Professional History and Accomplishments
Lara Drasin, M.Soc.Sci. is a Los Angeles-based strategist and advisor specializing in communications, crisis public relations and creative, impact-oriented campaigns and partnerships. She is also an editor, writer, and producer and consults with executives, influencers and businesses looking to employ effective and resonant narrative strategies in their branding and messaging.
After many years handling strategy and project management roles in media, public relations, documentary filmmaking, social justice and the burgeoning virtual reality industry, Lara started independently consulting in 2016 to develop her own more holistic approach to working with clients to develop and leverage their media presence - and creative partnerships - to achieve their long-term goals.
Over the years, she has worked with both high-profile and up-and-coming clients across industries including media, entertainment, social justice, politics, publishing, philanthropy, tech, finance and lifestyle/wellness, among others. Clients have included New York Times bestselling authors, Silicon Valley titans, political campaigns and top tier publishing houses and nonprofits.
Since she helped facilitate its inception in 2011, Lara has centered much of her work around Define American, a nonprofit organization started by undocumented Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and immigrant rights leader Jose Antonio Vargas to shift the conversation around immigrants and American identity using the power of story. In 2019, Fast Company named Define American one of the year’s most innovative companies.
Lara joined Define American full time in 2014 as Media and Partnerships Director in part to lead strategy for the sales, distribution and promotion of the 2014 CNN Films documentary "Documented," which she associate produced. The film, written and directed by Vargas, follows him as he travels around the country, sharing his personal experience to spark an honest dialogue about immigration. The film also explores the emotional effects of immigration through his relationship with his mother – whom he hasn’t seen in person in over 20 years.
Lara secured the film’s availability via CNN, Netflix, DVD and digital download, as well as international distribution. Through grassroots efforts, the film screened over 120 times in almost 50 states. She also led the formation of 38 "watch partnerships" and tailored discussion guides with organizations such as MTV, GLAAD, American Apparel and the NCLR to promote viewership on June 29, 2014 when the film aired on CNN.
That night, "Documented" - mentioned in over 300 mainstream media publications and declared an Academy Award contender by The Hollywood Reporter and IndieWire.com - trended nationally on Twitter: #Documented made over 1.3 billion impressions, reaching an audience of 185 million.
Later, Lara spearheaded development of a Documented-based curriculum for 11th and 12th graders that aligned with national Common Core standards. The curriculum launched in November 2014 at the National Council for the Social Studies convention in Boston, Massachusetts.
Along the way, Lara has also worked with institutions like the Sundance Film Festival and MTV to adopt virtual reality storytelling; managed client cover stories and photo shoots for Forbes and TIME Magazine; and successfully pitched, brokered and managed client interviews with outlets as diverse as The New York Times, NPR, The Colbert Report, Chelsea Lately, Good Morning America, Fox and Friends, The Kelly File with Megyn Kelly, Real Time with Bill Maher and Vanity Fair.
Lara began her career at boutique NYC crisis management and strategic communications firm Hiltzik Strategies in 2010, where she spent several years learning the ropes of the media world after earning her bachelors’ degrees in journalism and sociology from NYU.
In 2018, she also earned a master’s degree in applied interdisciplinary social sciences from UCLA, where she conducted research on myth and ideological values embedded in modern media and entertainment and how to tap into them when storytelling to overcome polarization and create social change. While at UCLA, she engaged her desire to make academia more accessible by helping the dean of the Social Sciences school launch LA Social Science, a platform through which UCLA faculty and students can share how they are applying the university's research findings creatively and constructively to better Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. Lara served as the blog’s founding editor, charged with translating posts faculty wrote about their research to make it more accessible.
Some of her academic (and other) writing is available here.
Originally from the Tri-state area, Lara lived in Manhattan for 10 years until she moved to Los Angeles in 2015. She is a member of the EMILY's List Creative Council and volunteers with 826LA in her spare time, where she created and teaches their first workshop around media literacy and smart news consumption.