Future First Alumni Volunteer and social media guru, Matt Navarra, on why he signed up to Future First and what he hopes to get out of volunteering
I am a social media consultant and industry analyst – I advise global brands, celebrities and public figures on their social media strategy and speak at events about social media and write a weekly newsletter that goes out to 26,000 people every Friday called Geek Out which is a round-up of all the latest news in social. I have a podcast called Geek Out where I interview people from the world of social media and I do TV and radio appearances as an expert on the subject of social media. Previous clients I’ve worked with include Google, Meta, Pinterest, the US Food and Drug Administration, the United Nation, UK Government – if you go to my website: mattnavarra.com you’ll see a list of other clients that I’ve worked with.
It’s nice that I’ve been able to return back to the place where it all began in terms of studying and show people who are at that school now some of the success stories or and the things that people who have been in their shoes have gone on to do. I don’t think for one minute that I’m particularly inspirational – I’ve got a crazy mad job – but I think it probably is a bit more interesting than the average career choice and I think that might be useful to certain people. It’s nice to be able to return the favour given that the school did well by me.
Thy may be feeling under pressure to make decisions around subjects to study or career choices to make, and maybe they’re not feeling particularly inspired or not sure which way to go and may be feeling slightly overwhelmed with the expectations that are placed on them – I certainly remember feeling some of those things. So, I thought that signing-up was something I could fit in with my hectic work schedule that could be useful to people. My job isn’t a 9-5 standard job, so maybe because it’s a bit more unusual people might find it a bit more interesting and make them curious or inspire them to make decisions based on my experiences.
I wouldn’t say that anyone inspired me to get into this job because I kind of fell into it by accident. I was working for the Government as a Press, PR and Communications Manager and it was around the time that social media was becoming more of an important ‘thing’ around 2009 so I took it upon myself to start playing around with and start creating social accounts for this Government department and I found that I was pretty good at creating content for social platforms and understanding how best to use social media. I started to build up a reputation in Government as someone who is an expert in the area of digital communications and I ended up working for the Cabinet Office and in 10 Downing Street for the Prime Minister and did all sorts of roles in Government and from there I then got head-hunted to work for a technology news company in Amsterdam called The Next Web where I was a director of social media – it kind of snowballed from there really.
I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 26 or 27 and all through my school career at Clevedon School and in Bridgewater College, I got on ok but I now look back on it and saw in my reports that there were all these signs that I was struggling with ADHD. When I started work, I fell out with lots of bosses and got in all sorts of trouble at work but didn’t realise it was all related to the ADHD – then I got the diagnosis, and I started using a medication for the ADHD and it transformed my career. I found by accident that social media and the sort of work I do is really a good fit for the things that are difficult for me because of the condition, so that was a very lucky and fortuitous moment I think.