Most of us have experienced conferences from an end user vantage point, but Heather Mason has seen conferences from every angle and vantage point in her work at Caspian Agency. Caspian offers “white glove, comprehensive event production and à la carte services, from the big picture down to the smallest detail” for social good businesses at the highest level (think: Rockefeller Foundation, United Nations).
Caspian’s success with such high-performing foundations is due in part to their approach of events as a scientific system, in which they ensure disciplined strategy, integrated creativity and procedural precision. “We believe events should be mapped to business objectives, or not done at all,” says Mason.
Mason earned her acuity as an event producer over twenty years ago, during her time as a student at Utah State, where she organized events like the Halloween Howl (10,000 in attendance) and Homecoming (15,000 in attendance). Becoming vice president of Arts and Lectures, she took on responsibilities for running shows and bringing speakers to campus. At the time, she was already developing many of the skills and tools that still prove useful in her business today.
Mason’s true tipping point came after college and a short career in the film industry when she saw that Charles Schwab was hiring for an event manager and she had a light bulb moment that event production could be a career. She knew instantly she wanted that profession. She was also incredibly motivated to streamline the process and add strategy to it.
“There’s a better way to do [event production], and we should all do it the same damn way. There’s got to be a system and if there’s not one, I’m going to create it,” thought Mason at the time.
So in 2005, she started with $1400 in the bank and founded Caspian. Her first client was Skoll World Forum, a global event hosted in Oxford, aimed at investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs and innovators who are solving the world’s most pressing problems. Mason has been producing the event for the past fifteen years. “I just smile when I talk about it,” she says. “I’m privileged and honored to work on it. I pinch myself that I get to work on it.”
Driven to create a systematic code in event production, Mason developed a methodology known as the 10 Essentials. These essentials incorporate Mason’s foundation that events are exercises in conference management, strategic thinking, rapid problem solving, processes and detail-oriented thinking. Mason says the superpower of any project manager or producer is understanding where to place the details.
Indeed, even though their scope is large due to the kinds of events they organize, the details are what make or break an event. Caspian has worked with high-profile people like Jimmy Carter and Malala, put Google execs on helicopters to ocean-going vessels, and helped launch the Inconvenient Sequel around the world.
For more information, visit www.caspianagency.com