Today we’re featuring Matt Cabrey, Executive Director at Select Greater Philadelphia, who has bee a PPRA member for 20 years. Select, an affiliate of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, partners with business and civic leaders, economic development teams, and other public / private entities to help drive economic growth by attracting organizations to the region and helping existing organizations expand. Matt is a member of the Chamber’s leadership team, and drives the development and implementation of regional marketing initiatives.
PPRA: Matt, tell us a bit about your background and your current job.
MC: As Executive Director of Select Greater Philadelphia, I lead the team effort to market the 11-county region of northern Delaware, southern New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania to a national and international audience as a top-tier place to do business. Prior to joining the Chamber, I held leadership roles with Shire plc, an international specialty biopharmaceutical company; worked with PNC Bank where I managed regional communications projects; led media relations and related communications activities with Keystone Mercy Health Plan, the largest HMO serving medical assistance recipients in Pennsylvania; and held a variety of marketing and communications positions with the American Red Cross. I began my professional career in radio producing public affairs programs and sporting events. I served on the board of various community organizations and am a current board member of the Philadelphia Education Fund. I volunteer regularly as an advisor, speaker, and moderator with trade associations and philanthropic organizations. I’m a graduate of Penn State University, where I earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with a minor in sociology, and studied mass communications at Manchester University in England. I’m a proud native of Philadelphia’s Overbrook neighborhood and reside with his wife and three children in Chester County, Pennsylvania.
PPRA: What projects are you working on right now?
MC: My “product” is the 11-county neighborhood of Greater Philadelphia, and the ongoing goal for me and my team is to raise awareness of our community as the perfect place to establish and grow a business, and to live, work, play, innovate, create, and raise a family. Collaboration is key to our success, and we are proud to be working on several notable projects, including the DNC 2016, the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Asia Tour, and the Hannover Messa Conference in Germany among many others. Weekly, we welcome national and international business leaders, site selectors, and dignitaries, showcasing our region’s business assets and connecting our guests to business and civic leaders in our community.
PPRA: What is your favorite part about your job?
MC: My favorite aspect of my role leading Select Greater Philadelphia is accentuating the positives of our region, shining a unique spotlight on all that Greater Philadelphia has to offer. Two other key favorite aspects include working in a unifying way across three states and 11 counties to elevate the economic vibrancy of northern Delaware, southern New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania neighborhood; and helping others to see, appreciate and champion the many unknown attributes of our region in the most optimistic way possible.
PPRA: What was your latest and greatest accomplishment at your job?
MC: Wow, I do feel like I have a fun, major touch point in my role almost every week. We welcome leaders from Sweden recently, as well as from China. A major notable and more public accomplishment was an interview with and strong quotes about the business assets of Greater Philadelphia in USA Today in a story about the World Meeting of Families and the Papal Visit. It was a story that compared how New York, Philadelphia and Washington DC were preparing for the Papal Visit, and the messages from New York and Washington DC focused on the problems of traffic and security, we positioned Philadelphia as maximizing the opportunities from a business and destination perspective.
PPRA: What one piece of advice would you give to your fellow PR pros?
MC: See the positive in every situation – even crisis – and position the messages in ways that embrace the positive while also being real, compassionate and practical.
PPRA: What book or movie could you read or watch again and again?
MC: The Butterfly Effect, because it shows how our actions, no matter how seemingly insignificant, can influence other activities and people in monumental ways – both good and not so good ways.
PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly?
MC: My favorite spots in Philadelphia are Boathouse Row, Kelly Drive and MLK Drive, and how the walking, biking and running trails have been expanded south to the new “boardwalk” and north and west, connecting Philadelphia county with Montgomery county and Chester county. That aspects is an amazing asset in connecting us all as one big neighborhood.
PPRA: How do you take your cheesesteak?
MC: My favorite is local – from Overbrook Pizza, my hometown neighborhood shop – with fried onions, a smidge of ketchup and provolone cheese.