Q&A with Gravyty CEO Jay Kuhlman

Over the past several years, we’ve been busy growing the Gravyty team, expanding our platform, and introducing new innovations that help our customers modernize community engagement and create more sustainable giving programs.

We’re very proud of our strong history of market leadership, but we are equally excited about the future. As we enter our next phase of growth, we’re excited to introduce our new CEO, Jay Kuhlman, to the team!

To learn more about what motivates and inspires him, we sat down with Jay for a little coffee and Q&A.

Q: Welcome to the Gravyty team, Jay! How does it feel to be stepping into this new role? What are some first impressions?

I’m incredibly honored to be joining Gravyty at such a pivotal time and have the opportunity to work with an incredible base of customers. Right now, I’m focused on learning – spending time with our people and our customers, having some very insightful conversations, and diving deeper into the platform and operations. 

I’d say the biggest takeaway from these early days is how inspired I am by the purpose-driven missions of our customers, and the impact they’re making out in the world with our software. As an organization, it’s a privilege to help our customers make such a deep and meaningful impact. It means the more we harness our strengths and expertise, and the more we innovate and expand as a business, the more we can help our customers unlock the potential of their people, bring communities together and have a positive impact on the world. 

What intrigued you the most about Gravyty during the interview process? What made you want to come work with us? 

During the process, it was very clear to me that Gravyty had all the foundational ingredients for future growth already in place. It’s really a privilege to step in and help write the next chapter of an already great success story. We have a very stable, profitable and growing business. We have a market-leading platform and a broad platform that’s really prime for new innovation, integration and expansion. We’ve got an awesome team of highly experienced practitioners who have “been there, done that.” 

When you put them together with an iconic base of really mission-driven, forward-thinking customers, it’s the perfect scenario to accelerate growth and innovation in a very impactful way. 

We’re also so fortunate to have the backing of K1, who is dedicated to our success, aggressively investing in our future, and always there to support us as we grow and evolve. 

Gravyty has grown and evolved a lot over the past several years – New acquisitions, new markets, etc. What do you consider our biggest opportunity for growth in the next year? And what’s risen to the top of your top priority list?

I’d put our focus in three categories.

First, because our market has been evolving and changing pretty rapidly, it’s important for us to assess where we’ve been, how we’re doing, and clarify where we want to go next. What’s our dot on the wall so to speak. So a key priority for us will be to solidify our mission, vision, strategy for this next chapter of growth, and make sure we’re setting ourselves up to meet the needs of our customers and the market well into the future.

Second is innovation. Gravyty has expanded our platform both organically and through acquisition over the past several years, so we’ve already got an incredible foundation to build on. A key priority is to continue accelerating investment in research & development so we can drive innovation across the platform faster, as well as continue to look for strategic expansion opportunities based on what will help our customers advance their missions in the most impactful, valuable ways.

Third is bringing a customer-first mindset to everything we do and ensuring our customers have a great experience with us: from providing market leadership, to impactful innovation, to great service pre- and post-sale. A priority for me will be creating a more open dialogue and providing continuous opportunities for our customers to give their input and feedback at all steps of their journey.

Speaking of that, I’ve noticed that in your first few weeks here, you’re clearly obsessed with the customer experience. Why is that so important, and what are some of the things you’ll be focused on in this area? 

Our customers are the heartbeat of our business. They’re experienced and passionate partners and advisors and their voice is critical to us as we grow and evolve. I’ve spent a lot of these early days meeting Gravyty customers and listening to their goals, thoughts and feedback, and they’re committed to their missions and have big aspirations for their programs. 

As CEO, my highest priority is continuing to improve the customer experience and deepening that trusted partnership. In practice, that translates into initiatives that focus on elevating the customer voice back into our business, making it easier to provide feedback, get support, and enable their teams. 

And most importantly, we want to put in place more opportunities for our customers to partner on roadmap enhancements, product design, and future innovation expansion strategies, etc.

Where did you go to school, and how did your university experience and the connections you formed there contribute to your career success so far?

Following the Marine Corps, I studied Liberal Arts and Business at American and Xavier University. My experience wasn’t a traditional path, considering my background in the military. Still, I benefited tremendously from the university’s focus on connecting me to the right opportunity while finishing my degree.

OK, let’s shift to more personal questions so we can get to know the side of you when you’re not working. What was the last book you read?

I’ve read The Alchemist several times and I highly recommend it. It’s so inspiring because it reminds you of the art of possibility and following your dreams. 

What causes are near and dear to you? 

Helping survivors of domestic violence has always been important to me. As a child, I saw firsthand the impact that domestic violence can have on the home. I currently sit on the board of the Women’s Resource Center, whose mission is to create a society in which domestic violence no longer exists.

What do you like to do in your free time to relax? 

I’m a huge fan of the arts. I have an 1800 vinyl record collection and I’m also a closet musician; I love to write music. In addition, I love the outdoors, and will take any opportunity I can to go fly fishing with my kids. 

Who inspires you the most?

That’s a very easy question. My wife, Page, inspires me the most. She lights up a room, finds the beauty in everything, and loves like no other.