Shine Board Member Profile: Anne Prost

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.

Anne Prost, Chair of Board of Directors, Shine GlobalName: Anne Prost
Joined Shine Board of Directors: 2015
Title: Non-profit consultant
Current Role at Shine: Chair of the Board of Directors (as of Fall 2017)

I was born in the French Alps and grew up just outside Paris where, as the cliché goes, I was fed a solid diet of obscure art-house movies. The closer I got to filmmaking however was probably when taking high resolution pictures of atomic structures during my physics postgraduate studies (carried out in a building that used to house Isadora Duncan’s dance school). After a few years spent as a scientist in an industrial research laboratory in Paris, I moved to London where I worked as a strategy consultant for large multinational corporations, across several European countries.

I eventually came back to science and spent the next 7 years as Scientific Attaché at the French Embassy in London. To fulfil a long-term interest in the not-for-profit world, I became trustee and later chief executive of Medical Aids Films, a charity that produces teaching and training films focusing on maternal and child health in low resource settings, in particular sub-Saharan Africa. My family relocated to the New York City area in 2012, and I decided to focus on advising not-for-profits in a pro-bono capacity, with a particular interest in education, the media and the arts. In addition to Shine Global, I sit on the Board of Children’s Academy, a school in NYC for children with speech and language delays.

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

I first came in contact with Shine Global as a pro bono consultant, working on its strategic plan with Susan MacLaury and Alex Blaney. Spending a couple of months interviewing Board members, directors, distributors and funders, I found myself in the privileged position of getting to know the organization and its mission quite intimately. I witnessed the high artistic standards of Shine’s productions, the vision and the intense dedication of its founders and executive team, and the great expertise and warmth of its Board members. Shine actually finds itself at the intersection of several of my long-term interests: the power of film to educate and incite change; the condition of children and the extraordinary resilience that they often display; the role that not-for profit organizations can play towards social change. Later joining the Board was really an obvious decision!

These are exciting times for Shine: the organization has worked very hard on consolidating its governance and can now grow confidently from this strong foundation. I look forward to supporting Shine in any way I can for the years to come.

What’s a favorite Shine moment for you?

Being introduced to a new project and watching the first images during a Board meeting is always a rather unique moment. Before being brought to the Board, the project has gone through a stringent evaluation process by Shine’s New Projects Committee and there is always a great sense of anticipation, artfully built up by Susan and Albie. The first few minutes of footage carry the promise of engrossing storytelling and high cinematographic values. And then the hard work of fundraising and production starts.

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

I try to bring to Shine’s Board the professional skills that I picked up over the last decade, as chief executive, board member and consultant for other not-for-profit organizations, on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as those acquired as a strategy consultant. I have thus been involved in Shine’s strategic planning and been chair of its Development Committee. I also ask a lot of questions, probably a persistent habit from my “scientific years.”

Hopefully, I will bring to my new role as chair some of the skills retained from my years in diplomacy.

I may also bring a few gallicisms that my fellow Board members have been kind enough to ignore!

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

There is no doubt that you must be really passionate, persistent and very patient, to produce documentaries. Producing the film in itself is no mean feat, with funding often difficult to gather, but getting the film distributed and watched is also a challenge. Shine supporters can play an important and central role by spreading the word, sending feedback and recommending our documentaries to organizations that they are involved in. And there are so many remarkable children whose stories deserve to be told!

Anything else you want to say?

Shine often works with directors who are at early stages in their careers, mentoring them if needed. Although this is not explicitly part of its mission, I feel that this is also an area where Shine has a very positive impact.

See the full list of Shine’s Board of Directors Members and Board of Governors Members here and read the other profiles of board members Dario Spina here, Keith Brown here, Kay Sarlin Wright here, Marilyn DeLuca here, Al Cattabiani here, Bill MacArthur here, Don Melnick here, and Robert Baker here.