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Meet Adriana Villarreal of Drive West Communications

Today we’d like to introduce you to Adriana Villarreal.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I got to where I am, in large part, by breaking the rules. I learned early on that doing only what I was told to do didn’t get me very far, and it was terribly boring.

What’s your story/your approach to life/success?
At eight years old, I would rush home from school every day to watch Oprah. I remember her saying that, in life, people either help you get to success or they don’t. And when those, as well-meaning as they may be, stand in your way, you do what you know is right for you and never look back. She was talking directly to me, I just knew.

About the same age, my father tasked me with balancing the family checkbook at the end of every month. At first, I complained I was too young to do it. “Why not you?!?” he challenged. With Oprah’s and my father’s words echoing in my head, I began to tackle everything with this approach: Yeah, why NOT me?!?

That mindset helped me fast track into experiences more remarkable than any I could have ever imagined. Over the past two decades as a public relations executive, I’ve been privileged to promote awesome causes for amazing people like then-Governor George W. Bush and Sally Ride, the first woman in space.

As the owner of Drive West Communications, I’ve also had the opportunity to share stories of people in some the nation’s largest corporations and non-profit organizations who are making a big difference in the lives of millions of Americans.

Has it been a smooth road?
Over the years, many people offered me good-hearted advice that was just plain wrong. I was told that “odds were against my getting into my college program so should set my sights on an easier degree.” Others cautioned I should “focus on more practical goals,” that I was “too young to start a company,” that I “smiled too much,” and suggested dozens of other rules I was supposed to follow. I had to learn to sift through all that clutter, learn from the good advice and ignore the bad and chart my own course.

There were times when it was harder to hold that course than others. When Hurricane Rita ravaged the Gulf Coast, my husband and I were severely injured when an 18-wheeler struck our car during our evacuation from Houston.

The months ahead were a blur of surgeries and physical therapy. All the while, I was wrestling to scratch an entrepreneurial itch and launch my company. Many people cautioned it was not the right time, and I should enjoy the security afforded me in my role as the spokeswoman for the Houston Independent School District. But I was on a mission.

And I had the invaluable support of my husband, recovering from punctured organs and broken bones, insisting there was nothing he believed more in than the success of my soon-to-be-company.  Within months of that accident, I started Drive West Communications, and by the age of 27, I was running one of the city’s top 10 fastest growing companies.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Drive West Communications – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
At Drive West Communications, we tell our clients’ amazing stories to the world. Technology, government, education, social trends and so much is changing and altering day-to-day life as we know it, and we get to share with media and the public compelling stories of those making it happen.

Our clients have bold ambitions and understand effective communications is essential for the growth and ultimate success of any organization. We support our clients by advising, designing and putting into action communications plans that support these goals. We write compelling news announcements with stories reporters seek, help clients build and foster a community on social media, and train executives on how to succinctly tell their story and communicate with the public after the inevitable crisis.

The demand for our team’s services is so high, we work only with clients who we truly believe in and whose work makes a positive difference in the world. They range from blue chip energy companies and technology firms to top public school districts and community organizations. What they all share, however, is a bold mission helmed by strong leadership and our firm’s passionate dedication to promoting that mission in the very best way possible.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Our city is home to doctors on the cutting edge of life-saving science, engineers inventing new ways to meet the world’s energy demands, educators leading the nation on student college readiness, and countless others with an entrepreneurial spirit innovating new and better ways to make our world safer, cleaner, healthier and happier.

Houston is an engine driving so much positive change. The entrepreneurial spirit here is nothing short of inspiring.

One of my biggest frustrations is knowing there are thousands of leaders in businesses, nonprofits and other organizations here who are so focused on their important work that they don’t pause to share their stories. I want to remind them to find a way to tell others about their successes, struggles, and tireless efforts day after day.

Your neighbors and countless others are hungry to hear your stories. You can help our city continue inspiring the world just by adding your voice.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageHouston is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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