Discover French initiatives committed to a better world at our first Pitch and Give event - March 30th New York

Four Winners of the first “Trophées des Français des États-Unis”

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

What do a viral network virologist, a foundation promoting American generosity, an app for better consumption and an internationally acclaimed film festival have in common? The Trophées des Français des États-Unis, of course! Discover the amazing career paths of the winners of the first edition of the Trophées des Français des États-Unis, who are making France shine on the other side of the Atlantic. Their careers were honored on Thursday, November 9, 2023 at the French Consulate in New York, in the presence of the French Ambassador to the United States, Laurent Bili.

“The winners of the 2023 competition are set to astound the public gathered at the Residence of France on November 9 in New York in the presence of the Consul of France, Jérémie Robert. Their talent, their dynamism, their inventiveness, but also their resilience in the face of difficulties encountered in another environment, country, culture and language, command admiration. They set no limits for themselves, while building bridges between cultures. They know no boundaries… and neither does their generosity.”

Hervé Heyraud, President and founder of lepetitjournal.com editions
oceane sorel


Océane Sorel, virologue et créatrice de contenus, The French Virologist

Prix du Public, sponsored by Banque Transatlantique

After studying veterinary medicine, Océane Sorel won a scholarship to study for a doctorate in virology. Her studies took her all the way to California. In the midst of the Covid crisis, she was annoyed to see more and more false information circulating on the web. So, in February 2021, she decided to launch her own Instagram account: The French Virologist, a space where she creates playful content to popularize science: “Due to the proliferation of false information, I started discussing it on my private account, answering many questions. It was so popular that I decided to create a dedicated account. It didn’t take long for the community to grow far beyond my expectations. I couldn’t have imagined such growth in such a short space of time. This happened because people were desperate for reliable information in this age of fake news, creating a high demand.”

The concept immediately catches on, thanks to his humor and simple way of explaining things. “It’s essential because most people don’t want boring talk on social networks. Without a touch of ‘fun’, there probably wouldn’t be as much buy-in. I make sure to convey one piece of information in each video and provide more details in the description, for those who want to delve deeper,” says the Frenchwoman currently living in Florida.

What better than a virologist to go viral and win the Prix du Public? Today, Océane Sorel has more than 168,000 followers on Instagram, and collaborates with major scientific institutions such as the Institut Pasteur. In October 2023, she published her first book Virus, Bactéries, Microbes: Tout savoir pour y échapper! with Hachette Marabout: “This book brings together information on various infectious diseases, myths about vaccines, hygiene in the kitchen, toxoplasmosis during pregnancy, the history of vaccination with Pasteur, and much more.” Whatever the platform, his goal remains the same: “to continue to meet the growing need for scientific communication in French.”

julie chapon yuka

Julie Chapon, co-founder of Yuka

Winner of the Entrepreneur Trophy awarded by EDHEC Business School

Who hasn’t wondered what goes into the products we eat? Not Julie Chapon! Co-founder of Yuka in 2017, the app that scans your consumption to find out its impact on your health has become a must-have for 43 million users in 12 countries around the world. Having passed the million user mark in early 2018, the entrepreneurial adventure goes international in 2019. But there’s no question of going in blind: “When Yuka launches into a new market, there are several key factors to take into account. The language, since we have to translate the whole application (…) but also the specificities that there will be, notably in the display of nutritional value. In the U.S., we work by portion, for example”, explains the CEO.

In 2020, in the midst of confinement, Yuka founders Julie Chapon, François and Benoit Martin launched the app in the United States. In 2022, following a video on TikTok, downloads accelerated to reach 500,000 new American users every month. Interest continued to grow in a key market for the entrepreneur and her two partners. In September 2023, the decision was made to move to New York to accelerate Yuka’s development. And with good reason, 9 million American users now use the app to discover the composition of thousands of everyday products, three-quarters of which are hygiene and cosmetics products, a specificity of the market on the other side of the Atlantic. “I’m proud to have developed an international project with so many users and so much impact, all with a small team of 12 people,” confides the founder. The main objective over the next few months will therefore be to publicize Yuka, and set up an operational, autonomous team in New York.

At the same time, Julie Chapon and her co-partners are not forgetting their health actions, such as the petition calling for a ban on nitrites with the “Ligue contre le cancer” and “foodwatch”; over 500,000 people signed the text, which led to measures being taken by the French government. “We’ve succeeded in influencing the debate in France, and we hope to do the same in countries like the U.S.” hopes Julie Chapon.

domitille marchal lemoine

Domitille Marchal Lemoine, Executive Director of Friends of Fondation de France

Winner of the Charity/Humanitarian Award, presented by the Caisse des Français de l’étranger (CFE)

Friends of Fondation de France is a charitable organization founded in 2000 in New York. Since its creation, the association has supported American donors wishing to make gifts to French and European non-profit organizations. Reliability is an important factor for the foundation, whose overall aim is to create a better world and a fairer society, whatever the cause: education, medical research, the fight against the climate crisis or access to culture. Over the past 20 years, Friends of Fondation de France has granted nearly $30 million to various French and European organizations, helping to fund over 300 charitable projects.

“I’m happy to represent over 100 French projects in the United States, representing all causes, in all fields. I can support them in their fundraising strategy and help them make a difference. All the projects represented by Friends of Fondation de France are exceptional: I’m proud and happy to showcase them,” emphasizes Domitille Marchal Lemoine, appointed in January 2022 as the organization’s first Executive Director.

A graduate of the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris, Domitille holds a Master’s degree in International Affairs from Paris Dauphine. After several years in communications, she moved into the world of non-profit organizations, advising various foundations in London. She worked for seven years as a consultant for non-profit organizations in the USA before joining Friends of Fondation de France. “Generosity knows no boundaries and Friends of Fondation de France offers an incredibly secure and reliable way to support organizations in France, Europe and around the world. With Domitille’s support, we are convinced that many partners will want to join us to increase their impact,” emphasizes Victoria Bjorklund, Member and Secretary of the Board of Directors. The results are already there: the foundation has collected 60% more donations than the previous year and is having a concrete impact that delights Domitille: “I’m very happy that the latest campaign launched to help the Moroccan people after the earthquake at the beginning of March was so successful in the United States!”

Ingrid jean baptiste

Ingrid Jean-Baptiste, President of the Chelsea Film Festival

Winner of the Trophée Culture Art de Vivre, awarded by lepetitjournal.com

In its eleven years of existence, the Chelsea Film Festival has established itself as one of the key moments in New York’s cultural calendar. So much so, in fact, that New York Mayor Eric Adams has declared October 13 Chelsea Film Festival Day. But who’s behind this festival? Ingrid Jean-Baptiste was born and raised in Paris. Her childhood was spent immersed in photography. Her mother, Sonia Jean-Baptiste, works in the photographic industry. She took her beautiful daughter with her, and she soon became a model. But Ingrid dreamed of something else, and developed a passion for the 7th art. After Hypokhâgne, she enrolled at the Cours Florent, while dreaming of America. She set off to explore the West Coast, but finally settled in New York. She joined the Actor Studio, after which she began a series of short films and television appearances.

But then one day, she had an accident that devastated her for several months. Severely injured, she remained bedridden for a very long time, her dream of making films shattered like her body. Ingrid Jean-Baptiste is a fighter, and it was during this period of struggle that she came up with the idea of creating a festival to promote young filmmakers. She soon found support in her family – Sonia Jean-Baptiste was her lifelong ally – as well as in her professional circles. This was the beginning of the Chelsea Film Festival story.

Launched in 2013 with the screening of 13 films by young directors from around the world, the now unmissable film event has since gone from strength to strength and is even, according to USA Today, one of the top 10 international film festivals in the US. “Our success is due to resilience and passion,” she explains.

For its 11th year, Ingrid Jean-Baptiste continues to innovate by launching the first edition of the Chelsea Film Festival’s Writing Incubator, dedicated to young New York directors from diverse backgrounds. The initiative offers an exceptional opportunity to produce their short film, which will also be screened at the festival. “Things have changed, but statistics show that BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) screenwriters have more difficulty getting projects or work. The idea of this incubator is to help them and show them that anything is possible”, Ingrid points out. New York’s young film talents and lovers of the 7th art can only thank and support her today. Ingrid Jean-Baptiste continues to renew herself with one film and television role after another: “All these projects allow me to reinvent myself and feed my soul and creativity.”

More to explore
Return of the Notre-Dame Cathedral

Inside the Cathedral  Most of the scaffolding was removed in the fall of 2023, enabling cleaning and restoration work to begin on the cathedral’s remaining

Orchestre de Paris Returns to American Stages

Together Through Music The Philharmonie de Paris has forged strong connections with leading symphony orchestras in the United States, partnering with the Philadelphia Orchestra and