Creative Producer Anna Geva Recounts Her Winding Path to the Pizza Vending Machine Business

By Grit Daily Staff Grit Daily Staff has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on February 13, 2023

Anna Geva, a creative producer, single mom and entrepreneurial pioneer in the hot pizza vending machine business, describes herself like this: “I might not be the most ambitious person, but I’m definitely a stubborn one.”

We recently asked Anna about coming to the US as a single mother, hosting the Annual Charity Gala for the Queen of Sweden, and helming the first hot pizza vending machine business in Los Angeles.

Grit Daily: What is your background? How did you come to the US?

Anna Geva: Before I moved to New York, I was working as a creative producer in Moscow. My Master’s is in journalism. In 2015, Moscow was the best city ever one can dream of. So not everyone understood my decision to leave and to start everything from scratch. Immigration is one of the most exciting experiences I’ve had. I wanted to see if I could overcome all the difficulties and grow by myself in a new country. I strongly believe that to become a professional you need to get experience abroad. I was invited to work in New York and decided to give it a try.  I came to New York 8 years ago, all alone and by myself with my 3 year old son. I had no connection, no friends and barely any savings.

Grit Daily: You’ve got an exciting heritage being the great-niece of Tamara Geva, the first wife of the well-known ballet dancer and choreographer George Balanchine. How did such family history affect you?

Anna Geva: My aunt, Tamara Geva, a ballerina and Hollywood actress, was the first wife of George Balanchine. In their youth, after The Russian Revolution, they moved to New York together, where Balanchine founded the New York City Ballet.

Tamara Geva

My aunt wrote memoirs called Split Seconds. One day I want to make a film based on that book as all rights belong to our family. Tamara was friends with the famous Russian and Soviet poet, Vladimir Mayakovsky, danced in Paris with Sergei Diaghilev – so there is definitely something to talk about. Her father, my grandfather’s brother, was a great philanthropist in St. Petersburg. I hope that I will find an amazing screenwriter and become a producer of this movie. I will dedicate it to my beloved parents. That history made me believe that anything is possible if you have a dream – simply go for it no matter what! I failed and had to try again and failed again. I might not be the most ambitious person, but I’m definitely a stubborn one.

Grit Daily: Why did you decide to move to New York first? What was your impression of the city?

Anna Geva: To be honest, I’ve never liked New York. I still try my best to understand people who have been living there for the whole time, and are not even interested in moving locations. It’s definitely a special city to visit but living in NYC to me was stressful and not very exciting. I agree with the famous saying “once you make it there you can make it anywhere”.

I am grateful for all the hardships that I had to overcome. Maybe I needed to feel so lonely in New York to become so happy in Los Angeles afterwards… But of course, I do keep some warm memories. I was lucky to be in charge of content creating and producing many unique events and even afterparties for the United Nations. Working with top leaders and outstanding speakers was one of my favorite parts of rediscovering myself. I was changing and growing.

Grit Daily: In New York, you managed communications for a conference with such world leaders as Richard Branson, Simon Sinek and others. Did you get an opportunity to connect with them? How did that experience affect you?

Anna Geva: Yes, I was fortunate to work as a creative producer and communications lead for a great event for 5000 attendees at Madison Square Garden. The whole point of the forum was to inspire entrepreneurs so attendees could learn more about challenges once creating and running their businesses. The forum included leading expert presentations, panel discussions with solutions for each industry. My boss and I started working together and it took us several months to create a team of 60 and to choose as well as to meet each speaker in person. The organization of the event took us more than 9 months. I was responsible for budgets, communications, sales, vendors, guests and speaker relationships.

Grit Daily: One of the most exciting parts of your career as a creative producer was hosting a large fete for the Queen of Sweden. Tell us about that process and the event itself. What were you responsible for? What are you the most proud of? 

Anna Geva: World Childhood Foundation USA was looking for a person in NY with experience in events who could take over the production and event management for the annual charity Thank You Gala. This event is hosted by Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden every year in New York and the proceeds from the event go to a fund to help children. The fund supports innovative, grassroots programs that prevent and address child sexual abuse, exploitation, and violence against children in the United States. Together with the team, we decided to invite kids as well. My son Arkhip was on the stage greeting her majesty Queen Silvia.

Grit Daily: Why did you decide to move to LA? What are the main differences for building a career in New York and LA?

Anna Geva: At some point I was working in Miami and organizing a summit so I realized that I can’t struggle with NYC’s cold weather anymore. We needed the sun and the ocean with my son, I always wanted to try out the West Coast. LA had always been on my mind so we moved once again, just the two of us. I was invited to work for the WisdomeLA, an incredible immersive art project in downtown LA and became an event producer there. Lot’s of exhibitions, premieres, music events are taking place there. I would say LA is much more about secret events and it’s not easy to find them. Sometimes it’s a mansion with a private invitation or an immersive theater in the middle of nowhere. New York is less mysterious from my point of view. In LA there are more opportunities to open any types of the craziest businesses, and New York is too conservative for that. So I made my choice – when you live in the right place and at the right time, everything comes together like a puzzle.

Grit Daily: There, you were working at one of the largest tech companies, WeWork. How did you get to work there, and what was the most exciting part about it?

Anna Geva: While organizing a huge forum at Madison Square Garden, I had to find an office for our company. I picked one at WeWork on Wall St, and it was a great choice. I was always in love with the concept and community there. I personally saw Adam Newman, WeWork founder, several times there. He is a charismatic gentleman, for sure. I remember even while organizing back then I was already thinking of becoming a part of WeWork. And one day my dream came true in unusual circumstances. During the pandemic, when everyone was losing jobs, WeWork was smart enough to hire qualified people. I was commissioned to work there. I was able to host events as our building was built around the MGM studios and kept two large movie theaters in the heart of LA. Before the pandemic, Netflix was organizing lots of events there.

Grit Daily: It looks like you’ve got a real journey in these years in the US! And now you are the COO of a Pizza Vending Machine, a hot food vending machine business. Why did you decide to move from a large tech company to a food startup? Is it also tech oriented?

Anna Geva: The future is now, and building something new with a bright team is so thrilling. I am grateful for the founders. We are the first hot food vending machine company in the US – it will be incredible for students in colleges and we will be all around LA very soon, in shopping centers, airports, etc. Hot pizza as well as pasta, is tasty, ready in 2 or 3 minutes and accessible 24/7. Soon, once in LA you will notice colorful Foodture machines. My main goal is to make it on a very high quality level. I would like to make sure that the food will be really tasty, the machine will always work perfectly and would be cool to create some sort of walk through instead of drive through. It has to be very convenient and reasonably priced.

Grit Daily: Would you recommend immigrants to come to the US?

Anna Geva: Absolutely! The US is the land of opportunities especially for passionate people. Life is so short – just try everything you can and don’t be afraid to fail. We all sometimes do and that is the beauty of living by overcoming hardships, being grateful no matter what.

Live, learn, give! I am very grateful to America, and so happy that my son is having a choice now. He knows several languages, he learnt a lot about different cultures. It’s so sad what is happening right now in the world. It’s disappointing that nowadays many people are not hearing each other, not supporting each other and prefer to be blind. We are all from one planet, people from all over the world – doesn’t matter if we are Russians, Ukrainians, Americans, Chinese? Why can’t we just concentrate on creating, giving and making our world a better place? I am confident that if we all start today to be kind to each other, our children will do that too. There will be hope and there will be a better tomorrow!

By Grit Daily Staff Grit Daily Staff has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Journalist verified by Muck Rack verified

Grit Daily News is the premier startup news hub. It is the top news source on Millennial and Gen Z startups — from fashion, tech, influencers, entrepreneurship, and funding. Based in New York, our team is global and brings with it over 400 years of combined reporting experience.

Read more

More GD News