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 first met Matt Clayson when he was founding Executive Director at the Detroit Creative Corridor Center (now Design Core Detroit) and I was Chief of Staff at TechTown. Our organizations were given a joint grant to develop entrepreneurship programming for Detroit’s creative community. This was the early days of small business support and collaboration was new, and at times, challenging. Each organization was still trying to carve out their niche and often tasked to create similar programming to meet funder directives.
We worked together with our teams to develop workshops, events, and training programs for thousands of Detroit’s creative entrepreneurs. In this experience, I learned about Matt’s compassionate leadership, commitment to excellence, and his ability to effectively liaise with a disparate group of stakeholders and partners.
Advocate For Women In Leadership
As an advocate for women in leadership (he led an all-female team at DC3), cultural sensitivity, and civic leadership, Matt was asked to attend the 2012 Global Entrepreneurship Summit with the US Department of State, Aspen Institute, and Atlantic Council in Morocco. There, in Marrakech, we sat together on panels sharing our experiences in supporting small businesses in Detroit, but also gleaning important insights from our international partners and developing a rich understanding and appreciation for their work. Following the trip, Matt continued on with these organizations deepening his commitment to civic leadership through fellow programs with the German Marshall Fund, Atlantic Council, BMW Foundation and others. But what I remember most from that trip was Matt’s insatiable appetite to learn all he could about Marrakech and its citizens, so much that on our one free day when most conference attendees shopped at the souk or relaxed at the hammam, Matt visited the city’s artist collectives and women’s cooperatives.
I enjoyed working on these projects with Matt so much, that I eventually joined the Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3) team working as their Entrepreneur-in-Residence, further developing those programs that we initially created together.
Only Candidate With Both Public And Private Sector Experience
The only candidate with both private sector and philanthropic experience, Matt spearheaded DC3’s efforts for years with a surplus in funds, a near impossibility in Detroit’s nonprofit scene. And since 2015, he’s served as General Counsel for Detroit Trading, an industry-leading automotive digital marketing firm. Matt’s natural ability to reach across the aisle, genuinely listen to and apply feedback, and empower those he works with, are skills that will serve him well as MSU Trustee.
I’m fortunate to consider Matt and his wife Kim friends, and am honored to wholeheartedly endorse, volunteer for, contribute to, and support his campaign as MSU Trustee. Matt’s unwavering integrity, fiscal management expertise, community and civic leadership, and innate compassion for those he works with and for, position him well for this role and the hard work ahead at Michigan State.
Meredith Kerekes currently works for the Italian government supporting Italian businesses as they seek to enter and grow in the United States, and stewards the Made in Italy brand specific to beauty and personal care markets. She and her husband Josh Bartlett live in Ferndale, Michigan and anxiously await the next time they’re invited to a gourmet meal at Matt and Kim’s house. (Matt is an amazing chef!)