Dancing to a Different Tune: Matthew Everitt ’99 BSBA
May 15, 2018
Matthew Everitt ’99 BSBA (Business Economics, Finance and Entrepreneurship)
Matthew Everitt is excited. Not just because World of Dance, the global art and entertainment phenomenon that he presides over as CEO, launched its second network TV season last month. Not because its first season was the second-highest-rated network show last summer. And just not because it will soon make its TV debut in the Philippines, Thailand and Poland, with more markets in the works. No, Matthew Everitt is excited most of all because World of Dance has a simple mission that he’s helping deliver on every single day: Change the world.
“Dance is a universal language,” Everitt explains. “It brings together people from all ages and backgrounds, and I think, especially today, the world could use a little more of that.” It’s a sentiment you might not expect from a C-level executive with a professional portfolio built on accounting and financial management, but Everitt’s entire career has been foregoing the expected to dance to a different tune.
“I knew very early on that I wasn’t going chase money,” he says. “I wanted to learn and grow, be a student of life, so I chose to work with people, not companies—people who I connected with and who shared similar values and ideals. That gave me lots of opportunities to support entrepreneurs who had amazing visions to create something. It made sitting down and figuring out how to build things together a really exciting and a fun process. And when they were successful and moved on to another company, I followed them.”
Along those same lines, World of Dance brings together many of the things that Everitt is passionate about: “For me, it’s an entrepreneur’s dream because we’re involved in so many different businesses, from television and digital media to events and apparel. Every day is an opportunity to learn something new. We get to work with great talent, and when everyone is working together toward a common purpose, you’re excited to get into the office every day.”
In part, Everitt can trace that sense of community and shared purpose back to his days at Eller and the University of Arizona. “I was very involved in student life,” he says. “I was president of the student programming board. I was president of the Residence Hall Association and a resident assistant. Greg Ziebell, who recently retired as assistant director of residence life, really invested in me. I had some amazing mentors, and I owe a lot to the UA for teaching me about leadership and service.
“I also was admitted into the entrepreneurship program, which was the academic highlight of my time at the UA,” he notes. “When you learn business from the ground up like that, it helps you see the big picture and connect the dots in a way that isn’t as easy when you’re learning various disciplines in isolation.”
In recent years, connecting the dots has helped Everitt steer World of Dance to a global brand no less awe-inspiring than the performers it showcases and supports. “I think we were doing eight events a year when I first joined,” he says. “When I got involved, we started to grow out the digital media presence and immediately became one of the leading entertainment networks online. Now we’re in more than 25 countries and have more than 20 million views per month on our YouTube channel alone.”
But World of Dance isn’t stopping with global dominion. The company is now rolling out World of Dance DX, a series of conventions that bring people together to learn dance but also develop career skills that dancers need to thrive in the entertainment community. Everitt is also helping to launch an outreach program that uses World of Dance events across the country to help raise money and awareness for local nonprofits.
“We really feel an obligation to use this huge platform to do acts of good and help these causes that are doing solid work in their communities,” Everitt explains, returning to that bold, unflinching mission to change the world. Every indicator to date suggests he’ll succeed, so what does it take to be in the captain at that wheel? What’s the path to a professional platform that positions you to wield your powers for good?
“I tell a lot of students to remember that there are 168 hours in a week. When you take time out for sleep and chores and the like, you’re left with about 100 hours to do something with your life. So if you’re working 40 to 50 of them, spend that time doing something fulfilling. And bring enthusiasm. We’re all trying to figure out our path in life, and the journey is going to have ups and downs. But if you bring enthusiasm and realize that you can learn and grow from anything you do, you’ll be able to look back without regret.”
Header image courtesy Pixabay.