In 2nd grade, I had lucked into a large collection of Donruss '90 baseball cards, way more than I could ever have a need for. So I split them up in groups of 10, wrapped it in construction paper, and sold it to classmates for 25 cents a pop out of my backpack. Unfortunately, my teacher wasn't too happy with the commotion it caused, and she shut down that operation pretty quickly. But this sparked my interest with creating, designing, and using what I got to provide something of value for others.
As I grew up, I carried a similar drive with any sort of hobby or interest that crossed my path - I loved learning processes and breaking things down to understand how they worked, and then figuring out how I can maximize the output or increase my efficiency in it. Since most of my interests were outside of the budget (or general knowledge and understanding) of my immigrant parents, it did require me to take matters into my own hands - so I taught myself batch coding, photography, web design, how to bowl, stage performance, the art of falling without getting hurt - if I could find value in it for my life, I was researching it like crazy.
All these years later, the core is still the same - get excited about providing value for others, then do whatever I can to figure out the best ways to get that accomplished. And I'm extremely thankful for an amazing wife and three wonderful kids who encourage me to pursue these passions and interests and always give me a reason to keep learning and growing.
During undergrad, I fell in love with photgraphy, and found my niche in storytelling through pictures. The first official business I created on my own was birthed in 2007, and I've had the honor of documenting weddings, proposals, family portraits, baptisms, funerals, and many other types of events to this day. The goal was not just to capture images, but to tell the story of the subjects in a way that everyone could connnect with, and I continue seeking any opportunity available to do so.
Transitioning from purely consumer to also being a partner, I joined Starbucks corporate finance to help build out the growing Capabilities Center as a finance business partner. I work closely with business leaders to provide thought-partnership, through a forward-looking financial lens, to achieve their strategic vision.
I stepped out of management reporting to get in near the ground floor of ADP building out a financial 'Center of Excellence'. I transitioned multiple business units into managing the financial and operational analytics at the centralized location, allowing a more consistent story telling process for corporate management while also giving the business the time back to focus on operations.
Being a part of the management finance team at Northern Trust opened my eyes to a different part of running a business - specifically seeing how the operational work translates into shareholder value. My team partnered with the various business units to learn what was going on, and then worked closely with the CFO to craft the story before the earnings were released.
One of my first forays in corporate finance, Brunswick provided an amazing opportunty to be a part of a large company with a small company feel. A nimble FP&A team allowed me to support all aspects of the company (finance, audit, operations, F&B, marketing) where I streamlined many processes that helped impact the bottom-line. I also added about 20 points to my bowling handicap, and while I still haven't bowled a 300 game, my current high is 246.
Being a part of a large BigTen school at the University of Illinois - Urbana, Champaign was a huge area of growth for me. While obtaining my bachelor's in Mathematics and a minor in Computer Science, I had so many opportunities to try new things and lead various organizations. From intermurals with Muscle Masala football and Gold Diggers volleyball to serving in leadership of the Indian Christian Fellowship, I was able to make use of my talents to help struture and build things bigger than myself.
Entreprenuers at heart, a group of friends decided to take our interest in both tech and production and created Up All Night, Productions. We started out with creating photo slideshows and promos for church events, and ultimately had our biggest gig recording and producing the 2006 India Night production for the Indian Student Association held at Assembly Hall at the University of Illinois.
Growing up in an immigrant church meant that the creative and performance arts were a huge part of my upbringing, and one opportunity I got was creating an acapella group called Second Chance. We were mainly just glorified wedding singers, but also had a few large stage performances, and still have a vocal (but small) fan base anxiously awaiting a reunion. :)
One of the driving forces in both my personal and professional life is to be able to take whatever I have (time, talent, resources) and use it to help support those in need. My family has chosen to focus on supporting organizations that are dedicated to reaching the marginalized and uplifting the underprivileged, both locally and around the world, and I have done the same with Nate Mathai Photography through what I have dubbed "Project15".
Since 2015, 15% of all income received through photography sessions gets donated to help those in need through a few select organizations. It is an honor to be able to support these organizations that are fighting against injustice and poverty in Chicago, across the nation and worldwide. I encourage you to check out these orgs to see how you might be able to get involved as well.
Patel Family Portraits
Bhansali Family Portraits
Weiland Family Portraits
Rey Family Portraits
Bhansali Family Portraits
Stephina and John’s Wedding
Taniya and Jeffrey’s Wedding
John and Stephina’s Wedding Teasers
Taniya and Jeffrey’s Wedding Teasers
Mel + Jon’s Wedding in Downtown Chicago
The best way to stay in touch with me on a regular basis is by connecting through the various social platforms. You can also use the form below to connect with me regarding any photography requests you might have.
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Nate Mathai holds the copyright on all his images. He allows all users to share, pin, distribute, etc. his images digitally for personal, non-commercial use. The images should not be altered, cropped, edited, or modified in any way. It is illegal to remove the watermark from his images, and can be punishable be fine.
If you are interested in obtaining rights to his images for commercial use, or if you would like to purchase higher resolution images for print, you can contact him directly.
Nate Mathai is a creative who currently provides photography services in the greater Chicagoland area in Illinois, and is also available Nationwide. He specializes in wedding and portraits, with a style that blends photojournalism and fashion. Nate Mathai only accepts a limited number of bookings per year to guarantee top quality work for his clients.