It is with mixed emotions that HCGA announces the departure of its Executive Director and co-founder, Terra Carver, effective October 1.
As Chair of HCGA Board of Directors, this announcement comes with a sense of deep gratitude but also sadness. While we are all going to miss Terra enormously, we are also excited to see where her passions and power will take her next.
Put simply, there would be no HCGA without Terra. Along with Natalynne DeLapp, Terra conceived of and manifested the organization that HCGA is today. These two women did the hard work of blacksmiths, hammering the raw ore of our cannabis community into the influential success that HCGA is today, and they did so with the deftest of touch and tireless work.
Terra brought to this effort a deep understanding of our industry, an intuitive sense of what you all needed and how to speak your language, and an unstoppable vision of what HCGA needed to be. Equally at home at your farm in the hills, as she is striding through the halls of Sacramento, Terra fought for us all, and never took no for an answer. Terra's legacy and influence touches everyone from Governor Newsom's office, to our county supervisors, to your neighbor struggling to permit their legacy grow, and we're all the better for it.
Of all attributes I appreciate in Terra, including her courage, her clear vision, and her tireless work ethic, the one I appreciate most is the combination of empathy and take no prisoners approach that have fueled the success of HCGA.
Some of the industry’s many accomplishments s under Terra's leadership include:
Engaging in the development of two Humboldt County land-use ordinances.
Championing the successful passage of SB-67. The bill reserves cannabis appellations of origin exclusively for plants grown in the ground, under full sun, without the use of lights or structures--cannabis that truly reflects the terroir of the region.
Developing and co-writing the Humboldt County Cannabis Marketing Assessment.
Transitioning from CalGrowers to an HCGA-driven Government Affairs Program.
Developing a transparent and democratic Policy Committee to shape government affairs priorities.
Establishing Humboldt County and HCGA's members as well-respected stakeholders in California's policy arenas.
Establishing functional and effective collaboration between industry and government.
Fortunately for us all, Terra knew that HCGA needed to be bigger than any one person, including herself, and built a strong organizational foundation for just this kind of transition moment. As such, HCGA rests firmly on this organizational strength and is entering a smooth transition as the Board and staff, with Natalynne taking on the role of Executive Director, continues to move forward to protect and promote Humboldt County’s world-renowned cannabis industry.
Natalynne DeLapp, co-founder and operations director, takes on the role of Executive Director. Natalynne brings more than a decade of experience in organizational development and management and community organizing to the table. She's worked with non-profits, trade associations, on project-based public relations strategies, and election campaigns. She holds a degree in Environmental Science and Public Policy from Humboldt State University.
Ross Gordon continues in his current role as Policy Director for HCGA's Government Affairs Program. Ross has worked in cannabis law and regulation since 2015, serving as policy staff with the California Growers Association prior to coming on board with HCGA full-time in 2019. HCGA's Government Affairs Program advocates on behalf of the Humboldt cannabis industry on local, state, and emerging federal policy, with a strategic plan and policy positions approved by HCGA's eleven-person policy committee.
Nicole Riggs takes on the role of HCGA's Marketing and Education Director. In this role, Nicole leads the research, design, strategy, and implementation of the organization's marketing and education initiatives. Her approach is data-based and implemented through internal and stakeholder consensus building. She is the founder of Manifesto Synergies, a consulting firm for marketing strategies to the Humboldt cannabis industry. Nicole was for nine years Director of Marketing and Business Development at Marimba One, an Arcata-based niche manufacturer of high-end craft instruments where she designed and managed brand differentiation and global business development.
Alegria Sita, in the role of Membership Coordinator, will build relationships with members of HCGA to facilitate bidirectional communication. Expect to hear from her when your dues are up for renewal, and share with her how HCGA can best support your business. Alegria is an entrepreneur herself and brings along her skills in networking, marketing, and sales. Alegria has directly and indirectly been involved with the cannabis community since she moved to Humboldt in 1996. She has developed a love for all things entrepreneurship and is passionate about supporting Humboldt businesses to thrive.
Rounding out the team is Heather Luther, as Member Success Executive. Heather brings her skills to help countless businesses in Humboldt County develop and implement diverse marketing strategies. Heather is a creative and analytical thinker able to work collaboratively with members of the business and civic communities while crafting high-level tactics driving business success.
In addition to HCGA's staff, the organization is guided by its governing Board of Directors, Scott Davies, Patrick Kanzler, Scott Vasterling, Kaylie Saxon, and Aaron Lieberman.
While I have been so proud to call Terra a colleague, I am even more proud to call her a friend. Please take a moment and join me in thanking Terra for the gift of her blood, sweat, and tears in making HCGA the organization it is. We'll miss you Terra!
Board Chair – HCGA