STAR OF BROOKLYN: Victoria Hofmo

Victoria Hofmo, President of the Scandinavian East Coast Museum,President of the Bay Ridge Arts and Cultural Alliance, President ofthe Bay Ridge Conservancy, Co-Chairperson of Councilmember VincentGentile’s Preservation Society, Board Member of the HistoricDistricts Council

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Although, at first glance, it may appearthat Hofmo is involved with a rather diverse group oforganizations, for her they are all related. It’s all connectedbecause it’s all about community, she explained. However, one ofthe causes closest to her heart is her work as president of theScandinavian East Coast Museum. Lacking a permanent exhibitionspace, the museum focuses much of its efforts on bringingScandinavian celebrations to Brooklyn. We try to reclaim ourholidays and share them with a greater audience, Hofmo said.

JOB: Hofmo spends her days running Christ Church After School& Summer Camp. The job gives her the chance to flex hercreative muscles as she designs the curriculum for children in theprogram. It’s a role she relishes. It gives me the opportunity todo all the crazy things I think about in my head, she said. Butit’s fun because [the kids are] really talented if you take awaythe videogames to get them back into their sense of exploration andwonder. It’s clear that Hofmo brings the same kind of contagiousenthusiasm to her day job as she does to the plethora of volunteerorganizations she’s involved in. I like doing creative things,Hofmo said, adding, Last night I couldn’t sleep and I came up withtwo new dances for the kids.

PERSONAL: Hofmo grew up in Bay Ridge, and other than a couplebrief stints living outside of the neighborhood, she has spent herlife in the area. Growing up, Hofmo says she, lived between SunsetPark and Bay Ridge, but when I was a kid, Sunset Park was BayRidge. She is unmarried and has a 32-year-old daughter. Shecredits education as changing her life for the better. I was veryyoung when I left home, Hofmo recalled. I was about 16. Educationwas very important to me so I wasn’t going to mess that up. I hungout in the park with people from not great families, but educationpulled me out of that. She said that the experience of having tofend for herself so young helped transform her into the woman sheis today. Leaving home young was very hard but it made me strong,she said.

DEFINING CHARACTERISTIC: Hofmo says it is her high-octanetenacity that is her trademark. I’m very vivacious, she said.I’m tenacious. My friend Ron calls me the pit bull because I don’tgive up. Perhaps one reason Hofmo is able to prevail in her manyefforts is because of her positive outlook on what constitutessuccess. If I try something and it’s not a 100 percent success, Idon’t consider that a failure, Hofmo said. I consider life to bea process.

INSPIRATION: Although Hofmo draws her creative inspiration froma variety of places, a large part of what motivates her is simplythe joy of helping others, something she first got a taste of whileteaching swimming in her youth. She says one of her greatestthrills comes when you touch someone’s life in a serious way. Shesays she enjoys being a catalyst for other people’s inspiration. Ihad a friend say to me ‘everything you do makes people happy,’Hofmo said. I’m not sure I agree with that, but it’s nice to beperceived that way.

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