Webb welcomes Wilson, says 'thank you' to Jobe
Posted August 10, 2012
Matt Wilson, an alumni and development professional from Vanderbilt University, has joined The Webb School as Director of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations. He succeeds Sandi Jobe, who resigned and moved to California following her marriage in early August to Doug Puett, a former Webb teacher.
“I’m excited to welcome Matt, and to thank Sandi for her years of service,” said Claudia Hazelwood, Office of Alumni and Development director. “We have been fortunate to have Matt start three weeks before Sandi’s departure on July 27. One goal of our transition plan was to have crossover training thus ensuring a smooth transfer of vital information, contacts and responsibilities.”
Wilson, a native of Framingham, Mass., graduated high school from Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, N.H. He received a B.S. from Vanderbilt University with a major in economics and a minor in music. He earned his M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration also from Vanderbilt.
Working at Vanderbilt University, Wilson was in the alumni and development office for the past 12 years and served in a number of roles including both development and alumni relations. During the past seven years, he was a development officer soliciting major gifts. Most recently, he served as College of Arts and Science associate director for development.
Wilson said that he thinks it is important to reach out to alumni and parents so that they know they have many ways to participate -- whether it is as a volunteer, a donor, an attendee at events, or as an adviser helping others. “Also, I want them to know that it is their relationship with Webb that is most important to me -- I really see myself as a facilitator.
“I think I bring a bit of ‘art’ and ‘science’ to my work, and I enjoy both,” said Wilson. “Whether it is working with people or doing analyses to evaluate and grow programs, I try to approach my work holistically. I think annual giving and alumni relations can be complementary activities, while still allowing each to have its own separate purpose and focus.”
Wilson said that from an alumni and development perspective, he sees a lot of opportunities for engagement among alumni and parents. “I have already met many wonderful people who care deeply for Webb.” He noted that the reunion program is an area that has the potential to grow and reach more people, as well as involve classmates who are already connected to Webb. “Also, increasing the face-to-face outreach being done by staff like myself is another way to involve more people personally.” Wilson said he wants to honor the traditions that have made Webb great, and share the story of what is happening at Webb today.
Telling the stories of Webb is an aspect of the job that Jobe has enjoyed during her four years as part of the A&D staff. “I am so excited that someone like Matt will continue to grow this role. He is going to be a tremendous asset to Webb,” said Jobe, a ’95 Webb alumna. He brings a wealth of experience and talent in alumni relations and development work from Vanderbilt University. She added, “He wants to be a part of Webb’s community, and to help tell the community’s story to alumni and an even wider audience.”
Jobe a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, recently earned her M.B.A. from Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management. She returned to Webb in September 2008 after working for Dell since 2001. “I was interested in gaining experience working in an education-related non-profit. The opportunity to work for Webb in this role was the perfect fit, since I could also fulfill a personal desire to contribute to a school I loved,” she said.
Jobe saw that love of Webb and an interest in people as the strengths she brought to Webb. “I also brought a strategic interest in 21st Century education: I had been working in the segment of Dell which provided technology to education institutions, nationally, and I was fascinated by the challenges faced by schools in meeting the needs of a ‘knowledge-worker economy.’ I also had a good bit of sales and marketing experience, which is quite similar to fundraising, so that helped with the day-to-day efforts.”
Jobe noted that she has been one member of a “great team.” When she came to Webb, the role she filled had been vacant for many months, the recession was hitting its peak, and there wasn’t a director of communications. “So initially I was playing catch-up and working very hard to manage the Webb Fund and alumni outreach efforts.” The next year she partnered with the new director of communications to improve the storytelling efforts about alumni and fundraising news. “For the past two years, under the leadership of Ray Broadhead and Claudia Hazelwood, the Alumni and Development Office has flourished. Together we accomplish alumni, parent, and community outreach, as well as gift stewardship and education about how important philanthropy is for Webb’s continued survival and future success.”
Jobe added that this year the strength of the A&D team enabled her to travel and visit alumni who hadn’t been visited in many years, to produce videos and write more stories about alumni, and to expand the use of social media for outreach. “We also had the highest number of donors to the Webb Fund in over a decade,” she said. “I hope that Webb’s future appeals for annual financial support will be met with goodwill and understanding that even the smallest gifts create tremendous returns in the lives of tomorrow’s alumni.”
Among Webb’s challenges Jobe thinks that additional boarding capacity and outreach can diversify the student body. And to compete nationally, Webb must stay abreast of developments in the sciences and technology without sacrificing the strong liberal arts curriculum.
“These four years have been by far the most challenging and rewarding time in my career. I am so grateful for the opportunity to watch adolescents begin to understand the world with their ‘awakening’ adult minds.” She added, “I am also amazed and inspired, daily, by the talent and dedication of Webb teachers and staff to the students. The work done here will continue to ‘awaken’ generations of interesting and influential people, and instill the core values which sustain them. The knowledge that I’m part of something so much bigger than myself has touched my heart in a way that no other job will ever be able to.”