Katherine Zammit, GRAND PRIX PHOTO, France
Raising funds for children with severe heart problems through photographic events.
Katherine co-founded Grand Prix Photo in 2013. www.grandprixphoto.org
" Follow your dreams and go fast, life is very short"
Created in 2013, the Grand Prix Photo de Saint-Tropez aims to raise funds for humanitarian work, promote the talents of amateur and professional photographers around the world and create a cultural event around photography in Saint-Tropez, France.
Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview and to share with us your commitment and passion for helping children with heart defects from disadvantaged countries.
During the 5 previous editions of the Grand Prix Photo:
€ 230,000 was donated to a humanitarian work, and 76 children were saved.
It is impressive and we are excited to understand the "path" you have taken to achieve this result, knowing that at the same time you are also an entrepreneur and manage, with your brother, your Assurance Aviva company in Saint Tropez.
Lisbeth: Do you feel that you are a visionary woman. What is your mission in life?
Katherine: Visionary, not at all, unfortunately, I have no intuition about the future. I go where my heart directs me. I never endured the injustice, the sadness and the misfortune of the others (including animals ... as a young girl I wanted to be a veterinarian in Africa to save the wild animals)
As a teenager, when I was still living in Morocco, I realized that all Human Beings were not equal on the social level but also and above all on the health level ...
So yes, in all modesty, I gave myself a mission for my adult life: "You will give yourself all the means to succeed in your professional life to serve the most fragile"
Lisbeth: How did you come up with the idea of creating this unique organization for the benefit of humanitarian work? And with whom do you share this creation?
Katherine: Being part of Rotary International since 2005, we have regularly organized events of varying sizes, to raise funds for social or humanitarian works.
And in 2013, with Rotarian friends and in particular Massimo AMBROSIO who had the idea of launching a photo contest, we developed an event that could combine culture, the launch of young talents in professional life, and generosity to support a great humanitarian cause.
Lisbeth: Can you tell us more about the concept of the Grand Prix photo?
Katherine: After presenting this project to influential people at the local and national level who showed great enthusiasm, we launched the 1st edition in the form of an international photo competition, followed by an exhibition in Saint Tropez of the winning photos and finalists and closed the event with an auction of these same photos as well as photos donated by internationally renowned photographers.
Lisbeth: What do you personally get from helping people who need it?
Katherine: No glory, it is not the goal, but the appeasement of my soul, it is each time an immense emotion to see growing the number of children that we help to save.
But it has also been great human experience for 6 years, I have met so many interesting people; there are still many generous people despite our individualistic society…
Lisbeth: What were your biggest doubts when starting your organization, the most difficult decisions you had to make and how did you overcome them?
Katherine: Quiet frankly, we were thinking of doing a small local event; however, big partners followed us from the start and we had to live up to their expectations so as not to harm their notoriety, even if generosity prevailed in their membership.
So we set our expectations very high and lived months and months of great stress.
The goal was to spend the least to donate the most, so we had to find complementary partners at each stage and therefore ignore self-esteem, ignore the fear of failure, or a closed-door ... I learned to play a role in detaching myself from my character and so I was able to get away from my anxieties and disappointments
Lisbeth: What are the basic beliefs that helped you through the tough times?
Katherine: I believe a lot in the human being: if we know how to speak to them we can reach their heart and then I ‘m filled with happiness !!!
Lisbeth: What were the happiest moments of this adventure?
Katherine: The giggles with Massimo, because, even if we had big moments of stress, we had real moments of friendship and sharing, I will never forget them and when I have periods of discouragement, I think about those moments and my
energy comes back at a gallop.
Lisbeth: To what do you attribute the success of the Grand Prix Photo?
Katherine: There are 8 of us doing great teamwork and everyone has found their place.
We all have the same goal of “saving children” with very complementary ideas.
But it is also the quality of our partners and their real involvement since the start of this great adventure.
Lisbeth: What did you discover about yourself during the process?
Katherine: I believe that I grew up a lot, I developed forces which I did not know I had, such as tenacity, the will to go to the end now matter the obstacles, but also the faith in the others, the humility.
Lisbeth: Which woman has inspired you the most in your life?
Katherine: Simone VEIL, a very Great Lady !!!!!!
A survivor of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp where she lost part of her family during the Holocaust. Simone Veil was a French lawyer and politician who served as Minister of Health under Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, President of the European Parliament and member of the Constitutional Council of France. 1927 - 2017. She was best known for ministerially pushing forward the law legalizing abortion in France on 17 January 1975. Wikipedia
Lisbeth: What is your best advice for those who want to live their dreams?
Katherine: Go for it, and very quickly, life is short !!!
Lisbeth: Looking back, could you start all over again?
Katherine: Yes of course, but maybe differently so as not to fall into a routine….
I like to seduce (ha ha) and for that, you always have to innovate, so as not to tire people
Lisbeth: You do amazing work for others, so can we do something for you?
Katherine: At the level of the Competition we have managed to internationalize, however for the auction we would like to be able to reach a clientele of international collectors.
We now have a partnership with Drouot live which allows us to follow the sale live and above all to participate. And this is what we would like to develop, to raise more funds for the Association that we support.
Lisbeth: Thank you very much Katherine for sharing your passion and commitment to children's charities. It’s a great inspiration to all of us. And we will take in
mind your great advice: Go for it, and very quickly, life is short !!!
We invite everyone to visit the Grand Prix Photo website to learn more about your organization. As well as the website for Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque to learn more about their work. And we wish you much success with your future editions of Grand Prix Photo.
Each year, Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque finances the cardiac operation in France of more than 230 seriously ill children from disadvantaged countries.