Volunteering to Lead: Matthew Beekhuizen, B.B.A. '91


Volunteering to Lead: Matthew Beekhuizen, B.B.A. '91

A Q&A with Broward County 'Canes President Matthew Beekhuizen, B.B.A. '91.

Matthew BeekuizenMatthew Beekhuizen is chief pricing officer for international law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP, where he has been working for over 15 years. He earned a B.B.A. in international finance and marketing from the University of Miami in 1991, after which he began his career in commercial banking and served as a Captain in the U.S. Army Reserve until 2003.

We touched base with the Broward County ’Canes Community president to learn about his work, time at the U, and the key to his success.

Why did you choose to pursue a career in your field? 

Growing up I was always interested in the business world, reading Forbes and the Wall Street Journal while I was in high school. Naturally, I studied Finance and Marketing at the University. Now, in my current role, I use financial concepts to advise our firm leadership, attorneys and clients on how to maximize value in the financial aspects of delivering legal services.

How has your time at the University of Miami helped in your career? 

My time at the University introduced me to a bigger world then the rural Ohio where I grew up. I made friends from all over the country, and across the globe, many of whom are still close friends today. Learning about and interacting with people from a variety of personal backgrounds, faiths and geographies prepared me well for a career where I have dealt with clients and colleagues around the world.

What has been the key to your success? 

Not thinking of success!  While it’s good to reflect on accomplishments from time to time, “success” isn’t a place or thing, like arriving at the top of a mountain. I think of it more as a continual process. We should always be pushing ourselves out of the comfort zone, setting new goals. Whenever I am feeling comfortable in my career, I get restless, and it’s time to find new challenges.

What are some challenges you’ve faced along the way and how did you overcome them?

I think of the major events of my generation: 9/11, the Great Recession, the current pandemic. I’ve come to realize that there is very little over which we personally have control. All you can do is focus on your own behavior, do the right things, and keep working hard.

Define a great leader — what are some traits you think they possess?

I believe that great leaders understand nothing can be accomplished without PEOPLE. You can have money, a great plan, technology, etc, but if you don’t have the right people, who are empowered and on board with the plan, you won’t succeed.

What message would you send to other alumni and new grads?

The University is a life-long resource…use it. That means stay in touch with your professors, participate in the Alumni Association, be a mentor, hire a graduate, use the network. I’ve used the Alumni network both personally and professionally.  It works.

What was your dream job as a kid and why?

I wanted to be a fighter jet or helicopter pilot!  When graduating Army ROTC, my first choice of assignment was Aviation, but was slotted to Armor instead. I’m grateful for the experience I had in the Army, which did not include flying, but I still day-dream of getting my private license someday.

Can you name a person who has been influential in your life?

My parents, for raising me to think for myself, to be respectful of others, and that there are no short-cuts to success. My father was an immigrant to America. From him I was aware of a broader world and learned the great opportunity and freedoms our country represents.