FOUNDER & CEO
If there’s anyone who understands the ins and outs of CBD, it’s Trista Okel, Empower BodyCare’s Founder and CEO. An early activist and industry pioneer, Trista first tapped the power of the hemp plant in 2004 when she crafted a DIY CBD oil to help her mom manage pain. Realizing the vast potential to help others seeking improved comfort and wellbeing, she was among the first entrepreneurs nationwide to formulate high-quality CBD topicals for mass production – years before the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. Her foresight, grit and insistence on the highest quality have made Empower BodyCare among the most respected CBD topical companies in the country.
At the helm of Empower BodyCare, Trista spearheads the company’s strategic direction, product development and uncovers fresh opportunities for the business to expand its presence online and in stores. Even with steep competition in a quickly growing industry, Trista is dedicated to leading her company the right way by paying special attention to formulation, compliance and sourcing.
Before becoming an advocate for plant-based wellness, Trista got her start in aromatherapy. She helped her clients through the trials and stresses of everyday life by harnessing the power of plants to rebalance, reset and revitalize. This led Trista to CBD – another plant-derived compound that offered incredible value to humans yet was stigmatized until recent years. Determined to move the needle, Trista became a vocal advocate in the movement for recreational use, lending her voice to the Marijuana Policy Project and Americans for Safe Access.
As her approach to activism evolved throughout the 2000s, Trista realized she could convince more people of the cannabinoid’s incredible potential by creating high-quality, non-addictive and effective products. At the core of Trista’s career in the aromatherapy and CBD world is an unyielding desire to help people live more comfortable and enjoyable lives.
Trista lives with her wife, Michele (Empower BodyCare’s chief operations officer), and their two dogs, Lucy and Riley, in Portland, Oregon.
CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER
With a goal-oriented mindset and background in organizational efficiency, Michele serves as Empower BodyCare’s Chief Operating Officer. She ensures all aspects of the business run smoothly – from ingredient sourcing, manufacturing and launching new products to forging lasting relationships with the industry’s top strategic partners. With extensive experience in nonprofit administration and advocacy, Michele has been a key figure in enhancing Empower BodyCare’s corporate social responsibility initiatives. Additionally, her fundraising skills have helped position Empower BodyCare for long-term growth.
Before joining Empower BodyCare in 2016, Michele served as Director of Administration at the Portland-based nonprofit FolkTime, which focuses on peer support for those in recovery. She is also a founding board member for the nonprofit Outside the Frame, which works with houseless or formerly houseless youth in the Portland area to explore their artistic talents through movie production. In addition, Michele serves on the board of directors for the Sexual Assault Resource Center, an organization helping those who have experienced sexual violence find support. Prior to that, Michele instructed in a graduate program at Arizona State University (ASU) in advocacy and community organizing. She earned a master’s degree in social work and a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from ASU.
In her free time, Michele enjoys singing, dancing, hiking and spending time with her wife, Trista (the founder and CEO of Empower BodyCare), and their two rescue pups, Lucy and Riley.