Our Team

Olli is made up of a small but dedicated team of experts who are driven to change the perception of the cannabis industry by providing healthy and artfully crafted cannabis infused teas and edibles.

 
 
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John B. Aird

Co-Founder

Chief Executive Officer

John is a career entrepreneur and has been working in the Canadian medical cannabis industry since its infancy and has played an instrumental role in creating significant shareholder value for his clients. Since 2014, John has successfully assisted numerous applicants to become Licensed Producers under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations. From 2016-2018, John acted as a management consultant for Aphria Inc. (TSX: APH), overseeing Corporate & Regulatory Affairs, along with certain Business Development activities.  During this period, Aphria experienced tremendous growth and became an industry leader in medical cannabis. In 2017, John acted as the Managing Director for Nuuvera Canada (NUU.V) and played an integral role developing their domestic and international strategy. NUU IPO’ed in January 2018 and was acquired by Aphria in March 2018. Mr. Aird is a former Director of the Canadian Cannabis Association (CCA), and ARA – Avanti Rx Analytics, one of the only Canadian GMP-certified cannabis laboratory. John is the co-founder of Olli Brands Inc., a cannabis infused tea and edibles company operating in Canada. Prior to working in medical cannabis, John developed and sold a 50 MW solar project to Samsung.  John started his career as a senior advisor in the Office of the Premier of Ontario, after receiving his B.A. degree in Political Science from the University of Toronto, Trinity College in 2003.


Sarah Gillin

Co-Founder

CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER

Sarah joined Olli in 2018 and brings with her over 15 years of experience working with luxury brands, with a special focus on marketing, brand development and event planning.  With her passion for marketing, she produces compelling branding for Olli, while forming strategic business alliances and marketing partnerships. In addition to providing brand direction, Sarah works closely with the Olli team to manage and oversee all day to day operations of the business. Sarah holds a Bachelors of Arts degree from Dalhousie University, a post-graduate degree in Marketing from Parsons School of Design and has recently completed the Executive MBA Program at the Rotman School of Management with expected convocation in June 2019. Over the years, Sarah has overseen retail partnerships and collaborations with high-end local and international organizations and brands, including one of Toronto’s most exclusive and affluent jewellers. Having worked in both Toronto and New York, Sarah has extensive experience in luxury retail, event execution, refining brand identity and tailoring the client experience. “I want to bring all of that to Olli,” she says. “This is such an exciting brand and it is changing the perception of cannabis-infused products – proving they are not only fun and healthful but also luxurious and sophisticated.” 

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Richard Guzauskas

Director of Tea Product Development

Richard is a knowledgeable tea specialist, one of the most sought-after tea specialists in the world. Richard entered the Specialty Tea Industry in 1988 by launching the Leaves Pure Tea brand. Since selling that brand he has acted as consultant to many leading specialty tea companies worldwide. Richard began working with DAVIDsTEA in its earliest stages and has remained Head of Blend Development there since October of 2008. He has worked closely with the Board of Directors of the Tea Association of the USA and spearheaded the development of the Specialty Tea Institute’s tea education programs. He has also worked with the Tea Association of Canada. As one the most sought-after tea specialist in the world, Richard remains an active member in the Specialty Tea Industry, consulting for specialty tea companies worldwide.


Adrian Niman

Executive Chef

Having studied at the Michelin-starred Reeds Hotel in Mallorca, Spain before setting his own course back home in Toronto, Adrian founded The Food Dudes in 2007 while still attending university. In addition to being the driving culinary force behind the Food Dudes operation, Adrian utilized his sterling business acumen in accelerating the company to immense success in a remarkably short period of time. While rising to the top of the Toronto catering community, he also created two of the city's most innovative and popular restaurants in Rasa and Pantry, both of which continue to flourish. Adrian brings a bold and adventurous passion to his work, infusing global cuisines to create stimulating flavour and texture combinations, with a constant eye on quality and originality. Adrian and The Food Dudes joined as Olli’s exclusive edibles partner in July of 2018.

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Dr. Steven Bennett

Scientific director

Steven has completed 5 years of postdoctoral work and has over 20 years of research experience in multiple CNS disorders, pain, and cancer.  He has developed expertise in molecular biology, cell biology, and animal models of CNS dysfunction and tumorigenesis/metastasis, immunohistochemistry/immunocytochemistry, bioassay development, and project leadership and research strategy. Over the past 5 years, Steven has shifted towards the cannabis industry as well as cannabis research.  The development of an effective transdermal cannabinoid patch in 2014 lead to the launch of Prescott Logic, LLC.  Steven is also the Scientific Director of Evolab in Denver, Colorado; focusing comprehensibly on cannabis processing, namely extraction, distillation,  and preparative chromatography in the total deconstruction of the plant. Steven joined the Olli team in July of 2018. 


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Tess A. Fox

Director of Operations

Since April 2017, Tess has been immersed in the Canadian cannabis industry as the Director of Operations at Olli Brands Inc. She has been working with the co-founders on strategic planning since Olli’s beginning, developing key strategic partnerships and working closely on the regulatory side for both food and cannabis. Prior to Olli, Tess spent three years in the hospitality industry, managing and operating one of the top restaurants in Toronto, Rasa, for three years, sitting in the seat next to the founders. She began working for Rasa in its start-up days, prior to the opening of the restaurant, and helped build out its strategy for operations. Tess has been working in various industries over the years in media, marketing and operations. She has her Bachelor of Commerce degree from the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University and has also attended the Aarhus School of Business in Denmark.


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Matt Wowk

director of production and fulfillment

Matt is no stranger to the restaurant industry. He’s been an integral asset to Food Dudes restaurant and catering company best known for their award-winning restaurants, Rasa, Pantry, and OMAW. In the past decade, Matt has honed his skills working alongside noteworthy chefs and restaurateurs to become a master in management, logistics, and customer relations. Not only is he seasoned when it comes to experience, but he also comes armed with a Business Commerce Degree from Dalhousie University, making Matt a natural fit for the role of Director of Production and Fulfillment. 
Led by his passion and love for the cannabis industry, Matt is eager to introduce cannabis edibles to the restaurant world. His meticulous nature is in full force when it comes to food detail, and his high-standards are consistently met from kitchen conception to final plate presentation. Food and safety protocol are top priority. Neither taste nor safeties are sacrificed under his watch. Matt’s love for both cannabis and food are reflected in the Olli cuisine and is sure to leave a lasting impression.