Derek Vanderwarker ’96, founder of Tiny Universe Advisors, will offer a lecture titled, “Goin’ Legit: Observations, Insights and Predictions from the Cannabis Industry,” on Tuesday, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m. in the Geneva Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library.
Vanderwarker has been at the forefront of efforts to legitimize the cannabis industry through his marketing consulting services and leadership with several top companies.
In his current position with Tiny Universe Advisors, Vanderwarker provides intellectual licensing and independent channel sales services focused on multi-state distribution strategies with recreational and medical-focused cannabis companies. He also advises two media and advertising technology startup companies as a mentor for the CanopyBoulder business accelerator program, a 16-week mentor-driven program focused on ancillary products and services in the legal cannabis industry.
Prior to his current positions, Vanderwarker led multi-state channel strategy for Willie’s Reserve, a national cannabis premium brand, as its vice president for channel development. He also helped the company create a brand and sales training program and initiated the development of retail and marketing materials.
Before moving into the cannabis industry, Vanderwarker spent 10 years as senior director of national accounts for Disney and ESPN Media Networks. Among other responsibilities, he managed sales, field communications, marketing, technology, operations and business development for top accounts, ranging from Apple iTunes to Google Fiber and Comcast.
Vanderwarker earned his B.A. in American studies from HWS, and went on to earn his MBA with a concentration in media and marketing from Babson College.