Matt Greene knows a thing or two about overcoming adversity.
Over the past five years, the co-founder and president of the professional networking organization 6Degrees San Diego has undergone two major back surgeries and also has suffered from nerve damage.
He was able to grow his business while dealing with chronic pain – and did not allow health issues to get the best of him.
Recently, for the first time in six years, he went golfing.
"If you say you can't do something, you're not going to do anything," said Greene, now 35. "There are no excuses.
"I've always been (a person) where my word means everything," Greene said.
Ian Campbell, who sits on the 6Degrees membership committee, described Greene as "an all-around great guy and a great friend."
"Whenever you need something, he's the kind of guy who will go out of his way to help you," Campbell added.
Started in August 2007, 6Degrees is a full-fledged business celebrating its fifth anniversary. It has major corporate sponsors and donates to various charities.
Along with hosting networking events throughout the year, 6Degrees offers edited videos and profiles to promote a client's company.
Today, 6Degrees has 450 members, and a database of 15,000.
Before 6Degrees, "I had a decent networking base here and was going to a lot of networking events, but wasn't feeling it," Greene said.
When 6Degrees started, social networking was in its infancy.
"With the recession starting, people wanted something different," Greene said. "I became more of a host."
Greene's goal is to take 6Degrees national – at the same time, he considers himself an "accidental CEO."
"For me, making that connection is important," Greene explained.
"We'd like to say we're cultivating the next generation of business leaders."
Greene's background is in sports marketing. The San Diego native and University of California, Santa Barbara graduate majored in Law & Society, with a minor in sports management.
While in college he worked for a couple sports marketing agencies and had a knack for raising money through events and sponsorships.
After college, he went to work for the San Diego Padres' and Los Angeles Dodgers' Triple A teams and another opportunity in New York.
Greene eventually found himself back in Southern California working in sports marketing before he began a financial planning career.
He said making a difference is what motivates him every day, adding, "I've always been one who wants to prove things."
A big Padres fan, Greene uses his spare time for being with family, golfing and swimming, and describes himself as "passionate" about international travel.
"I love experiencing other cultures," he added.
Greene plans to marry his fiancee this December.