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In her teen years, Deidra Ruvido was not what you’d call a pothead. She never even encountered marijuana during her time at Andover High School—much less smoked it—even though her brother had a bong hiding in his bedroom the whole time, she says. She was busy with school and sports, and just not paying attention to the then-illegal substance. 

“It was probably going on right around me,” she says. “But I didn’t know or see it.”

She certainly didn’t imagine that she would one day have a thriving career as a leader in the Massachusetts cannabis industry. Yet today she manages key account wholesale sales for Revolutionary Clinics, also known as Rev, a major cannabis supplier, overseeing millions of dollars in sales each month and helping new dispensaries across the state get up and running as the industry expands and matures. 

Ruvido did not set out to be a professional cannabis purveyor. When she graduated from high school, she went to Salve Regina University in Rhode Island, where she studied nursing. 

“I love nursing,” she says. “I am very empathetic, I love to listen and definitely lead with my heart.”

After college, her medical knowledge and people-first personality led her into medical sales, selling Dove cleansing products to dermatologists throughout the Boston area, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. In 2016, after 15 years in that role, Ruvido took a break to look around her and decide what would come next. 

But before she could find her next career, it came for her. A successful Massachusetts ballot initiative legalized recreational cannabis sales that year. An old friend, who was also an investor in Revolutionary Clinics, called and asked Ruvido to interview for a wholesale sales job with the young company. She initially refused, but her friend insisted. Ruvido went to the interview and fell in love with the idea—with the people at Rev, with the chance to be a pioneering woman in a male-dominated industry, with the opportunity to use her medical knowledge to promote a product she believes in—and came home with a new job in a very new industry. 

“It was an all-new adventure,” she says. 

From that early, unexpected start, Ruvido built her career with the growing company, bringing in new clients, organizing events to expand the brand, and contributing to marketing strategy, all while keeping up with the ever-evolving slate of rules and regulations in the state. Her days include visits to client dispensaries, giving tours of the company’s Fitchburg growing facility, and answering calls at all hours of the day. Earlier this year, she was part of the release of a line of Rev cannabis products in collaboration with Red Sox icon David Ortiz.

It is important to Ruvido that her job lets her do her part to dispel the stigma that can still attach to cannabis use by highlighting its therapeutic effects. She began using cannabis herself after college and finds that using edibles helps her slow down her racing thoughts, fall asleep more easily, and cope with post-traumatic stress, all without turning to a range of prescription pharmaceuticals.

“It helps me sit down and enjoy the moment,” she says.

She is also proud to be an example of how a woman can have—and enjoy—a powerful career while also being a present and involved mother to her two children.

“I am lucky to be a mom and literally sell cannabis to the whole state of Massachusetts from a soccer field,” Ruvido says. “I get to sell millions and millions per month and be a really great mom at home and provider for my family.”