Each week at Embrace Disruption we introduce you to an influential person in the digital, blogger, arts, culture, film, or media world! Every Thursday, you can check back at EDPR to find out who we think is particularly amazing at ‘embracing disruption’ within their respective industries. This week, we’d like to introduce you to the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Foundations & Partnerships Associate, Wil Craddock!
1. What’s your official job title, and where did you go to school?
Associate, Foundations & Partnerships at the Art Gallery of Ontario
Principal, Craddock Consultation & Creative
Event Manager, Pants Off for Prostate Cancer
I went to school for quite a long time at several different places:
Ryerson University – Master of Fine Arts in Documentary Media
Ryerson University – Master of Arts in Media Production
Huron University College – Political Science and Global Studies
2. Elevator pitch. Describe yourself in a nutshell (or sea shell, or any shell for that matter).
I am a professional fundraiser, event manager, artist/curator, and volunteer. I have an affinity for working hard and working passionately, taking on new and innovative initiatives, and challenging myself to always expand my goals – and to reach them. I find congruency and harmony across my activities and areas of interest and like to apply my skills and talents to work to develop and contribute to projects and events that provide opportunities and experiences for others, with the ultimate goal of making them “feel good.”
3. Why did you pursue what you’re doing now? What was the inspiration?
I actually got involved in supporting non-profits at a very young age. When I was just 12 years old, I became the youth coordinator for my local humane society. I organized some of the society’s most successful fundraisers and events, including an annual car wash and pet treat cooking and sales.
When I was in undergrad, I got a student job working in my school’s development office. At first, I was calling alumni and soliciting donations, but I soon moved onto doing research and campaign coordination. My extra-curricular involvement also engaged me in coordinating various events that served as fundraisers for local charities. While my formal education has not been specific to fundraising, much of my work and volunteer experience has.
Most recently, in my MA in Media Production, I undertook independent studies focused on innovation in fundraising using digital technologies, social media, and donor interactivity. It was a really fascinating and rewarding area of study that has inspired me to undertake this as an area of work over the next few years.
My current major work – at the AGO and with Pants Off for Prostate Cancer – has been inspired also by my love of the arts and my interest in organizing engaging and memorable experiences for people. Working at the AGO has really opened up my ability to dive into the art world, which, as an artist myself, has been rewarding on so many levels. In my organization of the annual Pants Off for Prostate Cancer event, I have the pleasure to developing an evening that brings hundreds of people together for a great cause, and sends them home with amazing memories that they talk about until the next year’s event.
4. What is the best part of your day-to-day?
While I completely love my job and the responsibilities and tasks involved with it, the best part of my day is coming home to my 3-and-a-half year old dog, Manny. Each and every time I open the door, Manny rushes to me, jumps up and down, and comes up to give me a hug (really though, he jumps up and puts his front legs over my shoulders!). Having a dog is a good reminder of how peaceful life should be. Regardless of any stress I’m under or deadlines that are pressuring me, Manny is a great reminder to take a deep breath and just enjoy myself.
5. What’s the most challenging?
The most challenging part of my day is waking up. Working 9 to 5 and having additional employment and significant volunteer work in the evenings often keeps me up into the wee hours of the morning. The result: a severe lack of adequate sleep as recommended by doctors. I get through it though, keeping in mind that in the end, my dedication and hard work will pay off.
6. If you took a look in the cliché crystal ball, what do you see for yourself?
Looking in that crystal ball I see a lot of work, but great promise. I believe that sometimes hard work pays off immediately, often with smaller, less permanent gratifications. But true hard work, dedication, perseverance, and positivity don’t always have immediately payoffs. Sometimes it takes years for the results, but in these cases, the rewards are much larger, more fulfilling, and more lasting. It’s a fascinating web of cause and effect. This is what I see in that crystal ball.
7. How do you embrace disruption in your work and personal life?
I love to embrace disruption in my work and personal life by challenging the status quo, providing new ideas and opportunities, and pushing others to think about achieving their/our best in new and innovative ways. With my employment and volunteer work, I take great excitement in entering situations and developing strategic thinking around ‘usual’ operations to develop plans for improvement, growth, and greater success. This involves anything from fundraising, to outreach and audience engagement, to improving and diversifying the quality of project’s content.
In my personal life, I like to embrace disruption by encouraging people to think about political and social issues in new ways. With an undergraduate degree in Political Science, and much course study in critical thinking, I really like to push myself and others to reconsider the usual perspectives on important issues. I put this into practice with my 2011 documentary film Gay Rights: Politics, Activism, and Canada’s Gay Conservatives. The film explores how several gay men – both young and old – align themselves with more typically right-wing ideas, policies, and parties in the face of a predominantly ‘left’ queer community that sees them as traitors out outsiders. Making the film was an incredibly eye-opening project for myself and for those who viewed it. It really brings politics down to a personal level and helps the viewer to consider the history and currents of LGBTQ politics in a new light.
8. What is the most memorable moment in your career?
Having engaged so many different areas of employment and work with various projects so far, there are many memorable moments I could share. However, my most recent memorable moment was in working with the AGO and securing a major grant in support of one of our blockbuster exhibitions. The proposal process was a extremely detailed and extensive one, but when I received that phone call informing me of the successful proposal, I was ecstatic!
9. Do you support any initiatives or charities? Tell us about it.
Given that I work in the non-profit industry, I am a strong supporter of a range of charitable organizations, both as a donor and as a volunteer.
I am currently a Board Member and multi-faceted volunteer with the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives. As a Board Member, I help lead the organization’s strategic direction and take leadership roles in a number of the CLGA’s activities, including the management of certain archival acquisitions, fundraising, events, community outreach, and the Archives Gallery.
As a donor, I give to a range of organizations. Some of these include: Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, Huron University College, Art Gallery of Ontario, Canadian Mental Health Association, Alzheimer Society of Canada, and more.
10. Tell us what you see yourself doing at 65 years old.
I’d like to say that at 65 I would be retired, living with my lifelong partner, and enjoying a healthy income. Truthfully, however, my work-a-holic character knows that I will still be hammering away at whatever great projects or organizations I am involved with. I’m not complaining though, I feel most comfortable when I am constantly working.
11. Just for fun: if you had to pick one app in the whole APPVERSE, what would it be?
I definitely would have to say Shazam. I am constantly hearing songs that I like, but too often don’t know their names or artists. Shazam is a saving grace that identifies the songs for me so that I can enjoy them again and again and again!