Lifting Off with Our Newest Engagement Specialist, Matt Soares

2020 is a confusing time for higher education, but the pandemic has made one thing is clear: Our practices need to continue evolving.

We understand that change can be scary. Heading into unchartered territories can lead to unexpected challenges and results. But, when you’re willing to think boldly and act creatively, change can also lead you to triumphant — and wonderfully surprising — successes!

Fortunately, the entire Presence team thrives on building solutions that empower forward-thinking and innovative action. We’re always looking for opportunities to grow and adapt in order to best meet your and your students’ ever-changing needs.

Sometimes, that requires expanding our team — as we’re doing today. We’re pumped to welcome out newest engagement specialist Matt Soares. Matt understands that higher education and technology make for wonderful partners, and he’s ready to get more institutions connected to Presence’s powerful tools.

What else is Matt passionate about? Well, we asked him some questions so he can tell you himself! Take it away, Matt.

two photos: left is of Matt Soares proudly holding up a fish and right is of Matt smiling with a friend on a crowded basketball court

left: Matt bass fishing on Lake Erie / right: Matt and friend on the floor of the 2019 Mid-American Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament celebrating the University of Buffalo Bulls’ 4th championship win within five years

What led you to Presence?

I am passionate about driving positive student outcomes via engagement and co-curricular learning. Seeing the innovate work Presence continues to do in the field created a match made in heaven!

How do you see this position fitting into your future career? What benefits or experiences do you hope to gain from working at Presence? 

I see myself continuing to improve as an empathetic and knowledgable sales professional. I’m also motivated to further develop my leadership skills to soon begin to help other young professionals grow just as prior leaders in my life have done for me.

Where did you attend college? What was your major(s)? Were you involved with any co-curricular or extracurricular activities?

I graduated from the University at Buffalo with a bachelor’s in linguistics, which I used as a basis for five years as an educator in South Korea and Poland. At UB, I was an officer for the local Delta Omega Psi fraternity and an active member of the student athletics booster scene. Go Bulls!

Why are you excited to be a part of the Presence team?

When I look at the folks at Presence, I see a diverse team of individuals with vastly different upbringings, cultures, and life experiences that I can learn from on a daily basis. In a professional sense, I see a team that is dedicated to the present but also looking to the future by not just asking what we can do today to help our member campuses but how we can improve ourselves and our products for tomorrow.

What do you like to do outside of work?  

In addition to being a fairly dedicated PC gamer, I also enjoy kayaking with my wife, visiting our national parks, and gardening. I’m also an avid collector of ancient Greek and Roman coins and antiquities such as pottery, glasswork, and weaponry.

Matt and his wife Misia smiling in the camera while in Death Valley

Matt and his wife, Misia, living it up in Death Valley, California

What is something you’ve always wanted to try? What are some goals you have in the future you’d like to accomplish? Why?

I’ve always wanted to learn to fly. An airplane, not Daedalus- and Icarus-style.

Of course, I also have your normal mundane future goals like pay off the mortgage, lose weight, and finally organize the basement. But a pie in the sky goal would be to one day when I’m older, wiser, and richer, to found a not for profit that works to provide scholarships for students in recently developed and developing countries to seek supplemental English language education.

Wahoo, welcome to the team, Matt!

P.S. Want our next blog post to feature you? We’re hiring!

Jodi Tandet

About the author: Jodi Tandet loves writing about the magic of campus life as the Lead Storyteller at Presence. She's also passionate about baking, mental health advocacy, all the Presence office dogs, and her ever-growing podcast collection. Learn how we can help get your students involved.

Check I'm Here is now Presence. Learn more about this change in our blog post here.