Instilling a mindset of ‘Excellence > Mediocrity’ is Mathew Gaul’s secret 

This feature is part of the LeZo Spotlight – a series of features highlighting and celebrating black success stories out of Guyana, in honour of the new Wakanada Forever movie. These stories are intended to inspire others and promote a narrative that allows for a “You can do it too” mindset.


Matthew in his younger days

The Common Cent$ podcast which started just over a year ago, has grown to be one of the most successful podcasts in Guyana, and quite frankly, the only one of its kind – directly tackling relatable financial conversations with well-informed guests, who all provide great insight.

While this may seem like an overnight success story, as its popularity sprung up from the very first episode, the face and mastermind behind this mind nourishing podcast, Matthew Gaul, shared that his mindset and discipline were practiced from a very young age, which enabled him to take the right approach and strategy to guarantee the results he wanted, and more.

In an interview for the LeZo Spotlight, Matthew shared that he has always been guided by the principles of putting God first in every endeavour and having a commitment to excellence. This was credited to his teachings from home, growing up on Durban Street with his grandparents and cousins, tied with the motto at The Bishops’ High School – “Whatsoever thy hands findeth to do, do it with thy might”. 

Matthew Gaul during his years at The Bishops’ High School

“Hearing that on a daily basis instilled in me a commitment to excellence in everything I do, even the small things. I’m also a big sports fan and I grew up idolising Kobe Bryant, who taught us the Mamba Mentality, another philosophy that instilled in me the importance of being committed to excellence and working hard.,” he said. 

Growing up with the positive influences around him, cultivated in him, a strong desire to see young people live their best lives in every sphere of their lives. So much so it  sparked a flame that motivated him to play a role. 

“I want to play my small part in helping young people be positive agents in our society with the ultimate goal of contributing towards the progress and development of my beloved Guyana. I’m passionate about supporting the various ventures of my friends since I believe that success is sweeter when your family/friends are experiencing same as well,” Matthew said.

Acting on this, after graduating High School he applied for higher level education at the University of Guyana (UG) to better equip himself with knowledge that would help him, help others. He chose a degree in Finance as the closest alternative to Economics, since the Economics programme would not facilitate him as a working student. And in keeping with theme of excellence, he graduated with Distinction earlier this year.

It was during his time at UG, he met a lecturer, who he said is the main person who inspired the idea of his podcast.  

“I would credit the birth of Common Cent$ to one of my lecturers, Ms. Oslene Carrington, who inspired me to use my degree not just for my personal development but seek to use it to help others. I love public speaking and initially, the idea was to do a sports podcast but I thought it would be more impactful to merge my education and my love for public speaking and do a financial literacy podcast. I’m also a big podcast listener and I was inspired by a podcast called ‘Earn your Leisure’,” Matthew said. 

And in October of 2021, the Common Cent$ podcast was successfully launched, amassing a fanbase of thousands, mainly Guyanese youths who tune in every Thursday evening at 7, to learn something new.

When asked about what he believes is the main reason his viewership has grown significantly, Matthew said “relatability and cultural awareness are the main ingredients for the growth of Common Cent$. From Day 1, I’ve tried to ensure that education is packed with entertainment. I’ve always wanted to ensure that viewers don’t feel they are sitting through a lecture at the University of Guyana. I’ve wanted to make the show as informal as possible while not diluting the content. Additionally, understanding Guyanese culture and not adopting traditional podcast strategies that may be successful elsewhere, has helped persons to gravitate to Common Cent$ and be very supportive.”

BTS of the first Common Cent$ episode with guests: Senior Psychologist, Wil Campbell and Guyanese musical sensation, cKush the Rapper

The young visionary later hosted an in-person version of the show in July of this year, which was a massive success. There was a clear indication that the youths welcomed his idea, which led to a second hosting last week, and was an even bigger success. 

Matthew confessed that even though he is fortunate to receive significant support from corporate Guyana, friends, family and the general public, the most challenging thing he has had to overcome thus far, is himself. 

Matthew surrounded by some of the friends from his core circle

“I’ve had to overcome temptations to become complacent, to go through the motions and also some self-doubt on the sustainability of the podcast. However, a strong support group has been helping me to overcome some of my fears as well as remaining focused on the ultimate goal in mind.” 

BTS of the filming of a Common Cent$ episode

Which he said is “for it to become the central hub for everything business and finance related in Guyana. If someone wants to know about the national budget, their first instinct must be to check the Common Cent$ page for the information. If a high school graduate now venturing into the world of work wants to know how to save and budget and about taxes, Common Cent$ must be ringing in his ears.”

While these are his identified goals for the podcast, he said the bigger picture is to “ensure that young people become excellent stewards of their resources and develop an entrepreneurial mindset. For those who may never venture into finances, my hope is to motivate them to be the best versions of themselves professionally and to enjoy the fruits of their labor while curating a great future for themselves. I would hope that through Common Cent$, every Guyanese is equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to make wise business and financial decisions.” 



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