Life Lessons with SMS Alumni
We’re on a mission to find out how Stratton Mountain School has impacted the lives of our alumni. We sent the same three questions to a group of alumni and here are some of their responses.
Eric Grosse ’87 started his career on Wall Street and later moved to the Bay Area where he eventually had the opportunity to start and scale a number of consumer e-commerce companies. Eric co-founded the discount online travel site Hotwire and ran Expedia Worldwide before going back to his startup roots and co-founding Chairish, a leading online destination for awesome one-of-a-kind items for the home.
1. What is a favorite SMS memory?
SMS was a very spirited place in my time, especially when I was one of the young kids. In my mind, Larry Herrick’s presence kept everyone in line and he always guided us in a way that acknowledged our youthful energy. Depending on the situation, Larry used either his wit or his brawn to steer us on the right path, and his style of leadership is my favorite memory.
2. What is a lesson you learned at SMS that you’ve carried with you?
SMS taught me so much, but one lesson that sticks out is not to let success go to my head or get too down when things don’t go my way. Ski racing is both wonderful and cruel, especially when experiencing the sport’s highs and lows as a less-than-fully-formed teenager! I didn’t have the self-awareness to realize it at the time, but SMS taught me to look beyond the scoreboard and focus on what I can control: a positive mindset, a desire to learn, and the importance of balancing hard work with joy in what I do.
3. Who was your favorite teacher or coach at SMS or your favorite class and why?
Wow, this is a tough question to answer as SMS’s strength has always been its teachers and coaches. Looking back, I’m amazed at who was in my corner in high school: Larry Herrick, Herman Gollner, Bill Dunkel, Fritz Vallant, Mrs. DeSantis (I could never call her Peggy), Rob Clayton, Len Bugel, Toshi Furukawa, Bill Reed, Terry Leonard. What a remarkable and completely original group, all of whom taught and inspired me in very different ways. Sorry, I’m taking the 5th and can’t pick just one!