Mathew Stuckey comes from a family with a long history of community advocacy and volunteerism. While many families view Thanksgiving as a day to eat a lot of great food, visit with family and take a well-deserved nap, Mat’s family has spent the last 20+ Thanksgivings delivering a hot holiday meal and groceries to their region’s most needy citizens.
“I volunteer to help the marginalized because I know how it feels to be marginalized,” said Mat. He experienced seasons of income-insecurity growing up, which helps him relate to those going through hardship today.
Over the last 15 years, Mat’s volunteer efforts have largely centered on volunteering for political campaigns and causes, particularly causes relating to the LGBTQ community — a community he calls his own.
“The first adult I came out to was my high school French teacher,” Mat said. According to Mat, his teacher was instrumental in helping him accept himself saying, “She was always there as a supportive figure, and she pushed me into volunteering. She noticed my interest in politics and encouraged me to get involved in political campaigns.”
The first campaigns he worked on were in 2004. At University of Cincinnati, Mat continued his involvement in politics and campaigns as he pursued his degree, even becoming a grassroots organizer for the Human Rights Campaign, and then in 2008 getting the opportunity to have a sit-down conversation with then Presidential-hopeful Barack Obama.
“You couldn’t buy that kind of access to him now,” Mat laughed. The pair discussed the legalization of same-sex marriage, as well as other topics important to the LGBTQ community. Mat said he left the meeting encouraged by the conversation and hopeful that it would translate into action.
When President Obama was elected that November, Mat was excited to add him to the list of presidents he’s met. It’s an impressive list—he’s met every sitting president and presidential candidate since 1989 with just one exception. “2016 was a crazy time for me, and I didn’t get the chance to connect with Ms. Clinton or Mr. Trump, but I met Hilary when I was a kid and she was First Lady.”
2016 was certainly a busy time for Mat at work. In addition to his usual job responsibilities, he was working nonstop with others to found NiPRIDE, the employee resource group focused on recruiting, retaining, developing and supporting LGBTQ employees and allies. In Mat’s words, NiPRIDE’s mission is simple: “to enable everyone to bring their whole self to work.”
NiPRIDE is a great example of our commitment to Inclusion & Diversity, and Mat was quick to point out its far-reaching impact now and into the future.“The impact of inclusion and diversity in the workplace is profound, especially in recruiting and retaining talent,” he said. “Inclusion and diversity is never done. It will continue to expand as new challenges arise — diversity makes us stronger collectively.”