Bryan Buckley is an accomplished sales and operations leader. Distinguished background in leadership, policy, training, management, operations and strategic decision making. Adept in negotiation, alliance formation and organizational communication. Ability to forge productive partnerships among stakeholders and reach high-level decision makers within sophisticated organizations, ensuring free and productive flow of information.
Counsel and assist those within and in association with governmental agencies, along with private sector, to adopt best practices in compliance with applicable regulations and statutes. Personable and articulate; represent organizations effectively in the public arena through outreach, education and advocacy. Creative, well organized and self-motivated, with exceptional oral and written communication skills. Capable of utilizing the full range of proven abilities to make key contributions to corporate productivity and profitability.
-Utilized outstanding abilities in training, mentoring, and supervision to achieve mission-critical objectives.
-Led 1,000+ US personnel and host nation forces in global operations to include Iraq and Afghanistan.
-Founder of Battle Brothers Foundation (501(c)3): Awarded an Institutional Review Board study for medical cannabis reducing the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress.
-Founder of Helmand Valley Growers CompanySkills, Expertise and Attributes: Team Builder, Multi-level Communicator, Strategic Planner, Dynamic, Critical Thinker, Mission Accomplishment, Communication Skills, Creative, Well Organized, Self-motivated, Personable, Articulate, Relationship Building, Data Analysis, Market Development, Adaptive Education, DoD, Humility, Intellectual Curiosity.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Bryan Buckley: Bryan Buckley served 9 years in the United States Marine Corps, serving in Marine Infantry, Marine Reconnaissance, and in Special Operations Forces as a Marine Raider. Awarded the Bronze Star with Combat “V” and the Purple Heart for wounds received during combat operations.Lives Bryan lives in San Diego with his wife, Briar Buckley, and their two sons.
Helmand Valley Growers Company was founded by United States Special Operations Veterans (Marine Raiders). Since its inception, HVGC has been in discussions with some of the cannabis industry’s top researchers and has developed a veteran based protocol to effectively prove the benefits of medical cannabis. HVGC is supported and essentially ran by three Marine Raiders that served following 9-11.
Over time, and through HVGC presentations and seminars, the principals of HVGC realized a recreational brand will be a monetary success and will help fund the ultimate mission of HVGC, providing medical cannabis to the veterans of our United States Military.
As a service disabled veteran owned business, HVGC is intimately aware of the daily challenges that our fellow veteran brothers and sisters face as a result of their time spent on the battlefield. Some of these wounds are not visible to the naked eye.
Our country is facing a wide-scale opioid epidemic that has taken countless lives; not excluded from this crisis, the veteran community has been critically impacted. When the U.S. Military deploys to the combat theater, roughly 60% of those deployed will be prescribed opioids upon return to the United States, and over half will develop a dependency/addiction. This has caused far too many vets to lose their way, and in an ever-increasing pandemic, take their own lives.
HVGC began its outreach into the veteran community by observing first-hand and listening to the suffering of our veterans. We knew right then that our cause was worthy; and that our mission was defined. Our next step moved us into researching medical cannabis and speaking with the top experts in the field. As our research progressed, the answer to this crisis became clear: develop alternate medical solutions for those suffering with pain, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, sleep disorders, and most critically, are at significant risk of suicide. We care about those who suffer and believe that medical cannabis is the way of the future to help those in need. The recreational cannabis and branding will be used to assist in accomplishing these goals and ultimately serve as a profit center for HVGC.
2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curve balls into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
Bryan Buckley: Consumer habits have definitely changed. Will they go back to the way it was prior to the pandemic, probably not. My recommendation is to really understand consumer habits and how do they prefer to purchase products/services.
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
Bryan Buckley: For some people, the economy most likely feels unstable to them. With inflation on the rise and sounds like there will not be any relief until 2023. A barrel of oil is around $80.00 right now and is anticipated to be at $100 a barrel by Memorial Day. People will be spending $4.00 a gallon in gas, New York and California, that means $6.00 a gallon for you. People will not have a lot of expendable income. This makes, whatever you are selling, important that your company has a positive differentiator and your product/service are filling a need. Think of creative ways to utilize your marketing budget to ensure you are reaching your target audience.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
Bryan Buckley: The best marketing tool for cannabis brands is a consumer appreciation day (CAD)/patients appreciation day (PAD) in store promotion. With the pandemic hitting, this was no longer an option. It was paramount to engage with consumers in anyway you possibly could. Utilizing social media, having a good PR team that can help pitch you stores so you can go on podcasts and national/local news. Even utilizing Clubhouse to share your story, mission, brand, with people in the industry. All of this helped support and grow our brand. Now as things get back to normal, we have built a strong following and now we will be that much stronger when we conduct in-store promotions.
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
Bryan Buckley: Fail fast. If something is not working, don’t sit on it and hope things turn for the better. Adjust, adapt, overcome your shortcomings.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
Bryan Buckley: It really depends on consumer habits. Will they remain buying online? Will people want to get out and support local businesses? It is a very difficult time due to the pandemic. However we are seeing some indications in the stock market that by the summer, things are going to go back to they way they were, pre-pandemic. For us, our market is B2B. We sell to dispensaries and delivery services. That will not change and we are planning to expand into many more dispensaries during 2022.
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
Bryan Buckley: I spend way too many hours in front of a screen. I highly recommend Blue Lens Glasses. However, I love when I have the opportunity to go out with Sales Representatives and spend time out in the field. You learn the most working with your people and interacting with store customers.
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
Bryan Buckley: Sales can be a very stressful profession. When I have sales representatives call me up because something happened and it feels like the worst thing ever. I just tell them to take a deep breath and that no one is going to die. We talk about stories of things I was apart of in the military and there were some life and death situations. Just because someone is upset, does not mean something tragic is going to happen. Let’s listen to their needs and fill the gap.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
Bryan Buckley: We face many challenges in the legal cannabis market, perhaps one of the more difficult challenges we face are the taxes. It makes it very difficult to compete with the illicit market and the consumer is paying anywhere between 40%-60% in taxes. If the government officials in California would reduce taxes, the program would flourish and hinder the illicit market.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
Bryan Buckley: Really want to dive into online marketing as well as setting up a podcast. I think a podcast is a very effective way to help you business, Hopefully we can make that happen by the end of Q2.
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
Bryan Buckley: There is an excellent book for business leaders that is a must read. It is called “Trust based Leadership” by Mike Ettore. He makes a great point about the difference between leadership vs management. “You lead people and manage things.” Leaders of people are often very good managers of things. However, mangers of things, do not always make an effective leader of people. You need to understand with your people that there is a human factor that must be accounted for. You need to understand their needs and ensure you communicate. Listen to your people, they are the ones on the ground making it happen. Never make a plan just “yours.” Include you people and make the plan “ours.”
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Bryan Buckley: Have the ability to see six months ahead. Just having the ability to not make an educated guess, but to no kidding understand new trends before they even happen. That would be very beneficial.
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Bryan Buckley: Enjoying time with my family and watching my sons grow. I am amazed at how fast it goes. Business wise we complete our first medical cannabis research study and our company continues to move upward.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Bryan Buckley for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Bryan Buckley or his company, you can do it through his – Instagram
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