How long have you been working at Bluebird?
2+ years - I started in September of 2016.
Tell me about how you first got involved with Bluebird.
I moved to Colorado in May of 2016 and started at Bluebird in September of 2016. I had had a career in foodservice marketing for eight years before leaving to find something in the exploding cannabis industry. Towards the end of my foodservice marketing career, I got a little frustrated that all the innovation around cannabis was not registering in the industry, even as its popularity was growing. My passion to find the good in what I did next made me realize that cannabis, something I used every day, would do a massive amount of good and change the world, especially as a food item.
My friend Sabrina lived in Denver and I told her that I was looking to get into the cannabis industry. She sent me a long list of companies to look into, finishing the list with Bluebird Botanicals. She mentioned that it was her favorite because they “did it right” - including extensive testing on its products, not selling false hope with unsubstantiated medical claims, and giving back to those in need. That’s how I found this nest of smart weirdos that all have a rebel streak.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
The people - best group of work pals ever. Our customers are also the best! One of our customers, Ria, sent me a beautiful painting of my last photo taken with my dad. (Love you, Ria!)
I also love that I’m constantly learning. I still have so much more to learn about hemp and I am excited to see what research will come to the surface with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. I get to take my biology interests to a new level learning about the plant, cannabinoids, terpenes, and their impact.
Finally, I love the challenges of working in this industry. Bluebird is the gold standard when it comes to hemp supplements, yet so many people are scared or are waiting to join the industry until things become more clear and less stigmatized. I like playing in a space that people are not so familiar with. It is so amazing to be a trailblazer in this space and change the way business is done.
Cool Things About Katie
Hometown: Lisle, IL
Hobbies: Hip-hop dancing, heavy metal listening, horror film watching, video-gaming, eating, reading, knitting, photo snapping, laughing, and petting my dog Hank
Favorite food: Grilled cheese and tomato soup
Favorite movie: John Carpenter’s The Thing
Favorite local haunt/hang out spot: Soon it will be Hank’s Texas Barbecue!
Groups/non-profits you support: Cystic Fibrosis Foundation - my brother Sam was diagnosed at 9 months, had a double-lung transplant in 2002, and passed away in 2012 from complications from major surgery to remove stage IV esophageal cancer. He was my soulmate, best friend and big brother. So thankful for Bluebird - they donate to the CFF every month in Sam’s name as part of our giving program. I also have a way better understanding of the PTSD I have been dealing with because of the education we provide around our endocannabinoid system. So thankful.
Why are you passionate about the cannabis/hemp industry? What motivates you in your work?
We all spend our entire lives trying to figure out what to be and Bluebird Botanicals provides every element that people are looking for.
Just like everyone else, I just want to help people. I also love sharing my passion with people while I am learning more about hemp, cannabinoids, and terpenes - especially, chefs! Hemp is a living, breathing flavor wheel and the nutrition impact makes hemp the ultimate superfood. I love being able to talk to flavor companies about terpenes, dieticians about phytocannabinoids and our Endocannabinoid system, manufacturers about the soil remediation capabilities when growing a crop like
What’s your favorite story or memory from your time at Bluebird?
I have two! The first is from the day we took a trip to the hemp fields. It was so magnificent to be there with the plants and smell all the terpenes, feel the stickiness of the plants, eat the leaves, and pet the grasshoppers. It was an incredible experience because this plant has such an impact on our health and sustainability for the planet - no other ingredient or crop will be as useful as hemp and it is so crazy that it has been kept from us for so long.
My second favorite memory is from speaking on the headlining cannabis pannel with Elise McDonough at Datassential’s Foodscape 2.0. as well as being featured in Datassential’s Cannabis report April 2018. The chefs I used to work with during my foodservice marketing days are reading about me in trend reports! That feels crazy.
What is a common misconception about the cannabis/hemp industry that you’ve come across in your work?
I find it interesting fighting different parts of the stigma around cannabis. It's been stigmatized for so long that we forget about its impact and history. The first bible, money, and American flag were all made from hemp. Presidents grew it - it was necessary for the supplies it provided for war.
There’s also a misconception that there is a lack of research about hemp. We are all for more research and now that hemp has been removed from the Controlled Substances Act, we will see a lot more! But, it blows my mind that the federal government has in fact already done research. There are over 30,000 studies on the endocannabinoid system. We should be learning about this in biology class. We should be learning to cook with it in culinary school. We should be growing hemp in our community gardens and in our backyards.
CBD is quickly growing in popularity as a dietary supplement - why do you
Anything with a nervous system has an endocannabinoid system - the largest system in our bodies. When it is working well, we feel the effects. The stories we’ve heard that we are not allowed to share give us chills and make us cry happy tears daily. The macro trend of individualized nutrition is a big reason as well - we can use genetics to see which cannabinoids are best for us and how we process them. CBD and THC are the popular cannabinoids and I can’t wait for the other 80+ cannabinoids and terpenes to go mainstream. USA! Love, KT