Community Team Member, Karen Arreola sits down with DD’s leaders and talks: being a force for good, contributing to a movement, and their next steps in the industry.
Karen: Describe yourself in 6 words or less.
Matt: Competitive, straight-forward, friendly, creature of habit. K: How did you get started at DialogueDirect? M: 2010 was meant to be a year for gathering experience and add to my resume before moving into the non-profit space. But there was also the economic crash and candidates with PhDs were accepting jobs in master's level work. Then people with Master's degrees were taking entry level work, and so on. In order to get entry level work, you had to have 2-3 years of experience in the field. DialogueDirect took a chance on me and called me in. Turns out I was actually good at fundraising; I love what I do and who I do it with. It’s been almost 10 years and I’ve built a longstanding career in fundraising that I wouldn’t change.
K: How do you cope with challenges like that? M: I like to think that adversity is a lesson to learn from and/or fuel the fire to be better tomorrow then you are today. I’m naturally a competitive person so these situations push me to find a way to still “win” despite the obstacle.
Karen: What’s your greatest accomplishment in the field of fundraising so far?
Matt: My biggest accomplishment has got to be my promotion to City Coordinator of Los Angeles. I had been fundraising and leading teams with DD for a little over a year when I received my first big growth opportunity. We were expanding then, but LA felt a bit like an island as help was not very close for us. It was very rewarding to be promoted, but even more meaningful knowing I was trusted. I was really excited about moving out there and being successful.
K: What are you looking forward to most within your new role as Director of Integrity? M: I’m looking forward to working closely with the entire team of Directors in a different capacity - while continuing to make the world a better place. As the Director of Integrity I’ll keep developing leaders while also ensuring our company as whole is growing ethically. There’s an element of accountability and responsibility in this role that I’m excited to tap into. K: How is this different from your current role at DD? My main focus as the National Trainer was development of people – to help them grow, personally and professionally. The biggest part has been connecting and supporting the Dialoguers and leaders on their journey to growth. Now my role will have a broader influence on the future of the company - to develop new ways of helping leaders achieve their goals and in turn our partners. To make sure the structures and systems and tools are in place for them. To set them up for success better than ever.
K: What is your life motto and why?
M: "You'll get what you want when you stop making excuses for why you don't have it." To me, this is an empowering and motivational quote! I think we are capable of whatever we want as long as we don't put unseen obstacles in our way. A lot of people can't get where they want, not because they couldn't in the first place, but because they get hung up on reasons why they couldn't. The second you eliminate those barriers is the second you start to achieve the goals you wanted to achieve in the first place. 💪
K: What is the last place you visited?
M: Internationally, Greece about a year ago (before COVID-19). That’s a hard trip to top! But locally, our DC office. After being quarantined for some months I have a new found appreciation for the office.
K: Tell us your strangest travel story.
M: Not sure I have a strange travel story, but I can say I went to Antarctica with Darren Corrao! We both did the polar plunge, I stayed in the water the longest - which makes me the toughest. (We love a friendly competition at DD) 😅 K: Last Question: if you weren’t in fundraising where would you be? M: I'd probably be working in International Development /Non-Profit space. If I’m going to be on this rock floating through space for 60-80 years I want to do something good with my time.
Stay tuned for more interviews in this series: Behind the Movement