Argyros School Alumnus Marty O’Connor (MBA ’17) may have graduated from Chapman University two years ago, but in the time sense has stayed closely connected.
Following graduation Marty accepted a position as VP of Business Development at DIVERTbrands, a company whose mission is to positively impact individuals and communities through “the inspirational and transformative power of Action Sports.” They work to develop programs, initiatives, and facilities that bring action sports to communities in need, empowering those they work with. Marty frequently works with the University and Argyros School Career Services to source Chapman student talent when internships or job opportunities become available. Not to mention how the Chapman Alumni network has also allowed Marty to further develop in his professional career; he is a founding member of the International Executive Council.
Marty’s roles and responsibilities at DIVERTbrands have increased in the last year and a half. In addition to his role in business development, he is heavily involved in brand partnerships and in the opening of the first-ever DIVERTsessions facility, slated to open in 2020. The facility will enable DIVERTbrands to expand their offerings for the youth they serve and accomplish their mission of using action sports to provide education, mentorship, and inspiration.
Along with expanding work responsibilities and career growth, Marty is expanding the outlets in which he tells his personal story. He recently signed a book deal with a creative agency, is taking on more speaking engagements and is the subject of an upcoming documentary. All three outlets will focus on his transformation, physically and mentally, following a spinal cord injury. As a lifelong athlete and action sports junkie, the injury changed the trajectory of Marty’s life. Though his life took an unexpected turn, it didn’t stop him from remaining active and having a successful career in action sports.
Marty said his upcoming book, “Explores how the challenges that we are confronted with present an opportunity for self-exploration which allow us to move forward with a new-found purpose, broadened perspective, and motivation.” As he continues down his current path, both his professional career and as a motivational speaker and author, Marty’s motto continues to be “make adversity your advantage.”
“Chapman has been so good to me, they’ve been beyond supportive” said Marty when discussing his time both as a student and as an alumnus. Because of the faculty and staff support he received, Marty has made it a point to “think Chapman first” when DIVERTbrands has open internship and job opportunities.
One current Chapman student and intern at DIVERTbrands is Shelby Thompson, a senior in the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. For her senior thesis, she has been creating the previously mentioned documentary on Marty’s story. The project has been in the works for more than a year and was screened on April 25 at the Folino Theater. The culmination of the filming took place at the end of March 2019 when Marty and his college snowboarding teammate Adam Drost were back on the mountain together for the first time in seven years. The duo partnered in “adaptive skiing” that let Marty finally experience “insane shredding” during a weekend in Park City, UT. After getting back on the slopes, Marty has made it a priority to go back every year.
Viewing his track record of setting goals and surpassing them, there is no doubt Marty will continue to achieve whatever he sets his mind to.