“A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats” 5 Leadership Lessons With Erin Lumley

“A rising tide lifts all boats. It’s a mentality and approach in this industry that you should know and follow. It’s a $20 billion dollar…

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“A rising tide lifts all boats. It’s a mentality and approach in this industry that you should know and follow. It’s a $20 billion dollar market, there is room for all of us.”

I had the pleasure of interviewing Erin Lumley, Partner at Ingrid Marketing, an award winning public relations agency focusing on companies in the cannabis market. With deep experience in cannabis marketing and PR, Erin and her team work closely with their clients to provide strategy, branding, messaging and media relations to raise awareness and drive sales.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”? How did you first get into this business or get interested in the business?

I’m a big believer in the benefits of the plant and I wanted to take my skills from the technology industry to the cannabis industry. I started networking all over the Bay Area and was lucky enough to partner with Heidi Groshelle and Leslie Stern. Although we came from different backgrounds; Leslie in marketing and Heidi in PR, we had the same vision and the same passion. Hence, three years ago, Ingrid Marketing was founded and we never looked back.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company

I remember telling my Dad that I was starting my own cannabis PR firm. He was very surprised as he still had this 1960s “dope is bad” mentality. I then told him that it was a $20 billion dollar market. As a financial planner he said, “let me do some research” and after months of him asking questions and sending me articles, he is now one of my biggest supporters.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I think a few things set Ingrid apart. We have actual experience, we have amazing results to share and we have won two Hermes awards. There are so many mainstream and boutique PR firms who request to meet with me and they know nothing about the plant, the laws and regulations, packaging restrictions, advertising laws, local and state news. They don’t realize that Ingrid is constantly researching the industry and partnering with lawyers and policy makers to make sure we are giving the best strategic advice to our clients.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Everyone has, for the most part, been extremely supportive but two names stand out to me. First, Kyra Reed, CEO and founder of Kadin Academy, as well as Women Entrepreneurs in Cannabis. Kyra’s goal is to create female entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry and even the scales. Her #notinmyindustry campaign has held this industry accountable and her dedication and passion is inspiring and contagious. Second, Jamie Cooper, CEO and founder of Cannabiz Connection and Industry Power Women. Jamie is one of the smartest and most informed people in the industry I know and she is always willing to share her knowledge. Her #bebraveforcannabis campaign allows people to tell their stories about cannabis to break down stigmas and shed light on the benefits of cannabis. Both of these women have supported me and Ingrid and I am truly grateful.

Are you working on any exciting projects now?

Personally, I have a side project called Strain Kind of Love where I provide short, funny and honest reviews on different strains that I try and it’s my way to be creative and put a little joy in this industry. As for Ingrid, yes, we have partnered with a few new clients and are excited to introduce them to the world! Stay tuned.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Cannabis industry? Can you share 3 things that most concern you?

Three things that most excite me are first, the changes in our government (although it’s not as fast as we like) but reducing criminal marijuana convictions is a step in the right direction. Second, the drive and dedication of people who want to see cannabis legalized and to help others along the way, and third, the endless possibilities of new companies, everything from technology to sports to edibles. It’s amazing.

Three things that concern me are first, people who are not honest and cut corners. Too many fought before us and many have gone to jail and lost families for people to come into this industry uneducated and lazy. Secondly, local government. They are making it impossible for companies to abide by the laws and are pricing out good people. Third, unfortunately we are still battling against old stigmas and people should realize that this industry is moving forward with or without you.

Can you share your top “5 things you need to know in order to succeed in the Cannabis industry”? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Be legal. Or as legal as you can possibly get. It’s not easy but doing everything you can shows good faith and you’ll be better off in the end.
  2. Educate yourself. If you are looking to start an edibles company, you better know the packaging laws. If you are looking to do business on Facebook, know their policies or you will be shut down.
  3. A rising tide lifts all boats. It’s a mentality and approach in this industry that you should know and follow. As I said before, it’s a $20 billion dollar market, there is room for all of us.
  4. Partner with the right people. Many people have come to Ingrid with past stories of being bamboozled or losing money. Know who you are partnering with, do your homework, ask around and above all else have an iron-clad contract in place.
  5. If it doesn’t bring you joy, move on. Cannabis is a very special plant, and becoming a very special industry. If it doesn’t inspire you and bring you joy, you may not be doing the right kind of work. Life is short, so make it a good one.

In our experience when people are passionate about what they do they are more successful. Where does you cannabis passion come from?

Let me find my soapbox! Short answer, it changed my life. Long answer- I was working 70+ hours at an agency, was 40 pounds overweight, wasn’t dating, never saw my friends and I was miserable. I was drinking a bottle of wine a night to try to “relax” and it was taking a toll on me. I turned to cannabis as a more natural way to get the sleep I wasn’t getting and I was amazed at the medicinal benefits. Fast forward four years, I now have a thriving business, work for myself, lost the weight, have a boyfriend and just got a new puppy. I know the benefits of this plant and want to help companies tell their stories to help as many people as they can.

Where do you see your business going in the next 5 years? Where do you see the cannabis industry going in the next 5 years?

In the next five years, Ingrid will continue to grow and I foresee more partnerships, more campaigns and more friendships. As for the industry, we’ll see more and more states legalize cannabis and more companies get their feet underneath them as laws and regulations settle down.

Are you able to identify any rising stars at your company or in your industry that people need to keep an eye on?

As I said before, Kyra Reed and Jamie Cooper are doing incredible work in this industry. Also, two people who I adore are Ryan Bush from Meadow and his wife, Coreen Carroll who just came out with an awesome cookbook titled, Edibles: Small Bites for the Modern Cannabis Kitchen. They both run Cannaisseur Series, which is a great event. Rising stars at Ingrid, well, Heidi Groshelle and Leslie Stern, of course! Two women who are whip smart and 100% dedicated to this industry.

What growth sectors should most people be paying attention to that they might not be currently?

I would keep my eye on two types of companies. One, ancillary businesses because they have the potential to grow the fastest due to the fact they don’t have to follow tight rules and regulations on cannabis itself, and edible companies, because the majority of people don’t smoke but still want to enjoy the benefits of cannabis. Along those lines any company that offers a microdosing option would be good to follow as well.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

Anyone? In the world? I would have to say Eddie Izzard. Eddie, is an amazing comic and actor and his Dress to Kill show was one of the best I have ever seen. He showed me that you can be funny and smart and that is something that has always resonated with me.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

If you would like to see the entire “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me” Series In Huffpost, Authority Magazine, ThriveGlobal, and Buzzfeed, click HERE.

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