Our 244th Dad in the Limelight is PR Superstar Matt Ashworth. I want to thank Matt for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.
1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my reader’s knowledge)
My name is Matt. I am boy. A boy who works in PR; loves music; and is a student (and a fan) of popular culture and media.
During the day I run the technology public relations practice for Porter Novelli’s Seattle office. We work with big companies like Hewlett Packard, Hitachi and T-Mobile, as well as some smaller companies with big ideas. I love this work because I get to write, edit and help people communicate more powerfully and concisely.
I also run a volunteer online music magazine called NadaMucho.com. We’ve been operating since March of 1997 from the Pacific Northwest. We write mostly about bands and live performances, but you’ll also see movie reviews and wacky interviews from time to time. This hobby grew in to a pseudo-career in booking and promoting live music at venues around Seattle. I even spent a few years as the talent buyer for a local club called the Mars Bar.
Since coming to Porter Novelli, a global agency with 11 U.S. offices, my two worlds have collided a bit through social media. I left a job I loved on T-Mobile’s communications team in order to learn more about the psychology and strategy behind this phenomenon and have really immersed myself in it, including a couple of stints covering the South by Southwest Interactive festival for our corporate blog and customers. I adore living in this world where everyone has a platform to share their ideas, opinions and imagery.
2) Tell me about your family
My wife is named Sybil. She’s quite lovely and talented. A nutritionist by education, she currently functions as the Ashworth Family Chief Operating Officer. In this role her accolades include birthing two amazing daughters, Iris (7) and Eloise (5), and helping me go from “near-bankruptcy” to a “debt-free home owner.” Right now she’s training for a marathon and working on a novel. She keeps a blog at Musings of a Milkmaker.
Iris is intense and hilarious and cantankerous and extremely artistic. She makes things with her hands and whizzes around a tablet in equal measure, most recently focusing on product review videos for her toys. It’s quite amazing to think that she’ll never live in a world without Facebook or YouTube. It’s hard for her to understand that we didn’t have an easy way to broadcast our ideas to the world when I was her age.
Meanwhile, her sister Eloise is showing interest in the way things work. She loves to take apart old appliances and look at the mechanics of various situations. That stuff doesn’t come naturally to me, so it’s extra fun to learn through her eyes. Eloise is also extremely vibrant and social. She craves an audience for her singing, dancing and acting.
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
I didn’t really grow up until after Iris was born. I was still doing a lot of live music booking, so I was out in clubs several nights a week and not living a very healthy lifestyle. Doing that and maintaining a day job was wearing on me and I started having minor health problems, but it was still difficult to let it go. It took me until Eloise was born in 2006 to embrace and appreciate that transition. I’m so much happier and more balanced since retiring from live music booking. It helps that I adore my day job and can keep NadaMucho.com going in my spare time.
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
Only you and your partner can make the best decisions for your children and your family. Entertain all of the advice and input you can stomach, but don’t second guess yourself. Trust your instincts and raise your kids your own way.
5) Seeing that you (or your position) are in the limelight, how have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? If you are currently not in the limelight per se, please still answer this in regards to how you balance parenthood and outside life.
I don’t think there’s a secret recipe for this. You have to decide what’s important to you and then prioritize accordingly.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
I’m a social person who does things by relationships, so most everything I’ve learned about fatherhood has come from other parents.
The most important lesson was from my own father, who demonstrated the importance of being present. No matter what I did, he supported me. 10th place finish in the Elks Club Spelling Bee for Yakima County? I can see him sitting in the front row cheering. College basketball games at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma? He’d drive three hours each way to see me play in weeknight games. Visit to the courthouse in Tacoma due to some bad decisions in college? He was my attorney.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
It changes your life in a way that you cannot describe. That isn’t to say everyone needs to have kids…but you cannot understand the impact fatherhood has on you until you hold that tiny infant on your chest, clueless, and realize that you have something more important in life than yourself. It is definitely the most important moment in my life.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
There are countless, of course, but there are a couple:
- Last summer Iris surprised the hell out of me when she decided she wanted to go down the slide at a local pool, which required she pass a swimming test. Normally that attention and pressure would have her petrified, but she just did it. Then she topped it off by going off the Olympic high dive. At six years old. I just adore those unexpected moments.
- Most days the girls great me at the door as if I’m John Lennon circa 1966. They are literally so excited to see me that they scream loudly and run to give me a hug. It’s amazing. I’m sure that will subside when they get to be teenagers, but that memory will be with me forever.
If you have any questions for Matt, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!