Shine Board Member Profile: Bill MacArthur


As part of an ongoing 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.

Bill MacArthurName: William MacArhur
Joined Shine Board of Directors: 2014
Title: President, Brooksville Development LLC
Current Role at Shine: Member of the Board of Directors, Member of the Governance and Nominations Committee

After a stint teaching in Asia in the early 60’s and law school in the mid 60’s, I practiced law on Wall Street and then in Tokyo. A year traveling back from Japan with a wife and four year old, including six months driving and camping from Afghanistan to Amsterdam, cemented my interest in the developing world and the challenges faced by people, particularly children, in places like Asia and Africa. After ten more years in international banking, I decided 35 years ago that it was time to go out on my own so that I could have the flexibility to pursue not only making a living but also other activities that interested me. Since then I have been able to combine a career as a real estate investor and developer in the US and Southeast Asia with a deep interest and active involvement in a number of international non-governmental organizations which work in the education, health and environmental spaces on whose boards I serve and to which I can now give an amount of time and energy about equal to that I give my day job. Obviously the challenges faced by children in the developing world, which Shine has chronicled are very much impacted by education, health and the environment.

Why did you join Shine’s board and why have you stayed on for several years?

I actually met Susan and Albie (and Kay) over ten years ago, before Shine was born, when we found ourselves together in Northern Uganda looking into the impact of the Lord’s Resistance Army on the local communities and riding around behind a truckload of soldiers. I was there with a health focused NGO and Susan and Albie were just contemplating starting Shine and were hot on the trail of a good story built around the thousands of children that would walk miles into Gulu every night to sleep on the streets for safety from kidnapping by the LRA and being turned into child soldiers. That story materialized a year or so later in a different form as War/Dance. I had no previous experience with film, and I was fascinated watching them dig into the creation of a narrative, seeing the passion and commitment they brought to the exercise and realizing the power of the story telling which could be done through documentaries. While I did not go on the board initially, I kept in close touch with Albie and Susan, helped where I could and joined formally about four years ago. I remain convinced of the power of story telling to effect change and that keeps me on the board.

What’s a favorite Shine moment for you?

Certainly my favorite moment was attending the ten-year anniversary party and meeting Dominic, one of the three central characters in War/Dance. Here was a child who ten years before had recently escaped horrific bondage, was featured in a Shine documentary and was now graduating from a first class US university as a direct result. And he was just one of many young people attending the party who had been featured in Shine documentaries and whose stories of survival and success serve as inspiration to so many other children facing difficult circumstances.

How do you use your specific skill set in your work as a Shine board member?

I’m not sure I have a specific skill set that is directly applicable to Shine’s work (or one at all, for that matter!). I have a deep interest in the condition of young people in the developing world and many of Shine’s films have been set there – so I suppose my experience in Asia and Africa is generally applicable. Also, serving on many other non-profit boards, I have acquired some relevant experience in governance. Mostly, like other board members, I think it is the commitment to a cause we all share that makes a contribution of energy possible.

What is a Shine challenge that you feel supporters should know about?

As has been pointed out by my colleagues, the process of identifying, creating, marketing and distributing these films is not without significant cost and funding is always an issue. Shine has been fortunate in that it has had a number of people who believe strongly in its mission and have been willing to provide or otherwise source funding at critical points in its history, but there can never be enough of that kind of help. Without the enormous amount of time, energy and other resources devoted to Shine by Susan and Albie, and particularly Susan, Shine could not have achieved the significant success it has, but it also needs the continuing commitment of resources by the board and others. Also, there can never be too many good stories to tell.

See the full list of Shine’s Board of Directors Members and Board of Governors Members here and read the first four profiles of board members Dario Spina here, Keith Brown here, Kay Sarlin Wright here, Marilyn DeLuca here, and Al Cattabiani here.