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California seeks to require female board directors

BY CSA Staff

A first-of its-kind bill could require major companies based in California to put more women on its corporate boards.

Bill SB-826, which cleared the California Senate and is currently sitting on the desk of Governor Jerry Brown, would require all public companies with principal executive offices in the state to have at least one woman on their boards of directors by the end of 2019. By 2021, the requirement expands to two women for five-member boards and three women for boards of six or more members. Gov. Brown has until Sept. 30 to decide whether to sign the bill.

Companies found breaking the rule would be fined $100,000 initially and $300,000 for subsequent violations.

“The glass ceiling in the C-suite is notorious, and this bill calls upon companies to open up their board rooms,” state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, a Democrat who co-authored the bill, told Recode.

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Jeff Bezos makes $2 billion philanthropic pledge

BY Marianne Wilson

Amazon co-founder and CEO Jeff Bezos wants to help homeless families and preschools that serve low-income neighborhoods.

Bezos is pledging $2 billion to launch the Bezos Day One Fund, which will be comprised of the Families Fund and the Academics Fund. The initiative, announced on Twitter, is Bezos’ largest philanthropic effort to date. It comes on the heels of a $10 million gift by Bezos and his wife to With Honor, a super PAC that is working to get 20 veterans from both parties elected into the U.S. House of Representatives during the 2018 midterms.

The Families Fund will issue funding awards to existing non-profits that help homeless families, and are doing “compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the immediate needs of young families,” Bezos tweeted. The vision statement for the fund, he said, comes from Mary’s Place, a homeless shelter in Seattle: No child sleeps outside.

The Academics Fund will create a network of high-quality, full-scholarship, Montessori-inspired preschools in underserved communities. In a tweet, Bezos said “we will build an organization to directly operate” the preschools.

“We’ll use the same sort of principles that have driven Amazon,” he said. “Most important among those will be genuine, intense customer obsession. The child will be the customer.”

The initiative comes roughly a year after Bezos sought suggestions from the general public for ideas on philanthropy. Back then, he wrote that he wanted to help “people in the here and now — short term — at the intersection of urgent need and lasting impact.”

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Former Nike store executive joins cannabis firm

BY Marianne Wilson

One of the leading vertically integrated cannabis operators in the United States has tapped a retail veteran to head up its expanding store operations.

Curaleaf has named Chris Melillo as senior VP, retail operations. He will be responsible for spearheading Curaleaf’s dispensary expansion rollout and establishing a consistent customer experience for retail stores across the United States.

Most recently, Melillo served as VP of stores for footwear and apparel retailer DTLF/Villa. Prior to that, from 2013 to 2016, he was senior director of stores North America for Nike. He also served in management roles at Equinox and PetSmart.

Melillo has been instrumental in retail expansions, store design/construction, merchandising and omnichannel commerce in hundreds of stores, in addition to developing and leading retail teams across the country, Curaleaf said.

“As we strategically expand our business by growing our dispensary footprint, it was vital to attract a leader with extensive experience in managing multi-unit operations,” said Joseph Lusardi, CEO of Curaleaf. “Chris’s background makes him well-equipped to help develop the Curaleaf retail brand beyond our existing network in 12 states. Chris will support Curaleaf’s growth through the realization of our strategic plan to establish a national retail footprint with consistent, streamlined atmospheres, driving foot traffic and adoption of the well-established Curaleaf brand.”

Headquartered in Wakefield, Massachusetts, Curaleaf has a presence in 12 states. The company owns and operates 28 dispensaries, 12 cultivation sites and nine processing sites with a focus on highly populated, limited license states, including Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

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