Co-Founding Mary’s List: How Denise Biderman Became CEO
Hi! It’s lovely to meet you. My name is Denise Biderman, and I am the co-founder & CEO of Mary’s List. Mary’s List is born out of the love that my partner and I share for the cannabis plant, for helping others, supporting them on their journey and watching them grow. Thanks for joining our community – we are so thrilled to have you. And thanks for reading!
Although cannabis has been a part of my life in some form for many, many years, this story begins about two years ago when I left my desk job as a New York City attorney. In 2016, I was surrounded by dust mites, hundred-year-old wooden filing cabinets and computers that still used floppy disks to save files. Cut to me launching a cutting-edge freelancer marketplace for the cannabis community in 2018. Here’s how it all went down.
After leaving my law-gig and finding the time to contemplate the meaning life, I was faced with my fourth knee surgery to date. I had competed in Tae Kwon Do as a kid and intense training coupled with multiple injuries led to reconstructive knee surgery to graft cadaver bone into my knee. I knew that I didn’t want to use pain killers and had always been a strong advocate for medical cannabis use. Here was my chance to take a dose of my own medicine. I became a registered medical patient in New York City, my hometown, and commenced the experiment.
When I tell you that my healing time was cut in half with the use of cannabis cream on my knee (and a puff of a vape occasionally to lift the pain at night), I mean that I was running on a treadmill only five months post-op when I should’ve just started to walk. For the two straight months immediately following my surgery, I was laid up on my couch with my leg propped up in a machine that bent and straightened my knee for eight hours a day. My left foot did not touch the ground for three months, and I used a wheelchair to get around for long distances. No one could believe my recovery time or nonuse of pain killers. But I could.
That’s when I knew I found my calling.
Although I began dabbling with cannabis consulting around New York, I knew that I would have to fly westward to continue my journey into the cannabis space. With that in mind, I set up a single coffee meeting with a partner at a law firm, who I met just once prior. I packed myself, my partner and two suitcases up to head out to Denver, Colorado that September.
Imagine that you have moved away from your home, your friends, your family, to a new magical place, for wondrous opportunities. You arrive eager to participate, and instead, you’re rushed to an emergency room six times within the first six months that you’re living there.
Colorado was not boding well for my health.
Although I received an incredible opportunity working as a technical writer for a consulting firm, my oxygen levels remained dangerously low from the altitude and resulted in two autoimmune disorders. My partner and I had to get out of there ASAP.
But what was I going to do for work?
While I was in Denver, I churned out document after document, for licensing applications – there was never a lack of work to be done. The company needed more writers, but hiring new employees came with a steep price tag. The company needed to hire freelancers, but there was no resource to specifically serve the cannabis industry. And, as I tried to freelance when I moved to California, I did not make much headway. Word-of-mouth only did so much. I needed to get myself out there more, but there was one singular problem: the word “Cannabis”.
Anytime a freelancer marketplace came across my profile, it would be flagged because of my involvement with the plant.
That’s when it dawned on me.
If you build it, they will come.
Thus, Mary’s List was born.
The idea behind Mary’s List is simple: create a flourishing community that empowers entrepreneurs and freelancers to give them a chance to compete in the space. It’s hard to watch companies falter simply because they can’t afford the cost of admission to the industry. Setting up a business is expensive, especially in Cannabis! We hope this is where Mary’s List finds its fit – helping resolve that divide in cost and giving companies a fighting chance to grow with awesome people on their side who believe in their mission.
We’re here to empower you. We’re here to support you and see you grow. We support your families and loved ones. We support access to the medicine.
By building a network of incredible resources, we perpetuate access to medical cannabis alive and thriving. By opening people’s minds to the idea of working within the cannabis industry around the world, we allow people to understand the plant better and accepting it as medicine. The more people dipping their toes in the industry, the more people see the potential that cannabis can have in their communities and its ability to heal the world.
Above all, we refuse to let the price of admission get in anyone’s way.