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Headhunter Hints Presents: Ask a CFO with Keith Cich

Gehl Search Partners asks thought leaders across the nation to share their hiring and management insights. We feature C-Suite executives from the beverage, wine & spirits, and cannabis industries.

Keith Cich is the CFO of Sunderstorm in California. He oversees the company’s cannabis operations, including the delicious award-winning Sunderstorm Kanha Gummies, a top cannabis gummy in the state. Sunderstorm’s mission is to help people achieve a life of harmony and wellness with consciously made, science-based cannabis products.

Headhunter Hints Presents: Ask a CFO with Keith Cich


Our executive search firm aims to bring insight and transparency to the placement process. Our goal is to help our clients and candidates find a long-term fit where they can enjoy the time spent with colleagues. Understanding what a hiring executive is seeking when looking for a C Suite executive or other member of their executive leadership team is an important aspect of finding the right fit.


Learn what top C-Suite Executives are looking for in our Headhunter Hints Presents series.


We asked CFO, Keith Cich: When interviewing a potential leader within your company, what are the three most important things you look for in candidates?


1. I like to see they have a proven track record of success with at least one company, where they made a meaningful contribution.
2. A good listener.
3. Has business experience outside the cannabis industry.


What is the biggest challenge your company faces today?

Brand and retail competition is fierce in the nascent industry, which means it’s challenging to be profitable today. Given these market conditions, having access to capital to expand operations and pay bills in a timely manner is challenging for many players in the industry. We are profitable, but getting our wholesale invoices paid on time is one of our biggest hurdles.


What is the most valuable skill a candidate can bring to the table to help overcome this challenge?


Strong marketing skills to differentiate our brand on the shelves, and a strong accounting team to request and track wholesale payments in a timely manner.


If you had to choose a music genre or particular song to describe your corporate culture, which would it be?


I am a house music DJ who loves evocative, melodic, and meditative electronic music. I like to think of Sunderstorm culture as thoughtful and the mandala art on our packaging as meditative. Our corporate goal is to elevate the mindset of our Kanha consumers, like melodic house music.


You’ve had a successful cannabis business for several years now, what makes you the proudest?

We have over 200 loyal employees that work in the cannabis industry for an OG California brand. I am proud that we allow so many people the ability to earn a living in a field they believe in.


In which ways are you looking to grow your company in 2023-2024?


We will be launching in Illinois by year end, expanding internationally to Thailand, and are setting up a division to sell intoxicating hemp in states where we don’t sell into the licensed market.


What is the most challenging position to fill in your organization typically, and why?


We’ve had turnover in marketing, and since it’s such a subjective field, it’s been a challenge for us to evaluate candidates.


As a trusted leader in your industry, what do you think your greatest contribution has been to date?


We pioneered nano, fast acting technology in edibles and are still the market leader. We were one of the first cannabis brands to invest heavily in manufacturing equipment, which led to consistent dosing and a repetitive consumer experience, the holy grail of CPG brands. Finally, we will be the first Western cannabis brand to setup direct manufacturing operations in Asia for local consumption. Thailand is a big opportunity for us.

Learn More about Sunderstorm


Looking for more Headhunter Hints for your business to effectively and successfully hire talent? Check out my recent posts about how to write effective job postings or how to prepare for an interview with a headhunter.