We had the good fortune of connecting with Matt Kamin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Matt, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
In my opinion, taking risks is incredibly scary, but also extremely important to get what you want. Growing up, my dad was always taking risks, teaching me to do whatever is necessary to make things happen. What I learned is that when an opportunity presents itself, you have to go for it and if you believe in yourself, it usually works out. But I also saw my dad fail a few times, which also taught me that when things do not work out, you need to learn from your mistakes, move on, and continue to the next potential opportunity. Starting Envision Consulting was a huge risk. I was the Executive Director of a nonprofit that was in a good place financially doing amazing work, and I was choosing to walk away to start a company with no business plan, no clients, and no startup funding. I was ready for my next challenge, even though I was “safe” at work. But I really wanted to try it out, and the week after my business partner and I started Envision, we landed a huge client, which was all we needed to move forward. In interviews, I always ask the question, “would you rather be lucky or skillful?” Most people answer “skillful,” but I will take lucky any day of the week. I realize that taking risks is not easy, but it is absolutely worth it for both career and life happiness.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I am the Co-Founder of Envision Consulting, a boutique consulting firm providing both recruiting and strategy to nonprofit organizations across the country. We are a mighty team of 10, with an office in Pasadena and New York, and have worked with over 400 nonprofits from start-ups, to $300M+ giants. Our philosophy is simple: Inspired leadership is what takes nonprofit organizations from good to incredible. We believe it takes more than a village; it takes tenacity, creativity and integrity to make even the smallest impact. That’s why we’re passionate about charity. This isn’t our job, it’s our mission. We help build leaders and organizations who grow, innovate and inspire. We are experienced professionals who know that when we know that together, we make doing good better. The most important lesson that I have learned along the way is to take the risk and go for it. My business partner and I had no business plan, no clients, and no funding when we launched 10 years ago. But we took the leap of faith and made it happen. Throughout the years, we have continued to take risks from hiring new staff, to building out a new office, to expanding to the East Coast. And we’ve been successful. I would want the world to know that if you have a strong brand, if you pour your heart and sweat into growing it, and if you are truly passionate about what you do, you can make anything happen.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Wow, this is a fun question. Los Angeles is a very weird city for tourists, especially because there is just so much to do and so much area to cover. I’m going to answer this question as if Covid does not exist. So food is key to my week. We are such a multi-cultural city, with amazing cuisine representing pretty much the entire world. I love dim sum, sushi, burgers, Mexican, and middle eastern and would focus on DTLA, Santa Monica, and mid-town. I would also go to Disneyland and use my connections to get us into Club 33. There are some very cool bars in LA, and I would focus on finding the newest and greatest and most underground places. We’d have to take the Warner Bros studio tour, just because, and probably take the celebrity homes tour. I also have a friend with a house on the beach in Malibu, and we would spend an afternoon eating and drinking on the sand, and would be sure to enjoy the sunset – We have the most beautiful sunsets in the world. I don’t hike or like nature, so we would drive on Mulholland to enjoy the views of both the city and valley. And most important, I would have them come in the summer and we would rent a box at the Hollywood Bowl for an amazing evening under the stars.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have dedicated my life to the nonprofit community. From running a homeless shelter in New Jersey to starting three nonprofit organizations on my own, working in nonprofit has just been what I do. I learned everything I know from my grandmother, who grew up living in poverty in Baltimore, got polio, and then moved to Los Angeles as a 20-something year old. With no money, she opened a booth on the Santa Monica pier, “saved her pennies,” (her words), and started investing in real estate, ultimately creating a small real estate empire. My grandmother never forgot how lucky she was, and always donated a huge amount of time and money to various nonprofits, both in LA and abroad. Many times she had me “volunteer” at fundraising events and telethons. Through those experiences, I learned just how important it is to give back at an early age. My grandmother also inspired my parents to give back, and they sat on numerous Boards and also included me in their fundraising efforts. I would not have started Envision Consulting had it not been for my grandmother, and I will forever be both grateful and in awe of her tremendous spirit.
Other: Also, I’m starting a nonprofit podcast called “Nonprofit on the Rocks,” which is a happy hour conversation about all things nonprofit, leadership, shit talking, and general career advice. The link is: https://www.envisionnonprofit.com/podcast