Faculty Focus: Gavin Finn

Faculty Focus: Gavin Finn on the Lifelong Value of Learning How to Learn

Read how Tufts Gordon Institute faculty member Gavin Finn grew his career from software development to corporate leadership and the lessons he learned along the way.

Tufts Gordon Institute’s marketing team recently interviewed faculty member Gavin Finn about his leadership career, the value of lifelong learning, and his advice to students navigating a rapidly changing technological landscape.

“I am someone who attempts to live a rewarding, interesting, and challenging life – characterized by learning and teaching,” shares Gavin. “When it comes to learning, one hobby of mine is reading historical biographies, primarily of people in the sciences, politics, the arts and business, from ancient times through the present. I am always inspired by those strategic thinkers who were able to see through the obstructions of the present to envision a new, visionary future.”

Gavin is Professor of the Practice at Tufts Gordon Institute, where he teaches courses in entrepreneurial marketing and sales, new product development, technology and society, and engineering management. His courses reach graduate students in the MS in Engineering Management and the MS in Innovation & Management programs, as well as undergraduates in the Entrepreneurship Minor.

During his graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Gavin became involved in artificial intelligence software development, and has been involved in creating advanced software ever since. Gavin’s career quickly grew into corporate leadership roles, and he is now President & CEO of Kaon Interactive, Inc., a leading customer engagement sales and marketing solutions provider for Global 1000 B2B companies. In 2020, Gavin was named CEO Forum Magazine’s Transformative CEO of the Year. His thought leadership articles on innovation, marketing, entrepreneurship, and technology strategy have been published in Forbes, Entrepreneur, The Guardian, Huffington Post, and other leading publications.

Gavin’s passion for teaching is partly driven by a belief in the value of education, instilled in him by his parents. “Neither of my parents finished high school, because they had to leave school to get work in order to support themselves and their families,” he explains. “But it was never a question that their children would go to university, and they made that happen at great personal sacrifice to themselves. That has allowed my brother and I to avail ourselves of many wonderful opportunities, and I am ever mindful of the benefits that accrued to us as a result of that.”

For Gavin, one of the great benefits of education in today’s world is the opportunity to learn how to learn. “In our rapidly evolving world, I want the students to recognize that learning how to learn new things is more important than learning specific skills in great depth,” he says. “Because of how fast technology, the economy, and our society changes, they will be doing jobs that don’t exist today, using tools and skills that are as yet unimagined, to solve complex problems that are only now germinating.”

Gavin puts this mindset into practice at Tufts Gordon Institute, not only helping students learn to be lifelong learners but also learning from the experiences of students and faculty himself. He shares, “Every class brings novel and surprising experiences, driven by interactions with such a wide variety of students from every corner of the globe and a broad spectrum of backgrounds. Getting to know these people, with their enthusiasm, intellect, and energy is an incredibly rewarding and enjoyable part of teaching. I also learn so much from my fellow faculty members, who are all distinguished and accomplished leaders in their professions.”

“Have a truly solid foundation in your technical domain and an equally deep grounding in the humanities,” Gavin advises students seeking to take the next step in their career journey. “There are many wonderful ways that people can achieve professional success, including by making radical changes to their career paths. Many skill sets are transferable to other domains, but in particular, intellectual curiosity and a willingness to learn something new will broaden your possibilities. When you do choose a new route for yourself, it can lead to unexpected joys and rewards.”

Learn more about the MS in Engineering Management and the MS in Innovation & Management at Tufts Gordon Institute.