An Open Letter To My Fellow Weapons of Mass Creation: A Hello from New Fest Organizer Heather Sakai
By now, you’ve all heard the news. My colleague, mentor and friend, Jeff Finley is taking his talents to South Beach, break-dancing bravely into the great unknown.
After a tear or two, I pulled myself together and realized that this wasn’t a time for sadness but of celebration. Not only was Jeff being granted the ability to pursue his next dream, but I mine. Thanks to Jeff, I have been been offered what I consider to be the biggest and best opportunity of my life – to be the director of Go Media’s Design conference Weapons of Mass Creation.
With this fiery torch a blazin’, I’m already off and running. I hope you’ll come along.
Let’s Back Up.
My Stance on Weapons
& The Future
A Little Background on WMC for me & Why I Love it So Darn Much
Two years ago, my friend and Go Media President Bill Beachy asked me to help volunteer at Weapons. “Three Days that Will Change Your Life,” he said. I thought, ‘Okay, sure, I’ll do a good deed and help a friend out.’
When I stepped onto the scene, I soon realized that this was not just any festival and that those involved weren’t just any other folks. I knew right off the bat that this was something special. I felt an electric energy in the air and immediately I felt as if I belonged in a very authentic way. Experiencing this was a breath of fresh air for me. In a dead-end job, I had all but completely given up on myself. I had, like Jeff, battled depression and was stumbling way more than successfully getting up on my feet.
I left the Fest completely envious, wishing I could live the lives of those happy, creative, seemingly ballsy people I met at the festival. Days later it hit me. I could be one of them. I mean, as a creative myself (I hold a Masters degree from Case in Modern Dance), I had part of the equation, I just needed to get the other part nailed down.
Hit with a sudden spark of determination, I realized that it was time for me to turn this thing around.
With a new fire in my belly, I asked Bill for a job at Go Media. Having no graphic design experience, he was hesitant to say the least. But, thanks in part to busting my ass as a Fest volunteer (dawn to dusk) and other random, continued and relentless efforts to join the team (spending weeks painting the entire second floor of Go Media, for one), they finally gave the underdog a shot.
As I had never opened Photoshop, I was relegated to cleaning the back office during my first week. Fair enough.
Well, you know what? Inspired by the Fest and with unbridled passion, I cleaned that back office until you could eat off of the floor. I quickly moved from the back office to the front and I got my very own desk. I thought I won the lottery. I put in time purchasing supplies and answering phones. Day after day, I showed that I was capable of handling more, and thus I was given more. And more. And more. With each responsibility, I grew prouder, more confident, more inspired.
Fast forward to a year and a half later, I am now responsible for all of Go’s social media, for running sites MockupEverything.com and ShirtMockup.com and for managing artists and launching all products on our ecommerce site, the Arsenal. I have even met the pen tool and spend a good portion of the week doing some basic design. And now, I’m adding WMC Fest to my list. Bill jokes that I’ll one day just take over Go Media completely.
I have truly defied the hand I felt I was dealt.
Nailed the Slogan, Jeff.
Here’s what I’m trying to say. This “Change Your Life” thing – well, that hasn’t just been a slogan for me. Weapons of Mass Creation Fest has transformed my life in so many ways – giving me the confidence to pursue the career of my dreams, for one. Further, I look at the world differently since Weapons of Mass Creation Fest 3. My ability to survive an extremely tough year, including my mother’s passing and brain surgery for my one year old niece, I credit to the sense of hope and fortitude I gained, not to mention the friendships formed during the Fest.
I believe wholeheartedly in Weapons of Mass Creation Fest because it has given me so much and continues to do so. It also allows me to feel at home and be my true authentic self. This is not something I feel often, so when it happens, I hold it dear.
If you couldn’t tell, I believe the Fest is life-changing and love everything it represents. I am beyond honored to carry the Fest torch. I know that I’ll make Jeff proud, and I have promised to lead the charge for as long as I have the 100% drive and enthusiasm to do so.
Where it’s going
As mentioned, Weapons of Mass Creation Fest has served me so well, so I do not see it changing in any major way. Why mess with a good thing?
I will, though, bring my own spunk and fire into the Fest. I have my own personality and ideas and I hope that you contribute too. I want to include each and every one of you in the Fest. After all, it belongs to all of us. Please always feel open to email or tweet me your thoughts, opinions and suggestions.
I really do hope that you’ll give me the chance to lead the way, because I have all the passion in the world for everything it represents.
Stay tuned to wmcfest.com in the coming months for announcements about next year’s date, team members and line-up. It’s sure to be exciting for us all. I look forward to your support as I embark on this exciting adventure. Chat with you all soon!