Elevating those who are making real change happen
Make it matter
We focus on what is most important—achieving results to improve the lives of children and families.
We get close to the people closest to the work to understand problems and opportunities.
We enjoy getting unstuck and seizing the opportunities in ambiguity.
Start a conversation
We know nothing is more powerful than communication and collaboration.
Go forward, above, and beyond
We are hardwired to go the extra mile for each other and our clients.
We find simplicity on the far side of complexity by asking bigger and better questions.
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Business Administration Manager
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Partner Services Administrator
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work with us
Submit your resume for future consideration!
We are always excited to meet talented, mission-aligned people. Drop us a note with your resume and anything else you’d like us to know, and we will be in touch if a position opens up that could be a great fit.
Matterlab is headquartered in Austin, TX, with team members in Seattle, Orlando, Phoenix, and Dallas.
Connect your work to your why.
Searcy founded Matterlab in 2017 to drive greater impact in the social impact sector through effective communications and marketing directly aligned to organizations’ most ambitious goals. She brings nearly two decades of experience as a strategist in the nonprofit sector, including working under former Secretary of Education of the Obama Administration, John King, and advising numerous states on education and child welfare policy. Searcy is a native Mississippian, a Teach For America Los Angeles alumna, a resident of Austin, Texas, and a wife and mother. She received her Bachelor’s degree in both English and Spanish literature from Rice University, and her Master of Science degree in Neuroscience from Columbia University with a focus on behavioral economics, language acquisition, and inner speech processing. She is proud to serve on the Advisory Board for Texas Children’s Hospital, ranked the #2 best children’s hospital in the nation. Across her professional endeavors, philanthropic involvement, and volunteer time, Searcy is driven by ensuring that all children have access to the opportunities they need to succeed.
See Searcy’s full resume on LinkedIn.
Odera is a creative brand strategist and former Big KIPPster with 10 years of experience working in the public and nonprofit sector. She is a Teach for America Houston Alum with a passion for community, equity, and education. Odera earned her undergraduate degree in sociology and psychology from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and her M.S. in Marketing and Brand Management from Georgia State University J. Mack Robinson College of Business. A forever curious individual, Odera loves to travel, photography, and learning new dance moves.
Anna Casey Williams
Anna Casey is a servant leader, communicator, and true social entrepreneur. She has served both in-house and as a management consultant, specializing in strategic communications, leadership, as well as in innovative culture change and team practices. Over the past 20 years she has served CEOs, leaders and policymakers across various sectors, including: education tech, law, local & national government, public policy, green energy, and finance. She has trained teams across the UK, EU, Ukraine, Australia, and the U.S. Anna started her career as a local government press officer and since then has sat on various poverty alleviation-related boards and committees as well as worked on the ground on a number of economic literacy and empowerment programs.
British and Texan by heritage, Anna comes from a family of educators, has a degree in communications, is a Chartered Public Relations Practitioner, and is a certified Stonewall Ally. Anna has spoken — in her trademark irreverent style — alongside philanthropists, nonprofit leaders, a secretary of state, and private sector CEOs, always problem solving with a restorative practices lens, and always thinking big-picture with an uncanny eye for simplifying complexity. She believes that authenticity and heart have a place in every team, and in every communications challenge.
See Anna’s full resume on LinkedIn.
Jessie began her career in tech where she specialized in account management, program and brand development, and team growth and retention. Through those roles and the experience of growing with a company from 36 to 225+ employees, Jessie recognized her strengths in building client relationships, creating scalable systems, and spearheading innovative communications to drive long-term goals. Jessie later transitioned her expertise into the social sector. She brings more than 12 years of experience working with new and growing organizations to find their identity. She joined Matterlab to build and lead the account management team and to contribute senior-level communications coaching and support across clients.
Jessie earned her undergraduate degrees from St. Edward’s University in communications and journalism and made Austin her permanent home after graduation. A believer in building connection through stories, Jessie is a published writer who features female business owners and creative entrepreneurs, and writes of her own experience in motherhood.
See Jessie’s full resume on LinkedIn.
Co-Founder & Vice President
Lane earned her MBA from The University of Texas McCombs School of Business and her undergraduate degree in journalism from James Madison University. She spends her free time exploring the outdoors with her husband and two rescue dogs and staying involved in her community through the McCombs Alumni Board, Women of McCombs Initiative, and Dallas ISD I.D.E.A. Foundation Board.
Brand, People, & Operations Manager
Afzal is inspired by the drive to connect individuals around the world through the power of digital marketing, branding, and communications. His experience leading marketing and digital strategies led him to Matterlab and social impact work, where he now gets to see positive change through his contributions.
Afzal has spent time consulting for organizations looking to create a powerful presence with their social media and branding. He is Digital Advertising Certified by Hubspot and uses his innovative skills to create and implement impactful digital ad campaigns. At Matterlab, he has overseen digital ad campaigns for over 50 Matterlab clients, with successes that have led to thousands of sign-ups/enrollments and over $20 million in earned revenue.
Afzal’s parents immigrated from South America to Queens, New York, where he and his twin brother were born, and he has been in Central Florida for the past 20 years. Afzal enjoys traveling near and far and has an extensive list of destinations he plans to visit. He enjoys spending quality time with his husband and loved ones and shares too many photos of his Standard Poodle, London, on social media.
See Afzal’s full resume on LinkedIn.
Web Designer & Developer
Shawn Hardy is the Founder of Smitten Labs, a digital design consultancy based in Tempe, Arizona. For the past 20 years, he has worked with and for award-winning agencies in a wide range of creative, leadership, and strategic roles serving clients all over the world. Shawn has led teams through design and development of hundreds websites and other digital applications. With each project, Shawn’s focus has been creating a solid foundation of strategy, great design, and technology to create real impact for clients and their audience.
Shawn was born and raised in Washington D.C., surrounded by a politically and culturally diverse environment, and has taken inspiration from all directions. Shawn completed his Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design at The Art Institute of Phoenix. Beyond his career, Shawn lives an active life which includes triathlons, a family, and four dogs.
See Shawn’s full resume on LinkedIn.
Director of Content
Tatiana is a skilled writer, editor, and content strategist with over 10 years of experience in marketing, communications, and content development. She is an all-around creative who brings dedication, patience, empathy, and thoughtfulness to her work while remaining passionate about crafting stories with an emphasis on human connection. She’s a recipient of distinguished fellowships from The MacDowell Residency, The Massachusetts Cultural Council, The Brother Thomas Fund, and more. She’s developed content and communications strategy for MIT, City Year, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and others. As a content director she helps organizations and individuals balance big ideas, moving stories, and efficient execution for outcomes that are visionary, practical, and successful. She received her Master’s in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Emerson College and is an active member of the literary community through facilitating workshops and helping other writers share their stories. Her award-winning writing has been published in various literary journals and magazines across the U.S. and the U.K. She believes in the power of a single story to make change and has dedicated her life to helping champion meaningful stories in others.
Communications Strategist, Studio
Michelle has more than a decade of communications and advocacy experience in nonprofit and government organizations, most recently at DC Public Schools, where she served as Press Secretary and later led the communications work for the fastest improving urban school district in the nation. She previously led communications for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an education think tank, and the American Federation for Children, an advocacy organization. Michelle thrives in bridging policy and on-the-ground work to help organizations find and share their voices and stories. She has experience in communications strategy, message and story development, media relations, social media, crisis communications, internal communications, event planning, advocacy, media training, and government affairs. Michelle serves as a member of the Education Writers Association’s Community Advisory Board. She graduated from Boston University with a bachelor’s in journalism and from George Mason University with a master’s in public policy. Michelle lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, son, and cat.
Nique is a multifaceted communications strategist with a passion for bringing innovative initiatives to life. She brings 15 years of experience to her role as Portfolio Lead, where she combines her ability to distill high-level information into engaging content with a drive for social impact. Nique earned her degree in Business Administration from Abilene Christian University.
Nique’s experience involves developing communication strategies for the Medical and Social Services Division at Texas Health and Human Services Commission, including their WIC and SNAP programs. She also crafted key messages and awareness programs for breast cancer while working at Susan G. Komen Austin, Texas. Nique lives in Austin where she is an active volunteer with multiple nonprofit organizations and daydreams about homesteading. More than anything, she loves spending time with her husband, children, pets, and friends who are like family.
Amy is a creative communications strategist with over 10 years experience in the nonprofit sector. Her experience includes building and executing the communications and marketing strategy for a global education nonprofit in east and southern Africa to advancing educational equity as a Portfolio Lead at Matterlab. Amy is passionate about making an impact on her local community and thrilled to apply her global nonprofit experience here in the U.S. Amy received her B.A. from Texas A&M University with a degree in International Studies and a minor in French. She is a Certified Digital Marketing Professional recognized by the Digital Marketing Institute. Outside of work, Amy enjoys caring for her plants, painting, hiking with her dog, and debating the best Survivor strategies with friends.
Maya Giña Nelson
Senior Project Manager
Maya is eager to transform life outcomes for young people and is thrilled to be on a team with such a clear mission. After growing up in Glenn Dale, Maryland, Maya graduated from Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania and began her career in the social sector. Maya holds a Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification and her experience spans health, environment, and child welfare at nonprofits across the U.S. At Global Impact, she worked exclusively on the Combined Federal Campaign. In Los Angeles, she led development efforts for EarthShare. Eventually, she returned to her East Coast roots and worked for a local United Way managing projects across development, communications, and partnerships. Previous to her role at Matterlab, Maya led the creation of a new project management office for CHC: Creating Healthier Communities. Maya resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband, Josiah, and two daughters Morgan and Svea.
See Maya’s full resume on LinkedIn.
SL (she/they) are an equity-centered system change design lead with over 12 years of experience across tech, philanthropy, global health and government. SL has been (re)designing systems with a strong racial equity, inclusion and social justice mindset leveraging their end-to-end innovation and design expertise; including user experience, design strategy and design research. They currently lead the research and strategy practice at Substantial Insights, Design and Development Studio.
Previously they worked with the Office of Homeless Youth at the Washington State Department of Commerce through Foster America. In this work they co-designed policy, technology and services with lived experts, community based organizations and government stakeholders in foster care, homelessness, disability and juvenile justice.
Their practice is grounded in trauma informed design research, targeted universalism, co-design, and complex systems theory. SL is a strong proponent of evolving the design practice to be anti-racist, decolonized, and systems-thinking oriented.
See SL’s full resume on LinkedIn.
Sarah Pendley is the Founder of Sarah Theresa Communications, an AAPI-owned firm headquartered in Austin, Texas. From spearheading national influencer programs to crafting compelling community campaigns, her talent lies in designing engaging PR strategies that resonate with key stakeholders. With over 15 years of media relations and marketing experience, Sarah has executed social marketing campaigns in various industries, including non-profit, hospitality, arts, and tech. Leveraging original pitches and trending news cycles, she has secured prominent placement in The New York Times, Forbes, CNBC, Fortune, Rachael Ray Every Day, USA Today, WIRED, and BBC News.
As a woman of color, Sarah discovered a critical need for diversity in communications and marketing. For this reason, it’s become her mission to advocate for DEI in the communications industry and amplify the stories of historically marginalized communities in an authentic and meaningful way.
See Sarah’s full resume on LinkedIn.
Director & Producer
Michael Burke is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and founder of Wild Reply. He loves telling the stories of real people striving to affect change in their communities and has traveled all over the world in search of subjects. Specializing in documentaries and branded content, over the past decade he has worked on projects for screens of all sizes, including national ad campaigns and main title sequences for Marvel Studios, and has worked directly with clients such as AT&T, Toyota, the University of Notre Dame, and the National Park Service.
See Michael’s full resume on LinkedIn.