The Center for Life Beyond Reed

Division of Student Services

Matthew Koren

Class year: 2007
Major: Psychology
Company/organization: Kong Ren Holdings Corp
Job title: President
Email: koren@alumni.reed.edu
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/matthewkoren

I would love to connect with students. In addition or instead of attending the Schmooze, I am available for one:one meetings during the weekend. Drop me an email and we'll arrange a time to meet. I arrive on Thursday.

How did you get where you are? (e.g., education, brief work history, mentors)

Pardon the narrative: Like any journey it was certainly unpredictable. At Reed I studied abroad my junior year and received a Psychology degree with a concentration in cross-cultural studies. I enjoyed my time at Reed, but always had an eye on what was next.

I secured a waiter job in March before I graduated, anticipating the need to have income after I graduated while looking for a job. I had already decided to stay in Portland. Luckily, I secured a job by August with InsideTrack, a student success coaching company.

I enjoyed that position for two years, but true to my nature, I was not a very good employee. Don't get me wrong, I had the best performance in the history of the account I was working for, the organization just moved too slow for me. Looking back, I could have been a little more patient, but I certainly would still have been frustrated.

I chose to leave InsideTrack in 2009 to follow my dream of opening my own business. I had a mentor who taught me the industry and then pounded the pavement for two years selling for my company: Priority Payments Northwest. As the business model wasn't panning out, I sought other work and discovered a company one of my L&C friends owned that did small business coaching. I contracted with him since he needed more capacity.

This grew into a quarter million dollar a year business for us, where we created cultures of innovation within organizations that allow their innate wisdom and creativity to thrive. We also coached executives to realize the full potential of their innovative ideas/initiatives. I've enjoyed consistent income as a result. I'll soon be exiting that position to again, follow my passion, and to leverage my cross-cultural communication concentration that I received at Reed by helping executives build their projects and teams for success, particularly when their role requires them to travel abroad. This will of course involve a heavy amount of coaching people towards their true selves (building team), as well as managing projects. Ultimately, it's all about communication. I love and am fascinated by how people communicate and are inspired to action by communication.

What lessons have you learned along the way that you'd like to pass on to current Reed students?

Always follow your passion.

Timing is everything. Strategists create great plans, but logisticians will get you to your goal.

Always be networking.

Mentors are mentors because you look up to and follow them, not because they say 'Yes, I'll be your mentor'. You learn from them by observing and asking questions about why they do what they do. If they say 'yes, I'll be your mentor,' that really means you have an advocate that will get you a job or promotion.

In what ways you think you can help Reed students?

I can help Reed students by:

-uncovering their core motivations and personal/professional mission

-providing contacts in a variety of industries and places

-conveying my own experience and best practices of transitioning out of Reed and into the professional world

-other resources that can support them in finding sustainable work

What else should students know about you? (e.g., volunteer engagement, avocations, interests)

I helped start ReLaY, the Reed Leadership Academy, and recruit and train the various coaches used by the program to support students.

I'm interested in travel, climbing, snowboarding, wakeboarding, yoga, and mindfulness/meditation training.