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Daily Inspiration: Meet Katie Burrell

Today we’d like to introduce you to Katie Burrell. 

Hi Katie, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I grew up in NY about 30 minutes from the city, and went to college at a small private school, Dominican College. There I studied communications with a minor in psychology and was captain of my D2 soccer team Junior and Senior year. Following graduation, I started working for a Public Relations firm in NYC for about a year and a half. Prior to that, I had about 4 internships in relation to marketing, video editing, and public relations. After some time working in Public Relations, I realized it wasn’t the right fit for me. I thought, what do I look forward to every day? What type of people do I love surrounding myself with? The answer came quickly to me and it all revolved around Cannabis. 

As a non-binary queer stoner with diagnosed ADD and PTSD, I’ve moved through life feeling like a walking stigma. But instead of letting these stigmas negatively define me, I decided to capitalize on it. 

Cannabis was always my friend, it calmed me, motivated me, gave me confidence in myself, and helped me release my creative side. I wanted so badly to find a career that made me feel the way Cannabis does, so why not tap into the industry? I started to do research and apply to internships online to start out. Through that research and multiple applications, I found the one and only John Shute. We both started working for a manufacturing company out in California as their marketing team. I was John’s intern at the time. While interning remotely, I ended up leaving my job in PR for a web job in my hometown, but… I was fired the second day of work. At that point, all I had left was my internship in the Cannabis industry, a babysitting gig, and a part-time hostess job. And a sh*t load of student debt. My parents were selling their house and moving to a different state and my sister already had ventured out to Colorado. I felt alone. I was lost, but I knew I had an amazing bond and friendship with John and love and passion for an industry so fresh and new. I opened up to him about my struggles and he mentioned to me that him and his friend were thinking about starting a digital marketing business. John had many connections, a few years and an MBA ahead of me but he saw potential in me and I’m forever grateful for his mentorship. We linked up with his friend who became my other business partner, Shamus Lahman to start PufCreativ based out of Denver, CO. Shamus is a photography, design, and web wizard, who has helped me flourish in ways than one and has been an incredible business partner and friend. I have to say … the beginning was extremely challenging (it still is.) My skillsets were limited and I had to teach myself most things I do now on an everyday basis. I’m still learning and I couldn’t have done it without the help of my team, cannabis, and a lot of coffee. 

Now we’re about 5 years running with a full team and multiple clients throughout the industry. We’ve traveled all over the country, and out of the country to help grow the business’ and networks we are so very proud of. We’ve released multiple campaigns and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help important causes and non-profits within and outside the cannabis industry. The people I’ve met, clients I’ve worked with, partnerships that have been created, and money that’s been raised for the needy, has made me realize why I’m here and what’s worth living for, which is a question I struggled with most of my life. Through my 6 years in the industry, I’ve moved to a new city, came out about my sexuality and gender, adopted my dog Beans, and found the love of my life. 

Not only am I in an industry I cherish, but I started running a business at a young age and get to be an inspiration for women and the LGBTQ community which has been nothing but an honor. I also am starting a new pufpod series called “Doobie Gay” to speak on and break stigmas surrounding cannabis, LGBTQ community, and mental health. I’m forever grateful for cannabis and the love and compassion it holds, this is just the beginning and I’m extremely excited for the future. 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Definitely not, but totally worth it. I’ve struggled with my sexuality, gender, mental health, and company growing pains. Personally, and professionally, it has been a windy road, but I’m so grateful for every minute of it. 

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
Aside from being VP/COO and Co-Founder at PufCreativ, I also am highly involved with many services we offer. I specialize in animation and design. I’m most proud of a 5-poster series we released on our merch site (www.pufmerch.com) and our non-profit Cannabis Creative Movement. 

My 5-poster series were all created during a pivotal time – when the election, BLM movement, and COVID we’re all in full swing. During that time, I was single, just adopted a dog and all my friends moved away from Philadelphia. I felt alone and afraid by what was going on in the world. This is when I feel like I really expressed my emotions through my designs. 

Cannabis Creative Movement (https://cannabiscreativemovement.com/) is an educational guidebook series designed to inform on key issues while providing fundraising opportunities for nonprofits focused on those concerns. I have designed each guide and couldn’t be more proud of the educational pieces we’re sharing with the world. 

Do you have recommendations for books, apps, blogs, etc.?
Therapy. I couldn’t say this enough, therapy changed my life. I think mental health is extremely important, just as important as going to get your yearly checkup at the doctors. 

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