HIA Board Candidate Profile

Shayda Torabi

Shayda Torabi

CEO and Co-Founder - RESTART CBD

Candidate Bio

Shayda Torabi is the Co-Founder and CEO of RESTART CBD, Texas' premier cannabis brand. Shayda is also the host of the popular cannabis and marketing podcast To Be Blunt, interviewing leading brands and marketers on their strategies for success. She is passionate about helping build great consumer brands and leverages her background in marketing and technology to help navigate the cannabis industry connecting the consumer to high-quality cannabis products and education @theshaydatorabi.

Candidate Skills Self-assessment

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

I am motivated by the opportunity to re-educate our consumers and our community about the nuances and potential of the hemp plant. I am a born and raised Texan and I never imagined in my wildest dreams that we would see the advancement of hemp to this degree that we have seen at a federal level let alone at a state level. It's amazing the impact we're able to have one on one when we can help someone understand the complexities of this plant and this industry in a meaningful way and I see that as a strength that I can bring to the table. Additionally, as a business owner and operator over the last 4 years, I've also seen over-regulation and under-regulation stunt the growth of this industry. We're arguing over language and interpretations of said language and I've been passionately involved in advocacy at a localized level but see an opportunity to help expand upon that for the national narrative through my understanding of the multi-facets of this industry from seed to science to sale.

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?

For one, it's important to recognize and pay attention to the diverse interests of the organization and its members, the industry is fast-moving and the reality is some times there will be more pressing issues facing one facet over another, therefore, needing more focused support from HIA. It sounds simple but I think overcomplicating a solution is often a setup for failure. A way to organize that is to write out all issues, and group/rank members' priorities for said issues, from there work with the specific councils to take leadership over a sub-set of those issues and empower the members/leaders who are impacted the most to stay on the pulse of it and provide support from the board as needed. A good leader puts the right people in place and enables them with healthy boundaries to execute.

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

The way the councils are set up is already a great high-level focus, from there there are clearly outside forces that impact more prominently the prioritization of issues that the HIA should be focused on supporting. For example, while we want to see grain and fiber advanced, it appears that at a federal level cannabinoids are the most attention-grabbing topic. We have to be realistic with where the market is going, and that goes back to being on the pulse, by leaning on our members and listening to the issues that are impacting them the most. If a piece of legislation is coming through at a federal level that is going to impact one of those three areas of course they get our attention, but if one is easier to pass than another, those are situations where we have to make a call where to focus our efforts and invest our time and resources. The point I'm trying to make is, we can't neglect some areas just because they aren't as popular as others, but if a particular area is more popular for our members and impacts their business bottom line, then that should be considered by HIA because the effects are going to be felt by a larger group of businesses/members, and is the reality of the industry in the present moment.

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?

I think I am a great public-facing advocate, I spend a lot of time invested in the multi-state issues facing our industry as well as experience it first hand as a retailer and brand. I'm a seasoned public speaker in the space and have built up a lot of equity as a recognized professional voice on a wide range of topics, and I aim to be a positive example of what is possible for this industry while also being a great voice helping distill complexities into digestible details to help get our point heard across the many aisles we navigate.

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

Because the industry is so fast-paced you will be faced with two choices, one you can be reactive, waiting for legislation or regulation to come along, and reacting to what is being told to you about how to handle the next steps for your business. Or you can be proactive, and play an active role in contributing to try to make this industry better and it starts by using your voice. Joining HIA is a platform to allow your voice to be heard and considered as we help shape this industry. Whether it's contributing to the organization by sharing your own personal stories of things you've experienced to bring our group awareness up, to transferring those experiences into testimonials that can help reshape policy and impact the process of how legislation and regulation get rolled out so you can be as in control as possible and ready for the changing landscape instead of scrambling to make sense of it.