An entirely self-made “girl from Idaho,” Heather Mason founded Caspian Agency in 2005, intent on bringing a scientifically-based strategic discipline to white-glove event planning. She has since grown Caspian into the elite 3% of women-owned businesses in the US with over $1 million in revenue. She’s worked with world leaders, enterprising billionaires, and the United Nations, and she has earned the wisdom that comes with building a business from nothing but grit and vision.
For Heather, that vision began with the realization that there was no codified method for creating and executing strategic events at scale. In response, she created the Caspian 10 Essentials, a methodology through which events become scalable, replicable, and able to consistently meet their objectives, all in an efficient manner. Heather has coined this Event Science, and she has spent the past 15 years pioneering this concept and advocating for it to become industry standard.
Believing in leading by example, Caspian Agency uses these 10 Essentials on every one of their projects, leading to successful collaborations around the globe with the Skoll World Forum, Dalio Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Omidyar, Keurig/Green Mountain Coffee, and many other social good institutions and foundations. Heather also teaches this methodology across the country to all levels of event professionals as a highly sought after speaker and instructor. More recently, Heather decided to develop the Caspian 10 Essentials into an online course in order to make this methodology more accessible. As a result, the Caspian 10 Essentials are now available worldwide, teaching the principles of Event Science to a global audience. Additionally, this methodology is now featured curriculum for the San Diego State University Masters in Meetings and Events degree program where Heather is a Senior Fellow and also an instructor. This pioneering degree is the first Meetings and Events Masters program in the United States.
Caspian Agency has weathered many storms since its inception in 2005, but nothing could have prepared the events industry for the devastating impact of COVID-19. The industry as a whole was brought to its knees, but where others saw ruins, Caspian saw opportunity. Heather has long advocated that event producers are more than just logisticians. They are equal partners in the planning process, and should always help guide and shape the strategy of an event. COVID-19 offered an unprecedented opportunity to shake up the events industry, and Caspian was at the forefront of this movement.
Within weeks of the world shutting down, Heather created Thinking Virtually: Virtual Engagements in the Post-COVID-19 Era. This pioneering online course outlined the fundamental elements of successful online events, and invited event professionals to reimagine the possibilities inherent in virtual spaces. In addition, she published the Four Fundamentals of Online Events, in which she challenged the event industry as a whole to use these unprecedented times as an opportunity to innovate and improve best practices. Heather dubbed this Caspian 2.0, and continually sought ways to innovate the ways in which event professionals could continue to bring people together during the pandemic.
Now, as the world begins its first tentative steps towards a post-COVID era and a return to live events, Caspian continues to innovate by outlining the 13 different types of hybrid events that will guide event producers in the future. Heather firmly believes that the future of events is hybrid, and that there’s no going back to the days of solely in-person events. COVID-19 may have forced these gatherings online, but it also opened them up to global audiences and unlimited opportunities for growth and expansion. To highlight these opportunities, Caspian partnered with Smart Meetings to launch an original web series, The Adventures of James Caspian. The debut episode premiered earlier in 2021, with a series of episodes slated to debut in 2022. This is Caspian 3.0.
Looking forward, no one knows what the future holds for events. The pandemic is far from over, despite a hesitant return to business as usual. But despite the uncertainty, Heather is optimistic for the future of events. If anything, she is eager to keep innovating and pushing the industry to be the best it can be. Caspian 4.0 is just on the horizon, and the future is bright.
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