An Interview with Development Guild DDI’s New CEO, Matthew Weber

by Katherine Khzouz

Associate Marketing Manager

Posted May 1, 2024

On June 1st Matthew Weber will begin as Development Guild’s new Chief Executive Officer and Suzi Weber will step down as CEO. Matthew joined Development Guild in 2017 – he spearheaded our innovative AI platform and later became a Principal of the firm and a Senior Vice President. We sat down with him to discuss his career journey and his plans for his first 100 days as CEO and beyond.

Katherine Khzouz: Tell us your personal background with Development Guild DDI

Matthew Weber: My parents started the firm when I was three years old, and it has always been a part of my life. Our services have evolved over time, but the core mission and idea of the firm have stayed the same – that serving nonprofits is an important and worthwhile endeavor. I spent most of my professional life working in tech and I’m happy to have been able to bring that perspective here.

KK: Can you share a bit about your tech background?

MW: Yes, I started my career focusing on tech in media and banking (those were the dominant opportunities in NYC). That provided a lot of fun opportunities – I was the architect for different projects like designing the production system for Sesame Street’s online show; Morgan Stanley had amazing resources to work on prestige projects (like large full-room financial simulators, interactive work for New Year’s Eve in Times Square, etc.), some architecture work for the Olympics online, etc. Eventually, I started focusing on more technical applications with analytics and AI.

KK: What is the AI work you’ve been doing, and how does it fit into Development Guild?

app team in a meetingMW: It’s a very exciting system that allows nonprofits to build their own AI’s, tapping into the expertise in their organization and from their community at large. The result is an application that can give unparalleled guidance for nonprofits, as it really gets to know and understand their unique situation. We just gave a live demo of it at AFP MA, where the audience built an AI around Donor Advised Funds. We can offer strategy services 100X faster, include much larger groups of participants, and be remarkably cost-efficient because of the system.

KK: What and where did you teach?

MW: As a professor at NYU, I taught and designed a curriculum around the design and management of building applications, focusing on ease-of-use for the end user. I was there for 10 years, then moved to Columbia University where I managed a class and group of teachers building data-intensive applications. My classes were very hands-on—students designed and tested many systems. I had the opportunity to recruit some amazing partners for the classroom at Columbia – we collaborated with organizations like Bloomberg, Google, the City of New York, and Disney on innovative real-world projects.

KK: What do you see as the strengths of Development Guild that you want to build upon as CEO?

MW: As a consulting firm, our number one strength is our people. We take pride in our commitment to our staff and in becoming a home and place to grow for emerging talent and seasoned professionals. The dedication and care we pay to our staff will not change; the continued nurturing of our employees will remain a priority for me as CEO. Our people are so unique in the passions, experience and knowledge they bring to their work, and I see a future where we explore new and extended service lines to match their talents.

Our other strength is our clients. We are nothing without the impressive organizations we partner with every day. They inspire our work, and it is an honor to support them as they seek to achieve their most ambitious fundraising goals and hire exceptional talent. We look forward to discovering other ways that we can help our clients succeed.

KK: What are your plans for the firm?

MW: My first plan is to listen. Even though I’ve been here a while, this is a great opportunity to hear a lot of perspectives on our past as we plan our future. When I start on June 1st, I plan to go on a 100-day listening tour to our past, present and future clients; to meet in-person with every employee; to meet our friends, colleagues, and everyone in between. I have a lot of ideas right now about how we might move forward, but I am holding these ideas very loosely for now as I go into these first 100 days.

Matthew speaking wtih nonprofit fundraisersKK: Anything else you want to let our readers know?

MW: Yes! I am really looking forward to meeting with leaders at the forefront of a burgeoning and, also beleaguered nonprofit sector; to learn firsthand where they see new opportunities and challenges emerging and changing. We are a firm that has always innovated.  I believe the nonprofit sector is evolving in big transformative ways right now. And, I want Development Guild to use this time to double-down on our commitment to excellence and seize on creative new ways to meet client needs now and well into the future. This is an incredibly exciting place to be!


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