Stormy Simon has always been someone who enjoys a challenge. She thrives on finding new opportunities for herself and creating companies in nascent industries. As a single mother with no college education, Simon started work as a temp, but rose to become the President of Overstock.com. She is now paving the way in the emerging cannabis industry. Simon’s goal is to help spread awareness of marijuana and the multitude of opportunities the industry holds for women. With 12 states this year considering making marijuana legal (whether for recreational or medical use), the field is wide open: in government, laws and regulations need to be written and banking laws need to be revised; for companies, funding and venture capital needs are essential for production, and operations expertise is essential. The field is wide open and the opportunities for success appear unlimited.
Can you point to one event that triggered your interest in your career?
As a young single mother, I had to be scrappy and self-sufficient. I walked into a temp agency and that was my lucky event that led to my Overstock.com career.
What about this career choice did you find most appealing?
While I didn’t intentionally set out have a career in e-commerce, I fell in love with being a part of an industry that was being defined as we went. I thrived on grabbing a group of people, and keeping our heads down while we figured things out. We revolutionized the way people shopped.
What steps did you take to begin your education or training?
In the early days, we were all learning together. When opportunities and projects would become available, I jumped on as many as I could. I would listen, learn and build as much as I could.And I worked a LOT of hours.
Along the way, were people encouraging or discouraging?
I’ve always had the support of my family. Even during the 12 – 15 hours a day for many years, while my sons forfeited the most time with me, they were always supportive and proud.
Did you ever doubt your decision and attempt a career change?
I never did.There’s not a lot of productivity in doubting yourself! Luckily, within the company there was plenty of room for change. I was able to wear many hats, and build many departments, it was like changing careers even though I never left the building. In July 2016, I did decide to make a change. Although, my tool belt will always be full of e-commerce, I wanted to add some tools and jumped into Cannabis advocacy. Another industry that is in its infancy.
When did your career reach a tipping point?
I’m not sure. I was so excited for each of the different roles I was able to play over the 15 years. I became VP and then SVP of Branding, Customer Service, Marketing and ultimately became President.
After playing a major part in the company’s growth and 15 years later, numerous life events combined with an adventurous personality, I decided to begin again. I moved to Denver and jumped into the Cannabis industry. I started a job in a 90,000 square foot marijuana grow with dispensaries. I found myself again with passion and in an industry that is defining itself.
Can you describe a challenge you had to overcome?
Every day is a challenge as a single parent!
What single skill has proven to be most useful?
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Of course, building Overstock into a household name and $1.5 Billion dollar company! My favorite accomplishment during my tenure there, was writing and producing the “Discover the Secret of the Big O” campaign.
Any advice for others entering your profession?
For those entering in ANY profession – follow your heart.If you are going to spend 8-12 hours a day doing something, make sure you love it!!
Opening photo: Stormy Simon (left)