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Episode 3: How Susan MacTavish Best Is Changing the World One Dinner at a Time

Susan MacTavish Best was an early pioneer in Silicon Valley, but after years of working in tech, she’s bringing people together in the most analog way possible: dinner parties.

Susan MacTavish Best, founder of Best Public Relations, Living MacTavish and Posthoc, joins Worth senior editor, special projects Benjamin Reeves on episode three of the Power & Impact podcast to discuss the tension between digital and analog interaction, the power of gatherings and how she finds meaning in her work.

Scroll down to listen to the third episode of the Power & Impact podcast.

Best grew up in unusual circumstances. She attended boarding school beginning at age 8, in Scotland, because she wanted to. She grew up with fountain pens and learned Latin. Then, as an adult, she moved to San Francisco during the early days of the dot-com boom. According to Best, she didn’t know how to use a computer at the time, but that didn’t stop her from returning to school with a plan to make computer games for girls.

While Best didn’t find a future in video games, the tech industry did give her a start. She became one of the top PR people in San Francisco and represented companies ranging from Craigslist to Esurance. For many entrepreneurs, this sort of commercial success would have been enough. Yet Best saw that despite all of the wonders of the internet and digital communication, there was value in direct, person-to-person interaction. “No one is really going to do a business deal over 140 characters,” she now says.

After suffering severe burns in a household accident, Best set out to realign her life and her business around direct human interaction. She launched Posthoc and now spends her time hosting a series of exclusive salons and dinner parties in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and abroad. And these gatherings are not your typical talks with passed appetizers. Best cooks an entire spread herself—no joke, it’s a feat to behold—and brings together a room of leading thinkers, innovators and creators to simply talk, socialize and listen. It’s not a radical idea, but it is a rare thing to see in practice. Through bringing people together over good food and drink, Best may be one of the most influential people alive today.

Related Episode 2: How Alexandre Mars is Building a Global Culture of Philanthropy

On the Power & Impact podcast, leading thinkers, investors and executives engage in deep conversations about power, money and the world we live in with Worth senior editor, special projects Benjamin Reeves. By exploring the personal stories and ideas of its guests, Power & Impact aims to uncover how power, money and influence work in the world and how those in positions of influence create change in society and their communities.

 

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