Executive Leadership

The Executive Leadership Team is comprised of business leaders from various fields that have been recruited to institute and implement the day-to-day operations at FOCUS. The Leadership Team is accountable to the Board of Directors and has responsibility for all operational aspects of the organization including overseeing standards development activities, developing operational policies and procedures, public education and public agency liaison activities, and preparing annual operating budgets. Members have been recruited because of their impressive dedication to the FOCUS mission and their ability to operationalize business entities.
Lezli Engelking – President & Founder
Lezli Engelking is the Founder and CEO of the Foundation of Cannabis Unified Standards (FOCUS), located in Scottsdale, Arizona. She received her Bachelor of Science in Communications and Statistics from Arizona State University. Ms. Engelking brings over two decades of experience in the healthcare and nonprofit sectors. Her keen understanding of the pharmaceutical industry gained during her 12-year tenure with Eli Lilly, prompted her to pivot and apply her expertise to the burgeoning cannabis industry.

Ms. Engelking has been an executive leader in the cannabis industry for nine years, opening the first chain of vertically integrated medical cannabis operations in Phoenix, Arizona. During her two and a half years in that role, Lezli realized the critical need for cannabis specific quality and safety standards. This compelled her to found FOCUS, the International Cannabis Health and Safety Organization, in 2014. With a progressive and intuitive approach, Ms. Engelking has helped shape local and international cannabis policy, including coordinating and developing cannabis specific standards and educational content for the FDA, Department of Agriculture, and the National Environmental Health Association. Most recently, Ms. Engelking participated in the 2018 United Nations and World Health Organization meetings on the global rescheduling of cannabis.

Cheryl Collier - Chief Executive Officer
Ms. Collier is a consummate collaborator, evidenced by the enormous impact she has made throughout her career in public service and nonprofit leadership. She is hardworking, dedicated, and creative; with a talent for bringing together diverse groups. Cheryl’s tireless efforts and unwavering dedication as a pioneer and a crusader have been instrumental in providing education and awareness about serious mental illness, as well as improving treatment and services for those in need. Ms. Collier is deeply committed, mission-driven, and believes strongly in citizen involvement in all aspects of local, state, and national planning. 
Erin Kennedy
Erin Kennedy - Vice President & Certification Director

Erin Kennedy began her career in the cannabis industry in 2014 as one of the first regulators of Oregon’s Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program, and later founded Aperture Consulting Group with a mission to help operators obtain licensure, integrate regulatory requirements into daily operations, maintain operational efficiency, and build strong foundations for long-term success in a difficult, but rewarding industry. Additionally, Ms. Kennedy worked as the Director of Operations & Compliance for a large hydrocarbon and non-volatile extraction manufacturer in Portland, Oregon. Ms. Kennedy understands the challenges and pitfalls of operating within the cannabis space, and the importance of health and safety in an industry endeavoring for stability and integrity.

Prior to entering the cannabis industry, Ms. Kennedy worked in highly regulated and standardized industries including telecommunications, healthcare, public sector administration, and aerospace defense, providing her with diverse experience in business systems analysis, Lean Six Sigma, and continuous improvement, as well as earning her an unrivaled perspective that benefits clients and the industry in general. Ms. Kennedy holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Computer Information Systems from Thomas Edison State University and is a member of both the Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honor Society, as well as the Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society for Business Management & Administration.

Sean McClelland - Compliance Director
Mr. McClelland is a former law enforcement, military, and high-risk security professional who has served under three law enforcement agencies (one federal and two local). He has performed countless high-value asset security details for both government and civilians including close proximity and fixed-asset protection. Additionally, he created a Rapid Response Deployment Package under the United States Coast Guard for domestic emergency response of Port Security Unit Reserve components development.

As Director of Government Relations for FOCUS, Mr. McClelland works with federal and state agencies worldwide to: draft comprehensive cannabis regulation; perform regulatory reviews; develop and implement cannabis programs; and assist legislators and public health agencies.

Dr. Gary Starr – Chief Medical Officer
Gary Starr is a practicing ER physician in Minnesota. Previously Gary has served in the Air Force in several medical capacities. Dr. Starr has been involved at the political/ legislative arena for Emergency Medicine on both the state, and national levels. One of Gary’s less traditional medical interests is the development of medical cannabis as a viable alternative to standard pharmaceutical options for various ailments. He and a partner started one of the first Minnesota registered medical cannabis manufacturing facilities. Dr. Starr continues to work in the business/science/political arena in an effort to move the medical cannabis industry forward.