Name: Emmanuel Matthews
Profession: Applied Intelligence Program Manager, Deepmind
One Word That Describes You: Calculated
What is your “Extraordinary Impact?”
I’m firmly committed to paving the way for young girls and boys of color to have all the opportunity they rightfully deserve, but rarely get. From promoting STEM and career opportunities to over 3,100 youth and championing equity and inclusion within the Google Fiber organization, to presently serving on the Career and Professional Development Committee at East Bay College Fund, mentoring at Big Brothers Big Sisters, serving as a Board Member of Youth Impact Hub Oakland, and as an Executive Strategy Advisor for the Kappa Foundation, I’ve dedicated my life to paying it forward. My parents sacrificed everything to give me a shot at the life they were never privileged enough to have, and I would be remiss if I did not use my platform—be it Google, DeepMind, or another company—to do the same.
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
Growing up I always looked at the men and women featured in Black Enterprise and longed to be just like them, so this is truly an honor and a blessing. I’m especially humbled that I have peers who nominated me for an honor as great as this.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
When I was looking for my first college internship, an adviser told me, “there is no way I will send your résumé out because you can’t compete with the business students with higher GPAs.” That interaction spurred me to spend weeks in Barnes and Nobles researching body language, influencing techniques, and mastering résumé and interview methods. Ultimately, I was offered one of those jobs; although it was a small win at the time, my relentlessness set me on my path to future success. Nothing makes light of hard times like reflecting upon the number of people who told you, “no,” “you can’t,” “you’re not good enough,” and remembering how often they were so very wrong.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
Reliability. I need to know that when you put your stamp on something I can stand by it confidently. This requires honesty when things are going well and when they aren’t. The absence or presence of this characteristic can make or break a partnership.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
I’m currently focused on the early iterations of the DeepMind Health Streams product. It’s an app that we developed to support more timely detection and more effective intervention of medical conditions to improve healthcare outcomes. It sends alerts directly to specialists when a patient deteriorates and gives them access to relevant information to reduce the patient’s time to treatment.
On the community side, I’m on the board of Youth Impact Hub Oakland; a social entrepreneurial incubator for youth that is housed within Oakland’s United Roots. We’ve seen amazing growth and are currently focused on a capital campaign to secure the organization’s future by purchasing and fully renovating the building we’re currently renting. The location is situated in the middle of the hotbed of downtown Oakland gentrification and is a community bedrock we can’t afford to lose.
What is the best advice you ever received?
“Don’t let your success up until this point blind you with the facade of privilege” —Uncle David
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Micro actions can cause macro impact. It’s important to understand problems on a macro level to help inform your actions, but focusing only on macro-level change will leave you feeling burned out and overwhelmed. It’s usually that feeling, the feeling that our problems are too big and complex, that prevents us from going out to make a difference. I always recommend using your unique gifts and talents as the conduit to bring about change. The advantage of this is that as you grow and mature your skills in different arenas, you’re also multiplying your potential for social impact.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
I often adjust my schedule and walk around with unplugged noise cancelling headphones to minimize distractions. I also time myself as I go over content out loud to practice my pace and pauses. I also do a last minute review of key people in the meeting to insure I’m not missing any critical information.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation? Share a story about your best vacation.
My favorite vacation to date was my trip to Maui. I spent a week and a half totally disconnected from my phone and laptop, which allowed me to fully recharge.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I would love to travel to the French Riviera. This fantasy is a lingering byproduct of growing up wanting to be James Bond.
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