Young Money: an interview with Matt Carlucci
blog by Caitlin Campbell McNulty • August 08, 2012 @ 8:45am
While many of you may know him from his infamous dance moves in the Buffalo.com “Call me Maybe” video, I met Matt Carlucci under slightly more professional circumstances—but only barely. Matt is the definition of man about town, involved in myriad events from social activities to philanthropic ones. With a wife and two young children at home, Matt’s ability to seemingly do it all is something any young professional can appreciate. Matt took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to sit down with me and talk about life as a young gun in Buffalo.
Caitlin McNulty: You do so much in the community that people sometimes forget you have a day job. What is your role at Visit Buffalo Niagara?
Matt Carlucci: Basically, Buffalo is my product. I sell the region as a destination for meetings and conventions. I work with all the hotels and venues in Erie County to put together packages that make Buffalo-Niagara an attractive option for an organization to hold a convention, training seminar, or even a leisure getaway.
CM: You most recently served as Chair of B Team Buffalo. Tell me more about the organization and their mission.
MC: The B Team was formed as a group of friends who wanted to give back to a community that helped us thrive. We were all lucky enough to be successful to some extent in Buffalo and realized that others were not so lucky. It became more of an opportunity to socialize and network with people who felt the same way. Overall, the mission was “Just do good” and that continues today.
CM: Besides the Stiletto Run (to benefit the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance), I know you’re involved in many more programs and activities. What are some of the highlights?
MC: In my spare time (ha!) I’m a football referee. Every Saturday, you can usually find me in stripes getting yelled at by a kid’s dad for not calling a holding. I also created a little something called the Buffalo Soup Fest. Two years into the event, we have served over 50,000 cups of soup to Buffalonians in the dead of winter.
CM: I know that one of the reasons you stepped down as Chair of B Team was to spend more time with your family. What are some of the challenges you face as a young professional with a young family?
MC: This is a really great question and one that I don’t see answered too often. Being a working parent is more than just getting a paycheck to pay for diapers and babysitters. If you think you are busy before you have kids, you’re probably not. Having children really makes it necessary to have a strict calendar and stay organized with your time. When you work 8-5 then have a board meeting at 6 and get home at 9, you have literally missed an entire day that you can never get back. Those add up. I’ve missed first words and first steps and even birthdays. The sacrifices have to be weighed with the rewards that come as a result. Spending time with my family is the most important thing in the world to me now. I still get the offers to have a drink after work with a colleague, but I would much rather share a Capri Sun with my boys than anything else on a Friday night.
CM: What do you see as some of the greatest opportunities for young professionals in Western New York?
MC: This is a great place to be creative. It’s a really affordable place for a startup to well, start up. Businesses have started here and stayed here and many more can and will. There is a shocking amount of really intelligent people here that are moments away from becoming Zuckerberg-like stars (in a good way). With a place like Z80 now available to get these minds in front of investors, I think Buffalo is on track to surprise people in the next decade.
CM: What do you see as some of the biggest obstacles for young professionals in our region?
MC: Opportunity. It’s a fact that there are less opportunities here than in other parts of the country. Executive-level jobs for college grads just aren’t growing on trees here. This is changing every day, but it needs time. Plus, there are sexier cities out there that are recruiting fresh young talent. We need to prove how sexy we are and keep some of these great minds home.
CM: What is your favorite thing about Buffalo?
MC: It’s a community of real people. You know your neighbors. The most prominent members of Buffalo society shop at the same Wegmans that you do. We are proud of even our least successful endeavors and constantly strive to improve ourselves and learn from our mistakes. You can see optimism on every face when you take a walk down the boardwalk at Canalside or listen to a band at Larkinville. We are all rooting for each other.
What I really like about Matt is his positivity and excitement about the future of Buffalo. Even when I ask about challenges in our community, he finds a way to put a positive spin on the region and how we can bounce back. When I asked Matt if there was anything he’d like to add at the end of our conversation he told me this, “I’m 30 years old and I still don’t necessarily know what I want to be when I grow up. I just hope it keeps me here in the town that I love.” How can you not respect and appreciate that kind of attitude?