Turning Messes Into Successes

Jane Mason turned her hatred of corporate disarray into her own company

Sarah Wolak
Jane Mason, Clarifire
Jane Mason, founder, Clarifire

Some people see a mess and clean it up. Others see a mess and ponder, “What’s the best way to stop that mess from ever happening again?”

Put Jane Mason in the latter category. She saw a mess, stopped it from happening again, embraced a simple concept, and became an industry leader while doing so.

Yet despite her success, she still suffers from imposter syndrome.

When Mason graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in business management, she went to work for Mason Law, her parents’ firm. “The first thing I noticed when I went to work was what an absolute mess the firm’s processes were,” Mason said. “I saw our attorneys doing the same work over and over again without communicating with each other.”

While there, Mason says that her main priority was making sure that attorneys worked better and more efficiently. She hired a team to assist in building a firm website and a dashboard for the attorneys to use.

“The concept was aggregating data and aggregating knowledge and presenting it on dashboards to ensure that the right people see it,” Mason explained. “You can’t generate revenue [in a legal process] unless you standardize your approach to your delivery. I think we were one of the first firms to develop a website that our customers could find out exactly what they needed to do.”

On the flip side, Mason said that creating a dashboard for the company’s attorney network gave them the ability to see what 50 attorneys were working on in just one view. “It makes sense why other people wanted the product,” she said. “I’d argue that every company needs process automation.”

Mason worked at the firm for 15 years and found that customers began taking notice of the processes that she had put in place. “I was approached by Fidelity National Financial in 2004 — who was a customer at the firm — and they wanted to buy what [I] built, I was confused and said ‘Well, we’re not a software company,’” she chuckled. “They saw that [our firm’s] customers were loving our approach and delivery of legal services. They made me an offer that I couldn’t refuse and ended up buying what I had built, so I left the firm and used the funds … to turn my processing ideas into my own company.”

Continued Mason, “The idea for Clarifire was already percolating in my brain by then. I decided to take the opportunity [from Fidelity].”

Jane Mason in office

Proving Herself

Despite admiration from her staff and the community, Mason says that with high achievements comes imposter syndrome. “Of course, being a businesswoman comes with challenges. There’s the stigma of being a woman in tech,” Mason said. “I’ve walked into rooms and been asked by a GSE where my president was when it’s me. [But] you can’t carry a chip on your shoulder and consider yourself discriminated against in order to transcend those biases. Those biases are unintentional. Now I’m at the point in my career where I can call those people out.”

Mason says that as she grows older and more confident than ever in herself and Clarifire, it’s easier to ignore feeling like a phony. “I still experience [imposter syndrome]. My company is mostly women and we were competing for the best product award against a company that was all men. Sometimes you still run into those situations and it doesn’t matter how passionately you give your presentation or talk about your product,” she said.

“When I start to doubt myself I make a list of everything I’ve done. So I encourage others to write down what they’ve done. It’s cathartic. Imposter syndrome can work against you, but I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t successful.”

Jane Mason at Tempa Bay Business and Wealth Mag awards
At the Tampa Bay Business and Wealth Magazine awards where Jane Mason, center, won the 2022 Apogee honor for the Founders category.

Challenging Times

Mason makes it sound easy, but she recalled that when she first decided to start her own company, she had five employees who came with her from the firm. It took them over two years to fully develop the company’s vision “We ended up hiring two Microsoft developers to help us. And those five people who started with me are still with me today.”

When Mason and her group of confidants started out, she says that they couldn’t afford a real office space. “We all sat at a card table and we had one server,” she laughed. “But in 2006, I was approached by Bob Caruso [the former president] from Bank of America, and he told me that he heard about what I was building. When I told him it wasn’t done yet, he said that we could build it together. So Clarifire went live in 2007, with Bank of America as our first official customer.”

The name Clarifire is a play on words, Mason says. “When you say it, it resembles the word ‘clarify’ and what we do is clarify your operational processes,” Mason explained. “And then the fire part is that we ignite it and give you the tools to streamline it. And we hope that customers think of Clarifire every time they say or hear the word clarify.”

It’s not just customers and big banks who have taken notice of Mason’s efforts. “The entire industry — and our customers — have given us input about what we can do differently, and we take all of that into consideration,” she said.

Jane Mason Clarifire flag
CEO Jane Mason and COO Mark Goldman raise the CLARIFIRE flag in front of the headquarters in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Mason’s business provides workflow automation for multiple industries, but for the mortgage industry, Clarifire offers mortgage servicing applications that connect customers and originators in a single application. For example. First American takes advantage of Clarifire’s process systems to automate its orders for loss mitigation, allowing their customers to receive loss mitigation documents, title reports, and partial claims via the Clarifire dashboard.


Mason operates her business in St. Petersburg, Fla., just down the road from her alma mater. She still has strong ties to her community — especially her university. In the past, Mason’s gifted the USF college of nursing faculty, staff, and students free access to Clarifire. Mason also served as the chair of the Kate Tiedemann School of Business and Finance Dean’s Advisory Board.

Now, Mason mentors women in the business school. “I attend classes — sometimes over Zoom — and talk about what my journey’s been like as a woman in the business world,” she said. “The young women [from the school] reach out and care about my input. We connect on LinkedIn, and I can connect them with other local entrepreneurs.”

Bridgette Bello, who is CEO & Publisher at Tampa Bay Business & Wealth and the former publisher of the Tampa Bay Business Journal, has known Mason for over 15 years. Bello’s publication has featured Mason and her business numerous times for being a top women-owned business.

Jane Mason pink coat

“She was one of the first people that I met when I moved [to Florida] and she’s always been incredibly smart, innovative, and selfless,” Bello said. “I was 35 when I moved here and took the helm of the business journal — which was intimidating — and it was women like Jane who reached out and offered their help to me.”

Bello says that she was the first woman publisher of the Tampa Bay Business Journal, and Mason made her feel less alone as a woman at the top. So it makes sense that Bello returned the favor and helped Mason get exposure on the cover of Tampa Bay Business & Wealth in 2020. Most recently, Mason was a recipient of the magazine’s 2022 Apogee Award — an award that features C-suite leaders who have reached the pinnacle of success in their careers. She was nominated by an anonymous peer. “Jane was recognized as a founder and was just so gracious to be recognized,” Bello said. “The award is a big deal and it’s been won by other incredible people like the COO of the Buccaneers. We bring in outside judges — it’s a pretty stringent process. I was so proud to bestow that on Jane and share the stage with her.”

It’s not just Bello and the Tampa Bay community that rallies around Mason and her business.

> Jane Mason, founder, Clarifire

No Turnover

One of her oldest employees, Melissa Martins Myers, says there’s a reason that she has continued to follow Mason and her mission. “I have been with Jane since November 2001 when I was hired at Mason Law as a developer,” Martins Myers said. “My loyalty to her only grew from there based on the love and support she had for her team, from executives to the mailroom. I chose to stay with Jane as I believed in her vision to create a technology that could better businesses. Her goal was to build the best technology, not for individual success, but because she saw a need in this industry for software that could benefit all.”

Today, Martins Myers is Clarifire’s vice president of business solutions and has been alongside Mason for 22 years. Martins Myers actually accompanied Mason to showcase Clarifire to the Bank of America headquarters. “Jane was light years ahead of the industry in anticipating what was needed, and it has been an honor fighting the odds to show all what Clarifire can do,” she said. “If you ask anyone, the environment is one of working with family. Each success is that of the team as a whole, and everyone believes in that. Jane has built that culture since day one … And she is not only the leader that everyone respects and admires, but one of the teammates herself.”

This article was originally published in the Mortgage Women Magazine May 2023 issue.
Sarah Wolak
Sarah Wolak,
Staff Writer
Published on
May 12, 2023
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