Team Member Spotlight: Meet Nichole and Chris

January 31, 2020

Team Member Spotlight

Our team is growing! Meet the two newest additions to Canna Advisors — Nichole Ovens and Chris Newman. New to the industry, they bring fresh perspectives that have already made a positive impact on our team. Get to know these two kind, adventurous people who are helping us build the cannabis industry on a local, regional, national, and global level.

Nichole Ovens, Technical Writer

Nichole Ovens









What is your role at Canna Advisors?
I write cannabis business plans, proposals, licensing applications, and other technical and regulatory content for our clients.

What inspired you to work in the cannabis industry?
Social justice is a strong value for me. I want to be on the right side of history. Pardon the pun, but I thrive when working in an area that is “green and growing.”

What job(s) were you doing before joining Canna Advisors?
I worked for the Centers for Disease Control, Department of Energy (Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy – EERE), and Department of Homeland Security (Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program – HSEEP). I led several large programs and projects for a number of national imperatives.

DHS – Right before and for a few years after 9/11, I worked with emergency responders, emergency management, public health, public information, medical systems, and elected officials to prepare for acts of chemical, biological, and nuclear terrorism events.

EERE – Following the start of the Great Recession/Housing Crash, Vice President Biden was leading the “Recovery through Retrofit” Program. I facilitated a nation-wide knowledge transfer training and technical assistance project that established new building performance training center accreditation standards and workforce certification credentials.

Favorite part of your job?
I have been a “Jill of All Trades” for so long, having to both manage projects and do the work. I am happy to be able to spend my time “sharpening the saw” on my writing skills while learning about a fascinating new subject. I also like learning about how all of our different clients decided to enter the cannabis industry. Every story is a unique one, so I like figuring out how to bring each client’s story to life in business applications.

What’s the best thing about working at Canna Advisors?
The people here are so hard-working, smart, inspiring, organized, friendly, funny, (and “pun-ny”).

Tell us something you do every day, without fail:
I am working on mastering my morning meditation ritual. It helps set my intention for the day and remember the things that I feel grateful for.

Describe a really big accomplishment:
Establishing and implementing a national training center accreditation and worker certification program for building performance standards.

Where are you from? If not from Colorado, what brought you here?
I’ve lived in lots of places, but mostly grew up in Alaska. When I was in junior high and high school, all I wanted was to move to Colorado. I wanted to be able to ski at some of the amazing resorts here that I would see on posters at Hilltop and Alpenglow (little ski mountains in/near Anchorage). I ended up being able to play soccer at Denver University and loved living here. Life after DU took me many places, but after a couple of decades of seeing all of my immediate family relocate to the Front Range, my daughter and I made it our mission to get back.

What cities have you lived in?
Rock Island, IL (born) – Atlanta, GA – Chicago, IL – Anchorage, AK – Denver, CO – Waikoloa Village (Big Island), HI – Corvallis, OR – Reston and North Springfield, VA – Cabin John and Bethesda, MD – Oak Ridge, TN – and now my true home (where I was always meant to be): BOULDER, CO

What do you do in your spare time?
Whitewater kayaking, snowboarding, surfing, traveling (abroad mostly), real estate investing, camping…basically always looking for some kind of adventure (that includes great people and yummy food).

Tell us a little about your family.
It took 25 years, but now my entire immediate family has made its way to the Front Range. My mom and dad live in Brighton, my sister and her family live in Lafayette, my brother and sister-in-law just added a baby nephew to the mix. We have great get-togethers with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law’s families too, as they live in Denver and Jackson Hole.

It was my 16-year-old daughter’s dream to live in Colorado close to family before she grew up. So, even though making a move meant losing my job and figuring out a completely new career, it was worth it…especially when Boulder High (go Panthers) was her top choice to finish her high school years. She wanted to go to BHS because all the teachers and faculty we met were so kind and helpful when we were discussing options. It also seemed to offer the best mix of social, academic, artistic, internship, outdoor, and athletic opportunities.

Travel memories/trips of note
I have traveled to/through all 50 states in this country as well as 6 of our good earth’s 7 continents. Some day I would like to go to Antarctica…but right now a trip to Manuel Antonio and some nearby surf and paragliding camps in Costa Rica are calling my name.

What are you watching right now?
The Witcher

Interesting/little-known/unique fact(s) about you?
I have been gluten-free, long before anyone knew what “gluten” was or how to pronounce it.

I was the first female ski jumper to go off/compete in the 30-meter jump when I was in 7th grade.

Favorite quote(s):
“The difficult we do immediately, the impossible takes a little longer.” – Charles Alexandre de Calonne (Finance Minister for King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette). Later, it was taken by several others, including the U.S. Armed Services during WW2.

It was also my high school soccer team’s motto.

Favorite author(s):
Elizabeth Gilbert, Paolo Coehlo, Don Miguel Ruiz, Brene Brown, Malcolm Gladwell, Robert Kiyosaki, Tim Ferris.
Favorite smell(s):
The smell of forest air in the spring-time after a thunderstorm.
Favorite sound(s):
Waves crashing along a rocky point break.
River rapids and cascades.
Favorite place(s):
The Oregon Coast
Big Sur
Montanita – Ecuador
Hoi An – Viet Nam
The Northshore in Oahu
Volcanoes National Park (Big Island)
Sydney, Australia
Capri, Italy
The Nantahala in Bryson City, North Carolina
The Metolius River, Oregon
Seward and the Matanuska Valley, Alaska (on a sunny day)
Strawberry Hot Springs in Steamboat
Favorite food(s):
Thai, Vietnamese, and Mediterranean food.

Favorite way to consume cannabis?
I worked for so many years in state, federal, and global public health where “smoking cessation” was constantly a top priority, so I probably have to say edibles.

Will you name a few items on your bucket list?
Buy properties around the globe in cool up and coming towns/cities (with great culture and food)…preferably not too far from a great surf break or mountain resort

What do you order at a bar or coffee shop?
I am a sucker for a tasty seasonal latte, hot chai, or cold brew (when it’s warm outside).

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
I want to have my own “beam me up Scotty” type of transporter — my least favorite thing is all the time it takes to travel to the many amazing places that this world (and who knows…this universe) has to offer.

If you were a MLB player, what would your walkout song be?
“Play me some mountain music” – by Alabama. This was our DU Women’s Soccer team’s warm-up song. It evokes a lot of nostalgia and still gets my competitive juices flowing when I hear it…

Plus, you just can’t beat the line: “Playing baseball with shired rocks. Using sawmill slats for bats.”

If you created a cannabis strain, what would you name it?
Easy Bake Ovens

Chris Newman, Industry Alliance Manager

Chris Newman









What is your role at Canna Advisors?
As Industry Alliance Manager, I am working to build a network of trusted partners that provide the products and services our clients need to get their businesses operational and run them successfully.

What inspired you to work in the cannabis industry?
I’ve always loved working with companies that are growing quickly. This industry is changing by the day and there are new people and ideas being developed constantly. The opportunity to work for a growing company, in a budding industry (see what I did there ;), and to be able to promote something that is actually helping people in their everyday lives, it was too good to pass up.

What job(s) were you doing before joining Canna Advisors?
I worked in software as a service for 7 years, helping some of the biggest companies in the country hire and onboard new talent. Then, most recently, I worked with a small company in the Denver area to create an online car buying experience.

Tell us something you do every day, without fail:
I have a morning routine that I love including reading, journaling, affirmations, and meditation. It comes from the book ‘The Miracle Morning’ which I recommend to anyone and everyone. I don’t always get through every step of it, but I always take some time to start my day with a little bit of positivity.

Where are you from? If not from Colorado, what brought you here?
I grew up in St. Louis, MO, but my grandma worked at the Eagle County Airport during the winters when I was in elementary school. She would bring us out to Breckenridge and Beaver Creek and put us in ski school and I fell in love with the mountains. A year after I graduated from college, I was looking for a change of scenery and my best friend told me how much he loved Denver. I packed up my car and moved into his basement in 2008. It’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

What cities have you lived in?
St. Louis, MO – Greencastle, IN – Berkeley, CA – Breckenridge, CO – Denver, CO.

What do you do in your spare time?
Get outside with friends as often as possible! Skiing, softball, volleyball, camping, backpacking, biking, hiking, and playing pickleball are a few of my favorites. I love to get into the backcountry. And if I can sweat and make a game out of something, that’s even better!

Tell us about your family:
My parents and sister live in St. Louis and run a small business providing transportation for people with mobility challenges, like those confined to wheelchairs or stretchers. Their house is constantly filled with friends and extended family and there is always a warm meal and a cold beer ready when I visit. My brother and his wife live in Chicago and we see each other as often as we can so that we can tell stories of mutual friends, playing baseball together, and reliving college memories.

My girlfriend and I live in the Highlands in Denver with two incredibly sweet, not quite well-behaved dogs. We love to cook (I mostly do as am I’m told and try not to burn things), have dinner with friends, and find any excuse for a dance party. She swears she’s a better skier than I am, and she’s probably right, but I’ll never admit it to her face. She and the dogs make me smile and feel loved every day.

Travel memory of note:
I love new adventures. I spent 3 months backpacking around Europe after college and got to spend a month in Australia in New Zealand a couple of years ago. I try to leave the country once a year and would love to do more visits to developing countries.

Interesting/little-known/unique fact(s) about you?
I have 11 grandparents (my parents have lots of step-parents). Since I joined the cannabis industry, they are the ones who seem the most excited to learn about the plant and how it could help them!

My senior year of college, I led the nation in sacrifice bunts. Lamest stat ever.

Favorite quote(s):
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” -African proverb

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

Favorite sound(s):
The crack of a bat. The silence after stopping in the middle of a tree run while skiing. Sizzling bacon.
Least favorite sound: Heavy footsteps outside of your tent when camping.

Favorite place(s): The top of a mountain. The middle of a forest. A dirt road in my truck. A card table with good friends. Any baseball or softball field, anywhere.
Favorite food(s): Ice cream

Will you name a few items on your bucket list?
Visit every continent. Write a book. Go heli-skiing. Swim with a whale shark.

If you were a MLB player, what would your walkout song be?
“Bulls on Parade” by Rage Against the Machine

Learn more about our team of cannabis consultants and contact us today for expert support starting or growing your cannabis business.

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