May 13, 2014

Speech to New Leaders Council - Chicago Chapter

(l-r) Laura Garcia, me, Marquell Smith, Gov. Pat Quinn
I had the great honor of speaking to the Chicago chapter of the New Leaders Council last week. They held their annual fundraiser at the Paris Club and asked me to speak to the VIP crowd that met before the main event.

When Laura Garcia called me and asked if I would speak to the group, I was humbled. I was also immediately thankful for starting this blog years ago. I feel like I have a message for leaders of all kinds, and this venue would be a great place to test it out.

However, when I realized that the other speaker during the event was the GOVERNOR OF THE STATE, well that raised the pressure a level or two.

I did not read my speech from a script, but this is what I wrote out ahead of time, and pretty much what I said:

Hi - I'm Matt Kuzma. I'm Director of Operations at GrubHub, a little tech company you may be familiar with - anyone here order from GH? - Great - keep doing it! I've been at GH 3 years, and I love my job. 
I serve our employees by overseeing our facilities and operations, and I get to lead special projects, like when we merge with other companies, expand into new markets, things like that. 
I'm excited to be here tonight, certainly honored to share a stage with the Governor, but mostly to meet you all. I'm a leader. Always have been. And I love meeting other leaders! Because leaders-- especially young progressive leaders--understand better than anyone else, that Each Person Matters. 
Let me tell you a little more about where I'm from, and my career so far. I grew up in Kansas. My dad and a business partner opened a few restaurants. So for all of high school, I waited tables, baked desserts, ran deliveries, counted the money, you name it. 
Anyone here ever work for tips? 
When you work for tips, you learn quickly that Each Customer Matters - you never know who the big tip will come from. 
After college, I ran an ACT/SAT tutoring business for Kaplan, making sales calls to parents, hiring and training tutors, and meeting with students. I learned quickly there to make all my sales calls because Each Prospect Matters. 
Anyone here ever work sales? 
You never know who the big sale will come from.
After I got bitten by the politics bug, I went to grad school for urban planning at UIC and started working with some of you here on campaigns. Campaigns are very definition of this concept - Each Voter Matters, Each Donor Matters, Each Volunteer Matters. 
Anyone here ever work field?
When you work field, 100% of your time is spent making connections with people, because you never know for sure who will turn out, who will max out in donations, and who will open a polling place on Election Day. 
After my candidate's loss in 2008, I decided to work non-profit for a while to take a break from the campaign grind. I was Director of Communications for the United Methodist Church for 2 years, helping local churches get the word out to their communities. 
Each Person Matters. That's a message they were familiar with.  
Finally, we get to GrubHub, a company that succeeds by adding more people and more restaurants to its networks every day. Each Customer Matters. Each Restaurant Matters.
I'm a leader. Always have been. And I love meeting other leaders! Because leaders-- especially young progressive leaders--realize better than anyone else, that Each Person Matters. 
 Each Person Matters. You matter. Thank you.