Q&A: Caroly Hofstee
Editor’s note: Each Q&A in the Influential Women enewsletter will feature a woman from the region who’s influential, a rising face in her industry or doing interesting work. Submit tips on potential Q&A subjects to tgortsema at grbj dot com.
Caroly Hofstee is the president and CEO of HUB International Midwest East, an insurance brokerage, where she’s responsible for strategic organizational direction and growth of the region.
Hofstee is based at the Grand Rapids headquarters of HUB International Midwest East.
She began her career as an employee benefits consultant and in 2012, was awarded Human Resource Executive’s Top Employee Benefit Consultant of the Year.
She is a Certified Professional Values Analyst, Certified Professional Behaviors Analyst and a graduate of Western Michigan University.
Biggest career break?
My biggest career break was joining HUB in 2008. They have done more to elevate me, support me and make me feel truly valuable than any other place I have ever been. I feel truly blessed to be a part of this organization and be surrounded by not just the brightest in the insurance industry, but truly amazing people who care about each other, their clients and their communities. This team inspires me every single day. There is certainly a devotion that people feel to this firm and each other, and they make me want to give back my best me.
I’m lucky enough to be the mother of two, have an amazing husband and lead within an incredibly talented organization. Suffice it to say there are many proud moments for me.
Best advice you’ve ever received?
Be yourself. You won’t make everyone happy, and not everyone will like you. Yet, if you are your best you, the people who believe what you believe will want to go where you’re going. Happiness is not a destination. It’s always a choice.
How did you make your first dollar?
Other than babysitting, my first real job was working as a hostess for a Big Boy restaurant.
Although not a possession, I treasure my family and friends. They are the people who are always there, good or bad times. Everything else is fleeting, things change.
I think I have my dream job, although I never thought I would be here in this industry. I don’t think many people in insurance imagine themselves going into this career in their high school or even college years. Most of us seem to have ended up here by some happy coincidence.
If you were president for a day, you would…?
I’m not sure that being the president for a day would accomplish much. Although I would love to see some of the challenges that ACA has created for our clients go away, that might be a bigger task than any one of us could accomplish in 24 hours. Now, if I had a genie in a bottle…
Last book you read?
“Traction,” by Gino Wickman. Great book. I would highly recommend it to anyone in a leadership role.
Last search term you googled?
The address for Nonna’s: The Trattoria in Ada, where I was having dinner with my husband. Wonderful food. We really enjoyed it.
Your worst habit?
I’m very hard on myself and my own worst critic. I’m a quick decision-maker and very driven. I have to remind myself to slow down and not rush through life, but take the time to truly enjoy what I have and where I am.
To unwind, you like to…?
I love to read and spend time with my family at our summer cottage.
I am hoping to get to Italy or France. I am intrigued by the history, culture and, of course, the food and would like the chance to experience it.
I love to try new restaurants and recipes. I have never found a food I didn’t like, so it’s hard to choose one that I would say I like most. I suppose that I do have a love for grandma’s cooking, comfort food, mashed potatoes, roast beef.