Kristen Grossi and Alysha Light are co-founders of Joint PR, a powerhouse communications agency representing clients in the legal cannabis and health & wellness spaces. Based in Los Angeles with an office in Austin, Joint PR is proudly a woman of color-owned and operated. Kristen and Alysha bring a combined 30 years of experience to Joint, helping companies at every stage and every corner of the industry — from manufacturing to VC funding to consumer and B2B products and services.

Kristen and Alysha have launched over 500 early-stage companies between them and have driven PR campaigns on behalf of world-class enterprises including Google, Match Group, Speedo USA, Samsung, and Taco Bell. Along the way, they built a niche for working with companies of all stages who are in highly competitive spaces and looking to accelerate growth quickly. Both of these senior-level communications leaders have earned reputations for generating defining results for game-changing startups and global enterprises across tech, marketing, and entertainment.

Q: What inspired you to found Joint PR and what were the main challenges you faced?

At the time we launched Joint, each of us had been operating our own independent agencies for several years (9 years for Kristen and 6 years for Alysha). Over the course of that time, we’d each been approached by a variety of cannabis companies to do PR for them. After working with several and even collaborating together on those businesses behind the scenes on a more informal basis -- last year, we realized this was a perfect time to officially join forces and bring our PR chops together to help a fast-growing market. We felt this space could really benefit from the unique perspective and skillset that we bring, and we were excited to immerse ourselves in it.

It has actually been a really smooth transition for us. Because we have worked together over the years, we’ve developed a really strong dynamic and have perfected our process for clients. Additionally, we’re so used to working with early-stage companies across tech, marketing, entertainment and lifestyle industries that it’s been a really seamless transition for us to get into cannabis. For instance, many of the media contacts we’ve worked with over the years are now covering cannabis, so there’s a lot of crossover which is a huge benefit for our clients.

Kristen Grossi and Alysha Light

Q: In your opinion, what are some key opportunities in the cannabis space going forward?

As the industry evolves and gains more legitimacy and credibility, it would be great to see some of the OGs in the space elevate in terms of their positioning and branding. We see so many cannabis companies who are still operating like they’re on the fringes of society which feeds into the old stigma that has always been a barrier to entry for many companies and would-be founders. If Martha Stewart, VCs, and tech startup founders can get into cannabis, there’s no need for companies to still operate like they’re existing in the shadows.

Q: What’s your business model, and how have you grown your revenue?

We’re a PR agency so we work with most of our clients on a retainer basis. We also take on projects for select companies and brands. We’ve grown our revenue because we’ve proved that our clients will get ROI from doing a campaign with Joint PR. Because of this, we have many repeat clients and they are always giving us referrals!

Q: Do you think luck played a role in the success of your company?

If luck means hard work, blood, sweat & tears - then yes!

In all seriousness, we definitely feel luck or fate played a role in bringing us together. We actually met through a mutual friend who knew we were two independent women, both from Chicago and doing PR in L.A. and he thought we should meet. We’re both Geminis and we hit it off immediately, so the rest is history.

Q: What are your goals for the future?

We’re looking forward to expanding our client portfolio and working with all types of companies across cannabis and health & wellness We also want to see the stigma around cannabis dissolve as it becomes more mainstream, and we’d love to be on the forefront of helping to educate and inform the public, the press, and everyone -- about this space because there are so many misconceptions.

Q: If you had to start over, what would you do differently?

One thing that proved to be enormously helpful to us when we were launching our business, is we took the time to lay out each of our communication preferences, our values, processes, and even our triggers. Based on our responses to each category, we pulled together some “rules of engagement” that helped us be more mindful of each other’s working style and communicate more effectively. Even though we had already worked together over the years, choosing to start a company together was obviously taking things to the next level. We did this exercise about 2 months in, but in hindsight, we should have done this even before launching the company.

Q: Can you talk about one woman who has impacted your life?

Kristen: I would have to say my mother. She has always supported me and my career. Not only does she follow me on social media to keep up to date on all my clients ;) but I know I can always count on her to be there when I need to vent, cry, laugh, and get a positive spin on things. I also admire my mom for raising two kids and working full-time as a teacher. Two of the hardest jobs in the world!

Alysha: My mama. Not only was she a single mother to 3 kids who overcame a drug addiction and has been clean for over 25 years, she is the person who taught me that your goals and dreams are not bound by your current circumstances. Dream big!

Q: What are your favorite books?

The Game of Life and How to Play It by Florence Scovel Shinn; Heart Talk by Cleo Wade; How to Launch a Brand by Fabian Geyrhalter, and The Lean Startup by Eric Ries.

Q: What’s your advice for female founders who are just starting out?

So many women are waiting on permission before they do the thing that scares them (start a business, take up a new hobby, start a side hustle). Girl, just get started!