For executive producer Andrea Drake, event production has always been far more than a job, it’s a critical part of her artistic calling. Growing up in Kansas City, Andrea quickly discovered that she possessed an immense talent for design, fashion, and visual art. Her ability to visualize stunning original concepts and then execute those designs with unique pattern, color, and texture combinations proved to both her and her family that she possessed a bright future as an artist, leading her to consider a career in both floral design and interior decoration.
Ultimately, Andrea chose to study Fashion Merchandising at Kansas State University, where she was able to study under prestigious industry experts and develop the technique and craft necessary to bring her natural talents to the professional level. Soon after, she elected to advance her career by moving to Los Angeles and continuing her studies at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. It was there that she landed an illustrious internship working for Giorgio Armani, giving her the opportunity to immerse herself into the professional fashion world at its highest level.
As Andrea worked alongside the Armani team to produce a wide range of elite fashion shows and events, she soon began to realize that underneath her devotion to design and art was another passion; a love for the events management industry. Soon, she found herself working next to the lead producer for the inaugural Rodeo Walk of Style event. It was at that moment when Andrea realized where she wanted to take her career.
“Here I was, at this event that merged fashion and design with organization and entertaining–it pieced together all the things I love. That’s when everything clicked into place, and I’ve been hooked on events ever since.”
In 2004, Andrea joined Sequoia Productions, working first as the executive assistant to Executive Vice President Gary Levitt. In a few short years, Andrea would work her way up to the position of executive producer where for the last 15 years she has used her artistic gifts, vision, and love of the events industry to produce truly memorable, modern events.
“One of my greatest strengths is organization and my ability to see the bigger picture, which definitely comes from growing up in a very organized environment, so kudos to my mom. I am a very social person; I love entertaining”.
For Andrea, each day planning corporate and/or social events for Sequoia feels as inspired and fulfilling as her first day on the job. No matter the size of the production, Andrea sees each job as an extension of her artistry and an opportunity to express a client’s vision.
“When the guests are coming in, I love to stand by the doorway so I can experience their reactions. I love to hear their gasps, the ‘wows,’ the sort of awestruck look they have while they stop to take pictures of what we’ve created. To hear them say ‘oh my gosh, this is amazing,’ because they’ve never seen anything like it before is a very proud, very humbling moment for me. I work on these events for 6-9 months–that’s the moment we are all striving for. We want to create something so stunning and original that it stops people in their tracks.”
During her tenure with Sequoia, Andrea has produced and co-produced events such as Entertainment Weekly’s Pre-Emmy Celebration, The Grand Re-Opening of the Griffith Park Observatory, The People’s Choice Awards After-Party, The Grand Re-Opening of the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital Street Party Celebration, and many other high-end private and industry events where she has had the opportunity to successfully exercise her creativity.
Working closely with the Sequoia team, Andrea has built a network of vendors, industry professionals, and fellow artists to synthesize event themes into unrivaled design concepts that capture the passion and ambitions of both herself, her team, and her clients. Andrea’s experience in the artistic world gives her an unparalleled ability to visualize event concepts in a way that are truly unique to her, and then the skills necessary to communicate that vision to her team members.
However, Andrea does much more than simply conceptualize these events; she brings them to life with vibrancy and precision, using her vast practical knowledge and years of industry experience and knowledge. On paper, this means working alongside her expert team of designers and technical engineers to create and install physical design elements, overseeing every last minute detail of the conceptual execution, and managing an internal team responsible for all aspects of the event; food, beverages, rentals, sponsors, staffing and any logistical requirements necessary for crafting a seamless and successful event.
But most satisfying for Andrea is her role as lead project manager for both the Emmy® Awards and the Academy Awards® Governors Ball, a position she has held for the last twelve years. For Andrea, the challenge of reinventing and breathing new life into these events year after year is one that both challenges and satisfies her artistic curiosity, work ethic, and devotion to the craft of event management.
“Event management is like conducting a symphony. Everyone in the orchestra has their instrument to play, and each one contributes something vital and unique to the composition. My job is to be the conductor – to ensure each instrument is played at the precise moment it’s intended, alongside the other instruments, so that together we produce beautiful music.”
It’s a description that brings Andrea back to the core of her work, back to her Midwest beginnings as an ambitious art student, and her rise through the fashion world; her artistry.
Andrea’s time at Sequoia Productions has been marked by her commitment to originality, her devotion to excellence, and her day in and day out ability to produce events that not only meet but surpass clients’ expectations. Event management has become a palette for Andrea to paint on, and her success at Sequoia Productions has become defined by her inspiration, her vision, and her immense talent.