Meet some of the people helping us to bring this mission to life in communities across the country.
Executive Producer & President
Shawna Presley Vercher is a leading political media strategist, author, television host, activist, lecturer, community organizer, analyst and producer. She regularly speaks out on humanitarian issues as a fearless advocate for speaking truth to power. Her Top 25 book “A Fearless Voice: How a National Scandal Made Me an Advocate for Building a Better America” has been renowned as an honest and heartbreaking look at our unjust institutions and how we can work together as Americans to improve them.
Ms. Vercher is a producer at Reine Media and the founder of one of the leading technology media companies in the country. Shawna has worked for notable figures and brands such as Fortune 100 companies, award-winning celebrities, and campaigns for President, Governor, and Congress.
Shawna has successfully leveraged media across multiple platforms to build awareness and consensus to pass Federal and state legislation. Her passion is motivating people to mobilize for positive change and her upcoming unscripted series will bring her work to people across the nation.
National Outreach Director
Leo Bridgewater Sr. was born and raised in Trenton NJ. In 2001 Leo enlisted into the United States Army in response to the September 11th attacks. With multiple deployments to Iraq, Leo has served under Lt. General David Patreaus and Admiral Mike Mullins. Leo spent 2 1⁄2 years working for the Dept. of the Army at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C..
Leo became an advocate raising awareness about Veteran suicides after having three battle buddies attempt suicide, with two being tragically successful. Leo’s advocacy has led him to testify in NJ Senate Committee to have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) added to the NJ Medical Marijuana Program. In September of 2016 NJ Gov. Chris Christie signed bill S-2345 adding PTSD to the NJMMP. Leo currently serves as NJ Chapter President of Minorities for Medical Marijuana and is Sub-Committee chair of Minorities with the NJCBA.
Meredith L. Ockman
National Chief of Staff
Meredith L. Ockman has worked on a wide range of campaigns including successfully helping to elect Presidential, Congressional, municipal and judicial candidates. She has also organized and advocated for dozens of legislative issues and non-profit organizations. Meredith focuses on raising awareness and motivating action for causes and candidates to right injustice.
She was a teacher for nine years and was honored as a Teacher of the Year, which inspired her to be a voice for children by working with groups such as Child Welfare Services. She has been a leader for women’s causes and was awarded a Medal of Honor by the Veteran Feminists of America. A champion of human rights and equality, Meredith ensures that all Edify partners, candidates, and issues are held to the highest standards on behalf of the communities and citizens that will be impacted.
Beth R. Grossfeld
National Marketing Strategist
Beth R. Grossfeld is a senior marketing professional with over 20 years of success building brands that resonate with the consumer. Beth has a unique background comprising big company cultures and traditional creative agency experience. This provides a full 360° view, supporting goals of the business as well as the client’s needs. Beth believes that personalized communications that reach the right consumer through the development and execution of integrated marketing plans, brand strategies, research, and communications across traditional and digital media are the foundation for long-term loyalty.
Beth has extensive experience with industry leaders in the technology, finance, and retail space. She has worked closely with non-profit organizations that support her passion for Children’s Rights and Animal Welfare. In 2003, Beth worked with the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC Animals to develop brand recognition and promote the goal of seeing the day when no New York City dog or cat, of reasonable health and temperament, is killed merely because he or she does not have a home. In 2006, Beth was appointed to the Board of Directors for the URJ Eisner and Crane Lake Camps. Her expertise in marketing, social media, fundraising, and brand loyalty have been widely-recognized and are now being leveraged to influence the political and cannabis landscape.
National Strategic Partner
With multi-national and multi-unit experiences stemming from supply-chain logistics, operations management, retail pharmacy, engineering and emerging business strategy, Faye Coleman is the passionate Co-founder and CEO of Pure Genesis, LLC (PG), a women and minority-based (certified MWBE) cannabis business team. As a respected team builder, she has assembled a leadership team, medical and community advisory board with more than 200 years of combined experience to effectively serve and succeed within the cannabis industry. Faye has partnered with the NAACP, Women Grow, Minorities for Medical Marijuana and serves on the Governor’s Council for legalization with a focus on social justice.
Faye, along with her exceptional team are excited to have launched a consulting arm of the business, where they are conducting education workshops, simply titled, ‘Now You Know’. These workshops support closing the education gap for youth as it relates to marijuana legalization. Purpose is what drives Faye, and the purpose of PG is putting patients on a path to better health. This path can be seen through her commitment to health, education and community as a Board of Trustee for Lourdes Health System, Board Member of the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, and Advisory Board Member for St. Joseph’s University Executive Education Program.
Michael DuPont was born in New Jersey, grew up in Virginia, and was educated in Chicago and Rome, Italy before returning to New Jersey to join his Red Bank law firm in 1986. He became a partner in 1997 and has a wide range of legal experience including civil litigation, worker’s compensation and real estate, both residential and commercial.
Michael represents many credit unions and successfully handles a wide range of matters including contract disputes, commercial land use issues and litigation, credit union law and compliance issues. As an attorney proficient in representing creditors in Bankruptcy, Michael has been appointed as a Mediator to the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Third District of the State of New Jersey. He currently serves as Borough Attorney for the Borough of Sayreville and Special Counsel for the Township of Ocean and the City of Long Branch as well as Counsel for the Atlantic Highlands Harbor Commission. In June of 2005 Michael was appointed as Commissioner of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and currently serves as the Treasurer of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.
Michael has served a four-year term on the District IX Ethics Committee where he was Vice Chair and Chair of the Committee. Michael has been appointed on several occasions to serve as Special Ethics Master in complex disciplinary actions brought by the New Jersey Office of Attorney Ethics.
Christine Ianuzzi brings an experienced skill set across several industries from technology to cannabis. She is a transition executive that has been a trigger for change and a leader in disruptive and progressive businesses in many blue-chip companies since 1987 including ABC Television, ABC Radio Networks, and HBO.
In 2014 Christine joined her family of serial entrepreneurs who have owned and operated hundreds of trade shows within various industries for many decades – many in emerging business sectors. Today, Christine is a Partner and Show Director for 3 trade shows that focus on the cannabis industry: Cannabis World Congress & Business Expositions (CWCBExpos) in New York, Los Angeles, and Boston.
Christine is a member of the Board of Directors for the National Hemp Association. She earned a BS in Electrical Engineering, an MS in Information Systems Engineering, both from NYU-Polytechnic University, and earned an MBA from Baruch College, CUNY. Christine served as a member of the New York University-Polytechnic Board of Trustees.
Charlana McKeithen is an advocate, educator, consultant, patient, and public speaker who comes from a lineage of successful entrepreneurs. She has worked for over 25 years in the areas of Information Technology, Business Data Analysis, and Real Estate.
As an adult Charlana was diagnosed with several health issues, including chronic pain. She spent years of treatment only to learn she could not find relief in any of the medicines. She was introduced to cannabis for the medical benefits, a treatment finally alleviated her suffering, and she has been an advocate for cannabis ever since.
As Deputy Executive Director for NORML New Jersey, Charlana works to promote and fight for education, equity, social justice, access, and opportunity for all. Her work has catapulted her to a number of leadership roles including DelawareCAN, Delaware NORML, and Minorities for Medical Marijuana (M4MM).