John and Mitsou MacNeil
Boston-area residents John and Mitsou MacNeil are using their personal and professional experiences to make a difference on the Fordham Parents' Leadership Council.
Mitsou, who is a nurse, earned her master's degree in public health in 1984 and is pursuing recertification to be a childbirth educator. John is the CEO and executive producer of Moody Street Pictures, a Boston-based independent media company, which he founded in 2002.
"So much of my business is about problem solving," says John, who develops films, documentaries, and TV and music productions for clients in the United States and abroad, including Discovery, PBS, NBC, CNN, Animal Planet and the BBC. His credits include the Emmy-nominated reality series Be a Bruin for NESN, which chronicled hockey players' attempts to play for the Boston Bruins, and the 2006 Lifetime drama The Legend of Lucy Keyes, starring Academy Award-nominated actress Julie Delpy. "Finding yourself working with smart and upbeat people makes it enjoyable—probably true of any business."
John and Mitsou are finding that the same is true with the Fordham Parents' Leadership Council.
"They are extraordinarily inviting, smart and inclusive people," he says of his colleagues on the council. "There's a lot of good energy there."
The MacNeils became Fordham parents in 2009, when their daughter Margaux decided the Jesuit University of New York was the right place to pursue her college education.
Margaux, a member of Fordham College at Lincoln Center Class of 2013, looked into other universities in Manhattan, but found that Fordham, her father says, "is a little more grounded in real-world people, and has the right mix of intellectual aspirations.
"Being in New York City," he adds, "Margaux will get two educations for the price of one."
Mitsou MacNeil agrees. "It always motivates parents to get involved," she says, "when your kid enjoys the school."
John and Mitsou, who have two other children—Madeleine, a senior at Colgate University, and Johnny, a junior at the Brooks School, a college preparatory school in North Andover, Mass.—are familiar with being involved parents. They are using their experience as members of the Colgate parents' steering committee to benefit Fordham.
As members of the Fordham Parents' Leadership Council, the MacNeils are helping to spread the good word about the University at college fairs and regional receptions for prospective students.
"Having had a child go through this process and doing this at other schools," John says, "we certainly can help."