On Island Profile: Corine Matthias

April 7, 2006 – Folks need running shoes to keep up with St. John resident Corine Matthias. She works full time as office manager at St. John Administrator Julien Harley's office and part time at Viva Vacation Villas, greeting guests at the dock, doing home inspections and taking after-hours calls. If that wasn't enough on her plate, she's president of the Love City Pan Dragons and mother of two boys, Eric Andrews, 16, and Marcus Andrews, 11.
"There's lots going on in my little schedule," she said, laughing, during an interview that began just after 7 a.m. from her desk at the administrator's office.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., 40 years ago to V.I. parents, Avilde and Eddie Matthias, Corine and her family moved back to St. John when she was four. After attending Cruz Bay Day Care, Julius E. Sprauve School and Charlotte Amalie High School, she headed off to Washington, D.C., to get an associate's degree in information processing from Strayer Business College.
After that, the U.S. Army beckoned. Matthias spent time in the United States, Germany and Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War, where she was a supply specialist.
She then spent two years working at the First Union Mortgage Company in Virginia Beach, Va., before returning home to St. John. After working as a communications officer for Catholic Charities on St. Thomas, she joined the administrator's office in 1999.
"I love interacting with the community," she said, when asked what she likes best about her job.
Matthias got involved with the Pan Dragons when son Marcus attended a summer program in 2001. She joined the board in 2003 and became president the same year.
The Pan Dragons presidency poses some big challenges.
"You always have to stay on top of things," she said.
She said that although the business community readily supports the Pan Dragons, funding is always an issue. However, she said it's even harder to get parents involved. While she said she wishes for more parental help, she's not letting the lack of it get in her way.
"But we end up molding and shaping their kids," she said.
The organization has 27 members, ages seven to 16.
The Pan Dragons secretary, Elaine Penn, said that Matthias brings commitment, perseverance and dedication to her role as president. "Stubbornness, if you will," Penn said.
Penn said that Matthias is willing to commit to an event and then find a way to do it, an aspect of her presidency that has brought the Pan Dragons forward.
She also said that Matthias' position in the administrator's office allows her to make contacts willing to help the organization. And she said her business skills are a huge asset to the Pan Dragons.
With little time to spare, Matthias said she likes to read and spend time with her boys.
She also likes to travel, but that's a passion she's put on hold until her boys are on their own and she's retired.
"For now, I'm just taking it day in and day out," she said.
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