Team

Our founding team has extensive experience in cannabis and more traditional industries like clinical trials, pharmaceuticals, private equity, enterprise tech and live entertainment.

Carolina Vazquez Mitchell, MS

Founder | Innovation & Product Development

Carolina Vazquez Mitchell, MS is a nationally recognized cannabis product developer.

Carolina was previously the founding Lab Director at Innova Labs, a national cannabis product testing lab. Prior to Innova Labs, Carolina was the Chief Scientific Officer for KushyPunch. She is also the founding chair of the Legalization of Cannabis & Hemp Edibles division of the Institute of Food Technologists, the world’s largest food science organization. To date, she has developed more than 60 cannabis products.

Carolina Vazquez Mitchell, MS is a nationally recognized cannabis product developer.

Carolina was previously the founding Lab Director at Innova Labs, a national cannabis product testing lab. Prior to Innova Labs, Carolina was the Chief Scientific Officer for KushyPunch. She is also the founding chair of the Legalization of Cannabis & Hemp Edibles division of the Institute of Food Technologists, the world’s largest food science organization. To date, she has developed more than 60 cannabis products.

A gifted academic with deep experience in the most difficult and highly regulated areas of cannabis manufacturing, Carolina’s areas of specialty include laboratory testing requirements, good manufacturing practices, food safety, good laboratory practices, quality assurance, and R&D for cannabis products, pharmaceuticals, foods, and beverages. She has more than fifteen years experience with organic synthesis and extractions and has extracted DNA, RNA, proteins, terpenes, and other pharmacologically active molecules. 

As Chief Scientific Officer at KushyPunch, Carolina oversaw the development, improvement and overall compliance of all products at California’s largest edibles company. While there she ensured that the company continued to lead the market in product innovation whilst upholding the highest standards of compliance and food safety.

Prior to joining KushyPunch, Carolina was the Head of Research for Power Brands, America’s leading beverage consultancy firm. During her tenure, she led projects for a broad spectrum of companies, nurtured a product from concept to commercialization for Taco Bell, and developed products Pepsi, Quaker, Doritos, and Gatorade.

Carolina also founded the consultancy firm KitChem to support companies in the formulation and process development of cannabis edibles, supplements, and beverages, assisting a variety of cannabis companies with their product formulation, quality control, testing, and manufacturing processes.

Carolina has been featured in Rolling Stone, mg, and Dope Magazine, where she was named an “Outstanding Women in Cannabis,” as well as Playboy, Entrepreneur, on Cheddar TV, and other publications and news sources. She speaks nationally at cannabis, food science, and chemistry conferences as a subject matter expert on cannabis science.

Dr. Jannise Babbush

Co-Founder | Product

Dr. Jannise Babbush is both a product management executive and research scientist with over 10 years of experience.

Prior to co-founding Ciencia Labs, Jannise worked at Science 37, a health-tech startup revolutionizing the world of clinical research with technology. While at Science 37, Jannise led the complete rebuild and modernization of Science 37’s FDA compliant web app which facilitated the acquisition of key customer accounts. She also helped develop the company’s corporate strategy, and developed and implemented product management best practices and processes.

Dr. Jannise Babbush is both a product management executive and research scientist with over 10 years of experience.

Prior to co-founding Ciencia Labs, Jannise worked at Science 37, a health-tech startup revolutionizing the world of clinical research with technology. While at Science 37, Jannise led the complete rebuild and modernization of Science 37’s FDA compliant web app which facilitated the acquisition of key customer accounts. She also helped develop the company’s corporate strategy, and developed and implemented product management best practices and processes.

Before jumping into the startup world, Jannise worked at Dassault Systèmes, a multinational technology company delivering enterprise R&D solutions to Fortune 500 companies. She was responsible for managing new product/feature development and leading integrations for a diverse portfolio of offerings with revenues over $25M annually. Her experience developing and steering the release of new products for the pharmaceutical industry and working closely with compliance, legal and regulatory agencies allows her to understand the challenges and opportunities present in highly regulated industries.

In addition to her experience in product management, Jannise is an accomplished research scientist with a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Southern California. She has more than 550 citations.

Benjamin Mitchell, JD

Co-Founder | Sales

Benjamin Mitchell is the Chief Operating Officer and sales lead for Ciencia Labs. 

Ben was previously the Head of US Sales and Operations for the software company Sine. At Sine, Ben built out the US teams and processes and was responsible for the day to day operations. He led the customer support, customer success, sales, and operations teams and handled enterprise sales. In his 2 years at Sine revenue he increased revenue over 20x and closed major deals with companies like Dow, Mazda, Comcast, Staples, and TMZ

Benjamin Mitchell is the Chief Operating Officer and sales lead for Ciencia Labs. Ben was previously the Head of US Sales and Operations for the software company Sine. At Sine, Ben built out the US teams and processes and was responsible for the day to day operations. He led the customer support, customer success, sales, and operations teams and handled enterprise sales. In his 2 years at Sine revenue he increased revenue over 20x and closed major deals with companies like Dow, Mazda, Comcast, Staples, and TMZ

Before joining Sine, Ben was Co-Founder of Crystal Clearance, an all purpose clearance company in the entertainment industry. Crystal Clearance offers intellectual property law services like script clearance reports, clearances, title reports, opinion letters, copyright reports, chain of title letters, and errors and omissions memos and worked with Studios like Fox and on shows like Empire, American Horror Story, and Last Man on Earth. At Crystal Clearance, Ben was responsible for sales, account management and managing operations.

Ben has a BA from The Ohio State University and a JD from Capital University Law School.

Ross Gardiner

Co-Founder | Marketing

Ross Gardiner is a highly experienced marketer, creative director and copywriter who was a consultant to prominent cannabis MSOs such as Moxie, KushyPunch and Sunday Goods.

Ross Gardiner is a highly experienced marketer, creative director and copywriter who was a consultant to prominent cannabis MSOs such as Moxie, KushyPunch and Sunday Goods.

Prior to entering the cannabis industry, Ross founded creative agency Black Circle Media. With BCM, Ross was a marketing consultant, strategist and content producer for some of the biggest festival brands in the world, including Electric Daisy Carnival (Las Vegas), Tomorrowland (Belgium), Electric Zoo (NYC), and Oasis Festival (Morocco). He also led international projects for Red Bull and Jagermeister, and has given talks on the future of the music industry at UCLA and the Department of Cultural Affairs.

Ross is the current editor-at-large for mg Magazine, the cannabis industry’s biggest business journal, where he covers retail, brands, MSOs and marketing. He has also been published in Green Entrepreneur, High Times, and Dope, as well as in Billboard, Vice and Mixmag. His work as a communications strategist has seen him secure coverage for his clients in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Rolling Stone.

Ross is originally from the Highlands of Scotland, and has resided in Los Angeles since 2012.

Wassef Tawachi

Co-Founder | Finance

Wassef Tawachi spent 10 years in finance with an emphasis on financial markets, financial modeling, capital raising, and FP&A. Prior to his entry into cannabis, Wassef led a team of eight business development associates at First Republic Bank and invested client funds across all asset classes with a focus on non-corollary illiquid assets through FRB’s private equity platform. Wassef’s team was responsible for hundreds of millions in new investment assets at the bank.

Wassef spent 10 years in finance with an emphasis on financial markets, financial modeling, capital raising, and FP&A. Prior to his entry into cannabis, Wassef led a team of eight business development associates at First Republic Bank and invested client funds across all asset classes with a focus on non-corollary illiquid assets through FRB’s private equity platform. Wassef’s team was responsible for hundreds of millions in new investment assets at the bank.

Prior to launching Ciencia Labs, Wassef worked with KushyPunch, California’s largest edible brand. As head of finance and corporate development, he focused on raising capital to fund the company’s growth. He also focused on strategic expansion into newly legalized states and developed a strategic plan based on a five-year model analyzing each legal and medical state and accounting for population, consumption rate, and competition. After determining which five states were most significant, he was able to secure partners in each of those states within six months.

In addition to his corporate development responsibilities, Wassef directed FP&A, Inventory Management, Sales Analysis, Production Forecasting and Operational Efficiency for all manufacturing. Using his strong analytical background, he oversaw all parts of the cannabis supply chain, manufacturing process, and sales process to increase efficiencies. He developed in-depth supply chain models in order to direct the Production Manager on monthly production forecasts and re-order needs. Using these forecasts, he was able to determine production efficiency and set production goals to ensure operational efficiency and reduce labor costs.

Wassef also developed sales models, which gave insight into SKU sell through across all ~450 dispensaries, e-commerce, and by department (Edibles, CBD, Vape) providing the management team with a clear vision on how to focus the sales team to ensure KushyPunch continued its geometric growth which led to the expansion of its product line into 135 dispensaries within three months. Through this analysis, Wassef established a ranking system for premium, mid, low, and potential premium dispensary clients based on purchasing patterns and ensuring that premium and potential premium dispensaries received white glove service.