Ken Kragen’s distinguished career transcends the music and entertainment industries. An MBA Graduate of Harvard Business School, he has successfully managed some of the world’s most important entertainers, including Kenny Rogers, Lionel Richie, Trisha Yearwood, Olivia Newton-John, The Bee Gees, The Jay Giles Band and many others. During the past few years, while still managing and producing, he has devoted an increasing amount of his time to writing, teaching and consulting work for leading corporations and non-profits.
His belief that “It’s much easier to do the impossible than the ordinary” has enabled him to organize an historic recording session in just 28 days to fight starvation in Africa, “We are the World”; create an organization to allocate those funds to do the maximum good in Africa with an overhead of only 7%, “USA for Africa”; put a continuous line of five million people together holding hands from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean raising funds and awareness for poverty in the U.S., “Hands Across America”; and stage an unprecedented global charity event merging Cisco System’s technology with the United Nations’ war on poverty, “Netaid”. He also played an important role in the original “LiveAid,” and, with his friend Quincy Jones, the 1992 Presidential Inauguration of Bill Clinton.
For his work, Mr. Kragen has been honored with the United Nations Peace Medal. He has been recognized by the NAACP, the Los Angeles Advertising Women, and the Boys And Girls Club of America. He received two MTV Awards, an American Music Award, several Emmy nominations, EBONY’s American Black Achievement Award, and Manager of the Year Award from the Conference of Personal Managers. He is the only individual ever elected President of both the Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music. He was selected Alumnus of the Year at the University of California, Berkeley. Recently, he received the “International Citizen’s Award” from the International Visitors Council of Los Angeles.
During his career Mr. Kragen has produced a variety of film and television projects, ranging from the ground-breaking “Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” on CBS to Kenny Rogers’ “Gambler” movies, and numerous series, mini-series and films. Kragen also produced the incredibly successful, live-action, full-length feature film “12 Dogs of Christmas” (www.12DogsofChristmas.com) based on his daughter’s, Emma’s, best-selling children’s book. With 600,000 books and nearly 1 million DVDs sold to date it has far exceeded any similar totally independent project.
Ken Kragen is the author of the best-selling book “Life is a Contact Sport”. He has lectured at USC, University of Tennessee, Harvard Business School, and has frequently taught a six-week career course at UCLA.