Dawn Hoffman '89

Major Business Administration



Management and Organizational Development with Rick Hill. It truly uncovered my desire to direct my career to Human Resources.
Favorite Professor



The late Dr. Robert McCarron. He took a personal interest as I completed his Freshman English class. He took time to discuss my talents and skills and impacted me tremendously.

I will never forget the day I walked into the dining hall wearing a flowered dress and Mr. Doyle Argo [former food services director] serenaded me with "Delta Dawn, what's that flower you got on?" He still sings it to me 24 years later. (See pictures below.)



Dawn and Mr. Argo (left to right) the night before graduation; at Homecoming 1994; in 2007

What do Anderson Cooper, George Foreman, and President Obama have in common? They have all spent time with Dawn Hoffman.

Dawn’s career began in 1989 when she became a training coordinator and manager at Hechinger in her home town, Richmond, Va. In July 1995, she was recruited by Office Depot to be a regional field manager. Dawn began racking up frequent flyer miles as she traveled from store to store doing training and development work. Her responsibilities expanded as she began helping start new Office Depots which required her to travel up and down the East Coast for up to six weeks at a time.

In July 2004, Dawn became director of retail training at Tempur-Pedic in Lexington, Ky. “I love retail and human resources, so the job was a good fit for me,” Dawn said.
Two years later she went through an eleven-interview process to become the regional human resources director for Barnes & Noble. “I moved to Dallas, Texas,” Dawn explained. “It’s the farthest west I’ve ever lived. I’ve always been a Virginia girl.” Dawn is in charge of employee relations for Barnes & Noble for the Southwest and Southeast regions, covering 28 states. “I partner with district managers and help create positive working environments by putting the right people in the right places,” Dawn said. “I travel to different Barnes & Noble stores a lot. I try to maintain one office day a week, but some weeks I’m traveling the whole time. It’s important to visit the stores to maintain a pulse of the field.”

Dawn with Anderson Cooper; Dawn with Barack
Obama on his 'Audacity of Hope' book tour
During her travels, Dawn gets full access to celebrity authors. She met Barack Obama in 2007 on his Audacity of Hope tour in Austin, Texas. “I get to meet George Foreman next week!” Dawn added. Her favorite “celebrity” that she has met so far is John Maxwell. “John Maxwell is my favorite author and it was truly an honor and delight. His balance of the Word and leadership are truly inspiring,” she said.

In 2001, she added a Master's degree in Human Resource Management from Nova Southeastern University to her Bryan degree in Business Administration. “I couldn't find a more aligned career with my personality, skills and temperament,” Dawn said. “It has been validated by every career tool I have ever used—StrengthFinders, MBTI, DiSC used—all of them. It is truly the Lord's hand in my career path.”
Although Dawn is frequently on the road, her friends from her Bryan days have provided a “foundation for life.” There are about ten friends from The Hill who she remains in consistent contact with to this day. “I started working in the dining hall my sophomore year, and it became the center of my social network. I memorized all the box numbers for the cafe line and still know many of them today, twenty-four years later,” she said.

Dawn with her nieces, Erin and Kristin Anthony
who are students at Bryan
Dawn considers Bryan a “true time for me to gain confidence in myself, and I would not be as successful today without those experiences. There is no way I could facilitate training sessions in front of thousands of people or remain calm in a legal deposition without that confidence.” She also credits her managerial and organizational behavior class with steering her career in the right direction. “That class was the turning point in leading me toward my career in human resources,” Dawn said.

Dawn’s sisters Cheryl Little, ’82, and Beverly Anthony, ’85, are Bryan graduates; and her nieces, Erin and Kristin Anthony, are students at Bryan.