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A Fashionable Q&A with…
Philanthropist Jean Shafiroff

In NewsWhistle’s weekly question-and-answer series, Clara Morgan speaks with some of the world’s top beauty and style influencers and finds out more about their lives and career.

This week, Clara speaks with New York philanthropist and style setter Jean Shafiroff, a leader and fundraiser of several charitable causes who possesses a remarkable ability to connect different charitable groups with interested people and resources.

Jean currently serves on the board of eight different charities, including New York Women’s Foundation, NYC Mission Society, Couture Council, Southampton Hospital, JBFCS, Southampton Animal Shelter and French Heritage Society. Her particular interests relate to women, health care, animals and the people of the cities she calls home.

In tandem with her philanthropic responsibilities, Jean has hosted events in honor of the entertainment industry both in New York and Los Angeles.

What we’re looking forward to? The book that Jean has authored on philanthropy. It will be published in January 2016 by Hatherleigh Press, a division of Random House.

For more information on Jean Shafiroff, visit: www.JeanShafiroff.com and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @JeanShafiroff.

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Jean Shafiroff

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1. What inspired you to begin your career as a philanthropist?

There is too much suffering in the world.  To remain idle and do nothing to try to create change would be a wasted life.

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2. You serve on the boards of eight charities and support numerous others, what in your opinion are the most important attributes one must possess to be a successful philanthropist?

Passion and the desire to be part of change are the first steps.  Then action has to be taken. Philanthropy is only successful when strategic action takes place to improve the lives of those most in need.

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3.  If you could meet anyone in the world, who do you want to meet? And why?

I would have liked to have met Martin Luther King, Jr. His work as a civil rights activist has changed the lives of humanity and the course of history.  Today, I would love to meet Pope Francis and reconnect with Reverend Joel Osteen.  Both men have brought hope to millions of people.

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4. Who influences your personal style?

Historic fashion icons such as Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Jacqueline Onassis Kennedy have played a role in influencing my style.  Today I like Kate Middleton and then Lady Gaga for her continual metamorphoses.

I can only emulate those that I have admired for one reason or another– even in style and fashion.

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5. Proudest career moment?

My proudest moment– raising two daughters, Jacqueline and Elizabeth, who have strong humanitarian values and who consider philanthropy a priority.

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6.  If you were not a philanthropist, what would you want to be?

I would be an activist for human and animal rights.  However, the two go hand in hand.  It is hard to be a philanthropist without being an activist and vice versa.

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7. Any advice for others entering your profession?

As a volunteer, make your mark in areas that you passionate about and where there is great need.  Do thorough research on any charity that you plan to give your time and available resources to.  Volunteer and give to those groups who value what you have to offer.

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8. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Perhaps more involved as an activist for human and animal rights. In the near future we can expect to see governments, charities and businesses working much closer together to make global improvements for those inhabiting our world.  I hope to take on a bigger role connecting these groups.

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9. Best international dining experience you’ve ever had?

I’ve always loved dining just about everywhere in Paris. The French truly understand the art of a great meal. In many ways, the French have a love affair with food.

Favorite restaurant in Paris – Alain Ducasse

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10. Favorite vacation spot and hotel?

Any country where I can learn about the people who live there.  One of my favorite trips was to Cambodia.  Traveling throughout Jordan was another fascinating experience.

Favorite hotel – San Pietro Hotel in Positano, Italy, for its romance and spectacular views.

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11. Three items that can always be found in your purse?

Cellphone, lipstick and eyeliner.

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12. What song can you listen to on repeat?

Happy by Pharrell.

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Images Courtesy of Jean Shafiroff and photographer Michael Paniccia