Networking and Systematizing Getting Your First Job With Matthew Kennedy Stewart

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Table Of Contents

In this episode, Mike Gardon chats with Matthew Kennedy Stewart. Matthew is co-founder and CEO of National Service Group (NSG), which operates College Works Painting, Empire Community Construction, Home Genius Exteriors, and SMJJ Investments. NSG has grown from a small Southern California-based business into an international company located throughout the United States and Canada. In addition to his role at NSG, Matt serves on the board of directors for multiple organizations. He is past chairman of the global board for the Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO), a worldwide-business network comprising over 14,000 leading entrepreneurs representing more than 142 chapters located in 46 countries.

Matt is consistently recognized for his leadership and management expertise. He has earned the Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award from the Orange County Business Journal and the OC Metro 40 Under 40, and he was an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards Finalist.  He has traveled extensively across the world speaking on the topics of entrepreneurship, strategic planning, and business development. In particular, Matt is passionate about mentoring millennials and generation Z.  He regularly provides his entrepreneurial insight to high-profile print and online publications. Matt is the host of “The Edge of Excellence” Podcast, Matt has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur magazine*, Inc.* magazine, and Fox Business News and on ABC, CBS, and more. Matt is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara and lives in Laguna Niguel, California, with his wife, Jill, and their two children.


  • Matthew’s background
  • Tips for people looking to figure out their career
  • The power of personality and DISC testing and why Matthew says all colleges should be implementing these tests
  • How to make a job out of getting a job
  • Matthew’s thoughts on the disconnect in getting into college and getting a job out of college
  • How networking can benefit you and Matthew’s tips on networking
    • Being thoughtful and genuine goes a long way
  • Matthew’s thoughts on college


Help us reach new listeners by leaving us a rating and review on Apple Podcasts! It takes less than 30 seconds and really helps our show grow, which allows us to bring on even better guests for you all! Thank you – we really appreciate it.


  • Tips to get career ready
  • One of Matthew’s tips is to get your resume dialed in now
  • “Your network is your networth. So what are you doing to maintain relationships?” - quote from Matthew
  • “It’s not networking, it’s relationship building.” - quote from Matthew
  • Check out Matthew’s podcast. You can also check out NSG and College Works.


Disclaimer: The transcript that follows has been generated using artificial intelligence. We strive to be as accurate as possible, but minor errors and slightly off timestamps may be present due to platform differences.

Mike Gardon (00:00):

Hi everyone. And welcome back to another episode of CareerCloud Radio. I am your host Michael Gardon. I'm on a mission to help job seekers build thriving careers of their choosing. And to do that, I have interesting conversations with people that approach the idea of career a bit differently. Today's guest is Matthew Stewart. Matt’s story is super interesting. He went from one of us, not what you wanna do with your lives type of people in college to now where he is co-founder and CEO of national service group, which operates college works, painting empire community construction, home genius, exteriors, and SM J J investments. National service group has grown from a small Southern California based business into an international company located throughout the United States and Canada. In addition to his role at NSG, Matt serves as on the board of directors of multiple organizations. He is past chairman of the global board for the entrepreneurs organization, a worldwide business network comprising over 14,000 leading entrepreneurs representing more than 142 chapters.

Mike Gardon (01:01):

The located in 46 countries, Matt is consistently recognized for his leadership and management expertise. He was an Ernston young entrepreneur of the year award finalist. He has traveled extensively across the world. Speaking on topics of entrepreneurship, strategic planning, and business development. In particular, Matt is passionate about mentoring millennial and gen Z people. He regularly provides his entrepreneurial insight to high profile print and online publications. Matt has been featured in the wall street journal, entrepreneur magazine, Inc magazine and Fox business news. And on ABC, CBS and more, Matt also hosts the edge of excellence podcast. In this episode, Matt and I chat about his start and life life. How he went from being an intern at college works painting to then acquiring the business, how young people can provide value in networking simply by being thoughtful and how to systematize getting that first job, by the way this conversation was going. I expected Matt to come out hard against the value of college, but he surprised me with his answer. I hope you enjoy this wide ranging conversation with Matt Stewart, Matt, welcome to the podcast. How are you today?

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (02:08):

I'm great, Mike. Thanks for having me.

Mike Gardon (02:09):

Great to, uh, meet you and connect our listeners. Just got a nice earful of your, of your lengthy bio. And I would love as a jumping off point to the conversation, I would love for you to take our audience back. You can start in college or maybe your first job or however you would like to take it, but kind of try to trace your career arc a little bit and tie together. Some of the amazing things that you've done with your career so far.

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (02:38):

All right, we'll go back to high school because I'm sure a lot of your audience had the same experience as I did people. They admire saying, you should do this. Have you thought about that as well as really no understanding of what was out there. And I grew up in New Mexico, which there's just whole segments of the economy missing in New Mexico. Like, I didn't know what an entrepreneur was. Car dealers are number one, then lawyers and doctors, then everybody else. And you know, I didn't know that there were excellent entrepreneurial jobs. I just didn't know what was out there. So I left New Mexico and went to college and you know, I think that there's a natural, there's a, a systemized systemic, lack of fairness and logic to finding a career. So you're in high school, you're watching TV, you know, about doctors, lawyers, firemen, police, what your parents do.

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (03:27):

You used to know what your friend's parents did now. People don't even ask that anymore. And then you get to college and they say, Hey, pick a major. And by the way, in four years after we keep you in this little bubble, you gotta figure out your whole life. And I find that to be kind of stressful unnecessarily, uh, because you're gonna change your career. A bunch of times, there's not enough tools. They could give dis tools. There's so many things we could do to help people figure out what their career is. And then they go off and wander the world like Kane and hope to figure it out. So I luckily ran into some people that had a business internship and they said, Hey, do this business internship. And I didn't know what a business internship was. So I took the opportunity and I did really well at it.

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (04:07):

And then I was promoted and then luckily the company went bankrupt. So we got to start the company up again. And all of a sudden I was an entrepreneur. So I guess the first turning point was serendipity being open to opportunities. I always had a strong work ethic, so not being afraid of hard work. And then there was a lot of forks in the road and pretty much every fork in the road was the hard way or the easy way. And pretty much every fork in the road was, do I wanna help other people or do I wanna take care of myself? And I always take the hard road. I always go to help other people. Most of the things I do I do for, for free, but other opportunities arise from that. And so, you know, I volunteered on a charity board and then I was on another charity board. And then I was chairman of this board, chairman of that board, chairman of the global board, flying all over the world, meeting all these heads of state and, and big business leaders. And just more and more doors opened up because of serendipity taking the hard road and looking out for others.

Mike Gardon (05:03):

So you mentioned the internship and you kind of, but right before that, you kind of said, didn't quite know what I wanted to do. Did you have a number of internship opportunities? What was the internship that you took? Explain that a little bit.

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (05:16):

Yeah. I, I grew up in New Mexico and my family was middle class. So I always had jobs and, you know, we, we measure in, in the internship by now own, we measure a bunch of things that make people successful. Did they work three years or more in high school? As one of 'em, if you say yes to that, your one notch up, did you work full time? And I always hear for my friends. Yeah. But what about sports? Who gives a about sports? I went to the hockey game with the 12 year N B athlete. He's in real estate now. So yeah, he played in the NBA and people know who he is, but that doesn't last very long. And most people don't go to the NBA. So I had to work and I played sports and I was intercollegiate athlete. Um, but I wasn't going pro into the NFL and I knew it.

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (05:57):

So I had to do other things. So I had this internship, it was called student works painting. Then we changed the name to college, works painting. And I got to run a little painting company in Santa Barbara, California, which I had no idea how to do. I was the worst salesperson. I was totally incompetent at getting leads and marketing my entire force, quit on me while I was throwing a barbecue for them. They all walked, stamped all my flowers and all left. So I was the worst sales, worst marketing, worst boss, but I was all the worst at age 20. So when I got outta school at 21 or whatever you are, when you get outta school, I wasn't the worst anymore. And so I had enough confidence that business fell apart. We restarted that business. And then through serendipity, again, there was a guy that was in that business that wanted to do something else. So we started a business with him and then another person that wanted to do something else. And we started a business with them. And over time we ended up with a portfolio of companies from serendipity and hard work and hanging out with people like us.

Mike Gardon (06:55):

And so the internship program that you're talking of about eventually turned into what is now college works, is that correct? Yes. I just wanna tie that, make sure we tie that together. Yeah. Yeah. Interesting. So you, you had kinda a window into early problems in terms of even selecting a college and what to do. There's really a lot of overlaps. I had a, my dad is a, a lawyer and so it's kind of all, I, I really knew and I didn't feel like I really understood or had an appreciation for all of the options out there. So that's really interesting. Did you end up falling in love with what you did or was there something else that kind of triggered you to keep going? Or was it just this kind of continuous process of hard work, failing serendipity, making it work that you just kind of, uh, kept running with?

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (07:45):

I had this exact same background as you. My dad wasn't a lawyer, but my grandfather was a doctor, so I wanted to be a doctor. And then I passed out in the operating room at 12 years old watching a surgery. And I didn't pass that when they cut the kid open, I passed out when they stuck the two tube down his throat. So no way can I be a doctor? So that was off the list of 12. And then everybody was telling me, be a lawyer, be a lawyer, be a lawyer, cuz I can talk and I can sell. And we're watching whatever law show and we're watching the lawyers in front of the courtroom and they're doing a great job selling and I thought, okay, great. But then I realized what a lawyer really is a, lawyer's an exact act professional. They focus on perfection, every word matters.

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (08:24):

And I started to realize, wait a second, that's not me. I could have taken a dis test and figured that out. I didn't know what that was at the time. So if you don't know what you're doing, take a dis test and figure it out. It makes it a lot. There's science, that'll help you. And then I did this internship and I went, oh wow, this, this is cool. I get to use my gift of G and business in the sales aspect, I get to organize people. I wanted to be a partner in the law firm. I could just organize them in a different business. My dad was a teacher. I always wanted to be a teacher. So now I get to teach business to people and I don't have to deal with the rules. I'm not a rules person. So how can I be a lawyer that enforces rules? If I'm not a rules person, I'll be a business person, an entrepreneur that breaks the rules for a living. Uh, that's what we do and then teach other people how to break the rules too, I guess.

Mike Gardon (09:10):

Yeah. It's very interesting. And, and so you, you just kind of kept following that path and a lot of what you do today is really talking about or not talking about, but actually mentoring and helping the younger generation figure out what they wanna do.

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (09:26):

Yeah. My brother was chief of staff of Microsoft and he was like the number two or three guy at Salesforce. And he's always been a real high level executive. And he says, you try it out for at least a year commit for at least a year. So I committed for a year. I was really horrible. I wanted to stop cause I was so horrible, but I committed. And then I got through that learning curve and found out I was pretty good at it. And so the business opportunity kind of opened up for me. And like I said, I wanted to be a teacher. So I had a teaching on my own terms and I still will retire and sell all my companies and become a substitute teacher one day. And I already know what school I'm going to. I was chairman of their school board too.

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (10:03):

So I have this plan to come full circle. But in the meantime I like the game of business. And so I conduct the game of business in the construction industry and we have a few companies and the real estate in, but where I spend my time, what my day job is coaching people on business because I've always wanted to be the teacher. I like to sparkle in their eyes when they figure it out and for a hobby. And I've got a kid in college, I've got a kid almost in college. I coach people on getting into college, cuz I guess I was, I didn't know I was good at it. Serendipity again, I helped my son and he got into all these schools. He should have never got into because of the gift of gab. We did a good job of kissing butt and getting to know people and letting 'em know we were serious.

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (10:46):

We're not playing games here. We want to go to your school and that works. So I help other kids for free do that. Uh, and then I help people find their careers. And that came out of working at college works. I take the top 100 people every year, give 'em a dis test and they want to be an accountant. And I give 'em a dis test and say, no, no, no, you're gonna hate that. Let me give you some alternatives. Cuz your personality is the opposite personality of someone that's following the rules, working within the box, which we need all sorts of people. But if you are an accountant type person going into sales, you're gonna hate your job. And if you're a sales type person going into accounting, you're gonna hate your job. So through college works is kind of a bonus I would do for the top 100 people. Every year I tried to automate it. I couldn't automate it. So I'm still doing small little groups, but I made my own podcast to try to help people figure out their career. So it's my passion. It's my pastime. And it's my job. So when I'm not mountain bike or back country skiing or touring around the world, I'm in there helping high school in 20 somethings because I was one and I'm glad people helped me. So I'm paying it forward.

Mike Gardon (11:49):

Excellent. So yeah, our, like I kind of mentioned before our audience is really, you know, looking at the world, trying to figure out how to get ahead and I mean think about a big part of that. It's a gnarly problem cuz in some ways there's opportunity overload, but obviously like selecting a career that you love and can thrive in is a, is a huge part of that. So in your mind, when a person is looking to their career, what are some of the steps maybe what's missing? What are some common pitfalls of people that people just miss? I mean, you start with, you kind of start with just this test, right? Like take a test and understand your personality and, and there, but from, from there, where do you kind of go?

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (12:30):

Well, I, I think that's a big miss and I think all the university, you should have a semester where they do a personality test, who you are, figure that out and then match it up with jobs. So I think understanding that and disc test, you know, that's the one I've always used. Strength finders, one Myers, Briggs is, is core personality. I don't like it as much. Disc is behavioral patterns, but if you start there and you figure out how you interact with world, that can eliminate a lot of careers. So for me, I score in a way di I drive things, I influence people. I can't do accounting, research, coding, computer programming, contract law medicine. So all the things I wanted to do archeology was another one I wanted to do all that's wrong for me. So I think step one is really gut check where you think you're going.

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (13:20):

Step two, I think is make a job out of getting a job. And I see my son, he's at T lane university and he applies for a design internship with a couple people he knows. And then he waits and said, that's not how you do it, make it a 40 hour a week job. And I spend a couple hours a day looking and sourcing the leads and figuring out where you might wanna apply. Spend a couple of hours a day, making individual cover letters and making calls spend a couple hours a day, soliciting interviews, then do a bunch of interviews and get ten second interviews and get six job offers. So you choose is the best one. And I think, you know, those are two steps that are missing. And I think a big one, if you haven't worked a lot, go work a lot. You gotta get the pizza place job.

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (14:04):

Then you gotta move up to the counter job and learn how to deal with people. Then you gotta move up to the other crap job that's beneath you cuz you have a college degree from Madison and your a genius. But if you don't go through steps, you're not getting hired. And I had a young woman from TCU the other day, I was coaching a friend of mine's daughter coaching. My buddy owns all the companies she wants to work at. He owns reef and decline and canoe and lib tech and all these action sports companies. And he used to be the CEO of Oakley. And I sent her resume to him and I said, Hey, you know, if you have any internships, you wanna pass it on. And he said no. And he said, no, cuz her resume was one fourth sorority volunteer crap that no one gives a about.

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (14:47):

And then she'd had a couple little jobs. I mean, we wanna see that you, I mean, this is the easiest job market in the world, but we wanna see people are gonna be able to work hard and see people have made the right decision. And if you're going into an interview and you've worked hard, you've got a personality test where you can say, Hey, this is the type of person I am. You've got some experience and you might be 25 right now, tooling, your thumbs waiting tables on some job. You can't move off of that. You just started your process late.

Mike Gardon (15:15):

So it, it was really interesting. You said, make it make a job out of getting a job. I think that's definitely like one of the most overlooked things in terms of getting a first job, a second job. But when you're young, a lot of people just, if they haven't had a job, they don't know how to make it a job. I think what you were talking about to, to just break that down a little bit is what are all the inputs that you have to do and how do you measure them, right? Like you have to kind of go in and expect that I have to do more than I'm going to necessarily get out of like, I need to send a hundred cover letters. They need to be different and, and tailored. And then I, I can expect to see this many interviews and I can expect to get, you know, one job out of this whole, you know, creating this whole like systematized funnel. To me, it seems like those are the types of things where higher education is kind of failing people. Yeah. In terms of thinking through the problem and how do, and how do you systematize it? How do you see that? I guess the state of higher education in terms of preparing young people to be in the workforce and what responsibility do they have in this whole thing?

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (16:23):

I think the process to get into college is not the same as the process getting out of college, you got your athletics, you've got your community service and you're full of crap. You didn't do anything. You joined a club, you never went there. You played sports. You're not gonna be a pro. Um, you write a great essay, which is great for some careers, you do well on tests and smart matters. Book smart does matter. But to get into college, it's different than getting a job outta college, outta college, they wanna experience that's it. They wanna experience an attitude. Nobody cares what I mean, my Microsoft does an interview out of the top 20 colleges. A lot of companies will throw your resume away if you're below a three, five. So that does exist. But I, you know, I placed somebody in Goldman Sachs for my internship who went to a number 90 school.

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (17:08):

She had pretty good grades. I think, I don't know. I never asked her what her grades were, but she had great experience and she had great recommendations. So I think there's a disconnect in getting into college and getting a job outta college. I don't think the universities care that much on what happens after school. They care what their graduation rate is and what their acceptance rate is. So they're not spending the money and the energy, preparing people to find the perfect careers. Unfortunately, even if they have a great now at work. And I think the steps are one, make sure your resume's dialed in, not with crap, but dialed in with real stuff. And you could start now go work for the next couple years. You're gonna live till you're 120 years old. You've got time. So I think first thing is getting your resume dialed in second thing, you know those inputs, it's easy to settle.

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (17:54):

It's easy to procrastinate. It's easy to be lazy on things that don't deliver immediate value. So getting a job is an immediate win, right? Getting a paychecks, an immediate win. So we gotta manufacture other wins. So you can measure your time. Put in, you know, are you spending 20, 30, 40 hours a week putting time in and then there's little wins. Did you find 20 jobs that you're interested in? Did you send out 20 resumes? Did you make 20 phone calls and the act of finding a job as a win? The, the act of sending something out as a win the act of getting someone on the phone as a win an interview's a win a second. Interview's a win. So you can set yourself up to feel better about the steps. So you can front load the effort. Cause you got two choices. Take the crap job that comes to you.

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (18:46):

Work it for a few years, quit, start all over and then lead a miserable will mediocre life or front load it find the perfect job for you or so you think get started with it. If it's not the perfect job you've already done all the work. You, those companies still wanna hire you. The one you said no to three months ago will hire you. Now, if you made a mistake and find something that's gonna launch you. So I accidentally stumbled across this stupid painting. Internship is what we used to call it. And oh my God, it changed my life. I didn't know what was out there. And thank God I accidentally stumbled across it. But yeah, I had had a lot of jobs. I was set up in another internship. I was gonna go to DC and work for Congressman Michael Huffington, whose wife Ariana started the Huffington post.

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (19:28):

And I'd been a flyer guy for him and done all this stuff. I canceled that and took the better job. And you know, that's a great place to be in. You cancel one. You know, they called me up to join this board. I said, I'll join the board. If I'm the chairman, they said, well, you can't do that. I said, then I'm not joining the board. That's a great place to be in when you're calling your own shots like that because you've done the steps and you've front loaded the energy. So your network is your net worth. So what are you doing to maintain relationships? What are you doing to do favors for other people? I don't ask people favors. I do favors. And then they come off for favors to me. And what are you doing with your biggest resource? You have yourself to go out there and sell yourself.

Mike Gardon (20:10):

Yeah, it's so interesting. Like in my view, one of the biggest impediments for younger people getting jobs right now is everything is like immediate feedback in our culture right now. And just the idea of going through the hard work, especially around networking, networking is something that I think when I was in college, I wasn't a huge fan of, I didn't see the value in. And as I got into like just outta college, it was like, man, if, if I put the effort in here to develop this relationship and these relationships like that has a really long term payoff, like for almost every single one of them, but people don't wanna necessarily go do that in today's world. And I, I think that's just in my view, that's one of the biggest impediments of people getting jobs is just do the, the work

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (20:57):

And networking. It used to have a really bad, bad connotation. And I never wanted to network. And I don't like asking favors for people and I keep kind of keep track and I figure out, wait a second, I've asked, got too many favors. I gotta do something for 'em. So for me, networking is a little different. I think most people think of it as do what you need to do so they can do something for you later. And that's not how I think of it. I think of it as how can you help everyone around you? So I, I help kids because a lot of my friends, I can never help them. You know, they're set up financially or they have all the toys and they've got the planes and I don't have the planes and they're taking me places. What can I do for them?

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (21:35):

I can help their kids. That's what I can do. That's what I'm good at. That's my calling. So I can help their kids get into school, help their kids find a career, help straighten their kids out when something's going wrong. Talk to 'em on the side. So what can you, you deliver a value to your mentor. That's 55 years old. What can you deliver a value to your friend's parents? What can you do? Just because you wanna help? Not because something's coming back to you. That to me is it's not networking. It's relationship building. And when I was 11 years old, I went to England to stay with my grandparents. My dad said on the way out, watch your grandfather, Ken, that guy's good at relationship building. And I watched him and he calls people to check in on him and he does favors and he takes their trash in when they're sick and he's just constantly doing things.

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (22:23):

So when I would come to town, they would roll out the red carpet for me. And I saw he doesn't care. He's not at asking for anything. He's constantly lifting the world up and yeah, you're right. Your generation is used to this instant response, but it's all superficial. Like how do you look in your bikini and how great was your vacation? There's no depth to it. So you can pause and get deeper. And just one thing I do every Friday on Friday friend calls, I got a list of people I'm calling on Friday to check in on someone's mom, sick. When things go really bad, I put it in every other day and people go, oh, you're so great at checking on your friends. No, I'm not. I forget everything. It shows up in my schedule. So that sort of thing creates a wake behind you. And then people wanna help you. It's not doing it to be helped. It's doing it to help the, and then they will want to help.

Mike Gardon (23:12):

Yeah. Completely agree for our audience. Stop thinking about it as networking, start thinking about it as a relationship building. Yeah. But a, a specific kind of follow up question is if I'm, let's say I'm 20 years old, I'm still in college. I'm trying to get my first job. I may not feel like I have. How does somebody in that age range provide value and think about as providing value when they might feel like they're networking up.

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (23:40):

Yeah. And you know, a lot of time, it's not, you know, people come, but the act of trying is respectable. But I had this kid van come to my office the other day, he's going to Mardi GRA and everything fell apart. My son's freaking out and there's, they're not allowed to bring their friends to the dorms. Cuz two lanes sent an email three weeks before this huge disaster. So I get a couple hotel rooms. I just got hotel rooms to solve. My problem is buddy van comes to my office, brings a bottle of wine, which I couldn't believe cuz he is not old enough and a kit star wars shirt, cuz he knows, I love star wars and my son loves kits. So I have all this kit clothing and he sits down and he is like, yeah, I really appreciate you getting me the hotel.

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (24:20):

I've never stayed in that hotel. I heard it's really nice. It was the only hotel that took points. I used my PO points and then he started running me through his ideas and you know, some of the ideas were pretty good. Some of em have already been happening and he's got this little list of business ideas. And I said, Hey van, listen to my podcast and give me some feedback. And he gave me like two pages of feedback. So now I have hashtag give van a chance as a little saying I have with one of my girlfriends who also knows van. And I'm constantly barraging her with all this great stuff about van and her family owns a basketball team. And her family, uh, is a famous entrepreneurial family. And they've got a investment company. They got all these connections and I'm just lobbying for van because van took the time and helped me out.

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (25:08):

Now, how did he help me out? He's 18 years old and understands the audience better than I do of my own podcast. He's 18 years old and understands digital media better than I do. I can't even get my calendar to connect to my phone. So like I need that help. So you might be younger, but there's something that you you've got that someone else needs, but I'll tell you what else. I've got two kids one's in his twenties. One's 17. It's so awesome when their friends even wanna talk to me at all. So if I have that friend that of my kids that just spends time talking to me or ask me what I do or ask me what my day is instead of just taking all my food and taking all my stuff and spitting me out the other side, I enjoy the interaction.

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (25:49):

So you can give just by talking to someone and showing them time because they wanna know what's going on in your life. Cuz you might be connected to their kids. They wanna know what's going on in your life because you might be connected to the future. You know about Bitcoin and Ethereum and cryptocurrency. Probably more than a lot of people. Most of your knowledge is, but you know some stuff. So have a conversation. Hey Mr. Stewart, do you invest in crypto? No, I don't know anything about it. Oh, let's talk about it. So there's little bits that you can do to deliver value. And if you're coming from that viewpoint of God, this guy paid for my limo bus and bought me dinner. What can I do for him? If you're coming from that giving attitude, it shows, first of all, it's not fake. And second of all, there is real value and just trying is value

Mike Gardon (26:37):

To me. It boils down the word thoughtful. Yeah. Like being thoughtful either with just showing a random HR person that you've thought about their business and your thoughts may have already been done or may not be feasible, but you're thinking about it. Yeah. And in all the examples that you gave being thoughtful towards another person, even when you maybe don't think that you have anything of value to give, being thoughtful, talking to them, being personal goes a long way as you alluded to. And I think that's great, great stuff

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (27:10):

And genuine. I think genuine, it's not fake. So back to the college application, my son did want to go to all those schools. And when he wrote his essay about how he saw himself living there, he did see him living there. We didn't apply to the ones you didn't wanna go to. So it was thoughtful. It was genuine. And to your point on visiting the website, back to the hard work of getting a job, mission, vision values, they spent probably 30, 50, $150,000 on some consultant coming up with mission, vision values. A lot of people in the company care about that. So you should know and weave into the vocabulary, some of their value words and some of their mission and vision words, you should know what their people have been in the news talking about. And so when you come to the interview and you're not talking, like I hate little dogs.

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (28:01):

And I see that the owner of the company is a little dog lover and has a charity for little dogs. I'm not talking about that. I'm skipping that. I'm talking about what I'm interested in and what I can get passionate about. And if you read a few of their articles and you read their website and they're about us and their vision vision, you're not gonna talk about every mission and vision word. But you know, I see that you're into, uh, Durst for learning. I've always had thirst for learning. You know, I was wondering my question for you is what's your favorite book that you've read recently and that's genuine. Right? And if you have a genuine discussion, that's backed up by some of that front loaded prework. You do, you're gonna knock their socks off. You're gonna surprise them.

Mike Gardon (28:40):

Yeah. The bar is actually set lower than I think a lot of people think. Yeah,

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (28:45):

Yeah. It's easy to, you know,

Mike Gardon (28:46):

It starts with exactly what you said, genuineness, thoughtfulness.

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (28:49):

I mean, it's so easy to compete. 50% of 'em don't show up on time and do what they say. So do that. People used to ask me why I got this chairman of the board role that I had, which is a great role flying around helicopters. First class, Ritz, Carlton, president suite. How'd you get that job? Because I was the only person that got my. Everybody else said they would do stuff and didn't do it. I always got it done out of 20,000 people. I'm the one it's pretty easy to compete when nobody gets their done. Are we allowed to say on your podcast, by the way, Mike,

Mike Gardon (29:19):

We're gonna make an exception for you. No, I'm just kidding. It's it's totally, totally okay. And encouraged. Okay. All right. I just have a couple more questions. I wanna be respectful of your time, but I just it's really got me thinking, is college still the answer for a majority of people? Is it important for your businesses?

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (29:39):

Yeah, that's interesting. Cause I, I have construction companies. So one of our construction companies has, I think 30 engineers. So you better have an engineering degree if you want to be an engineer. And I have these, you know, my daughter's 17. So she's got these friends and a couple of 'em are trying to talk to their parents, into giving them the money that they would spend on college so they can invest in real estate. First of all, I laugh at the entitlement of that. It's like, no, I'm keeping that money. And second of all, you think I'm gonna give you a bunch of money to go invest in real estate. You have no idea what you're talking about. So for me, college is important for a few reasons. And I know it's not the only way. And I know bill gates didn't graduate and I know there's exceptions, but one is prejudice in the world and people always ask where'd you go to college, did you go to college?

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (30:24):

And if you didn't, there's an instant aunt, little flinch and I try to live a flinch free lifestyle. So you open a bunch of doors with that piece of paper. Second thing got four years of your life doing nothing but learning how to be a human being and learning how to communicate live with others. And also learning a subject. I have a history and political science degree, you know, who cares? Right? But I learned how to write and I learned how to read. And I came into college, not able to write a three page paper. I was spit outta college, writing 20 page papers in an hour. So that the four year focus on really learning in the four year focus on personal dev development, I think is really, really important. And then finally you are exposed to a few things. So I don't have a business degree.

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (31:09):

So I had to go back to school after college to learn about accounting and learn about finance. And I still don't have a degree in either of those. I wish I would've done it on the spot. Other people have to go back to learn about how to read and write. So I, I think between the doors that it opens and the prejudice it closes and the amount of time that all these people are going to live anyway, that a four year focus to just get it done is worth all the doors that are open. And I have a lot of people that come across me and they go to city college and they wanna not do the last two years or, and me's talking to me the other day about how she wants to convert to real estate. She doesn't know how to real estate invest so she can go and learn math and she can go and learn investing. And she can go learn about the present value of dollars and what happens with your credit if you blow it and she'll be spit out four years later, a much better real estate professional with all the flaws. I do still think it's worked the four years.

Mike Gardon (32:07):

Is it mandatory? Like in your hiring practices,

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (32:10):

We have different companies. So college works. You have to be in college. The other companies, no, it's not mandatory that you've been to college. It's not mandatory that you have a college degree. My business partner, I have three partners. One of my business partners ever finished college and he runs the biggest company we've got. So no it's not mandatory. And there's different roles. I mean a lot of construction jobs. It would make more sense to go to trade school than to go to college. But if you're in the accounting department, you need an accounting degree. If you're one of the executives, typically you've been to college because it starts to show, but not always.

Mike Gardon (32:46):

Lastly, you mentioned your podcast. Could you give our, our audience kind of an overview of, of what it is, what you talk about, what you're trying to, to do with it so they can tune in if they feel like they'd like to.

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (32:58):

Well, I, I think it's a similar focus that you're doing Mike and I, I want to talk to you offline about where you came up with your idea, except you have way more people downloading it every day than I do. So congratulations. I think you're number one in the career category. So congratulations on your podcast. What I do is I bring in people I know, and I have them walk through life was like in high school, life was like in college and what they do now. So it's a career exposure to a bunch of different careers and then a path exposure. So people can see the different paths. You know, one guy had an issue where with the law let's say and what his path was, other people, you know, grew up with a silver spoon in their mouth, other immigrants. So all the different paths that people come into excellence from.

Mike Gardon (33:44):

Got it. And what is the name of it?

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (33:46):

It's called the edge of excellence podcast.

Mike Gardon (33:49):

Okay. So that that's searchable and we'll also link to it in the show notes, along with, uh, Matt's different companies and all that. Is there anything else you'd like to leave our audience with in terms of what they might need to know, uh, about you or any of your companies?

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (34:05):

Well, I, I think that as people are looking for their career, just have faith. I think that's the first thing have faith. You'll find it. This is a tough time in the world emotionally, and it may not happen right away. One of the people on my podcast says when you're at your absolute that's when you have your best ideas. So have faith, keep trying, keep thinking. Serendipity is real. You may stumble across something. And lastly, I'll put a plug in for those that wanna be entrepreneurs for business partnerships. I would definitely not be as successful as I am without all the partners I've had and a variety of different businesses. You know, I get to share ideas. I get to work on what my strengths are with someone else works, what their strengths are. And I'm a big, big advocate of finding the right people to go into business with.

Mike Gardon (34:51):

Excellent. Well, thank you so much for sharing your time with us, really appreciated it and enjoyed this conversation and best of luck to you.

Matthew Kennedy Stewart (35:00):

Thank you, Mike. I really appreciate you having me.

Mike Gardon (35:02):

All right. Take care.

Outro (35:04):

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