Not all pain is bad, but don’t forget to listen — Like any injury, you should never ignore any hardship or obstacle your business faces, even if it is resolved or overcome. Take the time to understand what the root of the problem was and address that. By taking a step back from professional sports to address our health and wellness directly, we ended up in the best positions of our lives so far.
I had the pleasure to interview Beam founders Matt Lombardi and Kevin Moran.
Beam is a Massachusetts-based wellness company founded by two former professional athletes, offering pure, full-spectrum (100% THC-free) pharmaceutical-grade CBD products, made from organically grown hemp in Colorado. Noticing the highly unregulated nature of the market & void in the CBD wellness space for clean and transparent products that list all ingredients and THC levels on the packaging and website, beam founders Matt Lombardi (former pro hockey player in the New Jersey Devils & Pittsburgh Penguins organizations) and Kevin Moran (former pro baseball player in the Chicago White Sox organization) sought to create a self-regulated CBD wellness brand that gives consumers clarity as to what is actually in each of their rigorously-tested pure full-spectrum CBD-based products with no binders, dyes, excipients or unknown substances. Built with an entrepreneurial spirit in mind, Beam marries the concepts of health, wellness and an active lifestyle free of any physical or mental barriers through the power of the human body and CBD to give consumers the ability to push boundaries and pursue their dreams.
In 2018, longtime friends, Matt Lombardi and Kevin Moran were preparing for The Boston Marathon. The two trained rigorously to compete while also balancing the stresses of work and life in general. Through their training, they felt the effects of old injuries and wondered if there was a way to remedy their ailments.
Lombardi and Moran turned to CBD to find relief for their physical pain and anxiety and discovered how unregulated the CBD marketplace truly was. They found many brands had trace amounts of THC in their products and did not list additives such as metals, leads, pesticides and more. That is when Lombardi and Moran decided to create beam, their line of organic, pharmaceutical-grade, full-spectrum CBD products made from organic hemp grown in Colorado with no additives and consumer transparency.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! It is a great honor. Our readers would love to learn more about your personal background. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I’m originally from Barnstable, MA where I grew up playing sports, always dreaming of becoming a professional.
I went to Boston College to play baseball where I met Matt Lombardi, my now business partner on beam.
As a 20-year-old collegiate junior, I was drafted by the Chicago White Sox, so I went on to pursue my lifelong dream and ultimately became a closing pitcher for the team.
Over the course of the next few years, I endured countless injuries and surgeries on my knee, elbow, and shoulder… this, unfortunately, led me to retire from professional baseball.
I then returned to Boston College where I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Management, after which I moved to Austin to pursue a career in the tech industry.” — Kevin Moran
I grew up in the greater Boston area playing sports, later going on to play hockey at Boston College where we won NCAA championships in my sophomore and senior year.
I also earned a B.S. in Marketing from the Carroll School of Management. After graduation, I pursued a professional hockey career and went on to play in the New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins organization.
After getting a bad concussion, I left behind professional hockey to pursue a career in tech.
When my old college friend Kevin happened to move into the Seaport building I was living in and told me about something called CBD, it quickly became clear we both found our calling.” — Matt Lombardi
What or who inspired you to pursue your career as a high-level professional athlete?
“My story is a bit unique from the perspective that professional sports somewhat “found me.” I always dreamed of playing professional sports, but candidly I was more focused on just being a kid in my early years.
I was fortunate enough to be seen by a few scouts at a local baseball showcase. The rest was history and I ended up attending Boston College to play baseball. From there, I realized that I had a natural skill and really focused on refining my abilities, which eventually lead me to professional baseball.
My family always taught me to live in the present moment. I took my baseball career as it came to me, which I think allowed me to reach the levels that I did.” — KM
“Boston has a very strong sports community from athletes to fans, so I grew up in a city where sports are the epicenter of one’s daily life. When you are growing up in that city, Boston College is the be-all and end-all for college sports.” — ML
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?
“I’m equal parts both my parents. They’ve been my biggest supporters since day one, making big sacrifices to give me every platform to succeed. You don’t think of it at the moment, but when I look back it’s clear that their actions have allowed me to be where I am today.” — KM
“I would also definitely say, my family. Having a close-knit support system growing up allowed me to face what life has thrown my way. My family is my role model, so it makes you work harder when you know the type of person you want to be.” — ML
Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your sports career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?
“When I was about 10 years old playing basketball, I scored two baskets in a row on the wrong hoop to lose a playoff again in my town. The second one was a buzzer-beater. I learned that oftentimes it best to step out of the moment and not let the game “speed up on you.” I was so caught up in the moment that my excitement got in the way of my logic. That moment taught me lessons that I called on throughout my athletic career — particularly as a closing pitcher.” — KM
“I think the biggest lesson I learned in my sports career was about dedication — in whatever you do, you have to stay fully committed to succeed, otherwise it’s easy to quit.” -ML
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. Can you tell us the story of your transition from a professional athlete to a successful businessperson?
“Unfortunately, my series of injuries led my baseball to end sooner than I had anticipated.
I learned how to preserve in those years. Success is a constantly evolving term for these days. I try to do my best to go into every interaction with curiosity and humility. We have so much to learn from other people. Any bit of business success I’ve had thus far is from listening first and talking second.” — KM
“As an athlete, you learn to approach everything in life by giving it your all, and you learn how to navigate the success or failure that comes as a result. I approach our business with the same mindset.” — ML
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects new you are working on now?
“We’re going through a large growth phase here at beam. Hiring has been exciting and humbling. The idea that you can create something and then have strangers want to share in your vision and passion is incredibly fulfilling.
Something really exciting for beam has been our roving pop-up retail installations with interactive features like our CBD oil on tap. The pop-up first made its debut in Boston, then we brought it to Austin (209 W 2nd St) and SoHo (11 Howard St.), both of which will be open through December. Following these, the pop-up will continue to tour the country, so keep an eye out!” -KM
“Without giving too much away, we will soon be introducing some exciting new products, to complement every aspect of our target consumers’ life, helping to aid recovery and improve overall athletic effectiveness.” — ML
Do you think your experience as a professional athlete gave you skills that make you a better entrepreneur? Can you give a story or example about what you mean?
“We both learned that nothing in life worth pursuing comes easy. If you want to be the best or build a great business, you have to be willing to put in the effort daily. It will be challenging and will push you to your edge, but that’s what it takes.” — KM
Ok. Here is the main question of our interview. Entrepreneurs and professional athletes share a common “hustle culture”. Can you share your “5 Work Ethic Lessons That Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Athletes”? Please share a story or an example for each.
- It’s a marathon, not a sprint — To see results and achieve success, you have to have put in the time and have patience. While we have been fortunate with the initial feedback on beam, from both athletes and consumers, our commitment to growing and improving will be with us for life.
- Seek progress over perfection — A business is like a game, it is a continuous work of progress. Improvement is the goal to always achieve.
- Not all pain is bad, but don’t forget to listen — Like any injury, you should never ignore any hardship or obstacle your business faces, even if it is resolved or overcome. Take the time to understand what the root of the problem was and address that. By taking a step back from professional sports to address our health and wellness directly, we ended up in the best positions of our lives so far.
- Live outside of your comfort zone — When we decided to start beam, we were far from CBD experts, but believed we could offer a product to the market that was better for you than many that were currently available. We dedicated the time to learn about the industry and continuously seek to look into every opportunity that will make it the best it can be with the constant goal of improving people’s lives.
- Surround yourself with success — Having the right partners from day one has been instrumental for the beam’s success. From sourcing trustworthy and reliable farmers in Colorado for our organic hemp to the creative and PR agencies we joined forces with — we would not be where we are without them. For our brand ambassadors, we seek out individuals at the top of their fields who are genuine and align with the beam’s own values. Our team made up of strong leaders who will drive the beam forward. We work hard to nurture our employees and partners as we believe this is the key to continued success.
What would you advise to a young person who aspires to follow your footsteps and emulate your career? What advice would you give?
“In sports, you always have shiny white objects coming at you and distracting you — rather than let this derail you, let it inspire you to stay true to yourself and focus on what you want to bring to the world.” — KM
“My advice is that you can achieve anything you want if you’re really committed and match that with genuine passion.” — ML
You are by all accounts a very successful person. How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
“We feel our success is directly connected to the increased overall wellbeing a beam customer can feel by incorporating our product line into their lives.
When people tell us how much beam has improved their everyday life, we feel success in bringing goodness not only to that person but also to everyone they encounter.” — KM
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
“If we could inspire a movement it would be the promotion of health and wellness for all, and in a way, this is how beam was born.
We want to give people the tools to reach their best possible selves, whether an athlete, student, school bus driver, elderly relative and everyone in between.” — KM
“We exclusively source the highest quality all-natural and organic ingredients and take extra care to remove 100% of THC and dangerous additives so that everyone, ourselves included, can feel confident in consuming them.
Our movement would encourage people to adopt a lifestyle that improves their health, happiness, and wellbeing.” — ML
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
“‘The obstacle is the way.’
With this in mind, I know there is good to be made from any situation. Yes, any situation.
It’s all about perspective in athletics and business. In our experience, the winners are the ones that take a negative and turn it into a positive.” — KM
“I like ‘Simple can be harder than complex’ — we keep this idea at the heart of our design and branding for the beam.” — ML
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂
“Warren Buffett — the impact his lessons in leadership have had on Matt and I have been immeasurable.
He inspires us to learn by watching other leaders, observing their processes and results. He has also inspired us to only pursue professional relationships with those we trust and admire.” — KM
“If we could sit down with him, we would thank him.” — ML