Loyal. Creative. Connecting.
Tom has been with Blue Beyond from the very beginning (when we were known as Fields Tyler Consulting) in October of 2006. As CFO, Tom works primarily “behind the scenes” as part of our operational team. He is a key player in developing and nurturing our internal culture and building a sense of collegiality and community among our employees. Tom graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and from SFSU with a M.A. in Education. As a former high school science teacher and environmental educator for over three decades, Tom has had many opportunities to create meaningful learning experiences that promote collaboration and foster group genius. Tom works hard to create opportunities for people to learn, feel safe, be appreciated, show up as their genuine selves, and become more connected to their peers and to their community.
What skills and expertise do you bring to the team?
As the CFO (aka Cheryl’s Financial Officer), this often “behind-the-scenes” role gives me the opportunity to contribute in “traditional” ways—handling the payroll, coordinating our employee benefits program, monitoring accounts receivable and payable, and managing the cash flow with all of our clients. As a former high school teacher and environmental educator, there are other less traditional ways I look to contribute—by finding ways to promote interpersonal and family connections among our employees (e.g., sending out bi-weekly in-house updates, offering neighborhood walks, sharing photos from our meetings, picnics, and social events, etc.) and by helping our company find ways to serve the larger community (e.g., coordinating food drives, promoting service projects, and doing outreach in local schools).
What do you find most rewarding about your work?
From the very beginning (some ten years ago), it has been a pleasure to share my wife Cheryl’s dreams and visions for this company, while enjoying the challenges and delights of raising two children and working together to create a happy and healthy home for us here in the Bay Area. It continues to be a privilege to witness and participate in the ongoing evolution of our company as we enter our second decade doing business.
What work have you done that you’re particularly proud of?
During virtually all of the time I’ve served as CFO, I’ve also volunteered at the high school where I formerly taught (and from which my children graduated) as one of the leaders in creating a 4.5-acre community garden (called the Living Lab) and designing, funding, and building a $4 million environmental education classroom complex (called the Center for Environmental Studies).
What is your favorite time of the year? Why?
I particularly enjoy the months of October and November here in the Bay Area, after the summer fogs have dissipated and when the air is cool (great for morning walks), the nights are clear (wonderful for stargazing), and there’s a sense of anticipation for the season’s first rain (the last of which typically came in April or May). Daylight comes in at a low angle and gives everything a soft and gentle glow—much like the lambent light of a distant campfire.
Do you have a favorite question?
As I move along in years (I’m now in my mid-60’s), I often ask myself (and others) this wonderful question (quoting the legendary pitcher Satchel Paige): “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?”
Name a peak experience in your life. What happened?
When I was in my early 30’s, I took a leave of absence from my teaching and went on a six-month camping, hiking, and backpacking trip throughout the national parks of the American West. On the very first day of that trip (June 27, 1985) I met a young woman from Indiana working that summer in Lassen National Park in northern California. Little did I know it at the time, but that woman—Cheryl Fields—would become my wife, the mother of our twin children, and the creative genius who launched Blue Beyond Consulting (with whom I am now employed).