Staff Spotlight: Caliber Senior Director Matthew Sheahan.
Based in New York, New York, Caliber Senior Director Matthew Sheahan joined the team in 2021. This local concert-goer, trusted media training expert, and quick-witted comedy enthusiast sat down with Caliber Culture Manager, Kate Forster, to talk about his career in public relations for financial services and fintech companies. Read on to learn more about Caliber Senior Director Matthew Sheahan in this Staff Spotlight interview.
Kate: Where do you consider “home”? What is special about it?
Matthew: Though I have had the good fortune of living in different regions of the U.S., New York City will always be home. New York is special in many ways, one of them being that anyone can be a New Yorker, and people have been coming from all over the world for centuries to pursue their dreams here. Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch put it best that if you have lived here for six months and walk and talk a little faster, you’re a New Yorker.
Kate: What non-work activities inspire you?
Matthew: I am a big fan of music and enjoy going to concerts and listening to all kinds of music. I also enjoy movies and comedy. If I have free time I will be going to a local concert or comedy show.
Kate: What’s your favorite movie and/or book?
Matthew: A favorite novel that has a dedicated following is John Kennedy Toole’s ‘A Confederacy of Dunces.’ It is a hilarious novel about an eccentric intellectual in opposition to the modern world. It skewers many elements of contemporary society and will make you see New Orleans in a different light, and it’s very funny. The story of its publication is also inspiring, with the late author’s mother struggling for years to have it published. That novel is the reason I own a green hunting cap.
Kate: What’s one accomplishment from your childhood that you still brag about?
Matthew: I won a cracker-eating contest at summer camp. Without using our hands we had to eat a stack of Saltine crackers off the ground and then stand up and whistle to win. Thanks to the Internet, the Saltine cracker challenge is something some adults actually do today.
Kate: When you think about your time at Caliber, what career accomplishment or milestone makes you feel most proud?
Matthew: I am proud that I am often the first person my colleagues will turn to to help with media training. Media training at Caliber focuses on practicing live interviews with client spokespeople; practice in live fire conditions is the best way to get clients comfortable speaking with the media. I enjoy meeting with new clients and helping people who may have little or no experience in speaking with the press get comfortable with on-the-record interviews.
Kate: Name one thing that amazes you about fintech or innovation in financial services.
Matthew: What has surprised me about fintech and financial services innovation is the endless variety of industries and spaces involved in fintech. Whether that is in payments, insurtech, digital banking, market infrastructure or market surveillance, financial technology touches a very wide variety of industries. Also, the speed with which fintech is becoming integrated into our daily lives. We each utilize financial technology every day in ways we no longer really think about. In a few years, the presence of fintech in our daily lives will be greater than today.
Kate: What’s your favorite thing about working at Caliber?
Matthew: My favorite thing about working at Caliber is the team we have assembled and the cooperative nature of our corporate culture. It’s not an easy thing to do, especially as we have grown so much.
Kate: If you had to include one ingredient in every meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Kate: What historical figure do you most admire?
Matthew: One of the historic figures I admire the most is U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt instituted many of the work and food safety measures we take for granted today in the U.S., and his conservation efforts created many of the great national parks we enjoy today. He also supported women’s suffrage before many mainstream candidates. Teddy Roosevelt was incredibly adept at media relations and helped expand the presence of the White House press corps. Roosevelt never stopped working on self-improvement and was a voracious reader and fitness enthusiast. He was incredibly dedicated and driven; he delivered a speech even after being shot, and he attempted to rejoin the U.S. Army to fight in the First World War at the age of 59. He was also the first American to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.