During his years at Northwestern University, Matt took an interest in theater and upon graduating decided to pursue acting. After a brief career as a budding actor, intern at the Jerry Springer Show and a page at NBC New York, Matt found his true passion, teaching.
Considering both of his parents spent their entire careers teaching, Matt choosing education comes as no surprise. But in true entrepreneurial fashion, Matt is putting his own personal touch on teaching by launching The Skillery.
What was college like?
While at Northwestern, I found theater and really fell in love with it. After graduating I decided to pursue a career in acting and spent some time doing commercials and voice-overs. Unfortunately, I looked like I was 20 but carried myself with this “young dad persona”. The two really didn’t line up with each other and so people just didn’t know where to put me.
What is one of the most off the wall things you have ever done?
Once I realized acting was not for me, I decided to try TV production. I found an opportunity to intern at the Jerry Springer Show and decided to apply. I got the internship and was tasked with fielding calls from prospective guest. Once picked, guest would spend the week in Chicago for filming. It was my responsibility to keep them entertained. I did more wining and dining at Fuddruckers that you would care to know. It was an interesting experience but the excitement soon wore off and I knew it was time to get a real job.
How did you end up pursuing education?
9/11 happened while I was a page for NBC New York (for those of you who watch 30 Rock, Matt was basically Kenneth the page). Soon after, one of my roommates who also worked at NBC opened a letter addressed to Tom Brokaw that was filled with anthrax. Fortunately she was ok but the whole experience made me put my life in perspective. After deciding a life in New York City wasn’t for me, I decided to move back home with my parents to figure out what I would do next. Shortly after I moved back a family friend called and said he was looking for someone with a background in theater to teach at a rural high school in Connecticut.
Who has influenced your entrepreneurial spirit?
I don’t think any single person has, rather the idea of having a rote life was just completely unappealing to me.
What have you learned from JSF thus far? Would you recommend the program? Why?
JSF has really helped me build a solid framework for launching The Skillery. I would absolutely recommend the program. As a single founder, the one piece of advice I would give to entrepreneurs considering JSF is to not come alone. The program is rigorous, and you will need multiple hands on deck.
Describe The Skillery in three words or less?
Community learning marketplace.
See Matt pitch The Skillery live at Investor Day, August 23. For details visit: www.jsf-party.com.