Matt McRae, Head of Sales & Partnerships - Americas
With NYCxDesign 2019 underway, we caught up with Matt McRae, our Head of Sales and Partnerships in the Americas.
A favourite with both clients and colleagues, Matt gives us the low-down on where to find Tala during NYCxDesign and what he gets up to in his free time in the Big Apple.
Hey Matt, tell me one thing the world might not know about you?
I’m Hawaiian and Canadian – a Dual Citizen of the USA and Canada. I moved to London after a 15 country, 4 month backpacking trip through Europe. London was the last stop and I fell in love with the city.
What’s your role at Tala and how long have you been working for the company?
My official title is Head of Sales and Partnerships – Americas. I’ve been working at Tala for 2 years now – time has flown!
You’re based in our New York studio but were originally based in London. What has been your Tala journey so far?
I started in Operations and spent a year understanding the ins-and-outs of the business. I always wanted to learn more about the relationships between departments, in particular sales, finance and design. From there I transitioned to a customer-facing role taking on sales in the US (Feb 2018). I then moved to NYC in May 2018 to help open Tala North America and focus on partnerships with the amazingly talented lighting designers of the US. And this April I was promoted to Head of Sales and Partnerships. It’s been quite the journey!
Can you tell us what a typical day looks like for you?
I always like to start the day with a team loop meeting, asking questions like, “What are your movements?”, “What are the priorities?”, “How do we support each other?”. We are a lean-but-mean team when we keep communications open.
Next are my calls to the Tala HQ in London (5 hour time difference), making sure departments are aligned with plans and expectations. Then I spend the rest of the day touching base with clients – calls, emails and my favourite, in-person meetings. The design industry is fascinating and it’s amazing how mutually beneficial information sharing can be.
We have lots of partners and retailers in the Americas and Tala has been specified on a lot of amazing projects this year.
What’s the secret to your success?
I would say tenacity and a positive attitude
With NYCxDESIGN around the corner (10-22 May), where will the visitors be able to see Tala?
We will be participating in the 2nd annual designer showcase at Next Level NY, with a large-scale Voronoi III installation. It’s a real privilege to be participating alongside some of our partnership brands, including L’aviva Home and O&G Studio, as well as designers we have long-admired such as Eskayel (organisers of Next Level) and Kin & Company.
We have also donated 70 bulbs with pendants for the Lantern Show. This is a charitable project in association with Next Level and world-renowned local design emporium Pearl River. They’ve donated rice-paper lanterns for customization by 70 New York City artists and textile designers, and the lanterns will be displayed over 3,000 square feet within the Next Level space and available for sale. Fifty-percent of the proceeds are going to the Robin Hood Foundation, a charity which attempts to alleviate problems caused by poverty in New York City.
You can also spot Tala at DUMBO House, where we have a beautiful installation of our Voronoi lights set against the backdrop of the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges.
That all sounds so so exciting, but enough about work, tell me what you get up to in your spare time?
Travelling, concerts – I like to boogie – patio hopping with friends, and of course playing ice hockey. I’m Canadian after all!
Favourite NYC spot to eat?
Di An Di – love a bowl of Pho.
Tell us something about living in New York people may not know…
Spending $50 on movie snacks is a bargain.
Tulum, Mexico – a post NYCxDesign vacation at the end of May.
Thanks to Matt for sparing some time to talk to us. Catch Matt and the rest of the North America team during NYCxDESIGN, 10-22 May 2019. For information, visit: nycxdesign.com/