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Forty Under 40 Award winner Q&A: Matt Murray

This year’s cohort of recipients will be celebrated at an event Feb. 7, 2024

BIV is recognizing Matt Murray, senior vice-president of finance business partners at TELUS, and 39 other exceptional business leaders as part of the 2023 Forty Under 40 Awards cohort.

Longer Q&As with each recipient are included in BIV's annual Forty Under 40 Magazine (out in print Dec. 11). Award winners will be celebrated at an awards gala Feb. 7, 2024.

This profile may have been edited for length and clarity.

What career highlight are you most proud of?

I was elected as a CPA fellow in 2021, after serving the profession on various committees and being elected to the CMABC and CPABC boards. The willingness of colleagues I had volunteered with and worked with throughout my career to come together for that nomination was truly humbling, and gave me comfort I was making a difference. It was definitely a proud moment to add the letters “FCPA, FCMA” to my signature.

What was your toughest business or professional decision?

Any decision to disrupt a team member’s life by telling them they no longer have a job in your organization is tough. Elevating our exceptional team is both a personal and organizational priority, as my passion is building teams and helping others succeed. I don’t believe anyone aspires to be in a leadership position so they can ask good people to leave. Through my experiences, I’ve developed a great appreciation for attracting, developing and retaining talented people. We focus on building sustainable organizational structures that are suited for the ups and downs of business cycles, outperforming through purpose-driven growth.

How do you lead?

My go-to authors include Simon Sinek, Michael Bungay Stanier and Adam Grant, so I try to be purposeful of leading with a ‘seek to understand,’ long-term approach, asking questions and empowering people to bring their ideas forward. I believe one of the greatest contributors to engagement at work is the relationship a team member has with their direct leader, so we go out of our way to invest in our leadership and coaching habits. We’re continuously learning and constantly working on our leadership style to do better for our teams.

What is the biggest lesson you've learned in business?

Be perpetually afraid of the status quo. Change is a constant, and there is always room for improvement. The infinite game in business requires that we continuously adapt while staying true to our purpose, maintaining a focus on a long-term strategy that makes a positive impact where we live, work and serve.

Best piece of advice ever received?

Ask questions, be a sponge, use your seat at the table and watch how others think and how business decisions are made. If you can, take advantage of every opportunity to be ‘in the room’ and pay attention to the questions that get asked. Getting the opportunity to be exposed to our executives at TELUS while completing my CPA designation was a fantastic accelerator to my learning curve and understanding of how to lead.

What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

Firstly, listen to your father – you don’t know what you don’t know! Secondly, who you work with will matter far more than what you’re working on. Find great people to work for who are passionate about lifting you up and surround yourself with fantastic people you can in turn take a vested interest in elevating to achieve their potential, and you’ll enjoy whatever challenge comes your way.

What's left to accomplish?

It’s an infinite game and we’ll never be done. We can use our world-leading technology to improve customer experiences and enrich their lives by bridging time and distance with even better networks and products. We are improving health-care outcomes with technologies that put patients at the centre of the system and in control of their health and well-being. We’re revolutionizing agriculture by strengthening our food supply with technology-driven improvements to yields and reduced spoilage. And we’re helping to preserve and protect the planet by moving from carbon neutral to carbon negative. They are big goals, but we’re up for it.

Is there anyone you would like to thank or acknowledge?

Any success I've had is a product of those who have shaped me through my journey, from my parents, my extended family, my wife, my teachers and professors, the leaders I've worked for, mentors who have advised me, board members I've served with, colleagues I've worked with and team members I've been lucky to support. I can't thank them all enough. Furthermore, a few of them came together to submit a nomination for me, and the selection committee felt I was deserving. I'm greatly appreciative to be nominated and selected. Thank you to all of them.

Read Q&As with all 40 award recipients here. Tickets to the 2023 Forty Under 40 Awards gala on Feb. 7 are now available.