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Emily Best    

Founder & CEO of Seed&Spark

Emily Best is the founder and CEO of Seed&Spark, a platform that bridges online and offline experiences to make entertainment more diverse, inclusive, connected and essential. Seed&Spark’s platform and national education program have helped thousands of bold storytellers raise millions to bring to life entirely new stories, and Seed&Spark delivers them for maximum impact through live community events across the country and as diversity and inclusion training in companies across the globe.

An advocate for diversity and inclusion in the entertainment industry, Best regularly speaks at conferences and events about leveraging entertainment to build equity and sustainability for everyone. She also runs workshops to help independent content creators successfully crowdfund, build an audience and pitch their projects. Best’s talks on crowdfunding, pitching, and building equitable startups have been viewed millions of times, and she visits 20-30 cities a year as a part of Seed&Spark’s national education program.

In addition to her work at Seed&Spark, Best produces film, series, and VR that have premiered at Sundance, SXSW and other festivals. Best produced projects including “Like the Water,” a feature film starring Caitlin FitzGerald (“Masters of Sex,” “UnREAL”); “Fck Yes!,” a digital series about sexual consent which she also co-wrote and co-directed; Janicza Bravo’s virtual reality film “Hard World for Small Things” which premiered at Sundance; and James Kaelan’s “The Visitor,” which premiered at Slamdance and was featured at Tribeca.

Best was named a 2013 Indiewire Influencer, a 2014 New York Business Journal “Woman of Influence”, a 2015 Upstart 100 entrepreneur (Business Journals), received the Ivy Film Innovator Award in 2015 and in 2016, graduated from Techstars Boston, an elite accelerator program for the country’s top entrepreneurs. Best has raised millions of dollars in traditional funding, equity crowdfunding, and rewards-based crowdfunding and has personally participated in more than 300 crowdfunding campaigns.

Speech Topics


Deprogramming Implicit Bias: The Untapped Potential of Film

In this talk, Emily Best paints a portrait of media’s role in programming our society’s bias, not just through the films Hollywood has been churning out over the years but the very business model built to produce them. Through the arc of her experience building Seed&Spark, she demonstrates film’s untapped potential to undo some of the damage that has been done with equitable storytelling.

It's Everyone's Job: The Workplace as a Vector for Cultural Transformation

Across industries the role of “Chief Diversity Officer” (or some similar moniker) is on the rise. This group of people is tasked with the herculean task of building equity in workplaces that exist within a wider society that is not equitable. Through hundreds of hours of research and interviews, Best and her team discovered common challenges and opportunities for visionary leaders (and also hopefully everyone) to cultivate workplace culture not just to build a more profitable company but also a more just and equitable society.

Crowdfunding

How to leverage crowdfunding not just as a tool to fund one product but as an audience-outreach discipline through which to build a sustainable business and audience. Best teaches a two-hour workshop upwards of 50 times a year at film festivals and other industry events.

Diversity and Equity in Entertainment

The importance of having balance and inclusion in both the creative talent behind projects as well as within movies and TV shows. Best can also address the dangers of using data when targeting audience interests and how it can be harmful to inclusiveness as well as identifying and developing new talent. In this regard, Best can specifically discuss the negative impact Netflix is having on the film industry.

Social Capital: Currency in the Age of Participation

This is a talk Best has given several times about how Seed&Spark monetized social capital. The internet can be a powerful tool for building and monetizing social capital, but it can’t be the only tool used to succeed. Through a series of learnings building Seed&Spark from an underfunded underdog to the number one crowdfunding platform in the world for movies and shows, Best can walk audiences through how the company leveraged both off-line and on-line tactics for growing social capital that became the foundations of its business growth.

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