Photos by Kimberley Bennett
nice to meet you.
Hi, I’m Sam.
I’m a California transplant, born + raised in Washington, DC, with a B.A. in Media Studies from UC Berkeley. My passion is seeing big, entrepreneurial ideas become realities + collaboratively owning the execution of those ideas.
Ah, the favorite LA-conversation starter: “Sooo, what do you do?” For a hot minute it was hard for me to answer that question because I do a lot of everything, so I made up a term: I’m a Brand Producer.
What is a “Brand Producer?"
I could respond with: “A glorified project manager;” or “Someone who executes on multi-departmental initiatives and knows how to marry the administrative, strategic, and creative processes within a company…” Oh, wait… are your eyes glazed over yet? Yeah, mine too.
Instead of reciting buzzwords + textbook definitions, here’s my story:
Coming from a bloodline of politically-charged anti-authoritarianists, I was exposed to some top-tier movers-and-shakers in DC. Crash-courses in the BTS of governing-bodies at an early age only fueled my inner-rebel, who held my hand as I bulldozed every open door to the big, bad world of DC-hardcore music and event + entertainment marketing.
I got schooled early in music event marketing + production in DC, thanks to my mentors at I.M.P. and the 9:30 Club. I produced my first philanthropy-centered music event at 17 years old with my childhood best friend, Rock for Research, and was hooked. I developed somewhat of an addiction to the experience of owning an idea and bringing it to fruition, and I’ve spent the majority of my career-experiences pursuing that type of work.
I always knew I would end up in California, and a 3,000 mile trek across the U.S. at 20 years old indicated pre-career-playtime, otherwise known as college. To say that I didn’t have the normal college experience is an understatement. Greek life and football were not on my agenda. Ever. My #1 goal was to work in select fields that I was passionate about (i.e. music, beverage, and action sports), in every capacity, while maintaining an A average at Cal. If I wasn’t connecting with Bay Area Influencers for Red Bull or traveling for an event, I was hosting an event for Volcom, volunteering in Santa Cruz, or studying the Panopticon + Machiavelli in the library. I may have missed a few football games, but I was quickly getting my chops up in the world of “Brand Marketing.”
With over 20 national events under my belt, excelling at various roles in 2 markets in 4 years for Red Bull, and creating a position in the Volcolm Retail Department to increase their sales on my campus, I landed a position with the Cytosport family when I graduated. I was recruited as Team Lead to help launch their first Field Marketing team in the US for their Muscle Milk product line. I collaborated with Managers + Directors, implementing new strategies for national roll-out, while covering a territory with a team of 6, that spanned 300 miles + 2 states. This was my first experience in laying the foundation for a department + national execution.
After a 10 years in field + event marketing, my mentors suggested that I learn another side of the business: The Agency Side. I had heard that Los Angeles was 72andSunny, so I bailed NorCal to go see for myself! After about a year as an E.A. for two of the original Partners, I asked Glenn to put me on track to be a producer. Glenn had something else in mind, and laid it out for me: I was already a producer. I was producing the company on a day-to-day basis, wearing hats as not only his Executive Assistant, but also as his production coordinator for every account. His pitch won me over + a whole new world opened up to me: I was learning how to run a company.
...And not long after that conversation, I launched + ran a company. While I was assisting at 72, I had a side-hustle that filled up my creative-bucket, developing an eyewear company with a group of friends in Malibu. In 2012, after hundreds of sleepless nights, thousands of re-written business plan pages, and 3 months of investor pitches, we acquired funding. I shelved the agency-grind for a few years + assumed a position as the Vice President of SICKY Eyewear. We launched in 2013, + the brand continues to grow significantly each year.
I experienced the glory + reality of a start-up within a short amount of time. After a year we hit a wall: It was my salary or the marketing budget. I didn’t lose all of that sleep for nothing, so I bowed out and took a job with an up-and-coming Digital Creative and Sports Marketing Agency in Hollywood called NCLUSIVE. Within a year, I helped NCLUSIVE develop their incubator program, curate a Merchandising Department + E-Commerce platform, and expand their suite of services to include Branding.
Currently, I consult for a select clientele base, as a start-up project manager, brand strategist, producer, and marketing director.