Camper, Counselor & Director of People!

We had the pleasure of catching-up with one of our alums, Matthew Hoffman, for a quick Q & A!

Hey Matt! So, tell our West families where you’re from.
I grew up in Great Neck, NY and after a few stops along the way in Ithaca, Manhattan and Miami, I found my way back to Great Neck, which is where I live now.  I am married and have 3 beautiful daughters ages 2-8 that keep me pretty busy!

What are some of your your interests/hobbies, and travels?
I travel a fair amount around the world for my job, so I like to stay local when I can. In my downtime, my wife and I really like to go to the theater. Everyone in my family really enjoys skiing and we take several trips up to Stratton each winter. I am pretty good – almost as good as my wife! But sadly, only a tiny bit better than my eight-year old. 🙂

What do you do now?
I am the Senior Director of People (that’s like HR) for Return Path, a medium-sized technology company. We are the worldwide leader in email intelligence, and was recently named the #4 best place to work in the US by Fortune magazine.  So given my role in the company, that’s particularly gratifying.  It truly is an amazing company and I am incredibly fortunate to be a part of it.

Can you tell us what some of your “favorites” are?
My 2 favorite books are Freakonomics and Moneyball.  Both have had huge impacts, in different ways, on what I do and how I approach my career.  My favorite movie is still Star Wars!  My favorite tv show right now is Breaking Bad, but probably The Wire is my all-time favorite TV show.

How did you end up at TLW?
I had quite a few summer activities planned one summer, so my parents were looking for a 4-week sleep away camp experience that would still feel like a full 8 week camp – Not a camp where I’d be coming mid-way through the summer or leaving early while everyone else stayed the full 2 months.

How many years were you at TLW?
I spent 2 years as a camper (When I was 15 & 16) and 1 year as a counselor.

What did you love most about camp as a camper and counselor?
Literally every second you were there, you were with friends and almost always doing something fun.

What is your favorite moment/memory from camp?
Inter-camp rivalries with Timber Lake were particularly fierce, but always a ton of fun. I particularly remember the counselor basketball games. We had a couple of great athletes and 1 or 2 really tall guys from Australia, and if I remember correctly, I am pretty sure we won each time.

How were your friendships from camp different from other friendships?
My friendships from camp were totally different. You are living with your friends 24/7 for the time you are there, so they are absolutely deeper and more meaningful.  Even though some guys you’d only see for 1 month out of the year, (obviously my time at TLW pre-dated Facebook and Twitter) you’d feel like you’ve known them for much longer and would just pick up the next summer as if you’ve never missed a beat.

How has TLW impacted who you are today?
Leading an HR function is a lot like being a camp counselor. In some ways, I feel like I learned almost everything I needed to know to be successful in my profession, from my time at West.

Thanks Matt for keeping in touch!  And check out some of these pictures he’s shared with us from when he was a camper and counselor!


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