Our Sales and Marketing Manager, Matthew Hancock, has worked at Cumberland Lodge for the past 12 years.

His day-to-day work includes marketing Cumberland Lodge as a residential and non-residential venue for conferences, meetings and special events. This involves giving presentations to large groups of people and talking to potential guests, as well as maintaining relationships with regular visiting groups.

In what is a very public role, Matt spends most of his time talking to people, but this was not always the way. Before coming to work at Cumberland Lodge, Matt found it difficult to communicate due to a stammer. This developed when Matt was six years old and for many years prevented him from engaging in speaking publicly.

Overcoming his Stammer

After graduating from Worcester University with a BA in Business Management, Matt decided to go to China to teach English. Matt was later to learn that teaching is manageable with a stammer as voice projection helps a person to speak more eloquently. On his return to the UK, and upon starting the job hunt, he found communicating effectively at job interviews difficult, especially as it can be the very fear of stammering that makes people stammer. The feedback from his interviews suggested that Matt had all the necessary skills, but he was too shy. It was at this point, in 2006, that Matt enrolled in the McGuire Programme. 'I came across The McGuire Programme after my mum saw Gareth Gates on TV', Matt explains. 'did some research online and it looked the most appealing and relevant to what I was after, although if I was honest, I was very sceptical whether it would work but it was a revelation.'

The Simple Things

Fortunately for us, after completing the four-day programme, Matt applied to work at Cumberland Lodge, and had a successful interview. He took up his new role in May, 2006 and has not looked back since. ‘Now I find the simple things in life a real pleasure in terms of speech – speaking to a shop assistant, ordering a takeaway or buying a train ticket.’ Overcoming his stammer has meant that Matt is more confident than he had ever imagined he could be. On a daily basis, Matt takes phone calls, meets visitors and often helps to check in overnight guests. Landing a job was one thing, but what he takes pleasure in most is his family life and ‘especially reading a bedtime story to the girls at night.