Matt Klein, the Senior Director of Global Corporate Communications and Media Relations at Viatris, a pharmaceutical company, visited the Buccino Leadership Institute on October 6. He is also an avid long-distance runner who spoke of what running races of over 200 miles has taught him, both professionally and personally. Klein shares that he has used running as his motivation as well as a foundation for maintaining a fruitful life. The discipline that is required to run these long distances has helped him become a better father, worker, and boss, amongst other aspects of life.
In 2006, he was accepted into the New York City Marathon, and although he did not know if he would be able to finish the race, he explained that the training before the marathon and experience itself changed his life. Klein shares that running has taken him to places, quite literally, that he never thought possible. Sharing pictures of scenic locations in which he has run, he explained to Leadership students that running has allowed him to push himself to his limit and find his capabilities.
He advised the Buccino students to not be afraid to ask for help and to not be afraid to ask for mentors. People want to share their experience and knowledge, because “keeping knowledge is not nearly as valuable as sharing it,” he said. Regarding professional and personal achievements, he emphasized the importance of the mindset that “a mile is a mile.” It is easier to focus on each mile alone rather than look at the whole task; breaking daunting feats down to a “mile” makes each task much easier to accomplish. He shared that after losing his father, which inspired the start of his long-distance running journey, running reassured him that he can do hard things. He also shared that stepping on stage and speaking to students is not an easy thing, but by preparing and with help of people around him, he is able to tackle the hard tasks “mile by mile” and encourages the students to do the same.
Klein advised students that ultimately, it is important to not be afraid to take a leap. It is also important to identify those in your circle who will always support you; life around us is always changing and expanding, but we must focus on keeping a close circle strong and healthy. When asked how he implements the lessons he has learned running within his work and personal life, he explained that he has learned that it is important to have long-term goals because having an event or goal to look forward to is motivating. He explains that this allows him to set approachable yet structured targets, which he attains with the help of friends, mentors, and coworkers.
Klein was asked how he also allocates time to himself and his family with the commitments of his running and professional life. He says that right now, his life is out of balance. However, it is necessary at times to take a step back from an area of one’s life, which ultimately allows the balance to return to normal. This led him to explain that it is important to always be self-aware. When life gets in the way, one must be aware of where the imbalance within one’s life lies and work to get back up with a circle of close supporters.
Questioned about how he finds the motivation to run and persevere through life’s hardships, he shared that it is important to turn to one’s “team.” He also shared that although running provides him mental solace, there is only so much that running can fix. He explained that it is always okay to reach out for help from others, especially those one is closest to. Klein concluded his presentation by saying that one must always take pride in the work that person produces while maintaining identity. We must find what we are truly passionate about and pursue it, Klein shares, which reaches well beyond just what we do in school. Klein ended his speech with a call to action: look around in life and do not be afraid to try something different. Afterall, he shared, it could take you on a life-changing journey that can then be shared with the next generation of leaders.