Bold Leadership and Getting Outside of My Comfort Zone: How TWS Served as a Springboard for Future Growth 

Matthew Zagha

VP - Strategy and International Development | A+E Networks


A senior director before the age of 30, Matthew was an up and coming professional who had started to make his mark in the media world. As he was gearing for his next promotion, Matt knew he had a few different options in play for how he could reach a Vice President level and continue his professional growth. A passion for adventure, Matt had always dreamed of traveling to Central America and thought at the very least, he could get a quick vacation by taking a trip with The Weekend Sabbatical. 



Matt came to The Weekend Sabbatical to get away from
the workplace, for some adventure, and to receive

some executive coaching to help him plot out the many options he could take in reaching and growing as a Vice President at A+E. Already having achieved a great deal of success, he truly wanted the opportunity to have an honest conversation about his career, the direction he wanted to go in, and how he could continue to carry his momentum and grow in the media industry as an executive.

(as told by Matthew)

It's often challenging for me to find time to take off work, let alone plan travel - I've got a crazy schedule and am always pushing to hit my next goal.


That's what made the Weekend Sabbatical so perfect for me.


Going on the trip – I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. Though looking back, I had never had an experience like that, a set of days where I can reflect on my career and reflect on what I need to do next.


What the experience opened up was the opportunity to be present in where I am professionally and take a 



moment to not be distracted by work email and technology, my to-do lists, and really just think about myself professionally and personally. Moreover, it was a chance to think through what I want to accomplish in my career, where I want to be, and working with Max on how I can get there. And the best part, I didn't need to plan a thing - I just showed up and Max took care of the rest! After just 5 days, I was fully recharged, and through Max's coaching, even returned with a fresh perspective on how to tackle the next few weeks, months and even years of my career. 


This experience can benefit professionals in many ways. If you're someone who doesn’t really know what you want to get out of your career, where you are in your career, or how to get to the next level - I think it's really important to sit down with a coach who's gone through this experience, had a successful corporate career, and can challenge you and ask you the tough questions. And even for people like me that have found success in their career, where the light looks bright ahead, The Weekend Sabbatical provided an invaluable opportunity to think about this inflection point of where I am in my career and how I'm taking a big leap to the next level. I don’t think it matters where you are in your career, there's always a time to take a break to reflect on what the future, your future in particular, looks like. 


The Weekend Sabbatical not only reenergized Matt professionally but also reminded him about the importance and glories of making yourself uncomfortable, an important theme of the trip that resonated throughout the experience.


Upon returning to the workplace, A+E had a pressing need in the Southeast Asia region. Using his lessons learned and vision plan that focused on the bold leadership that would be required to springboard his growth, Matt eagerly stepped outside of his comfort zone and took on a lead support role with the business side of his company for a 6 week trip in Singapore. Having never been to Asia and with limited friends and contacts in the region, Matt


knew he would regret not taking the opportunity. His intuition was right - Singapore was not only an incredibly interesting and fun trip for him, it was highly rewarding from a career perspective and to get a greater understanding of culture and learning perspectives.

The Weekend Sabbatical helped Matt understand the value of travel but most importantly, gave him the courage to put himself in an uncomfortable place and reap the rewards of that experience. After pushing himself to run an international business unit, Matt was promoted to the Vice President level at his company. Since that time, he has continued his personal quest for bold leadership by further pushing himself outside of his comfort zone and extending his business trip in Singapore to the summer. Matt considers this to be a defining moment in his career and life - a possibility that he attributes to his time with The Weekend Sabbatical.