Employee Spotlight: Get to Know Our Newest Staff

Posted February 17, 2022

Last year we welcomed 6 new staff members to our team. Get to know them better in our new Employee Spotlight series!

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Melanie Witman

Consultant

What brought you to Development Guild?

In December 2020, I graduated from The Heller School at Brandeis University with my Social Impact MBA, and came across Development Guild in my job search. I was looking for a job that would satisfy my interest in consultant-style workflow, speak to my commitment to mission-driven organizations, and put some of my newly minted MBA skills to the test – and Development Guild was a great match. I was drawn to the Guild’s impressive work with an even more impressive list of clients in the nonprofit sector, and was excited about the opportunity to be supporting organizations doing important work in Boston and beyond.

What does your day-to-day look like?

At this stage, my work includes a mix of research, outreach, and project management with a wide variety of clients. One day could be composed of a few hours of scouring LinkedIn for great candidates for one of my searches, weekly client check-ins on Zoom to share important updates, a few outreach calls to potential candidates for a different search, and in between, catching up on my notes and document organization to make sure everything is in place to deliver for our clients.

What’s a cause you are passionate about?

In my work at Development Guild, I often request clients who are doing great work in addressing the Climate Crisis, which is an issue that I care deeply about. During my time at The Heller School, I intentionally took coursework to broaden my knowledge on the subject, feeling like it was my responsibility to our greater society to be able to contribute to solutions to the issue. I have since had the honor to work with and learn from The Trustees, New England Forestry Foundation, Garrison Institute, and the American Birding Association, who all address the issue in their own unique and important ways.

Share a fun fact!

In alignment with my interest in the environment, I’ve developed several related hobbies and practices in the process. A few of my favorites are foraging for mushrooms, propagating plants for my growing in-home jungle, and exploring new hiking routes locally and internationally.

Gabriel Nyante

Frontend Developer

What brought you to Development Guild?

There were a few things that brought me to Development Guild. One was the extensive and prestigious client list and history of work done by the company, which showed a dedication to excellence over the course of many years. Another reason was that I would be working on a very interesting software product for which my role aligned perfectly with my experience, skills, and interests. The third reason I came to Development Guild was because of the team of people I would be working with and the compensation offered.

What does your day-to-day look like?

My day to day looks like checking what tickets I am assigned to and working through those tickets to either add new features to the DevGuild application or remove any bugs. I work with the other devs on my team and manager to understand the best way to continue to develop out the application and review each others work.

What’s a cause you are passionate about?

Homelessness is a cause that I am extremely passionate about. I feel like it a human/communal duty to minimize it as much as possible, and provide resources that enable people to transform their lives and current living situations

Share something you are looking forward to!

In 2022 I plan to continue to learn and develop my professional skills, my interpersonal skills, strengthen my relationships, and travel.

Katherine Simmons

Digital Marketing Specialist

What brought you to Development Guild?

I initially started my career working in museums after getting my master’s in history and museum studies. After a few years working in digital content creation for the New York Botanical Garden, I discovered an interest in marketing. While I wanted to pursue this interest, I wanted to stay within the nonprofit world in some way supporting amazing organizations. After finding this position and learning about Development Guild’s work I knew it would be a great fit, so I applied.

What does your day-to-day look like?

It varies from day to day, but it typically starts with reviewing social media and taking time to look at how the previous day’s posts performed. Then we might have a few new searches come in, or position announcements finalized that need to be put up on our website and social media channels. One thing I really love about my job is the opportunity to be creative, so I like to make sure that I leave time to do some design / layout work for sales materials or social media content or a new webpage we are putting together.

What’s a cause you are passionate about?

My background is in museums, specifically history museums, so I find that I am passionate about authentic storytelling. Museums and historians have a responsibility to engage the public but also examine and present history through more than one lens. A lot of that can start with recording oral histories and in graduate school I was able to work as a volunteer oral history recorder. These stories can provide important insight into moments in time from people who actually lived through them, and it was an honor to have been able to hear some of them firsthand.

Share something you are looking forward to!

My fiancé and I are getting married this coming summer, so that and a potential later-moon are things I am really looking forward to this year!

Arya Bakhsheshi

Visual Designer

What brought you to Development Guild?

The combination of being in service of nonprofit organizations as a company, the product itself (our app), how unique and different it is from almost all the products that I have seen or worked on and how useful it is for various types of clients in approaching their problems, and finally the great opportunity for me to use a full spectrum of my skillset and utilize all the experience I had gathered so far from different fields of design.

What does your day-to-day look like?

It really depends on the day but usually it involves meetings with Matt or the engineers to go over the needed design changes or planning for a major new design, then the planning and implementation of the design. Sometimes its about creating visual assets for the engineers, sometimes sketching out ideas to be discussed in our 1:1 meetings or daily standups and other times its about creating a full-fledged prototype that we can interact with and see how the design will turn out.

What’s a cause you are passionate about?

Animal welfare and environmental protection. We should be mindful about our choices in our day-to-day life that impacts the environment. We should do whatever we can to minimize the harm that our contemporary lifestyle can have on this planet and demand the same from bigger players (brands, companies, governments etc.).

Share something you are looking forward to!

2022 is already an exciting year for the product team. The new amazing team-members that have joined us recently and the speed at which we are making progress are all indications of great news for the app this year. I’m very proud of what we have achieved so far and can’t wait until we can show the next version of the app to everyone!

Christopher Cicciu

Executive Search Associate

What brought you to Development Guild?

As a more recent college graduate, I knew leaving school that I wanted to make a positive impact on the world around me – I just wasn’t quite sure how exactly to do that. I was particularly drawn to the amazing partnerships Development Guild has had in the past and has currently, and knew that joining the team would be a great opportunity to learn more about the countless amazing missions the nonprofits we serve work so hard to promote.

What does your day-to-day look like?

At Development Guild, I have the pleasure of working alongside my colleagues on a multitude of different search projects. Generally, my days consist of meeting with the members of my search teams to strategize on search efforts, meeting with clients to provide updates on our projects, and helping steward the candidate experience from application to offer letter.

What’s a cause you are passionate about?

Growing up surrounded by woods, I have always had a deep passion for the protection of our natural environments and wildlife.

Share a fun fact!

I am the bass player in a rock cover band with a handful of my longtime friends.

Shamali Kuru

Consultant

What brought you to Development Guild?

I returned to Development Guild because I really value my colleagues and the work culture here. It’s wonderful to be back!

What does your day-to-day look like?

My day-to-day includes both internal projects and client facing projects, which is a great mix.

What’s a cause you are passionate about?

Food insecurity and childhood hunger.

Share something you are looking forward to!

In 2022 I’m looking forward to traveling again!

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