Matthew Hoffman talks about philanthropy, his passion for education and ways to be a ‘kickass’ husband

Matthew Hoffman is an entrepreneur, philanthropist and author of Kickass Husband: Winning at Life, Marriage and Sex.

Hoffman’s parents, Marcia and Al Hoffman, were among the original founders of Ruth Eckerd Hall. A young Hoffman was on hand, at 13 years old, to break ground on the arts venue. Since that time, he followed in his father’s footsteps, serving on both the hall’s foundation and operating boards, eventually serving as chairman of the board of directors in 2008.

Why did you write this book?   

I wrote this book because I wanted to share what I have learned about my No. 1 relationship in hopes of helping others to make theirs the best it can be.

What was the biggest challenge in writing it?

I was a little self-conscious, at first, about sharing the real, personal stories about myself and my relationship with my wife. I didn’t want them to sound trite, or cute, but relatable and real to the reader.

What has been the response so far?

The book came out on Friday, Nov. 12—my 27th wedding anniversary (that was a little intentional as I dedicated the book to my wife; she certainly is the r’aison d’etre of it all coming about). I have gotten some good feedback that it is practical, common sense and many things some of us already know. The challenge, of course, is that common sense is not always common practice.

Education is a passion of yours. Why?

I truly feel that education is a gift that helps raise everyone up and it can help create a level playing field. Ignorance is not a negative quality—it’s something we all share on some topic or another. When you just don’t know, it’s usually because you haven’t been taught and don’t know how. Getting a good education, teaching and coaching can help illuminate those ideas, skills and best practices and help you apply them in your own life.

Your parents were among the original founders of Ruth Eckerd Hall. I read you were at the groundbreaking at age 13. Did you know then what an important part of the arts community it would be?

I had no idea. I just remember my parents having different people—some businessmen and women, some well-known performing artists—over for dinner at our house and talking about how, and why, our community needed to have something like Ruth Eckerd Hall. I had no idea what a profound impact this amazing organization would have on a multigenerational level.

You’ve followed in your parents’ footsteps and have remained active with the organization. Talk about some of the accomplishments you’ve been able to witness through that involvement.

My first opportunity was to be on the foundation board at Ruth Eckerd Hall. It was full of the giants of our community and I was in awe of who they were, what they had and were continuing to accomplish and the importance that the arts had for them, individually, and our shared passion to help bring that to others.

Thanks to my mom, Marcia P. Hoffman, and her commitment to education, I was really able to hone in on the arts education side of the hall and work to make their accomplishments understandable, in a relevant way, by tracking, reporting and communicating on a set of metrics that would track what the hall’s arts education initiatives were doing.

The education piece was not a moneymaker for Ruth Eckerd Hall with high revenues but it did, and continues to, have a Herculean impact on everyone who comes through the doors of the institute for training and for all those who experience a performance at the many venues that the hall produces or programs.

Seeing the hall take on, and develop, such an amazing venue and programming for the Capital Theatre was incredible. It is a terrific venue with unique programming and love the second dimension it has given to the hall. I was in awe of the design/construction and fundraising that went into making that dream a reality. So many talented people brought their gifts to bear. It is an incredible example of a highly functioning public-private partnership with the city of Clearwater that continues to bear fruit and bless so many.

What are some other ways you give back to the community?

I have been pretty active in my local Rotary, of downtown Tampa, before moving. Their whole motto of “Service Above Self” really resonates with me and it has allowed me to be exposed to so many great women and men who are striving to give and impact our community in some tangible ways. I also followed my wife into her work with Created, an incredible local organization that helps women who have been victims of human trafficking, right here in our Tampa Bay community. It’s sickening to imagine how one human could exploit and abuse someone in this manner.

Without giving too much away (we want people to buy the book, of course), can you share a few “lessons” readers can expect to learn more about in your book?

The whole focus, the lens that my book looks through, is prioritization. How do we better prioritize the person in our lives that occupies that No. 1 relationship position? The problem this book will help anyone solve is ignorance of the how, and what, you (both husbands and wives) can do right now to level up with their significant other. I have feet of clay and I make mistakes every single day. It’s not about being perfect or the model partner. It is about being willing to put self aside and give what your partner needs as they define it, not how you want to give it. We have 14 key pillars that we think need to be present in every relationship. This book was really the springboard for us to launch “Kickass Couples Nation”—a private membership group where other imperfect couples can learn how to level up, lean in and pour more goodness into the one they love the most.

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