Matt grew up in a small town north of Toronto, Ontario called Aurora alongside his sister Steph and his half-brother James. As a little gaffer, he was very interested in the arts – playing the piano, singing into a tape recorder, performing on a mini stage in their basement, or making crafts with his sis. As time went on, he realized that he quite enjoyed the stage and started acting in musical theatre productions with CharActors Theatre Troupe in Grade 3.
CharActors proved to be an incredible part of his childhood. The staff there encouraged him to get an agent and also audition as part of the choir for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with Donny Osmond. He did both quite happily thanks to Shari Quallenberg and Ellen Kestenberg. His entire grade 5 year was spent in downtown Toronto in rehearsals and performances alongside some incredible actors and soon to be big names. He couldn’t thank his parents enough for their support (and their car) during this time.
After 7 years, and 21 musicals, he stepped out of the spotlight and turned his focus to athletics. His siblings were both competitive swimmers, so it really was only a matter of time. However, he stayed out of the pool and instead joined the volleyball, rock-climbing, and power cheerleading team. He credits these teams, along with the amazing coaches, for instilling the power of positivity in him and always reminding him to “just breathe.” “When your knuckles are bruised, heart is pounding, and your mouth is filling with blood from just getting kicked in the face by the girl you just tossed in the air … you’d be surprised at how hard it is to focus on smiling and getting the crowd to smile with you.”
Throughout his high school years he also got involved in many different leadership conferences run by the York Region Presidents’ Council (YRPC), the Peel Student Presidents’ Council (PSPC), the York Region Student Athletic Council (YRSAC), and the Ontario Secondary School Student Association (OSSSA). He attended these conferences, facilitated workshops as a Leadership Developer (LD) there, and later became the Minister of Leadership Development for both YRSAC and OSSSA. He created manuals filled with leadership theory and curriculum for his staff of LDs to use as they delivered their workshops on conflict resolution, team building, and effective communication (to name a few topics).
A quick flight out west after his final summer in Ontario landed Matt in Vancouver at the University of British Columbia. He lived in residence for his first year and realized that it was an environment where he could really thrive and help others grow as well. He became a Residence Advisor for 2 years, leaving his mark with such great programs as Mr. Vanier, REC’N’REZ, and a Free Hugs Campaign. For this, he was awarded the Carl Cooper Contributorship Award.
Amongst many other activities Matt was involved in, he was also a member of the UBC Rowing team. By no means was Matt the best rower on the team (they were), but he loved the sport and trained as hard as he could for each regatta. Determination, perseverance, and the art of “keeping your head in the boat” were things that Matt was challenged with every morning at 5 am. “Rowing taught me a lot about teamwork and leading from the sidelines. It is one of the few sports that you become the best at by matching the exact actions of your teammates. A ‘shining star’ in the boat is one that is invisible amongst the team.”
As part of his International Business degree requirements, Matt had to study at a partner institution abroad. After spending his past two summers working for Business Objects, Matt was longing for a summer abroad. So in 2007, Matt spent May-June in Santiago Chile at the Pontificia Universidad Católica studying Spanish and Chilean Culture. He lived with a host family and was only allowed to speak Spanish (as it was part of the study abroad program requirements). After paragliding in the Argentinean Andes, hiking through Machu Picchu, and doing a whole lot of Bikrams Yoga, Matt headed home to Vancouver. He then exchanged his suitcases and headed off to study at the Copenhagen Business School in their International Summer University program for the rest of the summer. It was here where he passionately studied international marketing and value-based leadership with students from all over the world. “It’s funny when you study business in Canada because its largely based on American lifestyles, research, and their way of doing business. But in Denmark, they don’t care for “the American way.” It was truly an eye-opening educational experience that widened my perspectives for sure.”
In his final year, Matt joined the UBC REC team as the Sponsorship Director and helped enhance the various events and programs they ran through prizing and sponsor involvement. This experience came in very handy as Matt was invited to become part of the pre-race team for Run For One Planet. Matt Hill and Steph Tait’s vision for a more sustainable and active world aligned with the Corkers’ values in a big way, so he and his sister (nicknamed “The Dream Team”) helped them raise over $23,000 in one evening event coined the Barn Burner.
After working as the Volunteer Coordinator for JDC West 2007, Matt was selected to represent the Sauder School of Business at JDC West 2008 as part of the Social team. If ever there was a time in his life when his spirit, willingness to do anything, and his creativity were put to the test, this would have been it. Surprisingly enough, it was this academic/athletic/social competition that made him truly proud to be a Sauder student. “Winning School of the Year was great, but even better was being recognized at a competition where competitive camaraderie and giving back to your community were judged criteria.”
Matt graduated from the Sauder School of Business at UBC with a Bachelor of Commerce in Human Resource Management and International Business and began working for UBC Alumni Affairs as the Alumni Relations Manager, Students & Young Alumni. In this capacity, he was responsible for finding ways to celebrate students’ and recent graduates’ successes, inspire and instill a sense of pride and heritage, and engage them in the powerful UBC alumni network. He then moved on to be the Alumni Relations Manager in the Faculty of Science – a new position responsible with creating, developing, and managing the alumni relations program for the second largest faculty (and alumni base) at UBC. He presented at both regional and local conferences about the work he has done in this field.
Matt then worked at lululemon athletica – a yoga-inspired athletic apparel company that creates components for people to live long, healthy, and fun lives – as a Leadership Development Advisor. His focus was on new-hire orientations, internship and apprenticeships, and professional development opportunities to ensure they were continually inspiring and elevating their staff. “Imagine going to work with people who want to elevate the world from a place of mediocrity to a place of greatness. I’m blessed to say that dream is my reality.”
After setting the goal of completing his MBA by Sept 2013 on Day 2 at lululemon, Matt accomplished that goal a year earlier than expected. He completed his MBA at the Copenhagen Business School in Aug 2012, after he led a team of 5 to the European semi-finals of VCIC, was elected to be a student representative on the MBA Study Board, and traveled around Europe doing yoga with the European Yogi Nomads. Upon graduation, he received the Leadership Award for his MBA Class.
Now, back in Vancouver, Matt works for lululemon athletica as the International Operations Specialist and Corporate Occupational Solutions Inc as their Vision + Goal Coaching Expert. In 2013, he is en route to publishing his first book and to being a certified yoga teacher.
In his spare time (?), Matt enjoys going on adventures with his friends and family (everything from snowshoeing to road-tripping to sky diving), laughing until it hurts, and having stimulating conversations with his sister over ice cream. Preferably chocolate chip cookie dough.