Business Journal. She has been a professional panel moderator at industry throughout the country, and an invited speaker at marketing associations and colleges to teach others how to maximize communications budgets and gain media exposure.
Attorney at Guidant Law Firm
A seasoned litigator, advisor, mediator, and arbitrator with Guidant Law Firm, Gary Smith is one of the leading cannabis attorneys in Arizona, often advocating for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in the industry under the Weediator and Weediation brands. Notably, he served as amici counsel to the former Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services in the Arizona Supreme Court petition State v. Jones, restoring cannabis extracts and concentrates to legal status under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. He has also represented dispensary owners and investors in multi-million-dollar litigation and receivership disputes.
Gary has authored numerous articles about cannabis law, and he is commonly invited to share his expertise with professional associations and industry groups. Further, Gary is a founder and current president of the Arizona Cannabis Bar Association, an organization committed to educating lawyers and the public about cannabis law and responsible legislation.
He also focuses his practice on commercial matters, construction, real estate, and administrative law. He has represented a wide range of individual and institutional clients in both State and Federal courts, administrative hearings, and arbitration.
Among the most well-known voices in Arizona contracting and construction law, Gary is the author of highly regarded books, manuals, and articles on the topic, including two legal treatises: The Orange Book: The Regulation of Arizona Contractors, 2nd Ed.: Practice and Procedure Before the Arizona Registrar of Contractors and Office of Administrative Hearings and Practice and Procedure Before the Arizona Registrar of Contractors and Office of Administrative Hearings. Additionally, he co-authored “Construction Lien Law in Arizona, A Practice Manual.”
With a Certificate in Advanced Mediation from the Pepperdine University School of Law: Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Gary is highly skilled in ADR. He has worked on partnership disputes, construction defect, design defect, real estate purchase, employment contract breach, business purchase disputes, consumer fraud, banking, and purchase contracts. Gary also has ample experience in arbitration, having handled construction design and defect, personal injury, contract disputes, and professional fees. He has been appointed to the American Arbitration Association roster of neutrals for both Mediation and Arbitration and has taught ADR classes for the association.
Gary earned his Juris Doctor from the California Western School of Law. He is admitted in Arizona, Colorado, New York, North Carolina, the U.S. District Court, 9 th Circuit District of Arizona, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
Paralegal at Zuber Lawler & Del Duca LLP
Secretary of the AZC3 Board of Directors
Tina Dancer is a paralegal who has worked in the legal industry with attorneys representing dispensaries, cultivation sites, caregivers and delivery services since 2013. Tina is a patient herself and is a patient advocate for patients throughout the United States. Tina is active in a number of pro-cannabis organizations including the Arizona Cannabis Chamber of Commerce (“AZC3”), the Arizona Cannabis Bar Association (“ACBA”), the Marijuana Industry Trade Association (“MITA”) and the Hemp Industry Trade Association (“HITA”).