12/03/2014 09:00 am ET Updated Feb 02, 2015

Women in Business Q&A: Brianne O'Neill, VapeXhale Marketing Manager

Being the first female on the VapeXhale team and utilizing her strong communications skillset, Brianne brings a completely different perspective to the male dominated cannabis industry.

Considered a Jane of all trades, Brianne is responsible for developing and implementing well-integrated strategic marketing campaigns for, providing extensive research and data on industry trends, as well as effective marketing materials that are vital in driving product sales and overall growth as a company. Brianne is instrumental in building and maintaining VapeXhale's reputation as a leader in vaporizer technology.

Brianna received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Psychology from Temple University. Prior to joining VapeXhale, she worked as an associate producer for television network "Sprout," where she supervised production and brand development for the network.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
There are a few life experiences that I would attest to making me the person I am today.

Growing up as a competitive gymnast taught me self-discipline and the importance of mastering a skill. I have since taken that energy and parlayed it into my career and career choices.

Secondly, as a seasoned student I exceled scholastically. This taught me the importance of knowledge and opened up more doors for me professionally. If you apply yourself, you will be noticed and have more opportunities than you ordinarily would.

Lastly, my love for traveling taught me the importance of being open and adaptive, yet cautious and analytical. These are important traits that really come in handy in the professional environment. I am happy that I was able to recognize this and leverage them accordingly.

How did your previous employment experience aid your position at VapeXhale?
I worked at a TV network where I learned the importance of content creation and customer engagement. It's was a very fast pace environment and a constantly evolving industry. VapeXhale is also in an industry which is continually evolving. Keeping up, staying ahead of trends, it's all part of being in a growing environment.

Before this, I was in freelance marketing for local businesses, in which I learned about customer service and building brand awareness.

Being a musician on the side, helps me with self-discipline and perseverance.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
Having a work/life balance is hard for any professional or executive. I have found that if you try to set time restraints on how many hours are worked in a day, take weekends OFF with very few exceptions (tradeshows, demos) and make work fun, you can get everything accomplished that you set out to. Networking is also a big part of my job so I can get a little social time in, while still technically "working."

What have the highlights and challenges been during your time at VapeXhale?
Highlights include: Winning Best Product at the High Times Cannabis Cup, exponentially growing our social media, meeting with advocacy groups, and watching the cannabis industry grow so fast!
Challenges include: Working with a startup company that has very few employees, you have to learn to wear a lot of hats and deal well with trial and error.

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
In general, I'd say the biggest issue is walking that line between being "bitchy" or a "badass."

What are your thoughts on Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In book and movement?
I am all about it! Women are just as competent as men and need to embrace success as natural progression from their hard work! I love the "Sit at the table" mentality.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
Having someone who has made me feel comfortable asking any question, no matter how silly I think it might be, has done wonders! If you have someone you admire and can model, as either a moral compass or for career decision, it helps tremendously. I constantly think "What would so-and-so do?"

Reverse mentorship is also helpful - learning from others and having them learn from you. You can better determine what you want and don't want the outcome to be.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
Dolly Parton for one! What a go-getter! She honed her skills, then marketed herself to the top. She has such a positive, caring outlook on life. She never let personal drama get in the way of her success. The way she talks to men always cracks me up, she's definitely the alpha in the room- whether anyone wants to admit it or not.

Meg Sanders: CEO of Gaia Plant-Based Medicines. In this industry there are not many female CEOs and her involvement in the advocacy sector of the industry is very inspiring. She seems like a powerful woman, yet fun and down to earth.

Oprah: How can I not mention Oprah?? She is successful, generous and inspiring. I drive by where she grew up in Nashville, TN all the time and it just amazes me how she not only got herself out of poverty, but became the richest woman in the world.

What are your hopes for the future of VapeXhale?
My hopes for VapeXhale: to become one of the top leaders in the cannabis industry, not only for its superior vaporizer technology, but as a lifestyle company. I want VapeXhale to be THE household name when it comes to the best, healthiest way to consume cannabis, as well as a hub for the latest industry news including advocacy, health, science, etc. I also want celebrity endorsement!