As a small startup business, we are sad to share that our limited budget has forced us to part ways with our incredible and hardworking COO, Vinnie DeBono — for now. The following is an open letter that he asked us to share.

To My Hempsley Family,

First I’d like to say that yes, I consider everyone that I have worked with, interacted with, and been supported by while at Hempsley as a part of my “extended” family. Now, like in all families, there are happy moments and sad moments. I have had so many happy moments while working at Hempsley that I cannot be thankful enough for. Some of my favorite happy moments include the Heart of Health Exchange, securing a payment processor (sounds lame I know), and brainstorm sesh’s with the team — however, this is one of the sad moments. 

Sadly, I am going to have to step away from my position as Chief Operating Officer at Hempsley. This is what’s best for both Hempsley and myself, but I still find myself writing this with an incredibly heavy heart. There were quite a few reasons why I wanted to and decided to work for Hempsley. 

The opportunity for me to work for a cannabis related startup company, and make an impact. 
The desire to learn about the rapidly expanding Cannabis industry. 
Hempsley’s mission to educate people on cannabis in a nurturing, approachable way. 
The chance to work with some people that wanted to achieve similar goals I did. 

And I’m eternally grateful that I was asked to join the team full time after my internship. The best feeling in the world was coming into work and feeling happy. Even on difficult days, I was happy to do my best.

The people that I’ve worked with all hold a special place in my heart: The interns I’ve worked with both during my own internship and most recently that wanted to help in any way they could. The team members that helped create content and opportunities for Hempsley. Ambassadors that wanted to help spread our message. And most importantly the executive team. 

Both Kristen and Brett are kind, intelligent, and incredibly driven. I grew close with Brett, working together to balance out the creative overload that Kristen could bring. Things like executive team meetings were fun (and mostly productive) and teaching him some cooking skills at team dinners. In the amount of time that I’ve known Brett, I know he’s a good hearted person that I’m grateful to have as a friend.

Now, where to start with Kristen. When I met Kristen and learned what she wanted Hempsley to be, something clicked in my mind telling me that I need to support her and this mission. And then to go from that realization to being an intern to being believed in enough to be hired full-time is something I cannot thank her enough for. If you work in a, let’s call it, “cozy” office space with Kristen for most of your week, like I did, one of the things you recognize is the energy and dedication she puts into her work. Seeing that drove me to learn and be ready  to help. I cannot understate how much of an absolute bada** she is and how honored I am to have worked with her. Beyond the workplace, she is compassionate, honest, and someone I hold dearly as the other half of the Dream Team. She really deserves all of the success in the world, and I know she will achieve it. 

If this is the first post you are reading from Hempsley (sorry if its a downer), or if you’ve been a long time follower/supporter, thank you for caring about Hempsley. When you work for a startup, small amounts of love are felt even more. My support for Hempsley is unwavering, and I plan on volunteering to help when I can. I know Hempsley can be a success and I hope there’s an opportunity in the future to return to working for a company I wanted to help grow.

— Vinnie

Vinnie with the Hempsley team after the Heart of Health Exchange

Vinnie with the Hempsley team

Vinnie celebrating his birthday with the Hempsley team

Vinnie with Hempsley CEO Kristen at cannabis eventsHempsley team at The Hatchery

Vinnie in front of Butterfly was in downtown Columbia, MO