R.I.P….Doug Tompkins

“Happiness comes in a lot of different forms. Money’s not really important. You don’t need it to go kayaking.”….Doug Tompkins 1987

He was probably one of the first mentors that I had and looked up to.  Yeah, he was also the guy that I made reference to in an earlier post…but he was awesome!  Doug Tompkins died this week in a kayak accident and I really felt a sense of loss, personally and for his family.  I loved working with and for him at Esprit.  As a young 21-year-old he made me feel like I mattered at work…which translated to my life in general.  I didn’t realize until this week that he was almost 20 years older than me.  When I worked for him he just seemed so cool….he loved everything Italian..it was like the second language at Esprit. How lucky to have known him, seen his work ethic, seen how he treated his employees and seen how generous he was to his employees.  Together, with his wife at the time, Susie, they made coming to work so much fun.  They were ahead of their time….aerobic classes at lunch time, one of the original Perrier running courses next door in the park they bought (including a grass tennis court) and a gourmet on-site cafe for employees….not to mention 50% off wholesale prices at the employee sales..oh, I had so many clothes back then!  If you have the time, here’s a 1987 Washington Post article that gives you a sense of their Esprit vision.  ….if you have more time this is a really good, comprehensive article about Doug’s life since he & Susie divorced and sold Esprit. An amazing man who loved life and wanted to leave this earth a better place than when he arrived.  R.I.P. Doug…you will be missed by many.

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!


  1. Yep, you were the first person I thought of when I saw this. I’ve followed his life just a little over the years, always intrigued and impressed. Sad that he went the way he did (hypothermia?) but it sounds like he lived the life he wanted.

  2. He died doing what he loved the most. Too early but what a way to go. I’m sure you count yourself amongst the lucky few who knew the man for what he stood for.

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