As part of a new series, we want to introduce you to the Shine Global family and especially our outstanding and hard working board members who help move Shine forward.
Name: Keith Brown
Joined Shine Board: August 2005 (Founding Board Member)
Title: Senior Vice President, HLN Programming
Current Role at Shine: Member of the Board of Directors, Member of the New Projects Committee
I am currently senior vice president of programming for HLN, the cable news network formerly known as CNN Headline News. I have been working in news and documentaries since graduating from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 1991. I’ve worked as a broadcast journalist for many news organizations and networks including CBS, NBC and PBS, as well as with Viacom as vice president of news and documentaries at Spike TV and senior vice president of news and public affairs at BET respectively. Early in my career I spent 2-years in Central Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon. There I worked with women’s groups on issues that impact their children, families and communities.
I like to say I grew up in the most famous small town in America… Freehold, New Jersey, the hometown of Bruce Springsteen. So I’ve gone from a small rural town to now as I also like to say the most famous urban community in the world… Harlem in New York City with my wife Maria Perez-Brown and our 8-year-old daughter Azuri.
Why did you join Shine’s board and why have you stayed on for several years?
I joined Shine as one of the founding board members when asked by Susan MacLaury and Albie Hecht to work on its first film, War/Dance. I have been involved ever since. The deep commitment Susan and Albie have to bringing to light the complex issues children face around the world and the hope their work inspires makes working on the board truly a remarkable experience.
What’s a favorite Shine moment for you?
One of my favorite Shine moments is when we received word that War/Dance was nominated for an Academy Award. It was the culmination of all of the hard work Susan and Albie put into making the film and validation not only of the film, but their vision for the organization. The organization going on to actually win an Academy Award (for Inocente) was a close second. It helped us all realize the power of telling children’s stories in their own voice from their own perspective.
How do you use your specific skill set in your work as a Shine board member?
I work on the new projects committee which uses my background as a broadcast journalist in producing documentaries and as a development executive in selecting appropriate projects to fulfill the mission of Shine. It also brings together my love for documentary filmmaking, my strong connection to Africa, and my work with children over the years.
What is a Shine challenge that you feel supporters should know about?
Even with the tremendous success of its films, Shine continues to need to let more people know of the work it does on behalf of children. There are so many stories to be told that can have a tremendous impact on the lives of children everywhere. So we need the involvement of people who share the mission of the organization to ensure these stories are told.