Series: “Real People Know Matt.”
As supporters of Matt and his campaign for MSU Trustee, we thought it would be great if you could get to know him through unique perspectives. In this series we’re calling “Real People Know Matt,” we’re planning to show you how he has impacted our personal and professional lives. After all, it’s not all about policy and brains. Sometimes it’s best just to get to know the person. We hope you agree!
I can’t think of a better time to share why my friend and colleague Matt Clayson should be a new Michigan State Trustee.
Kind and Generous
I’ve known Matt for almost ten years now. He is a kind and generous, personal friend who enjoys to cook for friends after work on Monday evenings. I learned this after joining a neighborhood cooking club. Matt would rush in, quietly put together a complicated meal and hardly join in the raucous discussion of City politics or neighborhood politics or parenting politics until his meal was either ready or cooking. At which point, he would join in the conversation without missing a beat. What I realized over time, is that Matt and I shared this process of cooking quietly as a way to decompress and transition from the workday.
This small connection was important to me. Matt and I both served Detroit in impactful, but stressful economic development non-profit organizations. While Matt led what is now Design Core Detroit, I moved into the Executive Director position at Detroit Future City. We both shared the weight of making Detroit a better place as non-profits with high expectations. Once Matt’s meal was prepared (always delicious) he could then really focus on how not only his other friends were fairing in their own positions, but he could check in to make sure I was ok and felt supported in the challenging work we were undertaking.
Maintaining His Commitment to Detroit
While Matt professionally moved into the private sector, he maintained his commitment to Detroit. It was important to him that Detroit continued to grow and thrive as a place where people mattered and diversity was valued. Matt has always been passionate about the potential of Detroit. He sees the beauty of the people, the place, the history, the culture, and the economic value as the largest city in Michigan.
When Matt shared with me that he was running for MSU Trustee shortly after the sexual abuse scandal, I was in awe. To step forward during a public scandal that was handled terribly by the current administration sounds bananas! However, to step forward on behalf of Michigan State Alumni and as a lifelong Michigander, parent, and tax-payer to volunteer to take a leadership role for the largest Land Grant University in Michigan is bravery. Matt’s passion to change the culture of Michigan State to make sure that there is never another incident of abuse to happens again, but that Michigan State lives up to its expectations of excellence in education and service to the community as a higher education institution.
I am so proud to say that my friend and colleague Matt Clayson is running for Michigan State Trustee. As a Detroiter and a Michigander, I’m supporting him and I implore you to do so as well.
Anika is an experienced community development professional who seeks to engage distressed communities in creating impactful, resident-led change.