HIA Board Candidate Profile


Annie Rouse

Chief Operating Officer - OP Innovates
Co-founder - Overcome, Hemp Mellow
Co-founder - Anavii Market

Candidate Bio

Annie Rouse is a dedicated hemp entrepreneur, educator and activist who has spent the last 13 years learning the intricacies of hemp grain, fiber and cannabinoid markets. Over the last five years she built a sustainable supply chain for hemp products through her manufacturing and formulations entity, OP Innovates, and her suite of branded products including Overcome, Hemp Mellow and Anavii Health.

Annie has served on the HIA board of directors for the last four years and was integral in transitioning the HIA into its new organizational approach of creating the grain, fiber and cannabinoid councils. While on the HIA she has served as the liaison to the US Hemp Roundtable, US Hemp Authority, and ASTM D70 Hemp Subcommittee. Prior to joining the HIA she served on the KY Hemp Industries Association and Founded the non-profit Friends of Hemp.

Annie earned a US Fulbright Scholarship to study the environmental life cycle of hemp building materials, received her BS in Economics and a Masters in International Environmental Policy and an MBA.

In her free time, Annie is the writer and producer of her podcast series, Anslinger: The untold cannabis conspiracy - an interview-narration style podcast highlighting Big Pharma's role in cannabis prohibition analyzed from 10 years of archival research. To explore more about Annie and her journey visit her blog, ThinkHempyThoughts.com

Candidate Skills Self-assessment

Corporate Governance / Board Service - Significant to expert
Nonprofits / Fundraising - Significant to expert
Business / Management - Significant to expert
Compliance / Regulatory - Significant to expert
Policy / Advocacy - Significant to expert
Safety / Testing - Significant to expert
Marketing / Public Relations - Fair to moderate
Accounting / Finance - Fair to moderate
Team Building / HR - Significant to expert
Public Speaking / Media - Significant to expert
Strategic Planning - Significant to expert

What vision for the hemp industry motivates you to get involved and try to help make it a reality?

Hemp is touted as a sustainable crop that is going to change the world, but hemp will only be as sustainable as we make it. If we take an "Ag as usual" approach it will simply be the next soy, but it is better than soy - it's healthier and more useful.

In a sense we were blessed that hemp was demonized for 80 years because we've learned the mistakes from soy and have the opportunity in front of us to do it right with a new crop. Let's not make the same mistakes with hemp. Instead let's move the crop forward in a light that helps our soils and actually creates positive change.

Because HIA serves all facets of the hemp industry, we have a truly big tent membership with diverse needs, opinions, and perspectives. As a Director, how will you help the organization to effectively balance those factors?

In my service on the HIA board I have already demonstrated my ability to effectively balance the diverse needs, opinions and perspectives in the organization of the three HIA councils - grain and seed; fiber and hurd and cannabinoids. As we move forward as an organization these councils allow for effective change within their market sectors. Continuing as director, I will continue to provide strategic advice like these councils as an effort to progress and align the industry.

What priorities do you think HIA should be focusing on in the coming years in order to best support the hemp industry?

Government support for market penetration within grain/seed and fiber/hurd sectors; animal feed; regulation of cannabinoid products

What aspects of your background and/or character do you think will be most helpful in terms of your ability to be an effective board member?

Wide breadth of industry knowledge and market analysis; strategic advising; small business perspective; ability to listen and take corrective action

What would you tell a prospective member about the HIA in order to help them understand the value of joining?

Joining the HIA helps support the development and growth of a new American economy - new products, new jobs, new opportunities. It may or may not have a direct impact on you now but 20 years from now it will help put healthier materials, ingredients and products into the homes of billions worldwide. If it's not already, one of those homes will be yours.