Derek Duffy was inaugurated as FIDI President at the 2023 FIDI Conference in Bangkok, taking the reins from Laura Ganon. In this interview with FIDI Focus, he tells us what inspired him to take on the position, priorities for his tenure, and why it’s not all about him
FIDI Focus: Who or what inspired you to become FIDI President?
Derek Duffy: FIDI has been very kind to me. My involvement with FIDI and our Affiliates has played an impactful role in both my professional and personal growth.
Having been actively involved with the Academy for many years, it felt like a natural progression to apply for a Board position. The decision to volunteer your time for such a position is made easier when you are part of a strong, supportive team – and I am very fortunate to be part of the current, amazing group of people.
FF: How did Laura Ganon do in her time as President?
DD: Where do I start? Laura is incredibly smart, pragmatic, and empathetic, with a very keen business sense, too. She has passion, like no other, for doing what is right for our Affiliates and the industry.
Laura’s professionalism and integrity, combined with her positive, contagious energy, is a legacy that FIDI will benefit from for years to come.
FF: At the conference you said ‘this is not about me’ – can you explain what you meant by this?
DD: Governance requires that our Board has a President. During my time on the Board, I have only experienced respectful collaboration. This is about the Affiliates and what is in their best interest. It is not about the FIDI Board, or any one individual.
Early in my career I read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. A one-sentence summary of the book would be ‘it’s not about you’. The book was written in 1936 and, in my opinion, remains relevant today.
FF: What are the biggest challenges for FIDI to address during your tenure?
DD: The FIDI family includes moving companies of varying size; from family-owned businesses to large multinationals. This diversity is part of what makes FIDI so special. At the same time, it is not without its challenges when creating programmes and policies that appeal to all Affiliates.
FF: Collaboration with other industry associations appears to be climbing up the agenda – why do you think this is, and how will you and your Board handle this?
DD: I believe collaborating is for the greater good of our industry. FIDI, IAM and LACMA have been working together for several years on protecting payment of their members’ invoices.
Global trends such as sustainability and DE&I often require systemic change. Collaboration on these important social challenges will deliver more impactful results. We are stronger together.
FF: How do we attract more young people into this industry?
DD: Attracting young talent is a focus and struggle for many industries, ours being no exception.
The employment landscape has changed significantly because of the pandemic, and it will continue to evolve.
Ensuring employees feel valued, challenged and compensated fairly will likely never change. Those companies that can adapt and understand the needs of the labour market will continue to win.