Interview Questions

Today’s workforce has changed drastically over the last few years, and with that, so have the strategy and attitude of the CEOs. Previously, CEOs would remain cooped up in their office and delegate tasks from behind the desks. They mostly remained in their office, barely visible to employees, and were known to delegate tasks to the executive team, who passed them down to the managers and so forth down the hierarchy.

However, times have changed, and so has the modern-day CEO. CEOs have realized the importance of being visible and approachable within an organization. Hence, now we see a lot more interaction between CEOs and employees.

Although CEOs have adopted a new approach to their role, they still have a lot on their plate. Notoriously busy, CEOs attend to an array of tasks and face daily challenges. Their guidance not only steers the company in the right direction but is also valuable in helping you find your success.

To find out more about how the goals and leadership approaches of today’s CEOs, we sat down with Judy Gallegos, CEO and founder of Stoner’s Haven.

Good afternoon, Judy, and thank you for taking the time to sit down with us today. We know that you’re a very busy person, so we put together just a few questions to learn more about you, your company, and your leadership philosophies for a post-Covid workplace.

  • First, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I was born and raised in the lovely state of New Mexico and graduated from Western New Mexico University with a degree in Criminal Justice Policing and Administration. After graduation, I worked in Human and Social Services and I quickly realized that my heart and passion was to aid individuals and improve their abilities to become thriving, self-sufficient individuals through workforce development. Since that time, I have been blessed to provide assistance in both the private and public sector in the areas of strategic planning, project and policy oversight, program and software rollouts, and fundraising. My mission has been for the betterment of others – through individual or leadership development, as well as their health & well-being. And I have been absolutely blessed with amazing family and friends that have – and still do – support me every step of the way.

  • What made you decide to start a cannabis company?

Several factors made me consider and ultimately decide to start this company. The first factor in this vision was to start a company that would help improve the lives of our people and communities across the state through the financial profits of cannabis cultivation. After significant research, I knew that if we put the right models and processes together, we could create stable employment, provide clean, environmentally friendly products, and be socially equitable by making investments in our cannabis company available to everyone, from the curious to the connoisseur.

We also have a goal to be a mentor to other cannabis companies for both emerging and current entrepreneurs in the industry. We want to build a network for cultivators entering the cannabis arena to provide support, mentorship, and community so they, too can thrive in this sometimes hard-to-navigate industry.

Another factor that influenced the decision to move forward with Stoner’s Haven was the need to eliminate the stigma. Through education and advocacy, we hope to alter the negative stereotypes associated with cannabis and the cannabis industry.

  • Why the name Stoner’s Haven?

Stoner’s Haven was chosen because the word “stoners” has an unfairly negative connotation due to a lack of awareness and education about cannabis. We are motivated to create a safe place around a “bad word” for all those who consume cannabis, medicinally or recreationally.

  • What about all the competition in the industry; aren’t you concerned?

I want to start by saying there is plenty of room for everyone, and the truth of the matter is that everyone does better when everyone does better. We are here to help, support, and only want to see everyone succeed in and out of the industry. Our only concerns are staying true to Stoner’s Haven, creating our own lane, and supporting & cheering on others in their lanes, all while being in “competition” with no one but ourselves. 

  • What traits do you look for when assembling a leadership team?

When putting together our team, I prioritized identifying authentic people first. I wanted to work with professionals that have similar values and drive, someone in sync with their heads and their heart, because I believe that is where the magic happens!

The goal is to be a servant leader and in order to do that, I needed to find other leaders and team members that could buck the traditional leadership roles and put the needs of others ahead of their own. To do that, I looked for individuals who understood that leadership is not about being served; it’s about building, serving, and empowering others to function at their highest potential and setting others up for success in their home and work life. Simply put, I want to work with people motivated by their self-development, dreams, and life progressions.

  • Do you have a hobby outside of work that helps you be a better leader?

I believe experience playing team sports, reading and researching, connecting with nature, daily sun, meditation, and exercise helps me feel my best physically, mentally, and emotionally, which in turn helps me be a better leader. And I encourage our leadership team to do the same. Keeping their brain and body healthy – and to take needed breaks for self-preservation – will benefit themselves and our mission for success!

  • What level of growth do you hope to see in the next five years?

Five years WILL see us in a place where we are showing strong fiscal stability grossing at least $350,000 per head, infusing millions back into New Mexico, and serving 33 counties across the state.