Alumni

Reverse Engineering Your Way to Success


by Nanfei Liu

 
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SUMMARY: Whether you are interested in sports, photography, or wellness, Matthew Murray (’00), has been a part of some major global brands such as Oakley, Theragun, and Getty Images. Over the past three and half years he has served as a business partner to the founder, board member, COO, and CMO of women’s wellness industry trailblazer, Love Wellness. *Photo was taken by Murray in 2010, sunset at the Kona Ironman World Championships.


A native of Rhode Island, but lived most of his childhood in Maine and New Hampshire, Matthew Murray graduated in 2000 from JMU with a major in art (photography and design) and a minor in art history. Before working his way up as an accomplished executive with over twenty years of professional experience from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, his passion began with extreme snow sports and photography.

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Murray's first full-page published photo

Taking the unbeaten path tends to be Murray’s forte. Before his successes in marketing, Murray’s love of photography and snowboarding took him all over the world. In 2006 he opened a ski and snowboard camp in Las Lenas, Argentina. There he captured a stellar photo that became his first full-page magazine, which ultimately launched his career at Oakley. Murray fondly recalls his time working in global sports marketing while traveling the world working at two Olympics, filming TV shows in Switzerland, riding Stage 18 of the Tour de France, shooting for ESPN.com at X Games for nearly a decade and many other unique work experiences as the “gnarliest time of my life!”

Murray’s mother recognized early on that Murray and his brother had a passion for art. He learned how to draw from a book called “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.” That love for art developed further during his high school days where he was introduced to black and white photography. The works of American photographer, Alfred Stieglitz, was a great source of inspiration. Taking his passion to college, Murray and a few other students built the first digital photography class during his senior year at JMU.

Murray joined Love Wellness in 2018 when founder and CEO Lauren Bosworth was still a one-woman show. There was one product in particular, that had a lot of potential called The Killer; a vaginal depository. Murray believed in the product, “even though I am a man, I totally get this!”

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Product Image from www.lovewellness.com

He grew the Love Wellness brand by leaning into the storytelling of the consumer. “What really matters is the community, that is the heart and ethos of what will make a brand thrive and scale long-term.” From navigating various challenges as a marketer in a space where the proliferation of content can suffocate a brand’s message, Murray evolved into what he calls a “story-telling operator.”

As a proud type-A with unique methodical to-do lists, he credits his love for math and art in becoming a ‘hybrid’ strategist. The distinctive way Murray operates helps him manage from an operational standpoint and then evaluate effective brand messaging from a creative standpoint. Even if Murray himself does not fit the target demographic of the Love Wellness brand, he is successful because his mindset is that “humans are humans” and the appropriate service can be delivered to the right consumers through extreme data evaluation and conversion. His goal is to educate the buyer and act as the ‘human layer’ that sits below and above the data baseline in the middle.

Murray’s tenacious work ethic was influenced by his relationship with his parents. Murray’s mom recognized early on that he processed information differently; Murray is a “right-brained thinker” with dyslexia. This diagnosis was important as Murray would be capable of editing his papers, “I wrote the way I talked,” and ensure his success in and beyond college. His learning disorder positioned Murray to be someone who could excel by thinking holistically and problem solve more tactfully.

Murray’s unique thinking and successes have positioned him as a valuable mentor. His advice for tackling projects is to reserve engineer your work. “If you are stuck with a challenge, try not to think about getting out of that challenge at the moment, instead imagine what does success look like on the backend if everything worked out? Start there and work backward to find what your next steps should be!”

From talent management with ICM Partners in Hollywood to managing operations of leading brands such as Theragun and Love Wellness, Murray has truly done it all!

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Murray’s Advice for Success:

  • Be Patient & Persevere– “There were times I packed up my bags too soon and wanted to move onto the next big thing.”
  • Know Your Place – “I was constantly told by prior employers that I was too motivated, which was odd, but you must know how to be respectful of those who are senior to you and how to position yourself for growth.”
  • Hard Work – “Do the work and don’t always expect to be recognized for it!”
  • Networking – “My dad recognized that I was naturally an introvert. Without his advice on being extroverted in the business world, I would not be where I am today.”
Murray’s best piece of advice was delivered from his dad. “You can’t ask for new advice unless you can prove the last bit of advice, I gave you…you applied.” Murray encourages young professionals to be open to mentorship as people’s experiences go way beyond their professional titles.

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Published: Monday, June 21, 2021

Last Updated: Tuesday, June 22, 2021

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