Westmont Magazine Keeping Life in Balance
A sign on the wall of his office reminds Doug Mathews ’84 of his priorities: “No amount of success at work will make up for failure at home.” As he and his wife, Sandy Heinrichs Mathews ’85, raise 13-year-old Ilissa and 12-year-old Bret, they consciously strive to balance family, work and play.
A commercial real estate broker for Grubb & Ellis in Orange County, Calif., Doug works hard to provide for his family while Sandy provides balance by staying home to care for their children. Intent on making a profit, Doug also desires to be a witness for Christ and a businessman above reproach.
Long before the rash of corporate scandals raised the issue, Doug emphasized the importance of integrity in his commercial dealings. His principles come from scripture, especially Proverbs 20:23, “The Lord detests differing weights, and dishonest scales do not please Him,” and Proverbs 21:3 “To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.”
“It’s so important to stand up for what is right, whether among peers, in church or in the corporate board room,” he says. “To do this with confidence and conviction, you need to know what you believe, as well as why you believe it. This is one way Westmont stands above other Christian institutions; the college really develops critical thinking skills. Professors teach students not only what the truth is, but why it is true.”
During his four years at Westmont as an economics and business major, Doug learned how to integrate his faith into his life. “Facing this issue early on has really helped me,” he says. “I developed a much broader understanding of my faith when I was in college.”
An outstanding high school tennis player, Doug had opportunities to play NCAA Division I tennis, but he chose to attend Westmont instead. “Campus visits typically focused on my ability as a tennis player,” he recalls. “But Westmont looked at me as a person who happened to play tennis. That was a much more balanced approach.” He still competed on a nationally ranked team, but he also went on Westmont’s Europe semester, benefitted from wide-ranging conversations in the dorms and grew close to several professors.
“The liberal arts training was a good thing, even for someone who wanted to go into real estate,” he says.
Doug is once again playing competitive tennis and is ranked in California in the top 10 of doubles and singles players in his age group. Keeping in mind his goal of a balanced life, Doug considers tennis as way to exercise and to spend time with his family. Sandy, Ilissa and Bret all play tennis competitively, and they practice together and attend each other’s tournaments. The Coto de Caza Golf and Racquet Club in South Orange County even selected them as the Tennis Family of the Year.
Another family involvement is attending Coast Hills Community Church in Aliso Viejo. Currently on the board of trustees, Doug has provided leadership for small groups and men’s accountability groups. Sandy has been a longtime member of Bible Study Fellowship.
The Mathews have kept close ties to Westmont. For the past five years they served as alumni chapter leaders in Orange County and are passing their responsibilities to the new leaders, Mike ’90 and Angie Skorich ’90 Hill.
“It’s been great,” Doug says. “We have a lot of Westmont friends in the area, and we were hosting New Year’s Eve parties and barbecues anyway, so it was a natural evolution to become chapter leaders. We enjoy opening our home. It’s been good to hear what is going on at Westmont and to stay connected to the college.”
Doug has helped organize sports events for alums, including an annual golf tournament in Orange County that benefits Warrior Sports Associates and involves about 100 players. He also started a tennis match during Homecoming that pits former players against current Warriors.
Since Steve Baker, vice president for advancement, was his college roommate, Doug says he has little choice about supporting the college financially. “We really appreciate Westmont as a top educational institution with Christian values,” he says. “We see the very real need for new buildings. We consider our giving as a ministry in developing Christian leaders throughout the world.”