Op-Ed: Do What You Love – Embracing a Heady Future
Our last signature in-person event was The Headies, in January of 2020 – just weeks before the reality of a global pandemic came crashing down on the U.S. In March, after the state of emergency was declared, I sent my staff home. Even as we were all locked in our homes, we adapted and produced the Women of Cannabis Conference online in April, a Zoom feat of epic proportions and some great work by our team.
As the pandemic dragged on into summer, it became clear that Heady – and other organizations like it – were going to need a new model. That summer, I threw out the playbook and started over, even as local policymaking discussions grew heated and intense, and the twin shitshows of the pandemic and the presidency raged around us.
As the pandemic dragged on into summer, it became clear that Heady – and other organizations like it – were going to need a new model.
In October, when we finally passed S. 54, I was overjoyed – and pretty tired. A couple of weeks later I found a lump in my right breast. I realized I needed to do something I hadn’t let myself do since the founding of Heady Vermont: Take a break. I had tried before, but had never quite managed to fully remove myself from the job for longer than a few days at a time. Anyone who’s ever run a small business is intimately familiar with this problem.
On January 20 of this year, with great relief, I shut down my computer screens and nonessential phone apps for a full month. It was glorious. I did everything I had wanted to do before – except work. I got outside (responsibly, of course). I had long chats with friends. I tried fun new things. Best of all, after a few weeks and some additional doctor’s visits in the spring, my health status was in the clear. Shout out to Planned Parenthood and UVM Medical Center, both of whom provided amazing care.
Heady has been, and will continue to be, the best place to provide important education, insights, networking and news for the community.
As I slowly got back to the world of screens and limited computer work this past spring, I brought a fresh perspective with me. I was delighted to see that a few things had changed – namely, that the CCB had been selected and a bill to strengthen cannabis equity provisions was in the works. Plus, I missed my canna-friends. The CCB got to work on its initial meetings – and I got to work on Heady Vermont.
Through all of the budgets, scenarios, consulting and brainstorming that went into this, the role of Heady as a central networking and information resource stayed consistent. Heady has been, and will continue to be, the best place to provide important education, insights, networking and news for the community.
And as our partners get to work on joining the adult-use market, we’ll be expanding on our efforts to market locally grown cannabis and hemp to Vermonters and out-of-state visitors.
Whether you want to stay on top of licensing alerts or get fall harvesting tips, you’ll find an expansive content collection as we roll out partnerships this fall with experts like Kyle Kushman. And we’ll be looking to draw in even more voices, both locally and on a larger scale, as we evolve with the industry.
Though we’ve cut back significantly on our large-scale events, it’s important that we bring back The Headies next year.
Though we’ve cut back significantly on our large-scale events, it’s important that we bring back The Headies next year, and I’m excited to be working with old and new partners. Our very limited roster of events will also include the occasional in-person business networking event, cultivation meetup and webinars. And, we’ve got something brand-new and different in the works for next fall – stay tuned!
I’m excited that we’ve incorporated strategic diversity goals throughout all levels of our brand, from hiring writers to content ratios to member dues. This includes tangible and useful things like free or reduced BIPOC and veteran membership levels. Our new member platform is centralized, easy to use and features exclusive member-only content like industry reports and priority alerts.
Most of all, I can’t wait to reconnect with old and new partners, members and friends. I’m grateful for the people, the plant and the place in which we live. In my conversations with the control board, business owners and growers over the past few months, it’s clear that the enthusiasm and excitement in the air is tangible and exciting things are just around the corner. Let’s do this!