I recently had the pleasure of not only meeting Gina Mama Epps, but am pleased to share that we connected very quickly on multiple levels, from passions regarding the importance of education, serving others, integrity and character to a sundry of talents. Over a few months, it became quite evident the many strengths Gina has. One being a true whiz with social media and her ability to connect people for mutual and beneficial success. We met and had a great conversation. Please “listen in” as we delve further into Gina Mama Epps.
Carol: Gina, it is such a pleasure to have this time with you. Thank you so much for meeting with me.
Gina Mama Epps: The pleasure is all mine Carol. Thank you so much for the opportunity.
Carol: Although you are best known for your work with the Hemp/Cannabis industry, many may not know of your incredible abilities as well with social media, particularly LinkedIn which will be our main focus of this conversation. Most assuredly, we will touch a bit on your true passion for the hemp/cannabis work as well a bit later on.
I feel a great place to begin is if you’d share where the Mama Epps name came from?
Gina Mama Epps: My favorite question Carol!! I taught high school health for 15 years outside Chicago. I didn’t get married until I was 38 so all of my students were all over me about starting a family. When I announced to my classes that I was pregnant and going to give birth right before I turned 40, they stopped calling me Mrs. Epps and ran with Mama Epps and I LOVED IT. It really stuck with me and I started using MamaEpps on my social media.
Carol: I love that. I wondered myself how that name came to be. Really a great share as to how it originated and I can see why you’ve continued on with it.
Having gotten to know you Gina, I then dubbed you “the passionate educator,” however, in our conversation about that, you shared that you have always seen yourself as such as well. Will you expound upon that please?
Gina Mama Epps: Absolutely. My energy is very high. I am constantly hearing how contagious that is. I don’t just believe what I teach, I live it and feel it to my core. I will talk to anyone that will listen particularly about ways to incorporate health into their daily life. We only get one body, let’s love it to the fullest, you know?
Carol: I do. Now, Sassy? Yes, I’d agree you are. Your input Gina ?
Gina Mama Epps: lol hmmm, could be the Italian in me, could be the Chicago in me, but it is DEFINITELY me. I say what I mean and mean what I say and that personality is not for everyone. I always say, “Don’t ask for my opinion if you are not actually ready for it. I will not lie.” I respect this quality in people.
Carol: I’m a stickler for honesty as well so I can truly relate and appreciate that trait. Your answers are so evident of your energy and true heart and soul. They show just how fitting the words sassy and passionate are for you.
Let’s delve now more specifically into your extraordinary work with social media and especially with your work as a connector of businesses. How did you begin being interested in or specializing in social media and particularly with LinkedIn?
Gina Mama Epps: I started off on Facebook doing basic hemp/cannabis education in 2012. That brought the group Moms For Marijuana into my life. It was a group of passionate moms spreading awareness for this greatly misunderstood plant. I started to really grow my network during this time. I went on to start Chicago Moms for Marijuana and grew that fairly quickly. The next 8 years I really just stuck to Facebook. My network there between my personal page, business page and business networking group is up over 50,000. I have never charged a penny for consulting there and helped chronically ill patients for almost a decade.
In 2020, I realized that the censorship was entirely too much and I needed to bring this education to the most incredible business platform in the world, LinkedIn. I had a small following on there, but really started to put in work a couple years ago. I started daily content, growing my connections and finally growing my followers after my connections maxed out at 30,000. I am up over 63,000 on there now and growing daily. LinkedIn really made me see what I could do with this network. My passion for educating only grew stronger when I realized how much the average person didn’t know about not only my favorite plant, but health in general. I found my place.
Carol: It seems not only do you connect businesses successfully, but your passion for educating is quite evident as well not only in your work in social media, but also in health and particularly with hemp/cannabis.
Gina Mama Epps: Yes, if I may Carol….
Spreading awareness and the truth about hemp and cannabis is my real passion. Truth of the matter is that we have been misled our entire lives and it is no small task to undo all of that ignorance. Personally, this plant has given me hope and health since I was 23 and suddenly lost my Dad. I had previously bought into all that D.A.R.E scared us about in the 80’s. I bought it all, hook, line and sinker. I was irate at myself when I learned what this plant could actually do for not only humans, but everything with a spine. I was healing naturally and it felt amazing. Using what I have learned through social media really helped me spread my message and the cannabis community’s message through education, activism, advocacy, and ultimately creating my personal brand.
Carol: Gina, I as well strongly agree about LinkedIn being an incredible platform. I also hear your passion about hemp/cannabis education. Has anything ever transpired where this powerful platform and that passion would demonstrate your connector expertise?