Some people need guidance in life when it comes to creating a brand, finding their voice, networking and other things. Not only is Keisha Mabry the go-to “gal” for all those things but she created an event to help other women fill in their gaps of needs; she called it “mastHER Class.”
She grabs your attention with her quirky high-pitch voice saying “hey FRIEND” and with that signature saying, she used it to network, be memorable and create a conference in a short span. Keisha’s conference SOLD OUT with 250 attendees, on International Women’s Day. She purposely made the event for that Friday March 8. To get more in depth, the mastHERclass is a day-long event of 75-minute masterclasses taught by 12 women in 8 hours in 1 day. Topics are curated, cultivated and catered to the female content creator, entrepreneur and social media influencer. The 2019 topics included getting into speaking, event planning, the business of travel, media production, finding your brand voice, growing an online community, starting an e-commerce business and a few things in between.
Keisha was motivated to create the mastHERclass when she applied to speak at a branding conference for black and brown creatives and was rejected. She says the rejection bothered her because “I had attended the conference the year before and I knew how I could add value.” That rejection inspired to do her own thing instead of “investing in other people’s things and communities without investing in my own,” as she says; she created mastHERclass!
Of course she faced adversity while planning the event; which is expected when you have 8 weeks to pull this off with a head count of 250 women, with a $25k-$30k budget, But after crying, praying and even snacking, she was revived and made it happen! Her advice for facing adversity while planning an event is:
“Expect ish to happen. Expect a sponsor to say yes then say no. Expect the event space to not have everything in place. Expect technology to have a glitch and expect a volunteer or vendor to be dismissed. Things do not go off without a hitch so expect it, plan for it and have a team so you are not trying to handle everything.”
When it came to selecting the speakers for the mastHERclass, Keisha picked them based on the problems she wanted to solve as an entrepreneur and how she wanted to move her business from the idea phase to the MVP phase to the sustainability and growth phase. She already had a network full of amazing women but she also wanted to seek out more women and as she says “the rest is herstory.” She met Christina Brown (Building an Online Community class) and Dre Brown (Are You Beauty-Marked class) at the Summit 21 conference in Atlanta last year; Jovian Zayne (Building a Business on Purpose class) at the Urban League Conference in St Louis back in 2017. Tori Elizabeth (Content and Campaign Creation class) and Keisha met at Jovian Zayne’s “On Purpose Day” in NYC in 2018 and Kenecia Lashae (The Business of Travel class) at the BYOB Retreat in DC. Christina Bright (Finding Your Brand class), Sabrina Boissiere (Event Production and Sponsorship class), Chioma and Uchenna (Selling Products through E-Commerce class) and Samantha Smikle (Product Design and Prototyping class) at Christina Brown’s “Brown Women Love Power Day” and Samantha Ramirez-Herrera (The Art of Storytelling Through Media Lens Class) at the Aspen Ideas Festival last May. Most recently, Keisha met Ahyiana Angel (The Art of Podcasting class) on LinkedIn and didn’t meet in person until she came to the St. Louis for mastHERclass.
That’s the power of genuine, authentic connection and if you build your network before you need it, it will be there when needed.
The conference was a magical experience and not in a clichè way but that’s nothing new to Keisha. She says she witnesses Black Girl Magic on the regular from women like her single mother who worked multiple jobs while going to school in order to make sure her kids had food to eat and a place to sleep and women who go after their dreams by any means necessary, and women who are themselves unapologetically and use their platforms and their influence to encourage, empower and elevate others.
“Those famous and those without fame, these women are the living, breathing, walking representations of what it means to be magic. And not the fairytale, make-believe kind but the real kind.”
As far as future events by Ms. Keisha Mabry, mastHERclass 2.0 is being planned as we speak and women can save their seats at mastherclass2020sms.eventbrite.com. The 2020 topics are being planned but Keisha’s goal will not change. The goal is still tangible takeaways because as Keisha says “conferences that only focus on inspiration are out-of-date.”
She is also in talks with some of the speakers and other influencers about pop-up and spin off events that can happen in the Midwest. Those details and dates have not been solidified but if you follow Keisha on social media @keishamabry and check out her website at keishamabry.com, people can be in the loop and get the scoop when those the details become available.
Again, follow Keisha Mabry on all social platforms for information about the next mastHER class and other events.
Facebook @Keisha Mabry