Marianne Brown’s career in agriculture started at a seed brand, Pannar Seed. She says she studied continuously to become lab manager, production manager and eventually quality manager for Africa. Last year in March, she walked out of the corporate world and ventured into entrepreneurship.

“My proudest and most frightening moment was resigning from a great corporate role to be an entrepreneur with a start-up business,” she shares.

Brown is the CEO and co-founder of CanAgri Global, a company that is a one-stop, professional service to the local and international cannabis supply chain. “I am now completely immersed in the cannabis industry on a global level.”

On a daily basis, Brown starts her day meeting with clients whether in person or online; after which she engages regulators and industry players.

She says a grounding in the subject Business Management is a good start if you want to get a job like hers.

Simply follow the advice below to find out more about getting involved. Also check out many more careers to choose from in the agri-sector on Food for Mzansi.

Okay, now it’s over to Marianne Brown, director and co-founder at CanAgri Global:

Could you sum up your job for us?

That’s a bit difficult… We have touch points through the value chain… [it’s] something one can achieve in an emerging industry. We consult to clients wanting to enter the cannabis industry in Africa; navigate through regulation and licensing. From cannabis seed to sale.

We also manage cannabis supply agreements to international markets, imports and exports.

Marianne Brown, director and co-founder at CanAgri Global.

So, what does the day-to-day of your job entail?

Clients come first, so interaction with clients: we do face to face site visits and/or zoom (our new best friend). We then touch base with our regulators and have engagement with industry players.

I have around two hours on emails. An hour or two on product development.

An hour or two following up on client leads.

What qualification do you need for this career?

Ideally have some agronomic background, understanding of regulatory compliance, and business management.

BCom, BSc or BTech.

What are the character traits you need to be great at your job?

I need to be patient, pragmatic, self-starter, customer-orientated and have an eye for detail. Good communication skills are important. Be agile – you must be able to manage change.

What subjects do I need to become a CEO?

[There’s] no real defined subjects, but I think a grounding in Business Management would be a good start.

What do you love about agriculture as a space to work in?

Agriculture is necessary to produce food and medicine to sustain human and animal life. Being part of that value chain gives an enormous sense of value add.  “Making the world a better place” indeed does exist.

With hemp now almost commercialized as an industrial crop and cannabis for medicinal purposes legalized, we have the ability to create many jobs in many industries and sector, from fibre production for industrial purposes, clothing, housing and then on the other side affordable medicine; we really are in a wonderful place to boost African economy and industry for local and export.

Don’t be modest, tell us about your proudest career moments.

Honestly, over and above the awards won and work promotions, my proudest and most frightening moment was resigning from a great corporate role to be an entrepreneur with a start-up business.

What do you do when you’re not at work?

I love my gorgeous family and try and spend as much time as possible with them. All of us golf. I enjoy walking the dogs on the farm, meditation and sipping on a glass of South African Pinotage.

Any advice for young people who are inspired by your career story here on Food For Mzansi Agri Career Fair?

Be brave. If you have a passion, follow your passion and don’t give up, especially when things get tough. Put your hand up to new challenges. Don’t expect to be rewarded before you have proven yourself. Work Hard. Work Smart. Surround yourself with like-minded, passionate individuals and be a team player.

Where can I study to become a CEO?

The university of life! But seriously, you can start where you fit best – whether HR, business, science, agriculture – but to lead, you must never stop learning, studying and growing.