AC Braddock: The Cannapreneur Working towards Deciphering Social Needs


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There have been several active debates among doctors, scientists, researchers, policymakers, and the public about the medicinal use of marijuana. Notably though, it has been women who have pushed the growth of legalization and destigmatized use in recent years. Whether it was mothers pushing for access to the plant for their eplileptic children or simply the multitudes of women in the health and wellness sectors who jumped at the opportunities afforded them in a brand new industry.

Female leaders have played an important role in promoting the science based medicinal properties of cannabis health and wellness. AC Braddock the CEO at Eden Labs , is a well recognized leader in this growing awareness regarding the same subject for more than a decade now. She is leveraging her expertise in the field regarding the remedial properties of plants and combining them with the business experience she has gained over the years.

In 2007, AC Braddock joined the team Eden Labs as a consultant. In a mere 3 years, she worked herself to the position of CEO of the firm. Once Ms. Braddock helmed the operations, the company grew 16,000 percent and this contribution awarded Eden Labs the distinction of being one of the 10 fastest-growing female-led firms in Seattle. That early growth was a direct result of constant travel in educating a new industry on extraction technology and the active promotion of other like minded entrepreneurs. Today, Ms. Braddock is a well known thought leader in modern business practice, a unifier across industries, and an inspirational speaker in this emerging industry. However, like many entrepreneurs, AC Braddock’s journey was filled with obstacles along the way to reach where she is positioned today.

Resilient towards Goal

The initial days of any career are never easy. But these are the days that decide the growth and longevity of one’s career. The popular philosophy of ‘never giving up no matter what’ has been preached, but it must also be practiced.  In her initial days of the journey, Ms. Braddock encountered challenges outside of her own abilities, but despite that, she kept on moving forward. She came across a couple of partners and teammates that would take credit for her work in business modeling and development. “In my opinion, there is nothing more despicable,” she shared. Consequently, this hindered Braddock’s self-growth and confidence. She adds, “Sadly, it took years for me to realize that my intuition was always spot on and that my leadership and vision were well-intentioned and well-executed.

Soon Ms. Braddock came across an opportunity to head a sales and marketing team in an industrial scale project, where her skill set and previous experience were allowed to flourish, but most importantly, were recognized as hers alone.  After that rewarding success, she left and went on to be the CEO of Eden Labs.

Botanicals Medicinal Benefits

In 1994, Eden Labs was established as the pioneer of healthy, safe, and efficient plant botanical extractions. Fritz Chess (Founder of Eden Labs) believed that botanicals can positively affect human health and well-being. Due to this belief, he began extracting a multitude of botanicals after having written about Shaman Pharmaceuticals research into the use of medicinal plants by indigenous shamans.

According to the study—If they found two shamans using the same plant, for the same treatment, but had no connection to each other, they would bring it back and study it.

Being completely intrigued by this model, Fritz continued his own compound research on a wide range of botanicals. However, he found standard extraction equipment lacking, thus he started engineering his own systems that were far more efficient and cost-effective. As Ms. Braddock became a part of the company, she saw a tremendous opportunity in harnessing the medicinal properties of botanicals, that have been forgotten in the modern business world utilizing the tech at Eden. She adds, “Among the many industries we serve, the most outstanding thing Eden Labs has done since I came on board was to create the extraction industry for cannabis and by doing so, fast-paced medical legalization around the world to treat and prevent illness, naturally.

Working on the Vaccine

Eden Labs has managed to bring more affordable, commercial-scale supercritical CO2 and ethanol extraction systems to several industries since the ’90s and to date have sold hundreds of systems globally. With the advent of the COVID-19 crisis, Eden Labs recently installed a fully automated supercritical CO2 pilot plant that is working on a vaccine for COVID-19. Eden Labs has also expanded the ability to process these kinds of botanicals for companies that cannot afford the equipment or prefer Eden’s end product.

At this juncture in the COVID-19 crisis, it is imperative people also pay attention to adrenal health, getting enough rest and boosting their immune systems,” says Ms. Braddock. Since the outbreak, Ms. Braddock and the team of Eden Labs have been actively sharing botanical solutions for the issues rising amid the crisis on the Eden website and social platforms.

Importance of Natural Products and Lifestyle

The Natural Products industry and Integrative Medicine have been growing in leaps and bounds in the past 20 years, but the importance of a healthy lifestyle has become increasingly obvious with the onset of the covid crisis not only for individuals but businesses as well.  Despite the havoc of the virus, she has successfully managed her team through this without infection by strictly abiding by safety mandates and suspending non-essential travel. “COVID-19 has been challenging to say the least, as business slowed in general and I have had people important to me die,” she shares. The pandemic has been heart-wrenching but people have managed to spot some silver linings. With mandated social distancing and quarantining, everyone has been forced to slow down which has provided an opportunity for reflection on personal and professional priorities.

COVID-19 has pivoted Eden Labs to its roots in offering product development and toll processing for a multitude of industries, not the least of which is the natural products industry. “COVID-19 has made people realize that boosting their immune systems through nutrition, supplements, and plant-based medicines are vitally important and Eden is primed to accelerate this awareness and provide the tools people need to stay healthy,” asserts Ms. Braddock. The team of Eden Labs has been utterly supportive in these tough times. Being extremely independent and accountable people, the team at Eden had no issues with managing work remotely as needed. However, to maintain the social connections and project focus amongst the teammates, Ms. Braddock would group conference with the teammates twice a week. Furthermore, inclining towards the benefits of work from home, “I think if someone can work from home they should, as driving to and from work is a waste of precious time and adds to their carbon footprint.

Reconnecting with Nature

Ms. Braddock asserts that it is vitally important to spend more time with nature, especially when one is stuck at home. As leaders, the stress of handling a team in the current crisis needs to be managed aptly. “I strongly believe in leading by example, so I have surfed, taken walks and meditated more and encouraged my team to do similar activities and most importantly, get outside,” she explained.

COVID-19 outbreak has helped individuals slow down and view life in a new light. People spend more time building skills and learning something new which contribute to their expertise or their quality of life. Likewise, this period has helped Ms. Braddock to have a clear path about her personal and professional life.

Having the luxury of more time, Ms. Braddock productively worked on a business plan to diversify Eden and its services. For the forthcoming years, Ms. Braddock predicts that natural products and integrative medicine will become “primary care” instead of “alternative medicine”. She is not just anticipating the changes but also actively working on this with other leaders in health and wellness.

Discussing Gender Disparity

While sharing her wisdom on health and wellness, Ms. Braddock also shared her perspective on gender disparity.

Equal pay is still not the norm and that is a shame.”

Gender equality has been a debate for a long time. Though people believe that we have achieved it we are still lagging far behind in filling that gap. Ms. Braddock affirms, “Yes, of course, disparities exist.  Board rooms and upper management reflect a dire lack of women. Study upon study prove more diverse companies are more successful. As a pertinent example, look at the countries who have most effectively dealt with covid-19.  The large majority are women-led.  Studies also show women manage investment more efficiently and with a better ROI.  Tragically, women only receive $1 million US for every $50 million US men receive in investment.  It is up to men to recognize they can be more successful by utilizing and supporting the differing viewpoints and talents of women.  Equal pay is still not the norm and that is a shame.  It reflects a cultural dismissal of the value of women and especially women of color.  How can we consider ourselves advanced as a species and have these kinds of disparities?

For the women entrepreneur of the future, Ms. Braddock advises working backward from the end goal and leading with clarity and consistency. Apart from this, one should possess one of the most important skills in success, listening. In leading and problem solving, Ms Braddock believes it is vitally important that people are and feel, heard.


Ms. Braddock is on multiple boards, consults, speaks and is a founding supporter of three Cannabis Women’s groups and is featured in the documentary Women of Weed.

Read more: The 10 Next-gen Women Leaders of 2020 

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