Tracy Brady Sets the Record Straight on Multi-State Operators in Cannabis
In this week's episode of Vangst's podcast, "Proud to Work in Cannabis," host Karson Humiston interviews Tracy Brady, Senior Vice President of Global Communications at Curaleaf. Tracy shares her journey into the cannabis industry and highlights the power of storytelling in shaping perceptions about cannabis. Join the conversation as Tracy discusses her experiences, dispels industry myths, and navigates communication in the rapidly evolving cannabis landscape.
Before Getting into Cannabis: A Storyteller's Path
Tracy Brady's professional background spans 10 years in marketing and advertising, including working in the entertainment industry. From independent documentary film companies to Turner Broadcasting and the launch of the Cartoon Network, Tracy has honed her skills in storytelling and connecting with audiences. She emphasizes that compelling stories can be told through various mediums, including brands, executives, and even cannabis. Tracy joined Curaleaf over three years ago, recognizing the opportunity to contribute to an industry that has a deep history and immense potential.
The State of Curaleaf When Tracy Joined: Navigating Challenges
Tracy reflects on her early days at Curaleaf, which coincided with the vape crisis that swept Massachusetts. While cannabis faced scrutiny, Curaleaf maintained its commitment to open communication with stakeholders and regulators. Tracy recounts the unique challenges she encountered, from complying with different state regulations to navigating post-acquisition integration work. Despite initial doubts, Tracy's passion for the industry kept her motivated and excited about the possibilities.
The Strategy of Growing an Internal Communications Team
Tracy shares insights into building and nurturing an internal communications team. She stresses the importance of aligning team growth with business growth and profits. Cultivating a positive culture and retaining top talent becomes a cross-functional effort, involving collaboration with People & Operations and IT teams. Tracy initiated a weekly newsletter to foster transparency, which has now evolved into an organization-wide communication tool. Curaleaf's intranet serves as a resource hub and feedback loop for employees, fostering connection and empowerment.
The Playbook of Crisis Communication
Tracy unveils the key elements of her crisis communication playbook: understanding the issue, offering accountability, explaining the situation, and outlining the steps taken to prevent future occurrences. By following this framework, organizations can effectively manage and address crises, ensuring transparency and trust.
Dispelling the MSO Myths
Tracy dispels the misconception that working for multi-state operators (MSOs) or large corporations equates to malicious intent. She asserts that Curaleaf, like any other business, aims to provide quality products to patients and consumers. Tracy emphasizes that the cannabis industry welcomes businesses of all sizes and types, and MSOs have a responsibility to support and nurture smaller companies. Furthermore, she highlights the positive contributions that MSOs make to local communities through taxes that fund public services.
Cannabis Communication at the Federal Level
Tracy discusses the value of a unified voice in the industry through the United States Cannabis Council (USCC). Curaleaf actively supports the USCC's initiatives, particularly in education and grassroots advocacy. Collaborative efforts at the federal level are essential for progressing the cannabis industry and advocating for sensible regulations.
Navigating Communication with Family: Overcoming Stigma
Tracy shares her experiences navigating conversations with family and friends about her decision to work in the cannabis industry. While initial reactions varied, Tracy found that as the industry evolved, understanding and support grew. Tracy recounts the challenge of discussing her profession with other parents, fearing negative responses that could affect her children's social lives. However, as Tracy delved deeper into the industry and collected anecdotal evidence of cannabis's benefits, her conviction strengthened. She emphasizes the importance of responsible, age-appropriate consumption and destigmatizing cannabis use.
Looking Ahead: Tracy's Excitement for the Future
Tracy expresses her optimism about the cannabis industry's future, particularly in terms of federal-level progress. She looks forward to advancements such as SAFE Banking, 280E reform, and other regulatory relief that can propel the industry forward. Tracy's enthusiasm stems from her belief in the industry's growth potential and its positive impact on society.
Proud to Work in Cannabis
Tracy Brady's journey into the cannabis industry demonstrates the power of storytelling in changing perceptions. As a senior executive at Curaleaf, she has navigated unique challenges, built a robust internal communications team, and debunked myths about MSOs. Tracy's experiences highlight the importance of open dialogue, responsible consumption, and collective advocacy for federal-level reform. Join the conversation and listen to Tracy's episode on Vangst's podcast, "Proud to Work in Cannabis," to gain further insights into the dynamic world of cannabis and its endless possibilities.
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