Gather, Ask, Do: The Lost Art of Connecting | with Susan McPherson

Susan McPherson is a serial connector, angel investor, and corporate responsibility expert with more than 25 years of experience in the field of marketing, public relations, and corporate responsibility. In 2013, she founded McPherson Strategies, a communications consultancy focused on the intersection of brands and social impact, to provide storytelling, partnership creation, and visibility to corporations, NGOs, and social enterprises.

Susan is also the author of “The Lost Art of Connecting: The Gather, Ask, Do Method for Building Meaningful Relationships” — and this book is, in many ways, a tribute to the memory of her mother, who tragically passed away too early. Long before the term was coined by internet marketers, Susan’s mom was a serial connector. She didn’t have social media, but she did have a telephone and a manual typewriter. And if even just 10 people buy and read the book, Susan will be happy to have honored her — although I think it’ll probably touch a few more people than that.

In addition to publishing a book, Susan is currently focusing on investing in and advising women-led technology start-ups, including iFundWomen, Inc.,, Our Place, The Riveter, Park Place Payments, Hint Water, Apolitical, Arlo Skye, Giapenta, and The Muse. She serves on the boards of USA for UNHCR, The 19th News, and the Lower Eastside Girls Club, and previously served on the board of Bpeace. Additionally, she is a member of the MIT Solve Women and Technology Leadership Group and serves as an adviser to several nonprofits, including Girls Who Code, Ocean Collective, She’s The First, and The OpEd Project.

What Brett asks:

  • [04:05] What was it like growing up feeling like an “other” because you were Jewish?
  • [08:45] What happened to your mother and how did it impact you?
  • [14:24] What did you do next? How did that eventually bring you to writing your book?
  • [18:25] How did you eventually choose to deal with the pain?
  • [21:35] Can you elaborate on your service work and angel investing?
  • [29:53] Why “The Lost Art of Connecting?”
  • [33:41] Let’s talk about “Gather, Ask, Do”

Lessons for intentional living:

  • Any experience can be beneficial in your journey, and hopefully, in the journey of others. When I talk about sort of alchemizing your experiences into creation, the goal is not to replace the loss or the trauma. But you do, at a certain point, have to choose to live and create some value in this experience you’ve had.