EO Spotlight: Todd Matherne
CEO, Renaissance Publishing • Magazine Publishing • EO Member Since 2007
On January 16, 2006, Todd Matherne found himself at the place where all great journeys begin: at a crossroads. The way he saw it, there were only two ways that Monday could end. He would either leave work unemployed, or he would be the owner of a company.
“When I left for work that morning, my wife told me, ‘I have faith in whatever you decide. It’ll be perfect no matter what it is,’” Matherne said. Late that evening, he returned home and announced, “We bought a company today.”
Making such a bold decision might have deterred many others, but Matherne didn’t consider any other option. He felt it was his responsibility to take the risk and to trust in his own vision.
“After Katrina, we were trying to rebuild the pieces of the company,” Matherne said. “I realized quickly that the majority did not have the same vision going forward that I had — so I had to either become the majority or not be there at all.”
Under his guidance, Renaissance Publishing has flourished as the leading magazine publisher in the New Orleans area, with 8 in-house titles including New Orleans Magazine, Biz New Orleans and Louisiana Life, in addition to more than a dozen custom clients like the New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
Matherne said it was his entrepreneurial spirit that gave him the courage and motivation to make such a substantial shift in his life. This spirit, he said, lives in every member of EO and serves as the common link that brings them together.
“I think with entrepreneurs, they come to the point where they say, ‘I want to do something my way,’” Matherne said. “And when society or other people tell them, ‘No, go this way instead,’ that’s when they decide to take control of their own destiny.”
Matherne joined EO just a year following his acquisition of the company, and the timing couldn’t have been better. Now that he was in charge, he felt it was important to ensure that he was being held accountable to reach the milestones he set for himself. If he didn’t, he said he might inadvertently inhibit his own personal development, and he knew that it was important to grow along with his company.
“When you’re in charge, you’re only accountable to yourself, and you’re the only one giving yourself a grade,” Matherne said. “When you’re in this group, they hold you accountable to the things you say you’re going to do, and they quiz you on things that they know about because they’ve gone through the same things in their companies.”
The organization has also inspired Matherne to focus on charitable contributions to his community. Since joining EO, his company has donated over half a million dollars to various nonprofits across the city through marketing and ticketing sales, and he has established an editorial scholarship in conjunction with the Press Club of New Orleans.
“EO has taught me that giving back rewards you so much more than you can imagine,” Matherne said.
His favorite part about his membership, though, is the access to once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that may never have come otherwise. With retreats and universities all over the world, Matherne has been able to travel with EO to places like London, Costa Rica and Mexico to learn from other professionals and industry leaders.
“Whether we’re on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade touring the Gillette factory or having a garden party at Westminster Abbey, EO events are always incredible and are some of the best experiences I’ve had,” Matherne said. “I’ve been able to gain insight and knowledge from people who give me honest and straightforward feedback, and they help me to grow both professionally and personally.”