Dean of Faculty
Natalie Darves began her career in progressive business development through her personal journey in the cannabis industry.
Reaching a juncture in her academic career, what began as a temporary trimming gig in 2005 sparked a passion that grew into directly working-on and managing 17 different Northern California outdoor farm and greenhouse sites. Ms. Darves was an active member of the Mendocino cannabis growing community. She worked alongside numerous cultivation groups on policy reform and best-practice farming models, including serving as the Assistant Inspector for the first U.S. cannabis regulation program.
As a certified Master Gardener with more accumulated years in outdoor cultivation experience than soil-stained fingers, Natalie continues to disseminate her knowledge and philosophy of sustainable, closed-loop, “beyond organic” horticultural models in the classroom as well as best business practices as Dean of Faculty of Oaksterdam University in Oakland, California.
In 2011, Ms. Darves founded Cougar Acres Consulting to further outdoor cultivation pursuits and hands-on research. After attaining her Executive MBA from Sonoma State University, with an emphasis in the Wine Business, Ms. Darves now focuses the firm on extensive corporate and small business projects in the cannabis industry and wine sectors. Regarded for her ability to build strategic partnerships and deliver important insights, she is also skilled in brand positioning, corporate strategy, corporate financial statements, business plan development, operations, team dynamics, organizational design, and executive leadership training.
Ms. Darves strives to continue to drive success for various Cannabis entities seeking to increase their portfolio, to strategically manage change, and to become more fiscally prudent.
Also a longtime advocate for social reform and community development, Ms. Darves holds an Honors B.A. from the University of Oregon in sociology.