Where Thom is from
What was your dream when you were a kid? What was the reason?
I wanted to be an ambassador like my father. Because I wanted to deal with important issues around the world. Affect lives by tackling global crisis and travel the world.
What was your dream when you were 18 years old? What was the reason?
I wanted to be an actor, I still hope to get there some day. Hollywood is not too far from SF.
What made you start thinking about social entrepreneurship/social enterprises? When was that?
I had the privilege to travel with Pr. Muhammad Yunus in Uganda. He made me realize that my career goals and ambitions could meet my social ambitions.
How much do you think social entrepreneurs play an important role in the world?
I think all entrepreneurs play an important role in the world. For any problem the world is facing today any entrepreneur will see it as an opportunity and shape the world they want to live in. Consumers have the responsibility to inform themselves about the products and services provided and the power to make purchasing decisions that align with their values.
What would you say to future social entrepreneurs / those who are interested in social entrepreneurs?
Collaboration > competition
What is your favorite quote? Who said that quote?
“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” – Derek Bok
Who Thom is
Thom is my classmate, roommate, and also hero. He is an adventurer, like Indiana Jones, a creator,like Steve Jobs, and a planner, like the Joker (fun and crazy like the Joker as well).
Thom has traveled a lot and does not have roots anywhere. It sounds cool, right? He is very good at making friends so he expands his network wherever he goes. He has built a social venture called ATLAS, which is a running app that generates social impact. When runners use the app they can raise $0.5 per a kilometer they run, which goes to an organization that is selected by ATLAS.. He already had the idea before coming to San Francisco and he formally incorporated ATLAS as a social entrepreneur in San Francisco.
Thom is so fun to talk to, hang out with and live with. He is funny, very open and active, so you never get bored while you are with him. Thom is always so chill and does not seem stressed.
Thom is such a salesman. The word ’salesman’ might cause misunderstanding but what I mean by ‘salesman’ is that he’s good at selling. What does he sell? He sells his business, himself and his dreams. His words come from his belief so that what he says is very strong and persuasive.
One of my favorite parts of Thom is that he sticks to his belief. He believes in himself. He is strong enough to have his own opinions for anything no matter how much he is familiar with the topic. However, he is not stubborn at all. He can easily accept differences between people and take advice from others. He is never afraid of asking questions, even when something does not make sense to him.
I have done so many things with Thom, but I cannot skip this; the day we became roomies. I still remember the moment I met Thom for the first time. It was the reception after the orientation on the first day at Hult International Business School. He was so friendly with a big smile and I was pretty sure we could be good friends at the first moment. Then Thom came to me asking if I wanted to be his roommate one week after that. It was after a class. He said he would show me the apartment so we headed straight to the apartment from our school.
I was still looking for an apartment that time so I appreciated the offer from him. It is one of the most memorable times for me in San Francisco — we talked and shared about ourselves with each other, especially what brought us to San Francisco. Thom told me that he went to Kampala, Uganda, only to see Muhammad Yunus. His story was inspiring and I found one thing in common between us through that story because I had come to San Francisco only to meet Marc Benioff.
I was so happy finding out that both of us are doers, but he was more than I was, because he also shared the idea of ATLAS and showed me his passion about it while we were walking on the street to the apartment — now he is actually operating ATLAS as a new startup.
Speaking of having something in common, I found another one at dinner after he had shown me the apartment. While we had Thai food at a restaurant, we found out that both of us eat a lot. He seemed so happy when I said I can cook.
The apartment was very beautiful and seemed very comfortable to live. The location was perfect. However, those were not the reasons why I decided to stay there. The only reason why I chose the apartment was because I was excited about living with Thom. I’m not sure if he remembers but the day I officially moved in was on his birthday and we celebrated his birthday with a small cake.
The Power of MSE
What Thom is holding is a symbol called “go-en(ご縁)”, which means ‘fate’, ’destiny’ and ’special tie.’
I believe that it is meant to be that we met in San Francisco! I studied Social Entrepreneurship with Thom for a year, saying “We will make the world a better place.” I would love to spend the rest of my life with MSEs (Master of Social Entrepreneurship; my classmates) until the very day I die. They have already completely changed my life.
At the same time, however, I also think that we should not be together all the time, because that is not the reason why we learned Social Entrepreneurship. That is not how we will deliver the impact we want to give to society and to the world.
I think MSEs are like dandelions. We were seeded at the first day at Hult and we bloomed on our graduation day. Our mission is that we spread all over the world like dandelions and seed the future, the next generation, from each place where each of us has landed.
本当にありがとう(Honto ni Arigato-); Thank you very very much for everything!! The world needs you! Let’s make the world a better place together!!