Home  /  Stories  / 

The Big Idea Chief Executive’s Big Call

01 Jul 2024

Annie Ackerman announces her departure from TBI - as the hunt begins for her successor.

After overseeing eight years of extraordinary growth and unprecedented change, Annie Ackerman has been intrinsically linked to the success of The Big Idea as its Chief Executive.

But now she’s ready for her next big idea.

Ackerman has been at the helm of TBI since 2016, coming into the role with a wealth of not-for-profit experience in leadership positions and has led a transformative process for the organisation.

She feels now is the right time to hand over the reins, with the hunt on for TBI’s next leader.

Ackerman explains “It’s been an absolute privilege to work with a dynamic team to roll out some vital initiatives - a hallmark of recent projects has been to increase our offering in connecting this passionate, dedicated and talented creative community we have here in Aotearoa. 

“The Big Idea has played a special role in the sector for more than twenty years and in recent times, that involvement has increased dramatically. We take great pride in the mahi that TBI has done to advocate for creatives, to stand up for artists and the value of their contribution to Aotearoa.”

A highly respected and influential figure in the sector, Ackerman’s passion for mentoring has been a particular focus during her time at TBI - something she considers to be a crucial and underestimated cog in the creative ecosystem.

From establishing the Mentoring in the Arts programme in 2018, that drive evolved into the successful implementation of the Toipoto Creative Careers development programme, which helped hundreds of creatives build skills to enhance their practice, build stronger networks and gain new levels of confidence.

Her most recent brainchild, The Learning Network, was launched in May this year - providing “a vibrant, inclusive platform that not only serves as a pivotal resource for learning and development but also fosters a dynamic digital community where creatives can thrive in today’s challenging, fast-changing landscape.”

With audiences double the original target, Ackerman enthuses, “The Learning Network is where creativity meets opportunity on a scale never seen before in our community.”

TBI Board Chair Tina Symmans has paid tribute to Ackerman’s immense contribution to the organisation and the creative sector.

“Annie’s vision from the outset was to continue TBI’s legacy of connecting the arts and culture community and to take it to new heights.

“What TBI has achieved under Annie’s guidance has been extraordinary. It has grown its reach and impact enormously, becoming a vital resource for all to stay on the pulse of the creative community - from emerging artists all the way through to the highest offices in Aotearoa.

“From relationship building and advocacy with fellow sector leaders to one-on-one mentoring with Toipoto artists, Annie’s devotion to making a difference has been inspiring.  

"While Annie is departing from the full-time CE position and will take a well-earned break - we are hopeful that we will be able to call on her experience and expertise in the future as we look to grow the Learning Network, which is so near to Annie’s heart."

Ackerman will stay in the position while the process to find her replacement gets underway in earnest.

Those who have the experience, passion and vision to help guide TBI on the next stage of its journey are encouraged to throw their hat in the ring.

For more details on the position and to express your interest, see our job listing here.