The Central Intelligence Agency hiring process is notoriously tough. The agency recruits high-achieving academics with strong foreign language and analytical skills. They hook you up to a polygraph and ask blunt, uncomfortable questions like, “Do you have any intention to expose the nation to any form of security risk?” They do reference and cross-reference checks. They talk to friends of your friends of your friends.
In the 1980s, during the height of the Cold War, the CIA recruited Bonnie (Heath) Matosich via the Russian department at the University of Montana. Matosich had grown up in Missoula, Submittable’s now headquarters. A driven, standout student, she was the first female student body president at Sentinel High School, a guard on the school’s 1979 state championship women’s basketball team, and valedictorian of her class. At the University of Montana, she graduated with honors in math and Russian.
The day after graduation, Matosich got in her Honda Civic and drove to CIA headquarters in Langley, Va. where her intelligence career coincided with the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Success in the business world
Matosich went on to get her MBA at the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business where she was awarded their prestigious Hyde Award and now serves on their corporate advisory board. The skills she learned at the CIA—collecting and synthesizing mounds of disparate data that could be distilled into two sentence summaries of our nation’s greatest threats for then-President Reagan—became essential to her success in the business world.
After her MBA, Matosich put in five years at McKinsey & Company, an American worldwide management consulting firm, helping turn around companies of every shape and size. She then moved on to The Walt Disney Company where she rose to the VP of Brand Development, building consumer strategies to grow the iconic Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, and ESPN brands.
Home to Montana
Now, the next step in Matosich’s storied career is bringing her expertise back home to Montana, joining Submittable as our chief marketing and strategy officer in January.
“Getting to bring some of Montana’s most valuable exports, like Bonnie, back home is easily one of our company’s bigger achievements,” Submittable CEO Michael FitzGerald said. “As a first-time co-founder, I had limited operational business experience. Having Bonnie come in has dramatically changed my and the company’s day-to-day in an extremely positive way. We’re feeling her rigor and wisdom throughout the company since day one.”
For Matosich, it was a welcome opportunity to return to her hometown. “When I graduated from UM, there weren’t opportunities in Montana that fit my career aspirations,” Matosich said. “I thought that was still the case now. Fortunately, I was wrong. Submittable is growing rapidly, has a great team, and is in my hometown of Missoula.”
FitzGerald senses this shift happening throughout the burgeoning Montana high-tech industry. “As the high-tech and start-up industry in Montana has grown over the last five years with companies, like Submittable, OnxMaps, GatherBoard, Vim&Vigr, ATG, Orbital Shift, ClassPass, and many others, seeing people like Bonnie, the state’s most prized natural resources, bring their deep and invaluable experience back home has been extremely rewarding.”