Member of the Month: Matthew Leon, UCO
Edmond Young Professionals is presented by:
EYP's member of the month is Matt Leon, Assistant Professor at the UCO College of Business. He joined the organization just over a year ago and has been an active and impactful leader on the Steering Committee and in the Edmond community. Our favorite traits about Matt are his extreme dedication to his students and his witty humor. Anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting Matt knows how quickly he can crack a joke and break the silence in a room!
Can you tell us a little bit about your industry and what your favorite aspect of work is?
We serve the Oklahoma City metro area and provide undergraduate and graduate degrees in Management, Accounting, Finance, Economics, Marketing, and Information Sciences and Operations Management. This past year, we received the highest accreditation possible for a business school – AACSB! That puts us in the top 5% of business schools in the world! So, I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished and where we’re heading. Higher education is a funny industry because it’s very dependent on the state and its ability to fund us. Due to budget cuts over the last several years, we’re struggling to keep costs off of the backs of our students, who are my absolute favorite aspect of my work. Getting to know and build relationships with my students is why I chose to get a Ph.D.
Why did you join EYP? I joined EYP because I believe it’s important to invest in my community. The world doesn’t get better unless we make it that way. EYP offers so many different ways to be part of Edmond, whether it’s volunteering, networking, or just playing volleyball and drinking beer with other young professionals!
What have you enjoyed the most about EYP? Oh man, hard to name one thing. Being part of the Steering Committee has led to some great friendships and a real sense of fellowship for me. I love learning about other people and getting to find out about all the little things that make Edmond unique.
Spouse & number years married: Becca! She’s the best! Married seven years – it’ll be eight on January 9th!
Children: None – maybe one day!
Pets: Two dogs – Bandit and Jenni. Bandit is an eight year old chihuaha. He loves to lay on the couch and get chest rubs! Jenni is a boxer-pointer mix and is a sophisticated lady dog! She’s four years old and loves everybody!
How long have you been in the Edmond area? I moved to Edmond (and the state of Oklahoma) on May 25th, 2016. So, I’m a newbie.
What was the first job you ever had? I was a fry cook at a Zaxby’s. Still love their fried chicken, but Cane’s has taken the top spot in my heart. My slowly clogging heart.
Favorite Hobby/pastime outside of work: Playing with my dogs, watching movies, riding bikes with Becca, drinking beer outside, eating delicious food.
Most recent or upcoming vacation spot? Went to southern Germany, Prague, and Barcelona this summer!
What is the best advice you have for others or have you been given? Best advice? To keep your heart where your feet are. It’s tough to be present and it’s something I always have to work on. But, everything is better when you’re able to appreciate it in that moment. It’s too easy for me to ignore a conversation or a movie or a pretty drive or a good meal because I’m worried about the next thing I have to take care of that day/week/month. So, be present. Then you can remember and enjoy everything instead of waking up one day wondering where all the days of your life have gone.
What has been your favorite experience/activity in Edmond? The parks. Such an easy place to be outdoors. Also, drinking beer or wine with friends at the Patriarch or Ellis Island.
Favorite Restaurant in Edmond? Oh jeez, this is tough. Probably 3 Tequilas – they have free queso and sopapillas. The fiesta enchiladas with chicken will make you believe in a higher power.
Any mentors or people who inspire you? I’ve been lucky my whole life to be surrounded by people who hold me to high standards. My wife, my parents, my sister, my high school soccer coach Rick Andrew, and my doctoral advisor Dr. Jonathon Halbesleben have all pushed me in different areas of my life to be the best version of myself possible. My family, friends, and especially my students remain my inspiration to work hard. They deserve to have someone in their lives fighting for them and encouraging them, and I try to be that person. Everything good I have in my life is thanks to the love and support of other people, so I think it’s important to give back. I’ve been given so much, and it would be a shame if I did nothing with it. I hope I can give like that to other people so they’ll feel the same way.