Hemp association searching for new leadership as executive director steps down

A national hemp association is looking for a new leader after the immediate departure of its executive director.

Colleen Keahey Lanier, who since 2017 has led the national Hemp Industries Association (HIA), a nonprofit trade organization focused on education, industry development and expansion of the U.S. and international hemp markets, told Hemp Industry Daily she is stepping down as executive director and leaving the group effective immediately, “with a grateful heart and optimism for HIA’s future.”

“Since mid-November, I have been working with the board of directors and staff to prepare HIA for this exit to make room for new leadership in 2020,” Lanier wrote in an email to Hemp Industry Daily.

“There is a lot of work still to do, and the board will be seeking a new membership manager as well as executive director for the coming year.”

Joy Beckerman, board president of the California-headquartered HIA, told Hemp Industry Daily that Ryann Hinch, the organization’s current campaign director, will step in as interim operations manager to support the association through its leadership transition.

“Colleen put her all into her more than three years of service to the Hemp Industries Association, taking the HIA from 500 to 2,000 members during this period of exponential growth, and we are grateful for her service,” Beckerman said.

“The board feels now is the best time to work through this transition, and we’re confident the opportunity and package we’re offering will attract an exemplary and experienced executive director to usher the HIA into 2022, as we prepare for the future and the building of infrastructure for the world’s most versatile crop.”

Raymond Mazzie, executive director of the Hemp Industries Association of Florida, said his state chapter is looking forward to helping select and implement new leadership for the national organization.

“It is never ideal to go through transition,” Mazzie said, “but we are confident that the national HIA will lean on its state chapters to help select an industry advocate that can take the HIA to the next level.”

HIA held its annual national meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, last month.