We had the good fortune of connecting with Matthew L. Houston and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Matthew L., what do you attribute your success to?
Authenticity and transparency to me are the most important factors behind success. When you are honest with yourself (and others) of your abilities, goals, and aspirations, and can effectively communicate and illuminate your direction, people will notice and will want to join you.
Also, aligning my personal mission to inspire change and growth in anything I’m involved in with my professional aspiration of achievement and excellence is the most important factor behind all I do; whether it’s in the marketplace, the classroom, or the community. Every day, I strive to do my best in everything that I do and that is reflected in my work. When you give 110% to each project, it is noticeable and people will recognize your dedication. My father always instilled in me to “Say what you do, and do what you say.”
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My business Journey started at Southern Methodist University (SMU), where I was Executive Director of a start-up called Group Excellence to provide mentoring and tutoring to underserved students in urban and rural students across the State of Texas. This process encouraged me to develop systems throughout my professional life to better people, communities, and organizations in a non-traditional way. After leaving Group Excellence, I started my own firm, MLH Enterprises, to create leadership programs to expose students to different experiences outside of their everyday life. I remember taking a group of 8th graders from South Dallas and Oak Cliff students to South Africa for two weeks and witnessing all of them mature and grow as they experience learning about Nelson Mandela, different political systems, and how racism (and Reconciliation) can impact societies outside of their neighborhood (https://youtu.be/co3BwLRsouI).
Projects like the one mentioned above gave an opportunity for me to teach at an undergraduate level the importance of Entrepreneurship and Leadership from a business perspective. This is why I am most proud of teaching students at the University of North Texas at the Dallas School of Business, as it allows me to instruct aspiring and current entrepreneurs to help them grow their businesses.
Additionally, I enjoy serving on the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce because it gives me the opportunity to create partnerships with UNT Dallas to build programming for Chamber members.
Furthermore, I am also a proud business owner and CEO of Collaborative Culture, LLC. Through Collaborative Culture, LLC, I provide economic development consulting services to developers for master planning.
While it has not been easy to overcome certain challenges, it has always been rewarding because I enjoy building and collaborating. I am constantly working to advocate for economic equity, diversity and small businesses. With dedication and commitment, I am on a mission to create a better world for all.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
First, I would host my friend at my house if possible so they can get the full experience of Oak Cliff Texas. I would then ask what they desire to see, as Dallas has so many things that we could visit throughout the week, I don’t want to waste bedtime. Once we leave decided a plan, I would take them to eat at local restaurants like the island spot or two partners, black owned restaurants that consistently reinvest in the community, so they can meet the owners, the patrons, and feel the culture that is being generated through different pockets of Dallas. Next, we would visit cultural institutions like the African American Museum, black dance theater, The Academy of black Arts and letters, Etc. To discover the different cultural contributions Dallas sites have made to society in general. We can definitely visit the Cowboys stadium in Arlington and the star in Frisco, but will also provide a history and the importance of Dallas as it had two national football teams that are both prominent in their respective divisions (Dallas Cowboys and Kansas City Chief). In the evenings, we will visit Bishop Arts to either listen to a jazz set at Revelers Hall, or visit the Dallas Arts Center downtown, the largest continuous arts district in the country, to enjoy the various entertainment options we have.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
To be honest, there is not one person that I can give recognition for my success. Being a native of Oak Cliff, I must dedicate my work to the community that invested in me. From my parents, who served as role models for me. My mother, a retired educator, taught me the value of empathy and care for people, and my father, a former banker turned entrepreneur, who taught me the importance of achievement, leadership, and reinvesting back into the community. The two of them created an environment that fostered achievement and a sense of duty to work with others to achieve societal goals.
I would also like to dedicate my shoutout to my wife, Chamoria, who I’m honored to continue my life’s journey, as she is my rock supporting me in all that I do. I am thankful to be surrounded by a network of people who believe in me.
S. Raphiel Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce For Oak Cliff Project Unity