We are pleased to introduce you to Peter Finn, the Association For Creative Industries’ (AFCI) Executive Director. Peter will lead the organization and execute the newly defined strategic priorities. We had the opportunity to talk to Peter about his prior experience and what he is looking forward to most in his new role.
Congratulations on your new role as the Association For Creative Industries’ (AFCI) Executive Director. What initially drew you to our organization?
The potential growth of the organization is what initially drew me to the opportunity of Executive Director–AFCI has a fantastic value proposition. It became apparent during the interview process that AFCI has a passionate membership, strong leadership in its board of directors, and programs that are well positioned for success. Additionally, much of my work for the last 11 years has been in STEM but I’ve become increasingly interested in the intersection of the arts and STEM–or STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) initiatives and activities. The chance to work for an organization that supports a global community of creators and artists of all ages is very appealing.
Can you give us a taste for what you hope to accomplish as the new executive director of AFCI?
At the start I want to listen and learn from members and stakeholders, while also looking at opportunities to work on expanding AFCI’s digital footprint, developing a content roadmap that informs the programming for Creativation and other activities through the year, and develop new educational programs for our membership.
What are some of the important initiatives for AFCI this year and next?
As the new Executive Director, I want build on the past success of the Creativation conference and identify new strategies to better engage conference participants onsite. I look forward to working with the events team and volunteers to source some new ideas and elevate the overall experience for everyone at the conference. We will also examine and audit the AFCI’s current content and generate ideas for new content and education through the year.
What type of creative activities do you like to do with your children?
My wife works at the Art Institute of Chicago and oversees a number of their educational programs. The kids and I will often participate in the family festivals that she runs on the weekends. There are often a number of activities going on from print making to drawing to textile arts. Both of my kids go to fine and performing art magnet cluster schools (Chicago Public Schools) in Chicago so invariably there is some kind of creative project in the works on any given week.
What excites you most about the future of the creative industry?
What excites me about the creative industry is its impact on people in helping them cultivate their creative practices whether it be at home or as a professional. There is also so much opportunity for the AFCI when you take into consideration that the US craft industry is estimated at $36 billion.
What is one thing about you that might surprise our members?
The first conference I helped organize early in my career was in Cape Town, South Africa about 6 years after apartheid had ended. I was able to meet many of the people involved in the anti-apartheid movement. I was about 24 at the time and it was a truly life changing experience to be around so many inspiring people. We had over 10,000 attendees and Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama were our keynote speakers.