Medical Cannabis Speaker Bios
Speakers Listed Alphabetically by First Name
Carol Ortega Algarra, Founder & Managing Director, Muisca Capital Group
Originally from Bogotá, Colombia, Ms. Ortega is the Managing Director and Founder of Muisca Capital Group. For over 20 years, Carol has continuously demonstrated the ability to successfully guide cross-functional teams and achieve strategic goals for a diverse group of organizations at the international arena.
In Colombia, as a professor for Xavierian University, Carol leaded various research and consultancy projects within the financial industry, taught classes and was the Director of postgraduate programs in accounting. Within the governmental sector, at the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism of Colombia she provided technical lead on all matters related to the process of convergence towards international standards of accounting (IAS – IFRS) for the country, under this role, Carol co-wrote the standards of accounting and financial information currently applicable in Colombia. Ms. Ortega has authorship on numerous accounting and business related academic publications worldwide. In the U.S., as the Director of Finance and Operations for Adelante Mujeres, Ms. Ortega leaded the research and implementation of the incubator, accelerator and micro-finance program, now the biggest one in the State of Oregon serving the Latino community. as the Deputy Executive Director for InStove, she established the organization strategy, resulting in the first place at the Portland Social Venture Society “Fast Pitch” competition among others, taking InStove from a start-up to a sophisticated, sustainable, growth-oriented, multinational organization.Ms. Ortega has provided business & financial consultancy services to legal cannabis start-ups in the U.S. since 2014, year when Recreational Cannabis was legalized in the State of Oregon and in Colombia since December 2015. Carol is the Founder & BOD Chair of the Colombian Cannabis Entrepreneurs Network (RECC), which foster and serves through its programs and services cannabis ventures in Colombia, founding entity of the first cannabis science event in the Americas called CannaCiencia, a state of the art event that promotes science, research, investment and good practices of the analytical laboratory of Medicinal Cannabis in the Americas.
Carol earned a B.S. in Accounting & Finance a Master’s degree in Management Accounting, from Xavierian University in Bogota, and a Master’s in Business Administration from Canisius College. Buffalo, New York.
Elaine Richer, BSPharm, RPh, CEO & Founder, MyCureAll
Ms. Richer is a highly seasoned Pharmacist and healthcare professional that has held leadership roles in three Fortune 500 companies that include Rite Aid, Walgreens, and CVS Caremark. Ms. Richer is a graduate of Long Island University School of Pharmacy and has been a licensed pharmacist in New Jersey and Florida for over 20 years.
Ms. Richer wants to make our society a better place, and her goal is to decrease opioid overdoses, decrease deaths from suicides and overdoses, reunite families suffering due to drug addiction, and help patients achieve the most effective pain control.
Ms. Richer is dedicated to providing quality patient care and ensuring improved clinical outcomes. In her 20-plus years as a pharmacist, she has seen tens of thousands of patients for dozens of different conditions. As a pharmacist, she always strives to help patients, make their lives happier, healthier, and ease their burdens. Addiction is a tough illness and she feels honored to help patients on their road to recovery. At MyCureAll, her mission is to optimize innovation to treat pain properly, while preventing addiction at its core, and ensure improved clinical outcomes.
She has successfully trained and managed diverse teams of pharmacists and has in-depth experience in all aspects of the Pharmacy benefit managers (PBM) industry that are companies that manage prescription drug benefits on behalf of health insurers, Medicare Part D drug plans, large employers, and other payers.
Elisabeth Mack, RN, BSN, MBA - Founder of Holistic Caring - www.holisticcaring.com
Elisabeth founded Holistic Caring in 2016 to bridge the gap between traditional and cannabis medicine through education, guidance, and supportive care for patients with product choices, dosages, interactions and timing.
Elisabeth is an educational provider for the CA Board of Registered Nursing and professionalizes medical cannabis by equipping healthcare providers to have these conversations with patients, and to approach cannabis by emphasizing holistic and functional medicine.
Elisabeth’s background includes a decade in hospitals where she specialized in psychiatry, diabetes, and medical units. Elisabeth spent the 20 years prior to Holistic Caring in operations and sales management of several health insurance carriers (RSM of Anthem Blue Cross until 2015) and believes cannabinoid medicines offer a chance at healing, comfort, and wholeness in a more holistic, economical, and empowering way.
Elisabeth earned an MBA in Healthcare Administration, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology. She is a member of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, and on the Boards of the American Cannabis Nurses Association & Los Angeles NORML.
Ian Rassman, NORML & Chosen Payments
Ian is an inventor, patent holder, and lifelong entrepreneur with over 29 years of experience in tech, startups and senior management. He’s worked in over a dozen countries, including forming his own European company providing CRM/SFA services to large multinational corporations. His international experience led to a senior management role at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games overseeing a diverse staff of 325 persons streamlining and improving event services operations.
Ian has since held senior roles at technology start-ups as well as well-established, publicly traded companies. His focus on payment systems and emerging new markets led to a senior operations role at a FinTech startup where he cultivated strategic partnerships in the banking world. Ian facilitated a unique payment network comprising of merchant services and online money transfers as alternatives to traditional payment methods such as checks, money orders, and credit cards.
Ian is also a cannabis advocate with the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), holding the roles of Deputy Director of Los Angeles NORML and Secretary with Orange County NORML. He currently specializes in compliant banking and payment solutions servicing the regulated cannabis industry in providing onshore financial solutions for Cannabis Related Businesses.
Ian believes in learning from and making a positive impact on the people around him. To this end, he remains an avid international traveler for both work and pleasure having visited over 75 countries, a passion he plans to share with his two young and growing children as part of their lifelong education.
Jacques Nir, COO & Founder, LCSW, MyCureAll
Mr. Nir has been the Director of Substance Abuse outpatient programs at the redesigned New York State OASAS (Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services) inpatient element treatment facilities for the past 12 years. Mr. Nir has provided quality care as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) for 24 years and been responsible for multi-million-dollar budgets with OASAS and the New York Office of Mental Health. Mr. Nir is a graduate of Columbia University School of Social Work and Adjunct Professor at Columbia University School of Social Work.
The Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) oversees one of the nation’s largest addiction services systems with approximately 1,600 prevention, treatment and recovery programs. OASAS chemical dependence treatment programs have an average daily enrollment of nearly 100,000 people and serve approximately 234,000 individuals every year. This includes the direct operation of 12 Addiction Treatment Centers, which serve around 8,000 persons per year. OASAS is the single designated state agency responsible for the coordination of state-federal relations in the area of addiction services. Our mission is to improve the lives of New Yorkers by leading a comprehensive premier system of addiction services for prevention, treatment, and recovery.
Mr. Nir has devoted his career to the public sector of social work and has worked with community-based programs for over 20 years. The evidence indicates and supports medicinal cannabis and CBD as a MAT (medication assisted treatment) protocol for both the OASAS (Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services) and OMH (Office of Mental Health). Our program will save lives, increase compliance with recovery, and reduce Medicaid expenditures. CBD and medicinal cannabis, administered with continuing care, will prevent relapse from opiates and promote psychiatric treatment. These substances need to be covered by an individual's insurance policy. As the data proves, we will save lives and provide a safer, alternative form of medical treatment to reduce recidivism and redundant services.
Mathew J. Nordgren, CEO Founder, Arcadian Fund
Matthew Nordgren is an ambitious executive, dedicated philanthropist, and accomplished athlete who brings a unique passion to creating strategic alliances. He brings breadth and depth of experience in finance, corporate development, and capital sourcing, as well as in building highly motivated teams of skilled professionals.
Mr. Nordgren is currently CEO and Founder of ARCADIAN Fund and ARCADIAN Capital management, a venture fund focused that invests in ancillary businesses in and around the cannabis and hemp industries. More specifically, on Series A type opportunities where proven businesses are looking for growth equity to attack and win new markets. He was recently named one of the “Top 100 Most Influential People in the Cannabis Industry” by High Times Magazine. Additionally, he is the founder of NORDCO Consulting LLC, a private equity firm dedicated to buying and selling middle market companies with forward-thinking vision. To date, Mr. Nordgren has personally managed over $7 billion in transactions and maintains a portfolio of approximately 25 companies.
Inspired by his belief that education and athletics can open doors for at-risk youth, Mr. Nordgren founded The Leadership Foundation—an organization committed to giving back to non-profits whose purpose is to empower youth through sports and education. He feels strongly that young people, regardless of their personal circumstances, should have the opportunity for a bright future and the chance to make a positive impact. Furthermore, he is involved with and contributes to numerous philanthropic causes and remains dedicated to giving back and making a difference
Tracy Ryan, Founder, CannaKids & CKSoul
Tracy Ryan is the Founder and lead consultant for CannaKids and CKSoul, a California-based cooperative with a focus on supplying medical cannabis oil to adults and children looking for holistic relief for serious health conditions, specializing in pediatric cancer.
Since her infant daughter’s brain tumor diagnosis in June of 2013, Tracy has dedicated a huge part of her life to educating herself on the medicinal powers of medical marijuana in treating her own daughter’s disease, as well as all other pediatric and adult cancers, epilepsy, autism, and beyond. Tracy has worked on a global scale with families who are seeking education and treatment options for their loved ones, and has guided many patients to unheard of success. CannaKids is now on a trajectory to be one of the world’s leaders for cannabinoid therapies based on scientific research and is in collaboration with some of the top researchers, doctors and hospitals in the world.
With a true passion for clinical research Tracy has partnered with, and is on the Advisory Board of, CURE Pharmaceutical, (OTCQB:CURR), (“CURE”), a leading disruptive drug delivery technology and pharmaceutical cannabinoid molecule development company, and the Technion Institute in Israel who is leading the way in cannabis research for cancer. CannaKids has been sharing their meticulously tracked patient data with Technion in order to help further assist in their research. Furthermore, CannaKids & CURE are funding the next four years of this research where both pediatric and adult cancers will be studied for cannabinoid sensitivity.
In addition to the research in Israel, CannaKids is in the planning phase with a major hospital in California and is expected to start in-hospital clinical trials on pediatric patients in the next year.
As a public speaker, Tracy can be found speaking at medical cannabis and pediatric cancer events all over the world in her quest to educate the mass public on the power of this incredible plant.
Tracy and her family have been featured in many national and international news pieces including National Geographic, Vice News, Entertainment Tonight, Fox Business, The Huffington Post, CNN, Telemundo, and many more. They are also the key focus of the Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein documentary, “Weed The People”, set to release this year.