What next for American Friends of Arts et Metiers?

I am Xavier, Li 82 and co-founder of American Friends of Arts et Metiers and I am a candidate for the AFAM CEO position after being a board member since its inception.

I came to Silicon Valley 25 years ago. I became impassioned by tech start-ups and I launched 6 startups myself resulting in 4 acquisitions. I also co-founded the French Tech Hub and big bang factory, two startup accelerators. I love new ventures and entrepreneurs.  

I cannot write this note without sharing my gratitude and my admiration for Eric Benhamou. After a successful career, Eric is a recognized leader in Silicon Valley. He initiated AFAM in 2007 and led our group, with a long term vision of helping the school and its students, gathering the US Gadzart community and developing the Arts et Metiers brand in the US.

In 12 years we have accomplished many things as you can see in the 10 years report

What shall we do next?

First of all, we need to preserve what we have built so far and reinforce it. We at AFAM need to maintain the link with the US Gadz community, the Shasta program and our donation flow.  We also need to maintain our excellent relationship with the A&M ecosystem. I think we can improve on each of these points and we can do more!

Engage the community and improve our existing activities.

Shasta can grow to welcome more students and give them a shot at their own American dream; we can organize professional events to promote the Arts et Metiers brand; we can energize the Gadz community; we can start initiatives to encourage Gadz entrepreneurs and we can convince more donors to support all these actions. There are a lot of things to do!

Retooling AFAM with a new way of working together.

We can do more but first, we need to improve AFAM’s organizational structure. My project is to form an Operational Committee with 5 to 8 Gadz motivated to take actions. We will meet on a monthly basis to decide what the priority actions are and distribute them between ourselves. The board will continue meeting on a quarterly basis and committee members will report their actions to the board. I have spoken to several Gadz and 7 people are already interested in participating.

Our community has a formidable strength: many members are willing to commit their time and efforts to our cause. I was always fascinated to see how many Gadz are willing to help or how happy they are to get together. The energy is there: we should funnel it to accomplish more for our school, our students and our alumni.

Li 82