August 10th, 2018, the day before his 24th birthday, Martin Arredondo walked out the doors of the elite RSM accounting firm for the last time, saying an early farewell to a promising career in finance consultancy. He wasn’t making a strategic move to another company; he was starting his own: DJ Mayhem Entertainment.
On March 29th, members of the Minds Matter Chicago community can catch DJ Mayhem Entertainment’s inaugural gig at the annual “Spring for the Students” gala, taking place at the Chicago Cultural Center. Martin is donating his time and resources to the event entirely pro-bono, a choice that, as a Minds Matter Chicago alumnus, was easy for him to make.
“It was about giving back,” Martin says. “I know Minds Matter has given me a lot, like the summer programs and mentorship, and opened a lot of doors for me.”
Minds Matter Chicago had “looked like a good opportunity” to sophomore Martin, who was already seeking out “as much help getting into college as [he] could get.” Martin’s mentors were John Richardson, David Hahn, Michael Yu, and Slava Kremerman.
It was around this time in 2009 that Martin began to find his calling as a DJ. His high school, Cristo Rey Jesuit in Pilsen, set him up with a summer job stocking medical supplies at Loyola University. A coworker there was a DJ, and the way he described the work intrigued Martin. He saved every penny from his shifts for equipment of his own. He taught himself the technology and art of being a DJ, and it didn’t take long for him to start putting those skills to use. Martin’s first gig was a friend’s attic party, the gear hauled out of Martin’s house and delivered to the event piece-by-piece by the party-goers.
The gigs continued to pop up, growing in regularity through high school and into college. He attended the University of Illinois, where he received a full-ride from the College of Business, and graduated in 2016 with a major in Finance and minor in Engineering. He began work immediately with Deloitte Consulting, where he stayed for one year and seven months before being recruited by RSM.
“I thought maybe by doing work at a different company, I’d feel more satisfied,” Martin says. But the same-old work at a new company left him still wanting more.
He took stock: for nearly two years, he’d been living with his mother in Little Village, saving his salary, putting everything he could into a fund for an entertainment company of his own. He could do it, he determined. So, about three months after starting with RSM, he quit, and DJ Mayhem Entertainment took off.
To some, the transition from consultant to full-time DJ may seem incongruous, but Martin identifies natural connections between the two professions. As a consultant, he learned “how to deal with clients, respond to emails, overall professionalism, and the importance of knowing how to prioritize,” skills he uses daily as a CEO and entertainer.
DJ Mayhem is a regular at Chicago venues like STK, but his focus is in providing all-inclusive entertainment services for weddings and corporate events. “When I’m at a wedding,” Martin says, “and the parents come up to me and say ‘oh, god, thank you so much,’ I can see the direct value I’m adding in someone’s life.”
Martin wants to encourage current Minds Matter students to not simply follow their passions, but to follow opportunity: “It’s the biggest thing that influences your success, so take it. Even if you think it won’t work out, you never know where it will lead. I think of the opportunity I took with Minds Matter, or in college with my internships, and they were all stepping stones. I don’t think I’d be where I am today if I hadn’t taken those opportunities.”
Tickets for the 2019 Spring for the Students can be purchased here. The event includes appetizers, open bar, a silent auction, and, of course, phenomenal live-local entertainment from DJ Mayhem.