One-on-One With Matt Patterson
Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
A: Absolutely. I was born and raised in a small steel town suburb of Baltimore, Maryland. Very blue collar. Growing up, I was very active in sports (football, baseball, basketball) and was fortunate enough to have my father as my coach during my youth. In high school I was very active in sports as well as school and class activities. I was the class treasurer each of my four years in high school. Once I graduated I headed west for college. After my freshman year of college I left school to serve as a missionary for two years in Madrid, Spain and upon my return, I finished my college studies graduating in communications.
Q: How about your parents.
A: My father worked in the steel mills for more than 40 years. My mother was a legal secretary. Both worked so very hard. They always made sure my sister and I had what we needed. My mother was very much the spiritual and emotional influence in my life. They set such an example for me that I will be forever grateful.
Q: Why did you become a speaker?
A: I get this question quite a bit. Honestly, I have to preface my answer with the response that there is no real "why" I became a speaker. I do, however; have a background in broadcasting, corporate communications as well as public and media relations.
Some six-plus years ago I released my first book - My Emily. It was written in a first person "voice" - a conversational style that allowed readers to feel as if they were sitting with me listening as I told this story. The reasoning behind writing this book was to help me grieve - even though it was published some 25 years after Emily's birth. Thanks to my mother, I have always been quite sensitive emotionally. This book was a way for me to release all the many emotions associated with Emily's story. This "release" also became a mission and a passion. I passionately share Emily's story with anyone who will listen. I sincerely believe it is my mission to help families with special needs children or those who have little ones battling pediatric cancers and those couples who are grieving the loss of a child. I truly feel blessed to do this.
Q: How have you incorporated Emily’s story into your programs and presentations?
A: First and foremost, I just try to be me. I try to be Matt and I try to be as open and authentic as I can possibly be.
It has been more than 25 years when I heard the words “Down syndrome” and “leukemia.” I didn’t really know what these words were or what they meant. “Other people” had to deal with these issues – not me. Not us.
I don’t want to share the whole story here – that’s where my book and presentations come in – but I try to take groups on a journey of life, love, laughter and loss – not only from a father’s point of view, but from a husband’s point of view and from a business person’s point of view. Not many fathers will put his emotions out there for others to see. Especially when it can deal with some aspects of grief. What I stress is that there is strength in our struggles and that we are not defined by what we overcome, but what we choose to become.
We really have a good time during my presentations. They’re very interactive. There’s a great deal of laughing – mostly because I love to poke fun at myself. But we also reach down deep and become completely transparent to take the lead by owning our outcomes and celebrating our victories – no matter how big or small.
Q: How do you approach speaking engagements?
A: I do my absolute best to approach each and every one of my speaking engagements and opportunities from a specific purpose level. I do not have some sort of cookie-cutter presentation. I don’t do what some may call, “gigs" and I don’t give “speeches.” When I stand before a group I treat it as though I have the message that this specific gathering of people needs in order to rise to the next level in their lives - personally and professionally.
From "Day One" of this endeavor of becoming a speaker, I have tried my very best to be known as someone who is genuine and authentic – a person of substance. I set out to be someone who had the ability to touch and inspire individuals and organizations to overcome hardships and hard times, while cultivating a spirit of service and empowering them to manage life's difficult moments and achieve real results. Each and every time I stand before a group I share my message, trying to create a new air for positive changes that will last long after the event ends.
Q: Last question. How do I get Matt to speak to my organization?
A: Easiest question of the bunch! Click right here to submit an online request.