One of Matt’s biggest passions is service work, and since Hurricane Katrina, he has led 30 groups from Delaware to volunteer annually in the New Orleans and Gulf Coast area to help with recovery efforts. In addition, he helped establish Wilmington University’s first Alternative Spring Break trip, which takes students to the Gulf Coast to continue the recovery efforts to this day.
Chair, First Year Experience and English as a Second Language and Assistant Professor
Your biggest break: Nov. 15, 2015, I will be a four-year pancreatic cancer survivor. With a 7 percent survival rate, I am one of the lucky ones. I went into the hospital for another medical issue and the tumor was found. With no early detection of this type of cancer, this is the story of many survivors. However, this break gave me a new lease on life and I try to make an impact in some form or another each day that I get.
Best career advice you ever got: “Don’t take yourself too seriously.” The phrase works on several levels. It reminds me to have fun in life and to stay humble in all I do. But it also reminds me that there is always room for improvement.
How you give back: My primary work has been with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and speaking with members of Congress on the need for more cancer research funding (specifically pancreatic cancer research). I also work with the National Kidney Foundation helping to organize the Kidney Walk in Wilmington. I have worked with several homeless shelters and home building organizations, which has led to my continued involvement over the past 10 years with disaster relief and recovery work from hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.
Work-life balance technique you recommend: Unplug. One of my favorite authors talked about how he needed to schedule time in the day to look out the window and remember there is more going on in the world
then the deadline.
Your biggest challenge: Saying no. I have a passion for helping others, particularly those who are in difficult circumstances, but with so many needs it is easy to stretch yourself thin. I am learning to prioritize how I can help and utilize my strengths to make the most impact for good.
Networking group you use the most: The friends and connections that I have made through participating and staying involved with the Leadership Delaware is my greatest and most successful networking group that I have. Through the opportunity of participating in this program, I was given the opportunity to learn and grow but also to network with people that I probably would have never come in contact with. The Leadership Delaware network is the most invaluable group that I currently have.
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