Where are they now – Matt Shortal (SPC 1995-2000)
July 26, 2021
The College recently reconnected with Matt Shortal (SPC 1995-2000) who enjoyed a high-flying sales role which took him across the globe and is now loving and enjoying life with his young family and a passion project with a fellow Old Boy in the form of a brewery business. Watch this space!
Where has life taken you since leaving SPC?
Well, we are coming up to our 21 Year reunion this year so it is quite hard to summarise my life since leaving SPC.
Most importantly I’m happily married to Lesley and we have three young daughters in Chloe, aged nine, Ella, seven, and Summer, four. We have lived in various places around Australia from Melbourne to the Central Coast in NSW, to our current location in Geelong.
After completing Year 12 at St Pat’s, I went on to university at Ballarat, graduating with majors in Marketing, Human Resource Management and Business.
I then moved into my first real job as a sales rep with Mars Incorporated. Little did I know it would turn into a 15-year career. I started out in Melbourne repping around the Northern suburbs, surviving on cheap rent living with fellow Old Boy Drew Petrie (SPC 1995-2000) who was on the big bucks and was able to help a mate out.
I progressed relatively quickly through different levels of the organisation to eventually become a Company Director with Mars Food.
My main role was to lead the sales function across Australia with a sales value of over $500m. I have been able to travel all over the world within my roles at Mars and have had great experiences in managing large teams in different geographies throughout Australia, China and New Zealand.
Currently I’m heading up a start-up business across Australia and New Zealand. The business is named KIND which is a healthy snacking company that was recently acquired by Mars Inc for an estimated $5b USD.
Outside of work, I continued my passion for football for many years post school, playing footy for Ballarat, Lexton, Bungaree and finally Terrigal-Avoca in NSW. It was a passion hard to give away, I played senior football until I was 37. My advice is to keep playing as long as you’re able, long time retired as they say.
Along with my girls we are all keen Brisbane Lions supporters, so hopefully 2021 is our year.
I also have a passion for craft beer and brewing, myself and fellow Old Boy Michael Ranger (SPC 1995-2000) have just purchased a brewery in Geelong together. This will be a passion project for us and one that should be a lot of fun. Keep an eye out for Great Ocean Road brewing and Cockies Beer (cockies.com.au).
Do you have family ties with SPC?
My nephew Lucas Byrne will start Year 7 at St Pat’s next year. It will be a big change for him as he attends a very small primary school in Skipton, starting at SPC will be a big adventure and adjustment for him. I think he’ll love it as he is very much into sports and no better school to attend when sport is a great passion.
What are your fondest memories of your time at St Patrick’s College?
My memories of St Patrick’s College really revolve around my lifelong friends, who I am still very closely connected to. Many fun times and funny stories reflected on regularly over a couple of beers when we get together. Outside of friends, playing First XVIII football would be a real highlight. It was something you looked forward to in your younger days at the school so to finally get your chance was just great fun. The opportunity to play footy with your best mates is not something you get to do very often in life, a very fond memory. I still cherish my First XVII jumpers, they are items that will never be lost!
Which teacher from your time at SPC had the greatest impact on you? Why?
Teaching and leadership in general has really shifted in the last 20 years, which is a great thing. In my time at St Pat’s, I always responded well to those teachers that could adapt their style to different learners and find different avenues to access the hearts and minds of students. I found the most progressive teacher to be Howard Clark. Mr Clark was committed to his students and always made every effort to get to know you and to truly understand how to best teach you. He had been through some significant challenges in his life and rather than hiding them from the students, he used his own story as a vehicle to teach, inspire and build trust. Males showing true vulnerability and transparency wasn’t huge in the 90’s and certainly not in a school setting. That is why Mr Clark stands out to me. I was always happy to see how successful he became as the coach of the First XVIII. I certainly wasn’t surprised one bit.
How has your education shaped your professional life?
I think success comes from good planning and preparation. Unfortunately, you learn this the hard way at times in school and work. But those who are prepared to commit to their own education and or success through strong preparation and planning will be well equipped when their opportunities arise. If you build habits of rocking into exams without studying, that can be a hard habit to break out of in the real world. Preparation is key!
How has your time at SPC shaped your personal values and your family life?
Certainly over my time at St Pat’s, I was able to build many great relationships. I place a strong value on these relationships and I’m a constant connector to ensure they stay that way. St Pat’s also provided me a sense of loyalty to my friends and family, a sense of strong community connection and lastly that it is important to keep a good balance in life. Whether you are studying for Year 12 exams or in a busy job whilst managing a young family, it’s important to keep making time for fun, exercise and downtime. Balance is critical in life and I think you get that balance through SPC education.
If you could pass on one message to the students of today, what would it be?
Although we have amazing help from parents, teachers, friends and family, never forget that your life is your responsibility. Be resilient in the face of challenge and always remember that luck happens when hard work and good timing intersect. Take responsibility for how you show up in life and make it a winner. Lastly try not to sweat the small stuff, enjoy your time at SPC as they will be some of the best days of your life (everyone says that, but it’s true).