“I wanted to become an actress. I wanted to be in front of the screen. In the early 90s, there just weren’t any roles for people that looked like me. So, that vision changed and completely went in a different direction.”
“When I was singing that song at this one particular event, this woman pushed a little 5 or 6-year-old girl up to the front of the stage, and the girl started singing back to me. Which was mind-blowing…after the event the mother and her daughter came up to me and the daughter and I signed a whole conversation together, which changed my life’s path and made me attend college for speech pathology and audiology.”
“There is a skill that people, I want to say should have or could have, called executive function. It’s the ability to plan, execute, and follow through with tasks. With executive functions, that is a skill I taught my earners with special needs years ago and what I realize is that is the major skill I use today.”
“In the end, everything I suggested they went with. Just give me a little bit of trust and know that this is a representation of myself as much as it is you, so I’m going to do an outstanding job so you look good.”
“I value formal education and that is important to me. I think it’s as important as in the field experience. You have to have a balance between that to understand how to navigate through life to be a good business owner to be a good professional.”
What is Dawnee’s Connection to the San Gabriel?
Dawnee grew up in the San Gabriel Valley; she is from Alhambra and went to high school in the area and Los Angeles County High School for the arts.
She did leave for the East Coast for a few years, but she found her way back to SGV, and she considers it home.
What brought Dawnee back to SGV?
Aging parents were a big factor, along with the amazing weather in California. The snowy, cold months weren’t the best conditions for someone who grew up used to the SoCal weather.
Dawnee went to a community college in Massachusetts to establish residency to officially transfer to the University of Massachusetts.
What did Dawnee Study?
Dawnee was big into Theatre; it was an audition-based process to even get into the school. She really wanted to be an actress and be in front of the screen; however, in the 90s, there, unfortunately, weren’t many actresses getting big roles that looked like Dawnee.
This led to a pivot where she started learning sign language. She performed with a choir, and she translated the song into sign language for the guests.
There was a woman that pushed a young girl up toward the front, and after the event, the little girl came up to Dawnee and signed an entire conversation with her.
This completely blew Dawnee’s mind and ended up changing her entire life’s path.
Fighting for kids who had trouble reading and learning difficulties impacted Dawnee so terribly that she got shingles. She spoke with a medical professional who told her to consider choosing a profession that makes her happy and satisfied without extreme stress.
This led to a creative career in event planning.
What kind of events does Dawnee plan, and which are her favorites?
Dawnee started off as a wedding planner and many social events, such as milestone birthdays and anniversaries. However, she slowly started doing more nonprofit events and corporate events.
Just in the last year, Dawnee started doing events in the entertainment industry.
Her least favorite events are when the client is very hands-on and wants a say in every single little move and decision she makes. In the end, they always agree the decisions were a great choice.
Her favorite events are when she is given a vision and ideas, but she has the green light to make creative decisions with the client’s end goal in mind.
She had the opportunity to do a pre-Grammy brunch celebration for an organization based in New York called Black Women in Media.
She had three weeks before it started, and they trusted her with a vision. It was an incredible, well-attended event that went perfectly. People walked in, and they were wowed.
Was it smooth sailing from the start?
There was a significant learning curve for Dawnee. She went back to school for certificates in event planning. She strongly values formal education.
She thinks there is an important balance between experience and education.
Is there any situation you refuse to put yourself in again?
Dawnee never wants to work with vendors that do not carry the same level of professionalism that she does.
She holds herself and her work to a very high standard, and it can be frustrating working with vendors that do not take it as seriously.
Because of this, Dawnee actually offers her clients a list of preferred vendors that she trusts, always shows up, and bends over backward to get the job done.
What is Dawnee’s heritage?
Dawnee is Indonesian, Polynesian, and a bit of Senegalese. This has led many folks to people she instinctively knows how to speak Indonesian and also has struggled with fitting into a particular group.
However, she has always found the San Gabriel Valley to be incredibly welcoming and admits that she feels very “Americanized,” which to her means assimilated into the American culture.
1. Blossom Market Hall in San Gabriel
2. The Grapevine Arbor
3. Mandarine Noodle House
About Dawnee Pitzer
Dawnee Pitzer, owner of Events by Dawnee, is an event planner who believes that creativity is critical to happiness and success.
Realizing she had a passion for event planning back in 2007, Dawnee sought out a career in the event planning industry, allowing her to be creative, yet structured.
With an eye for detail and design, Dawnee has drawn upon her organizational skills to help clients design, plan, organize and carry out event details, manage and communicate with vendors, and ensure that every event runs smoothly. Discovering that creativity was what relaxed her mind and destressed her soul, Dawnee has branched out to corporate and nonprofit events and events in the entertainment industry.
Her goal is to make each event an experience, where guests engage in an all-encompassing experience, not simply an event.
Based in the San Gabriel Valley, Dawnee not only offers services in California, but destination events from Hawaii to New York and beyond. Dawnee has the ability to envision events from start to finish, execute every detail and come up with ideas that clients may not have imagined. With a staff of 10 incredible event planners, florists, servers and bartenders, let Dawnee and her team create something wonderful for you.