Archived Voice Articles

Dr. Erik Hoekstra: A brief profile

As an undergraduate at Trinity Christian College, Dr. Erik Hoekstra majored in history and philosophy and intended to go to seminary—either that or get his Ph.D. and teach.

“But when I graduated, I didn’t feel that I could be a pastor without deeper life experiences than I’d had,” he says. So he became a branch manager for a wholesale florist in Michigan. He began to feel called to business and enrolled in an MBA program at Western Michigan University. After receiving a Rotary Scholarship, he completed his MBA in the Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University.

Upon his return to the United States, Hoekstra spent four years as the chief operating officer at Eastern Floral in Grand Rapids—but academia continued to pull. When Eastern Floral was sold, he was hired to teach business at Dordt College.

Having grown up in the Christian Reformed Church, Hoekstra’s parents always had told him he could go to college wherever he wanted, but they would help finance his education only if he went to Calvin College, Trinity Christian College, or Dordt College. When he saw Dordt's ad for a business professer and read “The Educational Task of Dordt College,” he was impressed with it's commitment to being an integrally Christian institution.

As a business professor, Hoekstra taught courses in marketing, entrepreneurship, ethics, and international business, as well as supervising an internship program and helping develop curriculum for emphases in human resources and public administration. During this time, he began a Ph.D. program at Iowa State University in Organizational Learning and Human Resource Development. In 2000, he became a principal and partner with Harbor Group, serving as the CEO of Harbor Consulting Group, a strategic planning, human resources, and leadership consulting business.

Hoekstra completed his Ph.D. in 2003 and has continued to write about organizational leadership. He contributed to the book The Manager as Change Agent and collaborated on chapters for several edited volumes, among them "Changing the Way We Manage Change," "Critical Issues in HRD:A New Agenda for the 21st Century," "Improving Learning Transfer in Organization," "Delegating for Leader Development," "Leadership: Integrating the Public, Private, and Not-for-Profit sectors."

Books that helped shape Hoekstra:

First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman

Leadership Is an Art by Max Dupree

Servant as Leader by Robert Greenleaf

The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization by Peter M. Senge

The Five Temptations of a CEO by Patrick Lencioni

The Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything by Stephen M.R. Covey

The World’s Most Powerful Leadership Principle by James C. Hunter