About Matt Harris
Throughout a diverse and extraordinary career, Matt Harris has managed to cultivate his passion for life and it's boundlessness - from music, to art, to wine - in all his auspicious endeavours. In 1987 Matt Harris received a scholarship to the University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV) where he was selected as their Drum Major, choreographing and directing their marching band. While studying music, Matt worked in an art gallery selling 20th century Masters. In 1991, while still in his early 20's, Matt went from selling fine art to a post as Western Regional Gallery Operations Manager for the Warner Brothers Studio Store division. There he assisted the company in expanding from four to over 100 stores in just three years and was responsible for a gallery sales force in over 20 stores on the West Coast.
In 1995, Mr. Harris received his MBA from Pepperdine University's Executive Program with a concentration in strategic planning. He left Warner Brothers and built a clientele that benefited from his acumen as a consultant to start-ups and an analyst for investment offerings. As a result he has been profiled and interviewed by the nations top financial journals including the CNN - Fortune Newsstand Show, Business Week, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Money Magazine, and San Francisco Chronicle.
In 1997 Mr. Harris founded ExamWeb while preparing to take the CFA (chartered financial analyst) exam. ExamWeb offered a testing and training platform to companies who used it to produce online test prep products or to train and certify employees. Under his watch, ExamWeb delivered over a billion practice questions to people worldwide studying for tests to enhance their careers. His corporate clients included General Motors, Prudential, Kaplan, McGraw-Hill, Pearson, Reed Elsevier, the American Association of Pediatrics, and others.
In 2003, Matt entered in to a completely unrelated business by accident . While teaching a class on Entrepreneurship at Pepperdine's Fully Employed MBA program he decided start a mock business designing jewelry as an example for his class. Almost immediately, his designs garnered the love and approval of customers and celebrities. Soon he was designing jewelry for Debra Messing to be worn on NBC's Will & Grace. His pearl jewelry has since adorned the necks of several celebrities and models and he has been covered in leading industry journals including JCK, Modern Jeweler, Luxury, and The Wedding Channel. The business took off but while Matt had a deep love for pearls and design, he had to close the business and concentrate on his software company.
Now, in 2019, having exited his software business and moved to the beautiful and inspiring Austin, Texas, Matt is excited to announce the return to his passion for pearls by re-launching Matt Harris Designs with a variety of new, fresh, attractive and exciting designs.
Mr. Harris believes strongly in balancing work with philanthropical endeavors. Wile he supports many types of organizations, he has an affinity towards organizations that help children . After his second elected term as President of Pepperdine University's Alumni Association, Matt joined the Board of Felice Foundation (started by Dr. Leo Buscaglia). Combining his love for entrepreneurship with charity, he then joined the brand new Share Our Wine Foundation where he assisted in raising over $250,000 for local children's charities the first year. In 2009 he joined the Board of Children's Guidance Center (CGC) in Orange County California. In 2010 he was elected President of the Board of Directors, overseeing a staff of 80 full time employees and an operating budget of $6 million. Child Guidance Center proudly treats approximately 5000 abused children every month and operates with extreme efficiency, boasting 90 cents of every dollar raised going directly to services.
As Matt breaks new ground, developing and supporting innovative new products and organizations, he continues to cultivate his passion for life and his passion for pearls. When you meet Matt, ask him about pearls, wine, food, travel, animals and see where the conversation goes. He enjoys meeting and talking with people as much as any of these!