40 Under 40
For the past five years, the Marijuana Venture staff has compiled an annual list of some of the brightest young leaders and influencers in the cannabis industry. As in past years, we have narrowed the list from hundreds of worthy candidates to present 40 individuals from the vast and ever-changing business in the United States and Canada.
It is our honor to share their stories.
Title: Account Director
Before turning her life upside down for the chance to work in cannabis, public relations strategist Chloe Steerman was already familiar with the medical efficacy of the plant.
“I’ve dealt with anxiety for as long as I can remember,” Steerman says. “Cannabis is the only thing that helps me keep that under control.”
Armed with a communications degree, a couple years of East Coast agency experience and a respect for the plant, Steerman relocated her life from Philadelphia to Denver in 2016, to work at an agency with a variety of cannabis clients.
“Agencies have always been my calling,” Steerman says, pointing to her original career inspiration: Her late grandfather Mel Korn was an old-school ad-man and CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi’s Collaborative Marketing Unit.
Steerman now runs the accounts department at Grasslands: A Journalism-Minded Agency, a leading cannabis PR and marketing firm started by journalist and two-time TEDx speaker Ricardo Baca. After starting as a publicist, Steerman was quickly promoted to run the agency’s accounts team — a client-facing position that has her managing internal and external relationships “with a focus on precision and accountability, two of Chloe’s strong suits,” Baca says of his colleague.
While Steerman was less moved by her previous agencies’ clients working in finance and automobiles, she now finds inspiration throughout Grasslands’ roster, which includes leading brands like Willie’s Reserve, Coda Signature, DaVinci Tech, The Clear, Spherex, the National Cannabis Industry Association and other B2C and B2B cannabis and hemp brands.
“I’m constantly inspired by the people we work with in this industry,” Steerman says.
Some of Steerman’s career highlights include helping Willie Nelson and his colleagues launch multiple hemp brands and also being a part of the Grasslands team that worked alongside cannabinoid science brand ebbu for the years leading up to its $330 million acquisition by Canopy Growth Corp.
“Every day my colleagues and I help shape the narrative around cannabis and make a real difference in how this plant is perceived,” she says. “Cannabis is a serious industry, and it deserves serious professional services.”