Emily Best

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Emily Best is the founder and CEO of Seed&Spark, a unique organization that accelerates the cultural impact of storytelling.  Seed&Spark’s crowdfunding platform and national education program have helped thousands of bold storytellers raise tens of millions of dollars to bring to life entirely new stories, and they've built an engaged community of a half million creators from around the world. Seed&Spark builds curriculum around a curated selection of those stories and delivers them for  maximum impact through Film Forward, an enterprise training platform that helps some of the world's largest brands build more innovative and accountable cultures.


An advocate for equity inclusion in the entertainment industry (and the entire working world), 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. She writes regularly about the entertainment and startup ecosystems and serves as an advisor and mentor to dozens of early stage companies.


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


Speaking Topics -


The Demand for Innovation [Keynote & Workshop]

In the last three years, every single workplace on the planet has been through a re-org 1-7 times. The move to all or partially remote workforce? Suddenly finding you have five generations of people with extremely different working styles and expectations side by side in the same company? Being able to metabolize and respond to major social uprisings? To tackle any of these is to re-organize the operating agreements, values, and behaviors of your organization. What about if you have to tackle all three by Friday, like most people leaders are asked to do?


This Keynote and workshop is about how to recognize the demand for innovation, and how perspective-taking and storytelling can crack open pathways to new ways of working inside organizations at any stage of growth. Emily shares her own experience of how she learned to recognize the demand for innovation, what she discovered interviewing hundreds of people leaders on their biggest challenges, and what she has uncovered about workplace innovation in the last two years of growing her new venture, Film Forward. Film Forward is an experiential learning platform driving workplace performance, engagement, and inclusion with learning journeys built around the world’s best short cinema.


To put the keynote into action, Best will share an award-winning short film and lead the group in a reflection exercise – demonstrating the possibilities of bringing creative solutions if you’re willing to invite in new perspectives.


Innovation is Not Magic

Innovation is not magic. It’s driven by a set of conditions that any organization has the power to create. From years of working across a wide range of corporate clients, Emily and her team have clear examples of how shifting and clarifying simple organizational agreements in small ways and large can create brand new conditions for innovating with inclusion.


Storytelling for Good: Building Real Community

After over a decade of supporting community driven creators to tell stories that support and uplift their communities, Seed&Spark has become a central repository of how storytelling can gather and galvanize groups to move the culture forward. We’ll watch a short film and clips and build excitement around story-powered community building


Building Community That Wants You To Grow

“Community building” has been a trendy way to rename many conventional marketing tactics and leave the communities feeling talked at, ignored or worse, exploited. Sharing the story of the unconventional tactics Best and her team use in building and growing Seed&Spark’s vibrant creator community, this talk explores what it means to really be in community in a rapidly changing world.


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.


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. 

Emily Best's Experiences

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"We recruited Emily Best to speak at the LA premiere of Katie Couric's docu-series AMERICA INSIDE OUT, and to represent the perspective of women entrepreneurs and filmmakers in the entertainment industry. We sought out Emily because many of us had her speak before, and were impressed with both her deep knowledge of the industry and her captivating style of speaking. At this panel she stood out as both an industry leader and a passionate advocate for improvement. She was funny but warm and incredibly quick witted on a range of panel topics. Her passion for the topic and personal experience in the field made her not just an informative panelist, but an entertaining one as well. The audience cheered and clapped multiple times after she spoke. I heard from a few audience members that they learned a lot about the independent film industry and activism, specifically from Emily. I would hire her to speak on future panels and keynotes, and readily recommend her to speak on anything within the film industry, but especially where it meets activism, inclusivity and independent arts."

- Christie Marchese, Founder and CEO, Picture Motion

"Emily has the capability to deliver that unique mix of experience based knowledge and perspective bending new ways of approaching the world. She always do it in a way that connect with people emotionally (ie what Emily says stick with the audience for life)"

Martin Thornkvist, organizer of The Conference (Malmo, Sweden)

“Emily Best is engaging, authentic, intelligent and really impressive. I loved how she connected with my attendees and facilitated a working session. She's one of the top rated speakers for my event.”

Phoebe Yates, ELS

“Emily is a star! Very workshop was very well received and she is an excellent speaker.”

Amber L Orchard, Field & Post Vancouver