Education advocate and Pasadena City College Board of Trustee Sandra Chen Lau has been appointed as the new chief advancement officer for the American Film Institute (AFI), a nonprofit organization that educates filmmakers and honors the heritage of American motion picture arts.
An AFI statement said Chen Lau will serve on AFI’s senior management team, leading the development strategies for the Institute’s national arts and education programs.
Chen Lau brings over 20 years of experience in arts, culture and education and a track record of working on fundraising programs, most recently as the chief development officer at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.
“AFI’s future shines even brighter with Sandra joining our leadership team,” Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO, said. “Her unparalleled experience in development strategy has proven transformational, and this, coupled with her lifelong commitment to arts, culture and education, will ensure AFI’s national mandate grows even stronger in the years to come.”
Chen Lau said she is delighted to join the AFI at a time when “how stories are told and who tells these stories” are so important in moving culture forward.
“AFI has dedicated itself to excellence in educating generations of storytellers and inspiring audiences all over the globe, and I am excited for this opportunity to advance the mission of the Institute, and to work in partnership with its leadership,” she said.
Before she started her term with the Japanese American National Museum, Chen Lau served as a senior member of USC’s advancement team and worked on the university’s $6 billion fundraising campaign, spearheading the advancement programs at USC School of Architecture and the USC Pacific Asia Museum.
She also led fundraising at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs as part of a $3 billion campaign, and at Pacific Oaks College and Children’s School.
Chen Lau holds a MA in urban planning from UCLA with a specialization in leadership, civil society and nonprofit management, and a BA in political science from UC Riverside.
She resides in Pasadena with her husband James and their two young children, Clementine and Chace.