Introducing the people behind the scenes at DPS, the company bringing you Disability Support Guide and Talking Disability, to help you get to know us a little better and give insight into what we do. Next up in our Q&A series is our National Sales Manager Matthew Gonzalez.
How long have you been with DPS?
It’ll be coming up on two years soon, on October the 14th to be exact. I’ll have officially been here for two years then.
What is your role and how has this changed over time?
I’m our National Sales Manager. I didn’t come on board in this role though, I joined the team as a Sales Coordinator. The team didn’t have a Sales Manager at the time. When I joined DPS the sales team was managed by Michelle (DPS’ CEO). About four months in, that changed and we had some staff movement, so I then went from Sales Coordinator to a Sales Manager and Sales Representative. So now I still get to look after all the advertising requirements for print and online for our key clients as well as managing the team.
What does your day-to-day look like in your role then?
There’s lots of different things on-the-go depending on what state we’re working in. For example, we just came out of working on the Western Australian aged care publication. This usually means a trip for a week or two, visiting clients, getting proposals together and following up on those clients and negotiations, as well as making sure the team is hitting their KPIs and performance levels. As well as looking after clients, sales, and our team, I also do a bit of marketing with Steve (Executive Assistant to the CEO). So that involves working on social campaigns and Google search campaigns and means we’re often thinking about who to target, what message to use and when to target them to align with the market.
What’s your favourite thing about working at DPS?
I think one of the reasons I took the job here is because my son is on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). I understand the NDIS, but being in sales and advertising, there was no real outlet for me to give back to that industry because I didn’t have many skill sets outside of advertising. So when this job came up on the disability side of things, it meant I could apply the skills that I have to that industry. That’s one of the main reasons why I like talking to the disability service providers, I understand their journey being the parent of a participant.
I also really like presenting to clients. I get a real buzz from pitching to a handful of clients – maybe 5 or 6 – sitting in a boardroom having the laptop up on the big screen and doing the whole ‘razzle, dazzle’ of sales. I actually really like it, speaking in front of people. I like being on the road and seeing clients face-to-face.
Has COVID-19 affected your ability to do that and challenged you in any way?
COVID definitely changed the way I present and connect with clients. Moving a lot of that interaction to phone, email and zoom. It’s not as personal and you don't always get that kind of connection with people or clients.
COVID also hit the market pretty hard with external costs, particularly with aged care. In some states, people were scared to put their loved ones in an aged care home and in some places people have gone from a five-year waiting list to barely reaching 50 percent capacity. No-one has ever been in the business long enough to know what to do when that happens.
What’s the most satisfying or enjoyable part of your role?
The most enjoyable part would have to be culture-wise. After managing a team of 30 and sort of building the culture I was proud of in the past, it was something I wanted to bring to DPS too. This comes down to the culture I bring everyday, the energy I bring to the team so that the team’s energetic and so that customers and everyone else can see that when we’re out and about at expos or in the lunchroom grabbing coffee, that we’re having fun. So I think that’s the way I hold myself. Have fun at work – a happy team is a productive team.
Now to let readers know a little bit more about you outside of work, we’d like to ask some more lighthearted questions. What’s something you could give a 40-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?
I’ve got a few interests outside of work. I’m a keen surfer so I could talk about all my surf trips around the world and all the epic surfs I’ve had. And I could also talk about the Sydney Swans all day. In fact I could talk about the AFL all day.
I could definitely spend 40 minutes talking about sneakers though. I’ve got a massive sneaker collection. I used to travel to the United States and I would take annual leave and go for six weeks every year and come back with 30 or 40 pairs of shoes.
That would’ve been a lot of luggage to bring back?
Yeah, I used to get them back in one suitcase though. It was a soft duffel bag suitcase with wheels and I used to like keeping all the boxes as well. So I used to fold all the boxes down and get them underneath the shoes. It would take me a whole day or two to re-assemble.
You also mentioned surfing, tell us a bit about how you got into that and where in the world it has taken you?
I didn’t surf as a kid but I played a tonne of sport. It wasn’t until schoolies at Victor Harbor, where I went bodyboarding at Boomer Beach and I haven’t stopped surfing since. Bodyboarding’s my favourite, I go to Knight’s Beach at Port Elliot. I do surf stand-up as well depending on the size of the surf. I’ve surfed all around the world, so I’ve done a couple of overseas trips. I did Pipeline (a surf break in Hawaii) and that was probably my surfing highlight. It’s sort of the Mecca of bodyboarding as well as stand up surfing, so going there was pretty big for me. I’ve also been surfing through Spain and most of America.
Do you find much time for it with work now?
Surfing’s hard. In the summer I get to go during the week. When I work from home I get to go in the morning, and surf quite early and be back and online by 9am. In the winter months though, it’s definitely getting a bit harder to surf as I’m getting older. It’s also harder to get keen in the middle of July when it’s freezing cold in the morning and the sun’s not even up at 7. I like to keep surfing once a month. Surfing’s dependent on having waves, so when you’re free doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have waves, so that’s what I’ve struggled with since I was 17. It’s been a fickle hobby.