SōRSE Employee Spotlight: Diana Eberlein

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Written by | September 28th, 2021

Employee Spotlight: Diana Eberlein

Meet Diana Eberlein, SōRSE’s VP of Marketing, an industry leader who is helping the cannabis market “grow up.” As the head of the Marketing team, Diana creates the strategy for the company’s brand positioning and promotional campaigns, including events (live and digital), advertising, and PR; her specialties are in brand development and strategic partnerships. In 2015, Diana moved to Seattle with other career goals in mind. When she discovered a passion for cannabis, her trajectory changed, which led her to SōRSE. Diana not only brings 10+ years of experience in marketing to her role, but a desire to educate consumers about the plant and its many applications, as well as a determination to move the industry forward.  Diana is the mom to Gherkin and Darby, two black cats who love to make appearances on Zoom calls with her team.

diana eberlein employee spotlight

How did your career in marketing begin? Are there particular teachers or mentors you’ve had along the way who have influenced your approach to your work?

I changed my degree to marketing while attending Loyola Marymount University.  I enjoyed the classes, but campaign concepts and pitches came naturally to me – but I wouldn’t say I knew where that would take me either. 

 Looking back, which I realize now after working at countless startups, Dr. Fred Kiesner at LMU taught a Small Business Entrepreneurship course that I picked up on a whim my last semester of college.  It ended up being the class I not only enjoyed the most, but actually looked forward to – so much I even volunteered for his Small Business Development Center, which was based on campus.  I might not have realized the influence it had on me then, but his passion and energy for creating and supporting small businesses was infectious and I think I have carried that forward in my professional career. 

Marketing is an exercise in both analysis and creativity. Of the two, which do you enjoy more, and why? 

The reason I like marketing is that it allows me to tap into both.  Life is about balance, and so is marketing.  

Calculated Risk/ROI + Creativity = Success 

The trick is to be as specific as you can when defining “success.” 

I really took the fun out of that question, didn’t I?  

What drew you to SōRSE?  

I found SōRSE when I was first experimenting with cannabis and had just moved to Seattle.  I knew I didn’t want to smoke flower and I didn’t know a lot about edibles, but I had stumbled a product called Pearl Mixer, using SōRSE, that allowed you to dose any beverage, sauce, or yogurt/oatmeal so you didn’t have to change your routine to consume your desired dose. They also had created recipes for it, demonstrating how to use the product to improve your experience.  I shared the product with any friend interested in learning about edibles, and it was a hit, every time.   

Shortly after that, I connected with their in-house chef, Stacy Primack, and we collaborated on creating experiences for influencers and media.  At that point I was introduced to the CEO, Howard Lee, who was intrigued by my background in entertainment marketing and cannabis.   

I joined the SōRSE team a couple months later, and my first task was to rebrand SōRSE so they could tackle the B2B market – and here we are, the leading water-soluble technology working with cannabinoids, terpenes, and now hops!

What do you enjoy about your role, and what do you find challenging?  

 We run lean and mean; it’s the startup life.  I love that there are challenges at every turn, but that always isn’t as ‘fun’ as I’d like it to be.  The industries we operate in are always changing and evolving, so pivoting is something my team and I have gotten really good at.  As a result, I think the best part about my role at SōRSE is that I really am always learning and pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. 

Last year SōRSE pivoted to virtual events to continue engaging with prospective and current customers as well as people interested in cannabinoids.  What were some of your most memorable moments from those events? How did they shape the way you now look at live events? 

I walked into 2020 with a “locked and loaded” marketing strategy and fully booked calendar…that we completely scrapped as the pandemic hit.  We developed a virtual strategy to cover the following 3-6 months, thinking “Events will be back by then, right?” Nope.  We produced over 10 virtual activations in 2020, but the one that stands out the most was our 3-day virtual summit we hosted for our clients.  Not only did we produce 17 virtual presentations for this summit, but 17 different members of our team presented for over 9 hours of virtual content.  It was a true company-wide effort that made the event successful. 

 In terms of how it impacted our view of live events, I think we all learned that virtual will never completely go away.  There will always be a virtual component for those who can’t attend, and knowing how to best present when an in-person experience is not an option is something all event producers need to consider whether it’s lighting, camera angles, coordinating samples in advance, etc. 

Can you share some thoughts on SōRSE’s expansion into the brewing industry? What growth opportunities do you see on the horizon? 

Our goal is to be the leading water-soluble technology for functional ingredients, so expanding beyond cannabinoids was always part of our plan.  Cannabinoids are particularly difficult for product developers to work with, and we learned a lot while innovating on our process and adding additional solutions based on the industry trends and client needs. This enables us to apply our technology to other functional ingredients with more efficiency.  Water-soluble hops solutions are a direct result of our experience, combined with our technology’s versatility. 

The demand for infused ‘better-for-you’ products isn’t a fad; this is what consumers expect from brands.  As a result, SōRSE will continue to apply our technology to other functional ingredients that improve the quality of consumers’ lives. 

Aside from all that, we now work with cannabis (CBD & THC) and beer brands – and that’s pretty cool!

Can you share something about yourself that not many people know about you?  

I’m pretty much an open book when it comes to “my brand,” so there probably isn’t much that people don’t know about me.  What does surprise people about me is that I grew up very shy and didn’t come out of my shell until my first “rebrand,” which was when I started college. 

I moved a lot growing up because of my father’s job, and when college was approaching, my parents knew I was extremely anxious about moving away and starting over again.  That was when my dad said something to me I’ll never forget: “You know, the best thing about college – everybody’s new.  You can be whoever you want to be the second you step onto that campus.”

And the rest is history.