31 Days of Gratitude - In an attempt to publicly express my gratitude for the people that have impacted me in some way in 2015, I'm setting out to write one post a day sharing what I appreciate about them or what moment that marked me. Some of these people I know well, some I've only met, and some I'm just getting to know. There is no ranking to these posts and they aren't meant to put anyone on a pedestal. They, like you and I, are imperfect people with their own flaws, some you may have experienced. Despite those flaws, I believe we all need to have our positive characteristics called into light and celebrated. This is that attempt.
We need champions in our lives. People that believe in you, support your crazy ideas, and encourage you with wisdom or just a check-in to see how things went. Whether Matt Kelley intentionally does that for me or not, he's been a champion of mine for several years.
I met Matt close to a dozen years ago when one of my roommates after college took a job with Matt at his agency, One Lucky Guitar, and when I was working for an a different ad agency. I remember interviewing with Matt when OLG was just starting to take off. I took it as a privilege and he most certainly made the right decision by hiring someone else. He's got a knack for surrounding himself with the right people at OLG. If I ever return to advertising, I want to work at OLG because of what Matt has created there.
Matt has this "rockstar" vibe about him, which I translate to a magnetism that's connected to his soul, which exudes authenticity. It's really less rockstar and more "one of the nicest guys you'll meet." He's a genuine, shoot-ya-straight kind of guy in the nicest way possible. I'd say that he knows who he isn't and is continually pursuing a path of figuring out just who he is everyday. It's one of the things I admire the most about Matt. He really does know who he is, what he wants/should put his time towards, what's most important to him, and is constantly refining that because we're never fully formed and always developing to be the best version of ourselves. He'll speak truth to situations that he believes need it and he'll do it with conviction, grace, and humility rather than negativity and defensiveness. Whether he feels like he gets it right or not, the times I've seen him speak out, it's forced me to reconsider how I respond to similar situations.
An acquaintance has turned into a friendship over the past couple of years, at least for me. Not sure we've ever talked about being friends, but it's one of those things that doesn't have to be discussed, does it? Probably, but beyond whatever you call our relationship, he's been at least a mentor of mine. He's always generous with his time and professional advise. I often text, email, or stop over to OLG when I need feedback at NeighborLink regarding creative, marketing, Team NeighborLink, or when I'm doubting my role as a leader. He always responds with grace, his authentic nature, and the word I needed to affirm whatever I was thinking about. Those that read this that know Matt likely have a similar story to tell about him.
Matt, thank you for being you and for allowing me to be a part of that journey. I'm grateful for your wisdom, friendship, and what you do for others. I'm learning to be more generous and more focused because of what I've picked up from your leadership. I'm starting with you because this whole series of posts is inspired by the way I've seen you publicly celebrate the influences in your life and your call to write more "love letters" to the people that have impacted you in some way.