Whatever stage of life you’re in, you have questions about your future. What do you need to do to score your dream job? How do you budget your money properly? How do you deal with issues in your work or personal relationships? These are all questions that Heather Mason and the team behind Firebrand Concepts aim to answer through a series of conferences geared towards young women. Their breakout event, the SUREFIRE Conference, was a huge success last year. Created exclusively for high school students (there are also events for other age groups as well!), the next conference is coming up October 11th in Santa Monica this year!
Name: Heather Mason
Title/Description: Founder of Firebrand Concepts and the SUREFIRE Conference
What is Firebrand Concepts overall, and how did you get the idea to found it?
Heather Mason: I like to say that Firebrand Concepts is like the idea factory for conferences. It’s for live, in-person meetings. The idea is to create offline conversations about the things we’re already having online conversations about. Specifically, we want to create events for youth, and we decided to start with a program for girls (though we are looking at a boys program too!).
I wanted to do something like this because there are tons of conferences for me to attend as a woman that can help me with my career, my life and my self-improvement. And yet, there are not any equivalent conferences for girls. There are some you can go to if you join a certain group (like Girl Scouts) or clubs or religious organizations, but there is nothing like an Oprah Live Your Best Life conference for teenage girls.
What’s a typical day like in the office, and what’s the best part of your job?
HM: The best part of my job is getting to work with our ambassadors and talk to them about content and what they want to know more about and what their lives are like. My other favorite part is when I get to talk to women about the sessions they’re offering and really crafting those topics to be relevant to young girls.
The big part of my day, though, is running A Caspian Production, my conference company, as well as doing a lot of follow-up emails and pulling a lot of details together for our website, conferences, logistics and billing, more of the nitty gritty.
I only get to spend about a quarter of my time on the content part, which I really like, and then three quarters gets wrapped up in that execution stuff.
Getting more specific, what is the SUREFIRE Conference, and how does it differ from your other conferences?
HM: We launched SUREFIRE last year, and we’re adding our SPITFIRE and WILDFIRE groups as well. The content is supposed to be everything you don’t learn at home or at school and but you really wish you knew. This year we’ll be offering sessions on your money, social media, nutrition and strength, entrepreneurship and internships. We can’t fit everything in that we’d like to (unfortunately space is an issue!), but we definitely try.
Another huge part of our conference is our SUREFIRE attitudes. The first one is that we ask every girl strive for her best authentic self, because if you aren’t being your authentic self, you can’t get anything done. So when you bring your awesomeness, we all benefit and so do you.
The second attitude is to celebrate other girls’ individuality, beauty and power. It’s the idea that there’s no scarcity; we can all be beautiful and powerful and awesome. Your beauty doesn’t take away from mine, and the same goes for other attributes.
The third attitude is get curious. Curiosity is a great attitude to have in life. It doesn’t mean you can’t have an opinion, but what we ask that if someone else has a different belief, just be curious about why they have that belief. But curiosity is a real leveling field.
What are you most excited for in terms of the SUREFIRE Conference this year?
HM: So I’m really excited about some of our main stage stars, like Michelle Phan of YouTube fame. But I’m always thrilled by the looks on our girls’ faces when they see that this is an event made just for them. They can really choose their own adventure, and that, to me, is exciting.
It’s also great to see that when the tone is set right, girls really get along. Girls are not meant to be pitted against each other, and when the energy is happy and supportive and joyful, it debunks everything we’ve been told about how girls should interact with one another.
Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for young women who are looking to change the world?
HM: I think for anybody who wants to change the world, focusing on a niche is important, because you can look at these massive problems and get overwhelmed, but if you focus on just one part of that, you can actually make a big difference and see how a small change really is a big deal.
The other part of changing the world is having a plan and realizing that it’s not going to be easy, so you have to make a choice. The easy life has never had any attractiveness to me personally.