When Covid hit in March 2020, work was ramping up rather than slowing down for Ari Ioannides, who had just begun a new gig as executive director of the Park City Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing world-class performances and innovative ideas to the local community. Ioannides stepped into the role following Terri Orr, who was at the helm of PCI for more than two decades. A year later, he’s excited for PCI’s programs to take center stage.
Park City Magazine: Tell us about your background—what brought you to Park City?
Ari Ioannides: I moved to Park City 18 years ago from Atlanta. I think it is a familiar story to everyone: You come here either for business or for vacation, and you fall in love with the place. Back then I was running a company that produced a product called Board Docs; everyone was working from home, so we could live wherever we wanted. The company was bought about five years ago, and I commuted to New York before leaving the company and basically retiring. We love it here; our kids have gone to the local schools, and we are longtime community members. There is a great, engaged community here.
PCM: How did you get involved with the Park City Institute?
AI: I had been on several boards in the nonprofit area, including the Park City Education Foundation. I talked to Terri Orr, the previous executive director of Park City Institute, and she said they were looking for someone to basically do a turnaround for the organization.
PCM: How did you manage during Covid?
AI: In early March 2020, we were forced to cancel our only annual fundraiser, Saints and Sinners. We could not hold the event in 2021 either but plan to hold it again in March 2022. We learned some things during Covid as well, particularly in handing out programs; those were a transmission point. Now, before you go to a show, you get a link to a program, and then while you are at the show you scan a QR code and get all the information you need.
PCM: What excites you most in this new role?
AI: I have been a CEO and have also worked with a lot of boards and executive directors primarily in the public governing space (cities, counties, school boards), so to have the ability to come in and build a new board, find proper governance practices, and kind of get under the hood and get all those things in place was appealing to me. Also, as an amateur musician and someone who had booked speakers before, I was anxious to fulfill all the promises the organization had made to educate, illuminate, and entertain, and to better engage the local students so they could have opportunities to work with the performers.
PCM: What are your goals for the job?
AI: To continue to make good on those promises—for the first year, I really wanted to focus on financial stability and working with community members and students.
PCM: How can people get involved?
AI: The number-one way people can get involved is to come see a show and experience the new Park City Institute. Even if you have not heard of the act, you will be blown away—these are world-class performances.