Kate Lavin to succeed Roger Fillion as MJBizDaily editorial director

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After a long career in journalism and almost eight years with MJBizDaily, Roger Fillion will retire as editorial director and will be succeeded by the publishing platform’s magazine editor, Kate Lavin, MJBiz announced Wednesday.

Fillion, who is 65, will step down at the end of the year and pursue traveling and hiking with his wife, honing his skills as a bread baker, visiting family and friends as well as other activities after four decades as a journalist.

Lavin, who has served as editor of MJBizMagazine for nearly six years, will assume her new role on Jan. 1, 2024.

Kevin Huhn, currently senior editor, will become MJBizDaily’s managing editor.

As editorial director, Fillion has overseen the MJBizDaily news team, MJBizMagazine, the MJBiz Factbook and special reports.

He also has overseen the MJBiz Advisory Council.

Fillion was appointed editorial director in early 2020, weeks before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re all saddened by Roger’s decision to retire, but we’re also happy for him in his future adventures,” said Bill Gannon, senior vice president and editor-in-chief of Emerald, the company that owns Denver-based MJBiz.

“Roger’s pivotal role in shaping MJBiz and elevating the standards of cannabis industry journalism cannot be overstated,” Gannon continued.

“His dedication, expertise, and unwavering commitment to journalistic excellence has left an indelible mark on our brand and on the cannabis industry.”

In the pandemic’s early days, Fillion focused on providing coverage of how cannabis cultivators, manufacturers, retailers and other businesses were revamping their operations via online and curbside sales, drive-thru services, social distancing and online events.

MJBizDaily and MJBizMagazine together were recognized by Trade Association Business Publications International (TABPI) for their pandemic coverage.

Also during his tenure, Fillion aimed to deliver objective coverage of the cannabis industry, highlighting successes (new markets, successful business leaders and companies) as well as shortfalls (layoffs, bankruptcies and questionable business practices).

Fillion joined MJBizDaily in April 2016, serving as senior editor under then Founding Editor/Editorial Director Chris Walsh.

“It has been an honor to work with so many talented MJBizDaily reporters, editors and others over the years,” Fillion said.

“I feel this is a good time to move on to my next chapter now that MJBiz is well positioned with its strongest team ever.”

Before joining MJBizDaily, Fillion was an award-winning reporter who worked for Reuters, the Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post.

As editorial director, Lavin will oversee MJBizDaily, MJBizMagazine and editorial reports such as the annual MJBiz Factbook and “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the Cannabis Industry.”

Lavin joined the staff of MJBizDaily in March 2018 as the editor of MJBizMagazine, a controlled-circulation print and digital publication serving cannabis industry executives by providing actionable tips and advice.

Under her leadership, the magazine has won multiple awards from TABPI and Folio.

Lavin also teamed with Fillion to create the MJBiz Advisory Council, which held its first meeting in 2021.

In addition, she has regularly worked with the conference content division to recruit speakers and design programming for MJBizCon, the company’s marquee conference and trade show.

Lavin started her career in daily newspapers such as the East Bay Times, San Francisco Examiner, Greenwich Time and Vail Daily.

She made the leap to trade journalism in 2008, joining storied winemaking and grape-growing publication Wines & Vines, now part of Wine Business Monthly.

Huhn has held several roles at MJBiz since joining the editorial team in October 2016 as a senior editor, including two stints overseeing mjbizdaily.com.

He describes his role as “quality-control editor” because most written words produced by MJBiz come to his desk before going to our readers.

Huhn joined MJBiz after an editing career at eight newspapers and a national sports website.

His “vacation through life,” as he calls it, includes stops at the Akron Beacon Journal and Cincinnati Post in Ohio, Wichita Eagle in Kansas, San Jose Mercury News and FoxSports.com in California, Knoxville News-Sentinel in Tennessee and the Rocky Mountain News, Boulder Daily Camera and Longmont Times-Call in Colorado.