Matt Enright from Lion, New Zealand is one of those people whose zest for life is unmissable, and he’s proof of the adage: If you love what you do, you won’t work a day in your life. Of course, that’s not to say every day is beer and skittles for Matt, but he certainly gives the impression that he’s a man who genuinely loves and takes pride in his job.
A Central Otago lad from way back, Matt went to school, played sport, supported the Highlanders rugby team, and even attended university in the region. He’s a proud local through and through, even citing anything from the Speight’s family as his favourite drop.
With such loyalty to his local brand, it seems only fitting that Matt would end up at Lion, and this year he celebrated four years with the company. He started as a sales executive in Dunedin, Otago then moved to Central Otago in the heart of the South Island, where he’s now based as a Sales Executive.
Matt previously worked in the marketing and commercial team for the Highlanders’ Rugby Club, managing events such as the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand, so it’s clear he’s a man who stays close to his passions. He also studied Health and Physical Education at Otago University, where he recalls Speight’s as being well represented at social gatherings.
Matt’s current role sees him merging customer relationships and sales with premium Lion products across the Central Otago region. It’s a sociable role that sees him engaging happily and often with his clients. “Having a good chat with good people along the way is a key part of a Sales Executive role anywhere in NZ or abroad,” he says, giving the impression that a chinwag is never a hardship.
Matt’s enthusiasm for his role, his clients and products is palpable, and it’s clear he’s a natural communicator who genuinely cares about people. He is reflective on what he sees as the lasting effects of the pandemic on people’s mental health and believes in lending an ear to those who need it.
“It’s important to be an effective listener and understand people’s concerns, and why they may have these,” Matt says.
To have empathy and understand we are all human and are going through different cycles of mental, physical and other facets of wellbeing each day.
Matt’s empathy extends beyond listening. In fact, in November he went the extra mile to raise funds and awareness for men’s health – 2,500 kilometres to be more precise. Dubbed ‘Top to toe’, Matt cycled the length of New Zealand from top to bottom along with two of his university mates, in support of men’s health charity Movember, with the support of Lion and Speight’s, which has partnered with Movember for 5 years.
Matt, Liam and Kaleb raised over $30,000 and met some interesting characters and sampled some of the local flavours along the way.
“We went through every region NZ has to offer, so we met some absolute legends along the way for sure and have enjoyed our fair share of pies and sausages rolls” he says.
“The last couple of years have been a really stressful time for all of us,” Matt explains.
This ride is to raise money and awareness for Movember, but it’s not just specific to men, it’s for women too because we all need to check in on each other.
The idea was born from an annual tradition where Matt and his mates gather sponsors, grow their moustaches out and raise funds during November at the Dunedin Beer Festival via the Lion tent, together with the Lion southern sales team and wider teams.
This year however, they decided to add a physical element to the challenge, so they hatched a plan to cycle the length of New Zealand, get some fresh air and take in the scenery along the way, while supporting a cause close to their hearts.
“I think we have all in some way had someone we know go through tough times and how we deal with these challenges, big or small, is extremely important,” Matt says.
"It doesn’t just have to be mental, physical health is also extremely important and dictates each day we live, so it is extremely important we don’t just discuss these topics but front up and show we are here for each other, something that Lion is moving forwards in, which is epic to see.”
By participating in the ride and supporting Movember, Matt hopes to raise awareness and encourage open and honest conversations about men’s mental health. According to the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand, men are three to four times more likely to die by suicide. “The suicide rates in NZ are far worse in men and there must be a reason why,” says Matt.
“We don’t have the answers between us three lads doing the ride of course, but our aim is to show that we care about it and hope others will too.”
“Lion has been amazing in supporting our ride,” says Matt.
“The costs of much of the equipment we are used for the ride were supported by Speight’s and Lion donated $10,000 straight away to the cause which really blew us away. The support has been quite astonishing to be honest, and we will always be massively appreciative.”
Good on ya Matt.