[INTERVIEW] Matt Davis, CEO Salvos Stores

A businessman with a passion for social justice, Matt Davis is the newCEO of Salvos Stores in The Salvation Army Australia Southern Territory*. Bringing his non-profit experience and thirst for a challenge to the table, Matt is serious about changing the way Australians shop.

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"Sustainability, recycling, on-line shopping and ‘op-shopping’ as a genuine alternative are big issues at the moment and I would love to see us take full advantage of them."

Can you tell me about your previous experience in business?
I started my working life as an accountant in Brisbane, way back when you used to pick up your paper tax pack from the post office. After a while I decided I really wanted a career that revolved around people and I was fortunate to join the German grocery chain ALDI. Most recently, I’ve come from five years with World Vision, working on public engagement.

Why are you excited about your new role?
I believe that each and every one of us is blessed with a unique set of skills and abilities. My experience is that where this works best is when God’s plans and our passions come together. For me, this is in leading teams to create impact around things that they care about. 

I have had the opportunity to work with some incredible people whose life’s calling has been about social justice and international mission, but for me it’s about creating the space, resources, plans and environment to make this impact possible. 

What is your vision for Salvos Stores in 2016?
This year at Salvos Stores I really want to listen and get to know things. This part of the Salvos ministry has grown to be quite significant, with 220 stores and over 5000 staff and volunteers. But I can say that I am passionate about growing our impact. Sustainability, recycling, on-line shopping and ‘op-shopping’ as a genuine alternative are big issues at the moment and I would love to see us take full advantage of them. A sustainable and growing Salvos Stores means a sustainable and growing Salvation Army!

Have you come across any challenges in this position yet?
I am being realistic about how tough things might get from time to time. We definitely need to invest into our leaders of the future, exceed our customers’ expectations and really connect the ‘business’ with the mission of The Salvation Army. 

How do you want to share the message of The Salvation Army in Salvos Stores?
Already, Salvos Stores is a place where you can obtain copies of regular publications including Warcry and Kidzone. We also provide Bibles that are donated free of charge and, of course, I work with local corps (churches)and other Salvation Army services to assist vulnerable families. 

In the future I would love to see us working more closely together on things like our annual Red Shield Appeal, sharing stories of the wider impact The Salvation Army is having around social issues such as violence against women, homelessness and mental health.

* Vic., SA, WA, Tas., NT