Black History Month Spotlight: Antoinette Wade, Founder, Gratitude Blossom

A former Naval Officer, Antoinette Wade finds her higher calling in the cannabis industry.
Black History Month Spotlight: Antoinette Wade, Founder, Gratitude Blossom
Courtesy of Antoinette Wade

Newly minted cannabis business owner Antoinette Wade began her career much in the same way as she’s starting her new chapter in cannabis—with the desire to help others.

“At times of confusion in my life, I’ve looked to the wisdom of the late Maya Angelou,” she shared. “During a Power of Women luncheon with Oprah Winfrey, the book The Seat of the Soul, by Gary Zukav, was discussed. My take-away from Oprah was, ‘authentic power is when your personality comes to serve the energy of your soul, when you are able to align who you are, you become the world, with what you came to do in the world, when your personality serves your soul.’ I just got it.”

As a young woman in North Carolina, Wade said she worked as a child behavior specialist for troubled youth. Though she has always been called to help others, it was a challenging position, and soon she looked elsewhere for a new career, enlisting in the U.S. Navy with a desire to work with planes.

Her journey to her true self, the person she was meant to be, came through struggles and successes as she moved up the ranks of the Navy, traveling the world, only to end up as a recruitment officer in a shopping mall on the corner of Crenshaw and Slauson, in the heart of los Angeles’ notorious South Central—home of the riots in 1992 that nearly obliterated the still crime-riddled, struggling community.

“The first thing I learned as a recruiter is, it’s a 24/7 job,” she said. “If a future sailor needs to go to the doctor or someone in the neighborhood is in need, we are there. We are a part of the community and there to help.”

After three years in this position, facing violence daily—including the occasional brick being tossed into the recruitment center itself—her tour ended and she requested a transfer to San Diego, a location she’d been in prior and enjoyed. 

She had met and married her husband, who was also in the Navy, while working at the recruiting office in Los Angeles. They eventually both received orders taking them to San Diego, where in two years time they had their child, Zoe. Soon he was off on tours, leaving her at home with their newborn, and a bad case of PTSD from her time on the flight line.

“I presented with anxiety and panic attacks,” she explained. “After a year of treatment I was medically retired from the Navy, with PTSD, major depression, and an anxiety disorder, along with an array of physical issues. I had been introduced to CBD with small amounts of THC, and as I followed a daily protocol, my life became more balanced.”

CBD Voodoo & the Number Three

Along with her health and well-being improving, Wade said she decided to block all negative people from her life, including a few in-laws that were a little too harsh regarding the crystals she was now meditating with.

“They thought I was practicing ‘voodoo,’ she remembered. “I knew I had to take charge of my life again, and draft a basic blueprint in my mind on how I was going to heal. I kept praying and meditating, asking God, what my next step was. I even saw a psychic who couldn’t see where I was supposed to be, geographically.”

Understanding the law of abundance, and knowing she was indeed not only abundant in resources, but in wisdom and knowledge—even in her mistakes, she knew she could succeed in being of service.

“I completed my Masters in Public Health and began applying for various related positions, with no luck,” she continued. “But, I remembered Maya saying, ‘When one door closes, say thank you, because that’s your rainbow in the clouds. So, I put in an application to complete my PhD. Then, I thought, I can really make a difference!”

What’s little known is, all throughout her military career and in between, Wade was put in the middle of sensitive altercations on the street—with homeless people, many suffering from mental illness. She never hesitated from pulling over in her car, and assisting in situations others would run from. It was already in her to be of service. This was and still is her calling.

“During this time of helping people on the street, I realized there had been three in a row put in front of me in a three-day period,” she said. “So I looked up the number three for meaning, and found that seeing the numbers 333 repeatedly is a sign from your divine protectors—the angels that were created by God to guide you throughout your lifetime on earth.”

In the spirit world, she said, there are also guides that show up during certain phases of your life to assist you on your journey.

“In clicking the link again for more clarity, it says, ‘the angel number 333 is an encouragement to deeply explore the skills and talents you were given, and to share them with the rest of the world, she added. “So, I thought, I can help ease other’s pain with some of the tools I’d discovered in my own journey. I thought about what Oprah had said about ‘serving the energy of my soul.’”

A New Leaf, Literally

Her initial reaction from this epiphany was to work for a non-profit or a holistic clinic, and began sending resumes out, to no avail.

“Oprah said, ‘luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity,’” she concluded. “So, I said aloud to Maya’s spirit, here it is! At that moment, I decided to forget the job and the PhD, and focus on the one element of my alternative wellness practice that helped me the most, CBD.”

Wade’s online shop, Gratitude Blossom, is launching on February 11 of this year, offering up CBD products under her brand, with THC licensing pending.

“The name Gratitude Blossom came to me immediately, because I remain grateful for the cannabis flower, and for the flower I feel blooming inside of me,” she surmised. “All the products have positive affirmations written on them, signed by me, with love and light.”

Help in forming the business came from C.E. Hutton, a minority-focused business development firm within the legal cannabis industry.

“Upon opening the page, right under its name, were the words, ‘faith, integrity, trust,’ so I knew this was the place. Then I saw a photo under ‘coaching’ of a beautiful Black woman with golden locs. Her name is Khadijah Adams and she is amazing. I held my breath when I made the appointment, and then Khadijah herself called me back.”

Upon researching for the type of cannabis business she wanted, Wade had typed in “non-profit cbd,” and information on compassion centers popped up. 

“The idea of a compassion center became my obsession,” she said. “Soon after I was speaking to C.E. Hutton himself, and ever since that moment, I’ve had this feeling of completeness and purpose. My goal is for Gratitude Blossom to become a safe place for mind, body and soul, welcoming all who seek growth, with a personal message from me, ‘I believe in you.’”

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