Two Women from New York Cityâ€™s Public Relations Industry Make a Splash in Cannabis
Before they were representing and creating communications programs for growers, dispensaries, and ancillary cannabis companies, Tracey and Brenda made names for themselves in New York City’s competitive public relations industry. Tracey met Type A co-founder and partner Brenda Loughery on a job interview. Brenda remembers, “PR brought us together! It was the late 90’s and I interviewed her for a position. Our working relationship continued to evolve over the years and we stayed friends throughout.” More than a decade later, that chance meeting has changed these businesswomen’s trajectory.
While Brenda was busy crushing editorial content, Tracey honed her pitching skills in the culinary and health industries, gaining the knowledge and expertise that helps her deliver exceptional results for cannabis industry clients. She explains that “all three are industries built by passionate and innovative people whose work informs and transforms public opinion.” Having worked to share stories of inspired entrepreneurs shaping the world as we know it, she is well equipped to work with ganjapreneurs.
Brenda and Tracey were drawn to the industry after transformative experiences with medical cannabis. Tracey is a cancer survivor herself and Brenda lost her father to complications from esophageal cancer. Tracey did not have access to the medicinal benefits of cannabis for cancer treatment until chemotherapy left her desperately seeking relief. CBD hemp oil immediately alleviated many of the treatment’s painful side-effects. Now cancer-free, she continues to use CBD hemp oil therapy every day. (Fortunately, CBD hemp oil is legal in all 50 states). Simultaneously, Brenda was beginning her research on THC and medical marijuana and how it could help her father in Rhode Island, which had an MMJ program. Becoming both educator and advocate for her dad as well as his doctors, she walked both her parents through the patient/caregiver process.
Their first-hand experiences with the powerful medical benefits of cannabis inspired them to do everything they could to help deschedule cannabis and give everyone the choice to improve their health and wellbeing with cannabis. “Anyone who wants to utilize cannabis for their personal use, whatever the reason, should have access to it,” Tracey said.
After Tracey’s cancer battle, the two women solidified their plan—cannabis was calling. In March of 2015, Brenda and Tracey seamlessly merged their professional paths into Type A Media. They’re not shy about cannabis and believe that they are building a community of consumers, advocates, supporters, and other businesses around them. Surrounded by inspiring leaders in business and advocacy, these women are doing what they do best–bringing passionate people together and weaving a story that will help transform the world as we know it.
Recently, Women Grow had an opportunity to learn more about Tracey, Brenda and Type A Media’s passion and commitment to cannabis.
WG: Why do you support women in the cannabis industry?
TH: My co-founder and partner in Type A Media, Brenda Loughery, and I are women entrepreneurs ourselves and have always worked with and supported other women. But now is an especially exciting time for the cannabis industry—we are experiencing unprecedented growth. Women have a real contribution to make and we all have a rare opportunity to get in on the ground floor of cannabis as both an industry and a movement.
BL: From our clients and media to other entrepreneurs with whom we foster relationships, Tracey and I see proportionately more women in entrepreneurial or power positions in cannabis than in most other industries. That’s always a good thing.
WG: What advice would you give women who want to enter this industry?
TH: If you’re good at what you do and passionate about cannabis, you can find a place in the industry. The cannabis industry is finally coming out from the shadows— and now needs an entire infrastructure to support it, just like any other industry. It doesn’t even matter where you live in the U.S., because the industry reaches way beyond just “touching the flower.” Professionals, tradespeople, techies, growers, servicepeople, artists—in order for the industry to continue to thrive we need an equally vibrant workforce.
WG: What are the biggest challenges you have faced being entrepreneurs?
TH: Staying flexible when things change – and they always will.
WG: Do you want to change the stigma surrounding cannabis? Why or why not?
TH: Yes, because cannabis has been unfairly maligned. This plant is healing and healthful to our mind, body and spirit, and it makes me sad that, depending where you live, using cannabis is a criminal activity. Everyone should have access to a plant.
BL: Tracey and I work hard to promote our cannabis clients in the most positive and dynamic light in the media and public perception. I feel the more coverage and “mainstreaming” of cannabis while continuing the conversation on its benefits is a part of reducing that stigma, and we take that aspect of our work seriously.
WG: How do you overcome your fears?
TH: By looking at my son and understanding that the decisions I make and the lessons I teach him will have a lasting affect—the entirety and repercussions of which I may never even know. That incredible responsibility gives me a sense of strength and serenity that is stronger than any of my own fears.
WG: What’s a cannabis career highlight for you?
TH: Although the industry is growing every day, at the moment it’s still small enough to have access to industry leaders. It’s wonderful to be able to interact with people whose lives and businesses inspire me and countless others.
BL: Sharing my growing knowledge and involvement with cannabis to help those closest to me, and opening their minds in the process. My own parents never demonized weed, but they also didn’t see it as anything more than a harmless high. But walking them through its benefits, and the process of becoming patient/caretaker in their state program after my father’s cancer diagnosis, really worked to change their minds.
WG: How has the industry changed since you started?
BL: It’s been exciting to see that social acceptance of cannabis has been finally and firmly established in the pop culture. Although there is a long way to go towards descheduling and a whole new system of legal, safe, cannabis, it’s now something that can at least be discussed in most rational arenas. And that’s being reflected in our PR work—more mainstream media are open to learning about and covering the cannabis industry, which is great for our clients!
WG: What does Women Grow mean to you?
TH: Women Grow is more than just access to like-minded cannabis enthusiasts and businesses, it’s an entire community of women who share a common passion and the drive to make both an individual and collective contribution to the industry. “Strength in numbers” is an axiom that is cliché because it’s true, and Women Grow is a welcoming community of thought leaders in the industry.
For more information on Type A Media, visit their profile listing in the Women Grow Directory.