Personal Statement

As designers, we are communicators, educators, and students of the world. I love the creative process. To take an idea and turn it from a seed of inspiration into something that inspires — that is the exciting part. There’s no magic serum for it — the process can be difficult, it can be scary to put yourself out there — but in the end, there’s that idea, turned into a thing, that we send out into the world.

As a Creative Director, there is nothing I love more than helping guide a team through the creative process. My time spent in the School of Education at the University of Iowa taught me skills which would prove invaluable, as I now help develop the skills and talents of young professionals in multiple capacities.

I have been fortunate to find my path filled with many opportunities and experiences. I never cease to be amazed at how these experiences have blended together into the career I have today. I am fortunate to live a creative life where I can help inspire and grow the teams I work with. I cannot think of a more fulfilling way to spend my days.


Experience

 

Education

MILWAUKEE INSTITUTE OF ART AND DESIGN
1999—2003
BFA in Communication/Graphic Design

UNIVERSITY OF IOWA
1995—1998
School of Education; Elementary and Special Education

Continuing Education

FOCUS TRAINING ACCELERATE INSTITUTE
Spring 2016

FOCUS TRAINING ELEVATE INSTITUTE
Spring 2018

Professional Experience

CPI (CRISIS PREVENTION INSTITUTE)
May 2014 to January 2019
Creative Director

MILWAUKEE INSTITUTE OF ART AND DESIGN
January 2017 to Present
Adjunct Professor: Senior Portfolio and Professional Development

ASCEDIA
December 2012 to May 2014
Art Director

MJ DESIGNS, LLC
January 2011 to December 2012 
Graphic Designer, Owner

FULLHOUSE INTERACTIVE
January 2004 to January 2011
Art Director, Business Communications and Marketing Teams

 

Creative Direction
& Design

Design is where it all began. As a young designer, graduating from MIAD, I landed my first job at a digital agency in Milwaukee’s Third Ward. Over the years I’ve had the good fortune to work with some great brands, including MillerCoors, Manpower Group, Sub-Zero and Wolf, Crisis Prevention Institute, and many more.

 

Qualifications

Concepting, Corporate Identity Systems, Editorial Layout, Print/Catalog/Promotional Design, Photography, Photo Editing, Presentation/Speaker Support, Information Graphics, Video (Art Direction), Website Design, User Experience Design

Testimonial

“A beacon of positive energy, Matt helps foster a creative environment of collaboration where it’s encouraged to experiment with others—he understands how creatives work and operate. He helps you reach further to find the right solution to whatever creative problem you’re attempting to solve. Enthusiastic, sincere, caring, Matt has it all as a creative leader. His eye for both the big picture and nit-picky details is second to none.”
– Carey Peck, Copywriter at CPI (See more endorsements on my LinkedIn profile.)


Ideation & Strategic Planning

One of my greatest strengths is leading a team through the process of strategic planning. Taking a request or idea and creating a strategy around how to plan, execute, and evaluate the solution. I’m able to see the 30,000-foot view and where we are headed, but also dive deep into the process at the ground level, moving fluidly in-between.

 

Qualifications

Brainstorming, Annual Planning, Project Planning, Process Development, Goal Setting, Campaign Strategy, Brand Strategy, Message Mapping, Systems Implementation

Testimonial

“He is always thinking outside the box when clients need new ideas. Matt goes the extra mile on everything he does and builds a special relationship with each person he encounters. Matt is the ‘goto’ guy for conducting a brainstorming meeting, strategic thinking, or just want to bounce an idea around.”
– Angie Holinka, former coworker at Fullhouse Interactive (See more endorsements on my LinkedIn profile.)


Team Building & Mentorship

As much as I love pulling together a strategy and executing on it, my true passion is working with people. Personal connections are at the center of every successful team. I work to create safe and collaborative environments, which allow people to bring their full self to work, empowering them to do their best. With these personal connections, you can guide and develop team members skills, playing to their strengths.

Qualifications

Teaching, Professional Development, Running Effective Meetings, Culture Building, Creating Collaborative Environments, Creative Retreats

Testimonial

“In the short time I met him during the interview process, I knew instantly this was the type of not only manager, but mentor that I wanted to work alongside. Matt's desire to develop strong teams built on skill, trust, and group collaboration were evident. In each interaction while working with Matt, I learned invaluable skills around professional development, creative ideation and team collaboration. He strives each day to support his team and they, above all, are always Matt's first concern.”
– Amy Christianson, Project Manager at CPI (See more endorsements on my LinkedIn profile.)

 

Mission Statement

To always be patient with myself and others. To make the world a more compassionate place, by spreading love and kindness to everyone I encounter.

 

My Personal Values/ Guiding Principles

 

1. Live Beautifully

2. Love Unconditionally

3. Listen Ferociously

4. Seek Curiously

5. Trust Fearlessly

6. Always Assume Best Intent

7. Give Freely

8. Spread Joy

9. Practice Compassion

 

Mental Health…Removing The Stigma.

I’m an open book. I believe by sharing our stories we can bring people together, creating compassion and empathy. We are united through our discovered similarities, rather than allowing our fears of how we are different continue to separate us.

In 2017, I was invited to share my story of how I have come to live a successful and creative life by embracing my struggles with depression and anxiety. The event, hosted by NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Racine, is called “Bridging the Gaps,” an annual event that brings together members of the community with the goal of removing the stigma around mental illness through conversation. It was an honor to share my story.

Note: This video was captured from the audience on a phone, the audio quality is less than ideal. You may find it helpful to turn on the captions.
 
 

Islands of Brilliance (IOB) is a learning experience developed specifically for children and young adults on the autism spectrum.

I have been honored to be a creative mentor for the program since the very first pilot program in 2012. In fact, the banner picture above is the very first day when I met my student and friend, Tommy. We’ve been together and growing strong ever since!

IOB is an amazing program where students and mentors learn together through creativity and design. It has been wonderful to see the program grown and expand our reach over the years. I’m proud to be a part of this organization, changing the lives and opportunities of a brilliant community of talented kids.

Learn more and consider donating to this program which is near and dear to my heart. Thanks!

"We're Not So Different" explores the remarkable relationships that have developed between students, mentors, and parents during the initial five years of the organization, as well as the supportive community that has begun to flourish around Islands of Brilliance.

Pups, board games, crochet projects, inspirational quotes, delicious food, and the occasional frosty beverage are a few of the things you’ll find here. I love the way Instagram allows us to tell a part of our story through pictures. Here are my twelve most recent posts, click through to my profile if you wish to see more.