All posts by Matt Mittan

I can’t be Silent about Sam

Commentary by Matt Mittan

(Warning: This post may tick some of you off but it might also set you free.)

We are living through a very tense time in our nation and I think it is imperative that we speak with moral clarity and candid truth.

NC has been thrust into the national spotlight again, on the issue of race, due to the toppling of the Confederate Monument on UNC referred to as “Silent Sam”.

Many who are angered over its desecration yell “it’s history, not hate” or “its about states rights, not racism”… The question we should be asking is not whether it should go back up or not but why was it put up in the first place and when?

Rather than argue for days on end, lets not guess but instead go to the source… The statue was put up in the Summer of 1913, during the Jim Crow era.

Here’s what UNC trustee and Confederate Veteran Julian Carr, the keynote speaker at Silent Sam’s unveiling ceremony said… (Taken directly from the transcript stored in the UNC Library achives.)

“The present generation, I am persuaded, scarcely takes note of what the Confederate soldier meant to the welfare of the Anglo-Saxon race during the four years immediately succeeding the war, when the facts are that their courage and steadfastness saved the very life of the Anglo-Saxon race in the South. When ‘the bottom rail was on top’ all over the Southern states, and today, as a consequence, the purest strain of the Anglo-Saxon is to be found in the 13 Southern States — Praise God.
I trust I may be pardoned for one allusion, howbeit it is rather personal. One hundred yards from where we stand [on Franklin Street], less than ninety days perhaps after my return from Appomattox, I horse-whipped a negro wench until her skirts hung in shreds, because upon the streets of this quiet village she had publicly insulted an maligned a Southern lady, and then rushed for protection to these University buildings where was stationed a garrison of 100 Federal soldiers. I performed the pleasing duty in the immediate presence of the entire garrison, and for thirty nights afterward slept with a double-barrel shotgun under my head.”

Those are the words spoken right there at the statue, the day of its unveiling, by a trustee on UNC who was the invited keynote.

Here’s how I see it… We are at a crossroads of accountability in our country’s evolution. Are we going to rise above the darker truths of our history by owning the harshness of true evils that occurred, and become the shining light we propagate that we want to be, or will we continue to deny the ugly truths that – by our refusal to acknowledge – continue to chip away at the soul of our nation?

No… You didn’t own the slaves youselves… But your denail of the actual history and the plainly articulated sentiments behind so many of these ‘monuments’ is yours to own.

When you have been shown the truth but still subscribe to a false narative then it keeps wounds open, it breeds resentment and it marginalizes fellow citizens from discovering the common goals and shared values that exist between us, within our communities.

It’s been over 150 years since the Civil War ended. But it’s been less than an hour since I’ve seen people try to justify, defend or excuse the hate that lingers in its wake.

Rise above it. Please.

(Posted from a place of #love…)

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Commentary: The dying corporate culture

mms 1350 bannerCommentary by Matt Mittan

It’s not surprising to me that the “Gig-Economy” is expanding the way that it is. The “Gig-Economy” is the world ruled by entrepreneurs, independent contractors and the self employed. This is a segment of the economy that is populated by people who do what they want, the way they want to do it, on the schedule of their choosing. And, according to a report in Business News Daily, 36% of the American work force is already independent. And numerous workforce study reports predict that we will see the freelance workforce in America surpass 50% within the next 10-15 years. So why is this happening?

Of course, technology is a huge factor in the change. More and more people can be productive from just about anywhere, so long as they have internet or cellular connectivity to the outside world. And culturally, younger generations have a different mindset about work / home balance. But I think there’s more to it than that.

There are too many times, when I’m trying to deal with corporate entities, that common sense and rational thought processes go right out the window. I can’t explain why, but there is a certain paralysis that manifests itself within many large corporations. People are often locked into rigid habits and routines that void them of even the most basic of independent decisions. And even where there may be empowerment to take action on items, many in the large corporate culture seem unwilling to make moves that may draw attention or engage any level of risk. Better to stay the course than to be party to something that may not work out.

When absorbed into this kind of environment, many employees and managers are blind to the inefficiencies and obtuseness of their stagnation. Employees who do see and feel the frustration and inevitable failure of this mind set in a company end up leaving, either to a more empowered work environment or they branch out to work for themselves.

In the face of constant turn over of employees and the challenges many businesses face in recruiting talent, many choose not to adjust their ways but instead clamp down on their key personnel even more rigidly. This further stifles creativity and workplace morale, which more and more people seek as a key factor in a job. Corporations that are learning to embrace the trend of independent workers are picking up speed, not slowing down. Unfortunately, most still don’t get it.

Which brings me back to where I began, it’s not surprising to me that the “Gig-Economy” is expanding the way that it is. Corporate culture is dying in the hearts of the American worker.

(Matt Mittan hosts the afternoon drive show on Biz Radio Asheville and owns an insurance and employee benefits agency in Asheville, NC.)

Up, Up and Away!

Biz_Radio_1350_Logo3 months on the air…. What’s been accomplished?

  • Create brand new, never done in Asheville before, radio station format, lineup and branding – Check.
  • Build out broadcast capability from scratch – Check.
  • Get new 10,000 watt station on the air live – Check.
  • Get live audio streaming up – Check.
  • Get Social Media and Web platforms up and running – Check.
  • Get Podcasts up and running – Check.
  • Get broad distribution of podcasts across multiple popular platforms (such as iTunes, Google Play and more) – Check.
  • Partner up to start doing community business networking events around town – Check.
  • Get live video streaming up and running – Check.
  • Feature a long parade of amazing people from across our community up on a very large media platform – Check.
  • Start promoting local advertisers to a growing listener base – Check.

Signed,
The entire crew of Asheville Business Radio, on the day of our 3 Month (young) anniversary. WOW!!!!

Thank you everyone!!! This is all yours! Celebrate! There’s still more to come!!!!

From my heart…

rainbow
Swannanoa Valley, NC. Photo by Matt Mittan.

Good day everyone! I wanted to offer up this personal THANK YOU for all the support and enthusiasm over the past few weeks, as I’ve jumped back onto the airwaves. I felt like it was a good fit to do this now, while still being able to grow my employee benefits business and maintain my personal life balance – simultaneously.

Well, I just had one of the strongest growth 1st Quarters ever for Mittan Insurance – even while being part of the team in seeing Biz 1350 launch and start growing too. But it hasn’t taken away from the beautiful life balance I enjoy, outside of work, either. I still have time to be with the people I love. I still get time to play my guitar and sing. And, of course, there has to be time to get out and fish once in a while too. I am SO grateful! The best part? I feel like each of the efforts I’m involved in right now are actually helping make a positive difference! That’s all I want.

 

I feel so blessed right now for this but even more so for the love, friendship and faith that surrounds me. I sit in awe and gratitude. I will not take it for granted. The last 4-5 years were an extremely challenging and reformative time in my life. The first half of that, seeing all that I thought my life was be torn down and decimated. The second half of that climbing back out of the rubble.

During that climb I have been fueled and affirmed by the most unconditional love and support that my heart could ever dare pray to receive. In hindsight, I can see that those things would never have been unearthed if not for the hard times I had to endure. And even before that could happen I had to first come to peace with God, and myself, and have faith that things would get better if I just stayed positive, humble, grateful for the best of what I had and employed the spirit of a servant – without expectation of return. 

 

It works. I’ve come out the other side. It has left me feeling more empowered, free and at peace with “being me” than at any other point in my life. I feel like a passenger on an amazing ride, not the pilot of my own ambitions. There’s a big difference. And you can get there too. If you are going through a hard time where it’s hard to see the way forward, don’t lose faith that it can improve. And, from my own journey, I’d say embrace the hardship as a cleansing and strengthening process. Believe me, I know, it’s not easy to do while in the fire and fury of crisis or enduring challenges. I was there too. 

Here’s the thing though… You can recover and come out stronger, more at peace and feeling a more purpose-filled existence than ever before. I only hope I can pay the insights, the experience, the compassion and the encouragement forward that I have been so fortunate to receive from so many of you.

THANK YOU. I love each of you!

#purpose

Two weeks in… Oh my!

matt studio photo bombBy Matt Mittan

What a fun ride this is!

Before two months ago, I would not have believed you if you told me I’d be right back in the thick of local, afternoon drive time radio. I have to tell you that I’m having more fun broadcasting now than I’d had in many, many years. Perhaps it’s the timing in the community. Perhaps it’s the timing in my own personal life. Perhaps it’s the format of the brand new station. My bet is that it’s the combination of all of these things.

In just the past two weeks, there have been 15 different community guests – from all walks of life, on all kinds of topics and with the full range of motivations and emotions found within the human experience. We’ve laughed. We’ve gotten active on a couple issues. We’ve even watered up our eyes a couple times, together. We’ve reflected back on where we’ve been and have looked forward to where we are going. In short, we are building commUNITY. And it’s exactly why I decided to take the invitation to jump back on a mic.

One of the most exciting, and validating, things so far for me is to see the way people are jumping right in to make it their own. Because here’s a trade secret… I’ve never looked at neighbors tuning in as “listeners”, I’ve look at you as “partners”. What I do doesn’t work in a vacuum. When it’s clicking, and it IS clicking right now, I am more the sail for the community’s wind than a ship Captain. That’s the way a community broadcaster should operate, in my opinion.

So as we continue to press forward, know that I have unwavering respect and appreciation for all the engagement and enthusiasm this amazing region is pouring into this new platform. We have a very rare situation right now, when it comes to large format commercial broadcasting… The airwaves are in the hands of us!

Let’s make it what we dream it should be… together!

Yours in service,
Matt

 

You can listen to Biz 1350 Live Streaming at Biz1350.com or check out “The Matt Mittan Show” Best of Podcasts on TuneIn and iTunes. The show is on Live 4-6pm EST, Monday through Friday.