Meet an Ambassador: Andy Dean

Pop Quiz: What IHAF Ambassador had a role in a major motion picture? That would be Andy Dean, Vice President and Creative Director of City Year, who was an extra in The Next Karate Kid.

These days, Andy acts on behalf of City Year—an education-focused, nonprofit that partners with public schools and teachers to help keep students in school and on track to succeed. Having been with City Year for over a decade, I couldn’t help but wonder how Andy made the leap from Hollywood to in-house agency life.

“After graduating from the University of Michigan,” Andy recalls, “I knew I wanted to work for a nonprofit on social justice issues. That led me to City Year, where I led a team of corps members working at an elementary school in Boston my first year, then in recruitment my second year, which led to designing a lot of mailings and outreach pieces for our incoming corps.”

Andy’s work caught the eye of the creative director at the time, who hired him to work as her protégé, with him eventually stepping into the CD role and building the team at City Year. “Thirteen years later,” he muses, “I'm still challenged in new and different ways, only now I'm behind the guy behind the camera!”

Since then, Andy has been an advocate for the in-house community—and an active member of IHAF. “My favorite part of IHAF is knowing there is a huge group of creatives out there like us that are facing the same issues and concerns,” says Andy, “and being able to connect with them for problem solving, advice, or just good-old venting!”

Like most internal agencies, Andy’s team is not only focused on doing great work but on streamlining processes to boost productivity. Currently they are in the throes of researching and readying themselves for the installation of a new project management system. “We’re making the leap,” declares Andy, “to a software solution that will dramatically change how we collect creative requests and interact with our clients.”

Despite his efforts to streamline and organize, Andy still makes time for fun—surrounding himself with creative characters, much like a Hollywood movie set. When asked about his penchant for these curious creatures, he replied, “I have a soft spot for knickknacks, vinyl figures and toys, so I have a healthy collection all over my desk. One of my faves is this guy, Saphii from the Tribes of Monsterism—part of the Malvox Tribe Collection by Pete Fowler.”

Thank you, Andy, for sharing your story—past and present. We’re thrilled to know you a little better and to see that the kid in you is still kicking, even with The Karate Kid long gone! 

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