Cybill Lui – WOMAN of ACTION™

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A Celebration of Women™

is elated to Celebrate the Life of one incredible and very capable woman, one that holds experience in the business world that spans from finance to film. Through her journey as a woman in business, this powerhouse managed to find the desire, heart and time to devote her energy into the development of girls and young women through her philanthropic efforts in assisting young girls from low income families to achieve full potential, nurturing Future Women Leaders.

 
 
 

WOMAN of ACTION™

 
cybill on film
 

Cybill Lui

 
 
 
 
cybill u of tBorn in Hong Kong, raised in Toronto and a former investment banker in New York, Cybill’s extensive business background along with involvement in the performing arts eventually led her to branch out of finance and into film production.

During her youth, Cybill was heavily involved with the performing arts having trained in classical ballet for 13 years, played the piano and flute, competed in speech arts, worked as a model and starred in over half a dozen television commercials.

Cybill graduated with High Distinction (Suma Cum Laude) from the University of Toronto, where she received a BBA degree with a focus on Finance and Strategic Management.

She continues to remain active as an alumna and has participated in speaking engagements, video interviews and is spotlighted in various U of T magazines.

In Toronto, she worked with the commercial lending and mid-market investment banking group at CIBC for media and technology companies across Canada and was a Venture Capital Associate for a technology-focused venture capital firm, KBL Capital.

girls_questWhile in New York, she Chaired the Girls Quest Young Professionals Committee and was invited to sit on the Board of Directors for Girls Quest, a non-profit organization dedicated to nurturing young girls from low-income families in the New York City area. APPLY HERE

Girls Quest’s mission is to nurture girls from low-income families in New York to help them achieve their full potential and become active members of their communities by building academic and social competence. This is done through outdoor experiential education, year-round mentoring, and leadership training programs.

For over 70 years, Girls Quest has provided out-of-school enrichment programming for over 300 disadvantaged girls each year from the greater New York and Catskills regions. Girls are ages 8 to 17, and they participate in a continuum of programming providing year-round experiential education that promotes literacy, ecological awareness, teamwork, peer support and role-modeling, creative expression, problem solving, and leadership.

cybill girls quest history_ruthGirls Quest was founded in 1936 as Girls’ Vacation Fund by Ruth Uarda Zirkle Kauth, a social worker at the Henry Street Settlement House.

She led a group of ‘visionary women‘ to provide recreation and health programs for the sisters of boys attending the Boys Athletic League’s summer programs, which her husband, Willard L. Kauth, co-founded. Mrs. Kauth and her friends opened the first camp in 1936, Camp Manitou in Central Valley, NY, to provide a two-week vacation for over 100 girls between the ages of 8 and 13. The Girls’ Vacation Fund was a reality.

girls quest alumnae3Our name changed to Girls Quest in July 2005 to more accurately reflect the breadth, depth, and evolution of our programming and to highlight the aspects—year-round programming and a multi-year continuum—that distinguish our approach to the development of girls and young women.

Our focus has likewise matured, and our refined mission is: to nurture girls from low-income families in New York to help them achieve their full potential and become active members of their communities by building academic and social competence.

In this way, we continue to build on our seventy-year history of empowering girls to become strong, productive, and caring contributors to their communities, and our work continues to center on outdoor experiential education, literacy development, adult mentoring, leadership training, and peer-to-peer learning and role modeling.

 
Cybill was CFO and Board of Director of an independent post-production company (credits include “Collateral” and “Just Like Heaven.“)

Before that, she was the Head of Corporate and Project Finance at ProCure Treatment Centers in New York, where she raised capital from European banks to build proton radiotherapy cancer treatment facilities.

During 2007, she closed a $95 million senior debt project financing deal funding the nation’s first private practice proton center in Oklahoma City.

She then secured $112 million of senior debt in 2008, which funded the company’s second cancer treatment center in Chicago. She also helped raise over $50 million of additional financing for the parent company and its clinical partners.

cybill procureShe also consulted for a number of companies including Score Revolution which has amassed 10,000 tracks of film music, with more than 165 composers represented, including Hans Zimmer, James Horner, Alexandre Desplat, John Barry and Jerry Goldsmith.

Before that, she was the Head of Corporate and Project Finance at ProCure Treatment Centers, Inc. in New York, where she raised capital from European banks to build proton radiotherapy cancer treatment facilities. During 2007, she closed a $95 million senior debt project financing deal funding the nation’s first private practice proton center in Oklahoma City. She then secured $112 million of senior debt in 2008, which funded the company’s second cancer treatment center in Chicago.

She also helped raise over $50 million of additional financing for the parent company and its partners.

Cybill worked on Wall Street at investment bank CIBC World Markets, where she assisted technology, media and telecom companies in raising capital and provided advisory services to senior management on numerous equity, debt, private placements and M&A deals, totaling well over $1 billion in total transactions.

CIBC’s entertainment clients included Village Roadshow Pictures, Vanguard Animation, Fried Films, Saban Capital Group, among others.

cybill-liu-entrepreneur-13-07-10

From Wall Street to Beverly Hills

Cybill Lui remembers the moment clearly.

Two years into her job as a finance executive for a New York-based health-care company she’d helped build from the ground up, she was pulling another late night, staring at another financial model on her computer.

Lui, who took the position after several years of working as an investment banker on Wall Street, was good at raising funds and she liked negotiating and closing deals. But she had noticed a discrepancy between her working life and her social life.

It was driving me crazy,” she says, “and I thought, I can’t believe I’m stuck in this tiny office, alone.”

Instead of hanging out with the bankers in the financial district, I spent my social time with artists and struggling ones at that,” she says. “And I started to wonder how I could mesh the two.”

Cybill helped oversee the production for “Casino Jack” on behalf of An Olive Branch and serving as Producer on “The Philosophers,” was instrumental to the financing, casting, budgeting, and oversaw both the creative and business elements in all phases from prep and production through post.

A year later, at the age of 28, Lui (who graduated in 2002 from University of Toronto Scarborough) packed up everything, moved to Los Angeles, and launched a new career in film. To hear her talk about Wall Street from the sunny office she now occupies in Beverly Hills, the world of finance sounds light years away. But movies, like finance, are a big business.

Lui says knowing how to raise funds, execute legal contracts and bring key players to the table have given her company, An Olive Branch Productions, a competitive edge. (Read more about An Olive Branch Productions.)

Cybill Lui brings over a decade of experience in film finance and entertainment business with solid strategic, operational, transactional, legal, accounting, managerial and organizational skills, having raised over $1 billion of capital for companies in the media, entertainment, tech, telecom and healthcare space.

The company’s first project, Casino Jack, hit cinemas in 2010, earning its lead, Kevin Spacey, a Golden Globe nomination. The company’s second feature, The Philosophers, had its market premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival in February.

Lui, who has five more features in different stages of production, says she plans to start a solo venture, Anova Pictures, later this year.

cybill never give upEven for seasoned producers, making movies is never a cakewalk, and Lui’s journey is no exception. She says she spent years developing a script and bringing top talent and financing to the table, only to have it fall apart at the last minute.

It’s a devastating feeling and one that is all too common in Hollywood.

“Every producer will tell you that one of the most challenging things about this business is that there are so many things that are outside your control.”
 
 
And even when you do get to forge ahead, you often feel like you are attempting the impossible.

The Philosophers, for example, was shot on location in remote parts of Indonesia.

To move her cast and crew to the location, an active volcano, Lui had to charter a jet and hire jeeps and police escorts to accompany the entire 100-person entourage on a two-hour trek inland.

“Everyone was tired,” she recalls. “But then we arrived on set beside the volcano and it was the strangest and most beautiful place I’ve ever been in my life.”

All of a sudden the months of planning and the pains she’d taken to get them there made sense. Staring at their surroundings, everyone, including herself, says Lui, was in complete awe.

And she thought, “Yeah, I’m definitely not going back to banking any time soon.”

Leah Cameron is a writer with U of T Magazine. (See more stories from U of T Magazine.)

 
 

social-media

FIND CYBILL HERE

IMDb Mini Biography By: George Zakk

@TheCybills on Twitter

Cybill Lui on Linked In

The Olive Branch Magazine – Cybill Lui

http://utsccommons.utsc.utoronto.ca/fall-2012/meeting-place

 
 
 

A Celebration of Women™

 

welcomes this powerhouse of diversity, generosity and talent into our global Alumni with open arms, looking forward to future collaborations in bettering the lives of young women around the globe, and here in Canada.

 
carnations
 

 

Brava Cybill!

 

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Comments

  1. Cybil I am so delighted to connect with you.

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