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!

Read more in the series | Do you know Matt? Endorse him here!


Bryan Waldecker and Kim Clayson riding to Motor City Pride 2018

This is Bryan riding behind Kim to Motor City Pride.

I had a thought yesterday as my Husband, Bryan, and I marched in the Motor City Pride Parade (Motor City Pride parade highlights largest LGBTQ gathering in Michigan) with the Claysons (Matt, Kim, and their children): this is a perfect time for me to add my voice to our Real People Know Matt series.

Matt is a close friend, and since we work together daily in our business, I can give some unique insights on his affect on my life both professionally and personally.

Matt, My Friend.

Bryan and I met Matt and Kim through mutual friends nearly 15 years ago as they were starting their new life together in Detroit. Back then, when we were all younger, I was a vocal proponent of living in the city. Matt and Kim soon became neighbors and closer friends, and a bond was made that lasts to this day.

Matt Clayson and Kim Clayson at Wedding

Matt and Kim at our wedding, with our close friend Brad

Through countless dinners and chats, Bryan and I have grown to respect and love Matt. And Matt’s active support for the LGBTQ community is just one of many reasons his friendship means so much to me. We also share the same core values of love, trust, loyalty, and honesty as the foundation of strong relationships.

Bryan and I are proud to have been invited into Matt and Kim’s lives those several years ago and to share in their joy of raising 2 beautiful children. And when Bryan and I decided to get married officially after 15 years together, the Matt and Kim were at the top of our very short invite list.

Matt, My Colleague.

Matt Clayson in NYC

This is a group pic with 2 of our colleagues in NYC after a day of pitching and presentations.

At some point early on in our friendship, Matt began reaching out to me, as is his nature, in order to seek out advice and talk about each of our professional goals. This was special and new to me… I’d never had a friend seek out and give professional advice. To this day, Matt maintains an open feedback loop to candidly discuss how we each can improve and do better as co-workers and colleagues.

I was there as Matt relaunched the Detroit Creative Corridor Center, DC3, (now Design Core Detroit) with College for Creative Studies. I was honored that Matt sought my advice on the launch based on my expertise in strategy, branding and marketing. It was the first time we worked together professionally, and the diverse and dynamic group of people Matt brought together made me proud of him and of the project he was leading.

Matt Clayson

Matt and me after pitching a major publisher.

During his tenure in economic development in Detroit, Matt and I worked together with dozens of people on projects he initiated to add jobs and opportunity to Detroit’s economy. My professional success and the success of Matt’s economic initiatives in Detroit can be directly attributed to his ability to bring diverse and talented people together to collaborate and affect momentous change.

Fast forward to today after I ran a successful ad agency, I joined my biggest client in-house and I was fortunate to convince Matt to join me on our business team. To this day, we continue to work together professionally. And each and every day I come to the office I’m calmed and assured by his presence and contribution to our business. He has grown into an even more effective leader and I couldn’t be more proud to tell people I work with him.

Each and every day I come to the office I’m calmed and assured by his presence and contribution to our business. He has grown into an even better leader while with our team here, and I couldn’t be prouder to tell people I work with him.

Life with Matt.

Matt Clayson Todd Ridley Travel

Another bit of travel for work…

Every day, Matt Clayson affects my life in a positive way. It may sound impossible, but it’s true. Like so many of our close friends and my business partners and colleagues, Matt is always there for support, advise and friendship. Matt takes it a step farther by being proactive with me: “How is your day going? Tell me what’s bugging you. How can I help?” Not everyone is empathic, and that’s ok. But take it from me, it’s really nice to have someone think about you before asking for help.

My life is better every day with Matt, and it’s one of the reasons I respect him and I’m willing to give time and energy to a campaign that will help him help our state and MSU.

Tried and True. So, what does this mean for you?

Todd Ridley Motor City Pride

Me with Matt and Kim’s youngest at Motor City Pride

I only have my perspective to give you about Matt. But you can rest assured it’s true and a first-person testimony to Matt as a person. Matt is the real deal.

If you’re a Democratic delegate in this year’s convention in Lansing, I hope my words here will motivate you to learn more about Matt, make a contribution and ultimately vote for him there as the nominee.

With Matt at the table at Michigan State University, you’ll be assured there is a tried and true, honest and hardworking individual there to make sure the right decisions are being made.

Todd Ridley.

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