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Matthews ’08 Honored by Forbes “30 Under 30” Listing

Chris Matthews is splitting time between San Francisco and New York City as part of his new job as a senior brand strategist with Goodby, Silverstein & Partners (GSP). In addition to his new job, the 2008 Widener communication studies graduate was recently named to the Forbes Magazine “30 Under 30” list in the field of marketing and advertising. Recognizing those who are “disrupting the advertising and marketing industry like nobody’s business,” Forbes bestowed the 26-year-old Matthews with the honor in December.
"It's cool. I'm honored to be part of the list," Matthews said, "but it doesn't mean that I'm better than everyone else or that I'm going to be a trillionaire."

At GSP, Matthews is involved in digital creative strategy, product development, and analytics. Prior to joining GSP, he led Big Spaceship's work with the Google Creative Lab. His focus was to explore new platforms and products and develop novel ideas for them with his team. The most successful idea was "What Do You Love?," a meta search tool that won several awards.

Matthews' modesty about the honor is part of his nature, but it's also attributable to his entrée into the business. Graduating at the height of the recession, Matthews, like many people, struggled to start his career, but he didn't give up.

"You just need to be relentless about it," Matthews said of the job search. "For me, it was a big numbers game. It wasn't about finding available positions; it was about contacting everyone and anyone I could. I would tell graduates entering the field today to focus less on available jobs and focus more on trying to get a cup of coffee or have a beer with people you like."

Matthews said the collaborative nature of the communication studies program at Widener helped prepare him for the work atmosphere at companies like Big Spaceship and GSP.

"At Widener, we had to all learn to work together and that meant exposing myself to research, design, writing and presenting," Matthews said. "Nowadays, more companies are working across disciplines and in teams rather than by department, so I think the communication studies program helps you prepare to work in less compartmentalized, more collaborative environments."

Matthews is not in a suit-and-tie, lug-a-briefcase kind of job, which is just fine with him. It requires fresh thinking and sometimes breaking the rules.

"When I graduated, I didn't know I could wear a T-shirt and shorts to work. In this job, the more traditional you are, the more you're inflicting injury to your career."

"The most important thing I learned at Widener was to be myself," he said. "The Communication Studies Department really encouraged all of us to be ourselves, and that helped me develop into the person I am today."