Matt Lynch '99

Matt Lynch ’99

Imagine working at one of the most famous music and sports venues in the world – a place so iconic that many of the biggest names in show business don’t consider their careers complete until they’ve performed there.

Wembley Stadium in London has played host to the Olympics, NFL games, countless soccer matches and a who’s who of famous recording artists – from Queen and the Rolling Stones to Michael Jackson, Madonna and Bruce Springsteen.

With a pedigree like that, it’s no surprise that Wembley places a huge premium on serving the millions of fans and spectators who visit the 90,000-seat stadium each year.

As head of guest services at Wembley National Stadium, Matt Lynch ’99 is responsible for making sure each visitor to the stadium has an incredible experience.

In the Q&A below, Lynch recounts his path from CofC to his dream job, explains how working at Disney World as a college student helped crystalize his career plans and offers advice for students interested in jobs like his.

Read more profiles from the “I Want Your Job” series.
Q: Tell us about yourself and your path to the College of Charleston.

A: I was actually born Canadian to an Irish mum and British dad and along with my three brothers was moved to Orangeburg, S.C., when I was 7. I graduated from Edisto High School in Cordova, S.C.

I attended CofC from 1994-1999 and spent two semesters on the Disney College Program working at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Disney was life-changing for me and has been a key factor in my career path. I graduated from CofC with a degree in Media Communications. My wife and I met in London where we were both on the opening team of Disney’s London Production of “The Lion King.” We have two boys, Liam (8) and Noah (5.)

Q: How did your CofC degree help you land your first job and subsequent jobs?
Wembley has played host to Live Aid, Henry Cooper vs. Cassius Clay, Queen, Michael Jackson, FA Cup Finals, and the the 1948 London Olympics.

Wembley has played host to Live Aid, Henry Cooper vs. Cassius Clay, Queen, Michael Jackson, FA Cup Finals, and the the 1948 London Olympics.

A: I think attending a liberal arts school was an important aspect in shaping me for my career in serving others. After moving back from London in 2002, I went to work for Ted Turner at Turner Broadcasting. I did a number of temporary positions, including CNN Tour Guide and scheduling cartoons for kids in South America on the Cartoon Network. I eventually landed a “real” job in a group called Business Excellence, which served as internal consultants to help senior leaders develop core business focuses. I was then approached by the Atlanta Braves (at the time part of the Turner Company) to take a position as Senior Manager of Guest Services in Stadium Operations. After four months there, my director left and I assumed his position as Director of Guest Services. I served the Braves from 2007-2013 and was lucky enough to see the likes of Chipper Jones and Bobby Cox as well as the retirement of their numbers.

Q: What are your responsibilities in your current role at Wembley Stadium?

A: My role is about building a culture of guest service, both to our fellow staff and also to those guests who visit Wembley every day. At the end of the day, it’s about celebrating the journey of those who visit this iconic venue and ensuring that our staff are selected, trained, recognized and appreciated so they are ready to welcome these guests.

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: It’s about taking care of people and celebrating their visit to this iconic venue. When you’ve helped someone with sincerity, it really makes a difference, and it says to them that we really care about why they made the journey and their individual story. Sometimes we forget that people have an emotional connection to the brand or product we represent. We need to always be aware of that and celebrate that for those who are connected to our organization.

Q: What advice do you have for students interested in careers in guest services?

A: You need to have an innate need to connect with people and want to serve others. Empathy for others is the most important thing. It’s about taking care of people and making them feel like they matter and that we’ve always been waiting for them to visit.

Q: What’s it like working at such a famous venue with such a rich history?
"The history of this place makes it iconic and everyone wants to 'appear' at Wembley," says Matt Lynch.

“The history of this place makes it iconic and everyone wants to ‘appear’ at Wembley,” says Matt Lynch.

A: There is no other venue in the world like Wembley. It’s overwhelming when you think about the things that have happened here: Live Aid, Henry Cooper vs. Cassius Clay, Queen, Michael Jackson, FA Cup Finals, Champions League Finals, the London Olympics of 1948 and games during the 2012 Olympics.

I’ve only been here one year and I’ve seen the NFL, Rugby World Cup, AC/DC, the first Women’s FA Cup Final and my favorite team Arsenal win both the FC Cup and Community Shield. The history of this place makes it iconic and everyone wants to “appear” at Wembley. I don’t know of another place like this in the world that is so special to so many people because of what they have experienced here.

Q: What are the perks of your job?

A: With our connection to the NFL, I was invited to the Super Bowl last year in Phoenix. Not sure why I have to move to London to attend my first Super Bowl in the states! I don’t think I’ve paid to play golf since I started working in sports. That’s a real perk! Prince Charles told me once that I was “the best doorstop he had ever seen” when I held a door open for him at the opening of “The Lion King” in 1999.

Q: Tell us about the CofC Alumni London chapter of which you are a member.

A: It’s growing and we’re trying to build a consistent group along with the CofC exchange students here in London. Our last event saw a great turnout.