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“More Money, More Power, More Headcount”

Heather Mason, the Caspian Agency CEO, on why meeting professionals deserve more

MeetingsNet’s annual Changemaker list recognizes 15 outstanding meetings professionals for their efforts to move their organizations and the industry forward in unique and positive ways. Find all the profiles here.

Heather Mason

CEO & Founder
Caspian Agency

For creating the Surefireconference for teen girl empowerment and mentorship


Making Change 

I launched the Surefire conferences, which have run in Los Angeles and Salt Lake City, to give teen girls life skills. We ran focus groups to see what skills they needed, for example managing money, credit cards, job interviews, and health issues and then held intensive one-day workshops with different sessions. When it comes to teen conferences, organizers usually make them apply with essays and references, but when adults attend events, they just buy a ticket. So, I thought, why not just have teens buy a ticket? And, if they don’t have the money, I won’t make them pay the $35. Why make them prove they are worthy? I think everyone is worthy.

I also teach techniques and tools to “think like a producer,” using our Caspian 10 Essentials methodology through our video courses. When you think like a producer, you put the budget last. You can pick the goals and I’ll tell you how expensive they are, or you can pick the budget, and I’ll tell you how many goals you can buy. It is illogical to think you can pick both.

Thinking Differently 

When I ran for office in high school, I built an eight-foot boulder and did an “Indiana Jones” skit. I may make a fool of myself, but at least I make an impression. 

Managing Change

If you are afraid of change, you must expand the definition of your company. 

I started my career in the movie industry and went into marketing, and then events. In marketing, there is a famous Kodak case study. Kodak was the first to have a digital camera, so it didn’t lag on innovation, but corporate mindset didn’t catch up. The leadership should have expanded the corporate vision to be about storytelling, but it was afraid that digital would cannibalize the film business. If we think we are live events companies then we are irrelevant, but if we think of ourselves as the crafters of human connection and interaction then we are needed more than ever.

What’s Next?

I want event producers to get more money, more power, and more headcount.

Role Models

When I was young, my debate coach, Mrs. Robinson, taught me how to think and reason out an argument, and my public speaking coach, Nancy Chase, taught me techniques that I now teach others. I was a shy kid but now you can’t get me off a stage. 

Pat Mitchell, author, first woman president of PBS, founder of TEDWomen (among plenty of other firsts), is someone I look up to. She blazed a path for female leadership.  

Best Business Advice

As soon as you have enough money to hire an assistant, hire one. If they are good, you will make your money back. 

Know your brand! If you want to be Tiffany & Co. then price like Tiffany & Co. If you want to be Target, then price like Target. It will make it more efficient when you go after business. They both make millions, so neither is wrong. 

Spare Hour 

You will find me either taking a long walk or playing soccer. I play on both indoor and outdoor soccer teams in Los Angeles.



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