SEATTLE, WA – December 11, 2019 – Global media and design industry veteran, Matthew Dakotah, has been named Vice President, Content + Creative of GRAY Media, LLC (GRAY). Officially taking effect on January 6, 2020, his appointment extends the acclaimed media brand’s track record of attracting top talent. Since its founding nearly 10 years ago, editors from both Surface and Dwell have served as editorial directors at GRAY.
Dakotah will take the helm as the Pacific Northwest-based media company continues to grow as an international, multimedia design authority in 2020. From GRAY’s new downtown Seattle headquarters and a satellite base in Portland, he will lead content and creative across all print, digital, and event platforms, including the award-winning GRAY magazine and graymag.com. Dakotah will work in concert with Founder + CEO Shawn Williams to expand the brand’s reach and develop dynamic new channels and experiential content.
Dakotah brings more than two decades of experience in global media, content marketing, and communications to GRAY across fashion, art, entertainment, architecture, design, and sustainability. He first served as Assistant to the Editor-in-Chief at Hearst’s Marie Claire, where he was mentored by longtime Harper’s Bazaar editor, Glenda Bailey. Later, he became Special Promotions Editor of the publication—working with the world’s leading fashion brands, promoting groundbreaking features with Oscar-winning actors, publicizing features on a host of international women’s issues, and producing an array of branded television programming for the “Today” show, “Good Morning America,” “CBS This Morning,” MSNBC, and CNN. During his tenure, Marie Claire was named one of the ten hottest magazines in America by MediaWeek three years running.
From Hearst, Dakotah moved to British media company EMAP, to spearhead extensive magazine and website redesigns of Teen. A long list of new advertisers followed, Nike, Target, Levis, and Chanel, among them. This, combined with his exclusive, co-branded content alliances with Animal Planet and “Entertainment Tonight,” helped drive dramatic growth in revenue and digital readership. At Teen, Dakotah also conceptualized and secured features with Reese Witherspoon, Elisabeth Moss, Beyoncé, Pink, Justin Timberlake, and Alicia Keys, among others.
As Vice President, Group Editorial Director of Wiesner Media—then America’s largest publisher of regional architecture and design magazines—Dakotah was charged with redesigning six titles and launching a seventh. This campaign resulted in a collection of FOLIO, Maggie, GAMMA, and American Graphic Design Awards. In the process, he worked with many of the world’s most influential architects and designers, and signed on writers and photographers from leading publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Architectural Digest, Esquire, and Modern Painter. Conceptualizing features to honor the achievements of women in architecture—with the support of Zaha Hadid, Deborah Berke, Toshiko Mori, Winka Dubbeldam, and Esther da Costa Meyer—were among his other contributions.
In addition to conducting a series of conversations with global environmental leaders for The Daily Beast (Nobel Laureate Steven Chu and Sir Richard Branson, among them) and creating the Huffington Post series, Women in Power, to highlight trailblazers in energy innovation (including MIT President Susan Hockfield), Dakotah has also served as an editorial and brand communications consultant for leading electric car and luxury home furnishings brands. Early in his career, Dakotah enjoyed stints as Roberta Flack’s assistant and registrar and art handler for Jason McCoy, Inc., the eponymous New York gallery founded by Jackson Pollock’s nephew.
“Having worked closely with Matthew previously, I couldn’t be more excited to bring him on board. He will help build on GRAY’s success and guide its evolution moving forward,” Williams says. “He brings such a rich background and deep level of gravitas to every sector our brand touches, from architecture and interiors to design, culture, and fashion. As we look toward all of the incredible opportunities before us, I am thrilled to have this thoughtful visionary by my side.”
“What Shawn has achieved with GRAY—creating one of the most inspiring and distinctive media companies in the global design and cultural landscape from the ground up—is nothing short of amazing,” says Dakotah. “It is for this reason, and having had the pleasure of knowing her for years, that I am so proud and honored to join the GRAY team and help expand the brand and its international presence.”