Board Member

Matt Steele is a seasoned digital marketer with over 15 years of experience managing social and digital media for some of San Diego’s most iconic brands, including the San Diego Zoo, Taylor Guitars, and Stone Brewing Co. With a deep understanding of paid media, earned media, SEO, CRM, public relations, and other digital marketing disciplines, he has a proven track record of creating successful campaigns that engage and inspire audiences.

As a passionate advocate for conservation, Matt is honored to serve on the board of Wildlife Madagascar. He developed a lifelong passion for conservation during his tenure at the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, where he gained valuable insights into the importance of preserving our planet’s wildlife and ecosystems.

With his wealth of experience and dedication to conservation, Matt is committed to using his skills to help Wildlife Madagascar achieve its mission of protecting Madagascar’s unique and endangered species. He looks forward to working with the organization’s team and fellow board members to create effective digital marketing strategies that drive engagement, raise awareness, and mobilize support for this vital cause.


What draws you to support wildlife conservation and education?
During my 10 years leading social media for the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, my love of animals grew and I learned about the serious plight that species all over the world face. It awakened a passion for wildlife conservation and a deeper understanding of how imperative conservation is, not only for animals but for humans as well. Places like Madagascar are the most glaring examples of the need for wildlife conservation, as it evolved separately from the rest of the world and has unique and precious species found nowhere else. 

Matt Steele at the beach

What about working in social media do you like the most?
I like that it keeps me on my toes. The landscape of tech and social media changes daily, and I’m forced to not only stay on the cutting edge, but devise strategies that are fluid and dynamic in order to adapt to constant change. I also love the creative side of what I do. I’m a writer and artist first, so I’m glad I landed in a field that has a creative aspect. I get to create compelling words and media, which is a win in my book.  

What is one of the most memorable experiences in your career?
One of the most memorable moments was meeting Nola, one of only a few northern white rhinos left on Earth. I got to spend time with her at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and she was so gentle and comfortable around people. I got to touch her and be with her for a few minutes and I’ll never forget it. She died the next year, and now there are only two northern white rhinos left on the planet. It was such an honor to meet Nola and be in the presence of a soon-to-be extinct animal. It really drove home the dire need for wildlife conservation. 

Matt Steele meeting a southern white rhino
Saying hello to a southern white rhino at the SDZWA Rhino Rescue Center

Who or what inspires you?
My partner Soroya inspires me. They are the smartest, hardest-working, and most impressive person I know. Soroya is a published professor of theatre at USD, theatre maker, union activist, social justice activist, and the kindest, most empathetic person. I’m lucky to be surrounded and inspired by them.

Matt Steele and Soroya

Share with us a book or film that has had an impact on you.
I usually just say that Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut is my favorite book just so I don’t have to think too hard about it. I do really admire Kurt Vonnegut and believe we lost a national treasure when he died, but honestly there are hundreds of books, poems, films, and other creative works that have blown me away. It’s so hard to choose just one!

What do you find interesting about Madagascar and its wildlife?
The history of Madagascar as a microcosm of evolution with resulting wildlife found nowhere else in the world fascinates me. Lemurs, and other prosimians, especially intrigue me. Madagascar is like the Galapagos Islands (and many other islands) where creatures evolved only there, and it must be protected at all costs. One last thing that blows my mind is the theory of how Madagascar was formed by floating land “rafts” from Africa. Look it up, it’s fascinating!