The Salmon Arm Observer presents Kaitlyn Fraser, one of 20 young community leaders recognized in Salmon Arm’s inaugural Top 20 Under 40 program.
Cannabis. It’s a word that evokes feelings for nearly anyone who hears it. For some, it’s medicine; for others, it still holds a stigma. But for visionaries like our next Top 20 Under 40 recipient, it’s been a vehicle for success and innovation.
Kaitlyn Fraser, founder of Prism Equipment and Head of Partnerships for the Pantheon Cannabis Group, grew up in small-town Manitoba living the farming life. As the oldest of four children, she learned the value of a strong work ethic early on. After attending post-secondary school in Lethbridge, Alta., and working in the struggling oil and gas industry, Fraser was ready for adventure and took a job on a whim in a small town with a funny name, Salmon Arm.
She moved to the area, with only a car full of stuff and her horse, and was instantly hooked on the lifestyle and community. It was the first place that felt like home since leaving where she grew up, so she planted roots and has been blooming ever since.
Fraser’s entrepreneurial road map hasn’t been an easy one. When her father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer when she was only 17, she began investigating the medicinal use of cannabis in an attempt to help her father. Fraser’s passion for the plant grew the more learned, and with federal legalization, on the horizon, she jumped into this booming yet uncertain industry. Losing her father at such a young age sparked a fire in her that led to creating Prism Equipment, and provided her the drive and perspective to push forward.
“Starting a new business in any industry can be tough, but when you do it with a community around you that is as supportive as Salmon Arm is, it makes the whole experience a lot easier,” said Fraser.
That support has been a key to her success. By partnering with top-tier manufacturing firms, and having both investors and staff with roots right in this community, they have been able to navigate the uncharted waters of legalization. There is no playbook, and no established routes to market, so being able to draw on your network is essential for a business to succeed.
Thankfully, Fraser is a networking maven and, in her role as Head of Partnerships, she is perfectly suited to traverse this rapidly growing and ever-changing industry. Standing out and making waves in a male-dominated industry can be difficult, but by genuinely appreciating those who work beside her, and holding an authentic passion for what she does, Fraser has proved to be a natural leader and others are eager to support her, and her businesses.
Salmon Arm’s Top 20 Under 40 program was launched this year by Dustin Serviss, of Serviss Wealth Management, in partnership with the Salmon Arm Economic Development Society and the Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce, to acknowledge outstanding individuals, role models, mentors and community builders over the age of 18 and under 40. The top 20 were selected from individuals nominated by the public. Visit salmonarmtop20.ca.