The Sira Spotlight series focuses on one of the most interesting aspects of Sira Naturals: our people. Each month, we highlight members of our staff from across the entire organization.
In this Sira Spotlight, we are highlighting our Somerville Retail Management Team, Janelle Mucci, Kara Laviolette, Devlin Gobeil, and Katya Perchenko, to learn more about their roles overseeing the dispensary operations and patient experience in Somervile.
(Pictured Left to Right: Devlin, Katya, Janelle and Kara)
What is your role at Sira?
Janelle: I manage our Somerville Dispensary team!
Kara: I am one of two senior assistant managers.
Katya: I am a Senior Assistant Manager here in Somerville.
Devlin: I am an Assistant Manager.
How long have you been a part of the Sira Team?
Janelle: I’ve been with Sira Naturals since March 2019.
Kara: A little over a year and a half, coming up on two!
Katya: I have been with Sira for 2 years now.
Devlin: I have been a part of the Sira team since October, 2017.
How has your past experience informed your current role at Sira?
Janelle: My previous position was with Lush Cosmetics. Lush’s philosophy is built on having an above and beyond customer centric focus and a tailor-made approach to each interaction. The skills I learned with Lush have been invaluable to my time in cannabis. This industry requires you to work with a community that relies on you for their medicine, which is extremely personal. Having a strong foundation in customer care has allowed me and my team to ensure our standards are extremely high and never waver, even when difficult situations present themselves.
Kara: I was previously in the floral/Wedding industry, so I was able to move from one fast-paced flower industry to another fast-paced flower industry.
Katya: Along with few others from Sira Naturals, I worked at Newbury Comics. That role was important in teaching me how to build rapport with customers and help them find the best products for them!
Devlin: Working in the restaurant industry prior to Sira definitely helped me develop my skills in multi-tasking and being able to accommodate multiple people at one time.
What skills, qualifications and experience does it take to join the Sira Retail Team? Do you need prior cannabis experience?
Janelle: When we are recruiting candidates to join our team, we are looking for individuals who thrive in customer care, retail, hospitality or have worked in a front facing role. One of the main qualities we will look for is a willingness to be adaptable to change and someone with a strong growth mindset. This industry changes daily, so being well prepared to accept change is key. We love seeing cover letters come through that are fun, unique, and tell us why working with our patients would make an impact on their own life. We do not expect candidates to have cannabis knowledge coming into the industry. We instead, look for individuals that genuinely love to continue learning each day.
Kara: You don’t need prior experience but flexibility, patience and love for cannabis I always a plus!
Katya: I always tell the folks interviewing that you need to be compassionate, and able to navigate change without skipping a beat.
Devlin: You don’t need prior cannabis experience, but it is preferred. We are really just looking for hard working individuals who are passionate about the healing qualities of the cannabis plant.
What type of training is involved in the onboarding process of new hires?
Janelle: Our initial training week is a mix of learning modalities to cater to all types of learning styles. We focus on setting the stage with our company history, product knowledge and patient experience lifecycle. We do this through video, lecture, group actives and role play. We then switch gears and get hands on with our operational systems, such as POS, inventory and regulations. Training at Sira is continuous and just as evolving as the industry itself!
Kara: Lots of customer service training, POS training and product training.
Katya: There is a week period of training that takes place with our training manager, Sarah Martine outside of the store. We then have them shadow our PAs and Team Leads until they are ready to go!
Devlin: For the most part, training consists of learning how to navigate the POS system, learning the best ways to communicate to patients and gaining a deep knowledge of Sira product.
What policies and practices has the team put in place to encourage social distancing and stop the spread of covid-19?
Janelle: Our team and patients have been impacted by COVID in such a personal way. We’ve taken our practices extremely seriously and continue to implement new processes every day. On top of the common protections such as requiring masks, offering hand sanitizer throughout and social distancing markers, we have also implemented thermal temperature checks at our entrance and upgraded our air filtration system for added protection against the virus. We also adhere to a regimented cleaning schedule each hour as well as sanitizing our stations between every patient interaction.
Kara: We provide our staff with PPE and have an hourly disinfecting schedule. We provide hand sanitizer for both staff and patients, as well as distancing markers on the sales floor. We have shifted to appointment, delivery and curbside to encourage distancing with our patients. We have all worked together to put these practices quickly and effectively into place. Very proud of this team to be able to adjust with all these changes. Keeping our patients and staff safe is super important to the Sira team.
Katya: We quickly changed our processes to make sure everyone is wearing PPE, and our staff continuously disinfects the store. We included order ahead, delivery and appointments to ensure everyone stays socially distant.
Devlin: We have changed our entire system due to Covid-19. We are now operating by appointment and door-side pick-up ONLY. This has allowed us to socially distance our patients quite successfully while they are in the store. We also have an hourly cleaning schedule, protective shields at each register and every employee is wearing a mask and gloves at all times!
What’s the most important thing you want patients to take away from their visit to Sira Somerville?
Janelle: If you aren’t signed up for our loyalty program yet- what are you waiting for?! Get yourself some discounted medicine ASAP! It’s a great way to try out new products and maybe find a new favorite as well.
Kara: I would hope that they are walking away happy and confident that they have received products that will best help them!
Katya: We want to make sure they leave happy with their in store experience and with the right medicine for them.
Devlin: We want the patients to have a comfortable experience at Sira and feel happy about the products they have purchased!
What sets Sira Somerville’s experience apart from other dispensaries in the area?
Janelle: We have so much fun with our patients! We dance together, sing together, and just get excited to chat cannabis! We feel lucky to be in this industry and hope our patients feel that passion and commitment to providing a great experience for them.
Kara: I feel that our staff is so friendly and really wants our patients to have the best experience possible. I have had some negative experiences at other dispensaries in the area and it really shows how passionate our team is about our patient experience and the products we carry.
Katya: Our team is enthusiastic, welcoming, and full of product knowledge, and it shows!
Devlin: Our personality. We have a great team of employees at Sira Somerville and we have lots of fun but still get the job done!
What excites you most about working at the Somerville Dispensary?
Janelle: Endless possibilities. This industry is beaming with opportunities and I’m honored to be aligned with a company that focuses on community and social impact. This industry has a lot of barriers, especially for those who have been impacted by the war on drugs. One aspect of our work is partnering with Mass CultivatED, which is the first national jails to jobs program in cannabis and providing employment and education opportunities within our dispensaries and production facility. I’m grateful to work for an organization that wants to make a lasting impact, not just within our four walls, but within the industry as a whole.
Kara: Being surrounded by such an inspiring team.
Katya: I love working with this great group of individuals. I learn something new from my team everyday!
Devlin: I am most excited about the opportunity to help patients find what medicine works best for them day in and day out.
What’s your favorite Sira product and why?
Janelle: Currently Sour Diesel is stealing my heart- the peppery taste and euphoric effects are delightful. AC/DC will always be my #1 gal though. It’s the best compliment to a long day and mellows me out just enough to relax and still function.
Kara: Tangie (for now) because it is super uplifting, calming and tastes great. The perfect strain for me.
Katya: My current favorite Sira strain is Tahoe OG. It’s the perfect strain for an after work/cuddle under a blanket/watch a movie kinda night.
Devlin: My favorite Sira product is the Super Lemon Haze flower because I love that energizing kick.
What do you enjoy outside of work?
Janelle: I have two pugs- Frodo & Oz, who are my whole life. I’m a huge personal development advocate- books, podcasts, courses, I love learning! Currently reading, Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins. I also love drag, and really missing attending live shows. My team knows I’m also a huge Office fan and will frequently quote it to me throughout the day.
Kara: Being with friends and seeing live music (Pre-COVID) or doing anything that has to do with the beach/ocean!
Katya: I love to take day trips all over New England, and find antique stores to dig through!
Devlin: I enjoy live music (when that was a thing) and good food.