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Hard Work Pays Off: Q & A with 2011 Alumnus Matthew Smith

Hard Work Pays Off: Q & A with 2011 Alumnus Matthew Smith

SMDP: What is a lesson you took away during your time at Saint Martin?

Matthew: The most important lesson I learned at Saint Martin was the sense of hard work. Through my involvement, work study experiences, and the community, I was able to learn what it means to work hard and see how it pays off. I quickly saw this in motion when I was awarded the Howley Scholarship freshman year. This scholarship was the first time I felt my work was seen, and rewarded. I gained more motivation to achieve my goals and through that, was offered opportunities that I wouldn’t have had, financially and personally. I learned the value of determination in order to achieve a goal which showed me that hard work pays off.

SMDP: Tell me about your Corporate Work Study experience at Saint Martin.

Matthew: I had several work study jobs that provided me with a well-rounded experience! I started working at Saint Martin in the school and after they noticed the quality of my work abilities, they transferred me to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Then, I was placed at MAI Wealth Advisors to finish off my freshman year. Sophomore year, I was at Oatey where I was involved in basic clerical tasks, file maintenance, and light computer work. Junior year, I went back to MAI Wealth Advisors for the entire year and then switched over to Gioffre & Schroeder, a law firm in Cleveland for my senior year. Here I worked as the main receptionist, operated a multi line switchboard, and scheduled client meetings. When the work program ended, Gioffre & Schroeder hired me for the summer...a full circle moment showing me again that hard work pays off!! These different professional experiences taught me many transferable skills that I can demonstrate in any job today. They also built me an impressive resume at such a young age, which opened many doors for me.

SMDP: What have you been up to since you graduated from Saint Martin and what are your future plans?

Matthew: After graduating, I attended Kent State University for a year, then went to Cuyahoga Community College for 3 semesters. During the third semester there, since I already had an impressive resume thanks to Saint Martin, Robert Half, a talent solutions and employment agency, offered me a temporary position as a receptionist. Since I was undecided and unsure what I wanted to do with my degree anyway, I decided to take the position and leave Cuyahoga Community College.

Fast forward 2 years later when I was working in a temp job as the Office Assistant at E Prep Woodland Hills, when I was brought on specifically to organize their filing system. I left a good impression on the team I worked with, which lead to the Director of Operations at the time to hire me full time. 6 years later, through multiple promotions, I got promoted to Director of Operations at E Prep Woodland Hills, which is what I do currently. In this role, I manage all school operations to allow our academic team & teachers a teachable environment. I manage food services, facilities, main office, aspects of payroll & purchasing, and much more. I get to work with students ages ranging from 5 to 14 years old. It is rewarding when I see them grow and achieve their goals. I am happy I found a position and plan to continue growing here. Working my way up to this leadership position proved that again hard work pays off.

SMDP: What advice would you give to current Saint Martin students?

Matthew: Enjoy it while you can because life comes at you fast. These are the years where you plant the seeds to blossom! Find what you like to do and don't be afraid to go for it. The work you put into your current years matters, and it WILL pay off in the future.


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