Before joining Grasslands, a boutique public relations agency specializing in elevating clients in highly regulated industries, Sarah Thorson worked in several different industries throughout her 15 plus year career including consumer products, skiing, snowboarding and technology. She currently serves as the public relations director at Grasslands where her daily responsibilities range from strategic communications around cannabis-infused products to developing narratives for a venture capital firm.
DOPE Magazine: What initially got you interested in the public relations field?
Sarah Thorson: As a marketing major in college, I didn’t know about public relations, but had an incredible advisor that suggested I take a PR class. I was immediately hooked. One of my first positions was for a small agency in New York City representing consumer products. From there, I moved to Vermont to become an in-house communications and public relations manager for the largest ski resort in the East and took my love of snow to Colorado to pursue public relations in the tech world before ultimately landing in the cannabis industry.
What aspects of tech public relations differed from your other experiences in the PR world?
Coming from consumer products, I thought the ski industry was tough to grasp, but the tech world gave me a run for my money, in a good way. I had minimal tech experience, but 10 years of public relations experience. I was up for the challenge. Before I knew it, I was developing communications strategies for cryptocurrency funds, working with tech startups companies developing machine learning algorithms for computer vision and working side-by-side with global tech companies including Twitter.
Are there any translatable experiences in the tech industry that apply to your work in the cannabis field?
Just like tech, the cannabis industry is evolving daily. There are always new companies popping up and the competitions is getting stronger in a positive way. Just like tech startups, cannabis companies are super passionate about their work and helping consumers and patients. The startup passion is intoxicating and really draws you in.
What makes you passionate about the cannabis industry?
Cannabis has been a part of my life for the past decade and has helped me with marathon training and recovery from races. I’m fortunate to live in Colorado where access to cannabis is available, comfortably talked about and a staple in many lives.
What advice would you give to anyone hoping to make the leap into the cannabis industry?
A new industry can seem intimidating. As long as you have the willingness to learn and desire to be in the cannabis industry, you’ll be successful. It’s an exciting time for the cannabis industry and I encourage anyone who is interested to take the leap. It can truly change your life.