November 3, 2022

Cannabis in Illinois: Understanding Social Equity Cannabis – moderated by WVON’s Kim Egonmwan – Ambrose Jackson, Doug Kelly, Lisbeth Vargas Jaimes

City Club event description:

Ambrose Jackson

Ambrose Jackson is the Chairman and CEO of The 1937 Group. Prior to launching and gaining licensing for Illinois cannabis companies Parkway Dispensary, Helios Labs and Highwaymen Security, Ambrose Jackson spent 15 years in business management and organizational leadership in the healthcare industry.  The primary functions he was responsible for included Regulatory Compliance, Patient Safety, Quality Improvement, and Consumer Experience.

Ambrose is also a practitioner the Toyota Production System model, having implemented structured management systems for world-class healthcare organizations, leading to effective business management practices, decreased lead times and labor cost, and increased business profitability.

Doug Kelly

Doug Kelly is the Executive Director of the Cannabis Equity Illinois Coalition. The Coalition was founded in April 2019, after town hall meetings on the South Side of Chicago discussed cannabis legalization in Illinois.

Lisbeth Vargas Jaimes

Lisbeth is the Executive Director of the Illinois Independent Craft Growers Association. Lisbeth is a Mexican first-generation community builder and Chicago native. A bookworm at heart but a marketer by training with a Master’s Degree from Northwestern, she has grown multi-million dollar companies in the cannabis and tech industry. Her success is fueled by her passion and commitment to building generational wealth while fighting for social equity and contributing back to our communities in service and joy.

Bridging her passion for storytelling and community building, in 2016 Lisbeth began her career in cannabis as the founding Director of Communications for Hatch, an Illinois medical cannabis dispensary.

As the sole marketing leader, she developed growth strategies for marketing cannabis brands. She transitioned to business consulting — gaining extensive experience in both the plant-touching and ancillary side of the cannabis industry.

On a mission to increase the involvement of BIPOC professionals in the cannabis sector, she hosted the Cash Into Cannabis Digital Summit ( in 2019 bringing together 26 top cannabis entrepreneurs to educate on breaking into the industry and sharing best practices to grow brands to a virtual audience of 2,500.

Lisbeth’s cannabis network stretches across the industry and country having worked with entrepreneurs to develop cannabis businesses in Illinois, California, Washington, and Michigan.

Back exclusively in the cannabis space having successfully served as the founding marketing leader for an e-commerce startup. Currently she serves as the Chief Innovation Officer for Sky & Wyatt CBD and Canna Bella Lux a femme-forward, cannabis-inspired “highbrid” boutique and lifestyle brand.

City Club video

Kim Egonmwan

Advocate. Activist. Attorney. These are just a few of the titles for Kimberley Egonmwan, who has been on the front lines of social justice for years, advocating for the equality of the Black community in public policy, resources and political power.

A successful and respected legislative attorney with years of hands-on experience promoting and negotiating strong public policy agendas at the City, State and Federal levels, she innately understands that full participation by Black people in policy and every available industry will be key to ending the persistent deficits in the African-American community, including a lack of resources, racism, disinvestment and sexism.

As the Host of the WVON1690AM Afternoon Drive Show and weekly political commentator, hers is a trusted local and national voice which she uses to amplify the needs and desires of her community daily and in other outlets such as WTTW, WBEZ and CBS2Chicago. Kim has coordinated voter education and engagement efforts for several states, including the mobilization of hundreds of African-American female attorneys to protect elections.

In addition to serving on several boards, she is the Centennial President of the first Sorority Graduate Chapter in Chicago, Theta Omega Chapter and the President of their programmatic arm, AKArama Foundation, Inc. housed in Woodlawn!