Christy Gormal and Donna Gray, both graduates of the Media Arts and Science (MAS) master’s program at the IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI, recently celebrated the tenth anniversary of their company, Matchbook Creative. Gormal (pictured above) and Gray co-founded the full-service agency in 2007, with a vision of doing great work with a big purpose.
“We wanted to do work that made a difference for people, industries, and companies. Ten years later, we are still finding our purpose, helping companies meet their objectives, tell their stories, and connect and engage with new targeted markets,” says Gormal, now president and CMO of Matchbook. Gray is CEO.
Gormal and Gray met during a class where, by process of elimination, they wound up together on a group project. According to Gormal, that was not only the start of their partnership, but also their first paid job, which they were awarded by the client participating in the class project. Freelance work was followed by committed work and then a business model.
Matchbook has expanded from 3 to 17 full-time employees over the decade and has increased its revenue about 25 percent per year. They have outgrown their space twice and moved to a state-of-the-art, three-story building in July, 2016.
Gormal has high praise for the program that prepared her and Gray to be entrepreneurs, and says that it taught them to always think differently and strategically. They found the MAS master’s program instrumental in developing a deeper understanding of digital media and how to apply those practices in the marketing and advertising world.
Joe Defazio, associate professor of media arts and science and co-director of the MAS graduate program, encouraged and believed in Gormal and Gray. “Our background was creative. We did not think like developers or programmers, but he, along with others, encouraged us to apply our creativity to these new mediums,” Gormal says.
Gormal maintains relationships with faculty and staff, who continue to be mentors and networking partners, and hires interns from the MAS program. “We know first-hand the caliber of individuals and talent that is nurtured and developed in this program,” she says. Gormal is also an advisory board member for the program.
Her advice to others considering this path? “This program is a life-changing experience. Once you have committed, look beyond the degree, coursework, and assignments. Ask what is the true value that this program can bring you.”