Matt is the IgniteOKC speakers committee chair and enjoys the opportunity to foster continued connection and collaboration with past IgniteOKC speakers. After giving an IgniteOKC talk in 2014, Matt was immediately taken by the incredible people and conversations that were being sparked by this community and joined the leadership crew in early 2015.
Matt is the Executive Director of Free To Live animal sanctuary, a non-profit no kill sanctuary for formerly abused and abandoned dogs and cats. Established in 1984, and with nearly 300 animals, Free To Live is one of the oldest and most respected animal welfare organizations in Oklahoma. Matt’s responsibilities alongside of fundraising and day to day operations include: board relations, community outreach, as well as much enjoyed time with the animals.
Matt studied Theology at Southern Nazarene University before serving as pastor and community organizer for 10 years in Topeka Kansas. During that time he led a team that created the “A Meal and a Toy” initiative, which provided a meal and a toy during Christmas to over 2,000 of the most economically disadvantaged youth in Topeka, as well as much needed financial resources to partner schools. The 100% volunteer led program relied heavily on social media and video, and won a gold ADDY award as a result of their efforts. Matt was honored as one of the Top 20 Under 40 for his community efforts, but his greatest privilege was serving as pastor of a local parish that had a simple mission: Love God and Serve your Neighbor.
Matt currently volunteers as a buddy for the HALO project (a 10 week intensive intervention designed to meet the unique and diverse needs of children in foster-care, children that have been adopted or children that exhibit difficulty in the area of attachment) and as a leader for Celebrate Recovery, a Christ centered 12 step program for those walking through hurts and hang-ups in life.
He has been known to enjoy good conversation along with milk and cookies, but his greatest joy in life comes from playing guitar and singing with his wife Bonni, and spending time with his two girls: Zoey (6) and Ellie (4). They currently beat him at UNO, but they are united together in perfecting their routine for the dance off at next years daddy/daughter ball.