Public communication major Matt Buder Shapiro ’12 – now co-founder and chief marketing officer of the Cleveland-based company MedPilot, Inc. – says that public speaking was by far the most important class he took at UVM.
“I was terrified to speak at the beginning of the semester. By the end, I learned how to transform my anxiety into energy. I now jump at the opportunity,” he says.
Public speaking and strong communication skills have served Buder Shapiro well, who was recognized in 2019 with a “Twenty in Their 20’s” award by Crain’s Cleveland Business and listed in The Plain Dealer’s “Top Five Cleveland Disruptors in 2018” for his work with MedPilot. As CMO, Buder Shapiro develops brand strategies for the startup, a platform that partners with healthcare providers to provide an improved financial relationship between providers and patients. In the past year, MedPilot has grown from five to 40 employees and has attracted $3.6 million in funding.
Buder Shapiro credits his internship experiences at UVM with being a launch pad to his current position.
“My first internship was at BrandMuscle, Inc., a Cleveland-based marketing firm,” he says. “As a media intern, I really fell in love with marketing. The following summer, he interned at Digitas, a global marketing agency in New York whose clients include American Express, FedEx, and Morgan Stanley. “I was fortunate to have it turn into a full-time position after graduation, largely because I’d already gained experience through my internships at UVM,” he says.
Buder Shapiro stayed on at Digitas on the media and marketing team for several years, thriving on the excitement and intensity of providing marketing support to high-profile clients. He finally left for only one reason: politics. His passion for the political scene led him to run the New York media team for a political marketing firm at Bully Pulpit Interactive, a political strategy firm created by the digital marketers of President Obama's 2008 and 2012 campaigns.
Motivated by the ongoing national debate over healthcare and by the reality that 75 million Americans cannot currently afford medical bills, Buder Shapiro co-founded MedPilot. The company’s mission is to transform the nature of patients' interactions with their healthcare providers, empowering them with tools that provide them with more control over their medical care experience.
Buder Shapiro believes a lack of communication between patients and medical providers are the cause of many of the issues that lead to nonpayment, and ultimately, to patient debt. “Many healthcare providers juggle separate vendors for marketing, booking, patient engagement, and billing,” he says. “MedPilot offers a streamlined experience across all of these services, reducing cost, confusion, and stress.”
Buder Shapiro and his fellow co-founders chose to move the company from New York to his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, which he says was “one of the best decisions ever.” He has found that the city’s vibrant healthcare tech community and wide assortment of top medical centers, combined with generous local financial support, has truly launched the company. He adds, though, that it was his experiences in Vermont that first got him on the track to his current success.
“I came to Vermont unsure of what I wanted to do, and unsure of who I was,” he says. “The Community Development and Applied Economics Department offered a diversity of classes that gave me a holistic view of the entrepreneurial space, and my public communication major helped me develop my love of marketing,” he says. “Vermont, and UVM as a whole, were very instrumental in my growth as a person.”
Words of wisdom to current UVM students? “Get internships as early as you can,” he advises. “In business, it really is the early bird who catches the worm.”