Tom has been with ILFI since 2009 and is now transitioning out of his role as Chief Financial Officer. During his time at the ILFI Portland office he managed financial operations, human resources, information technology, corporate governance, risk management, facilities management, and much more. Tom loves to be on the move; he was well-known at ILFI both for his daily power-walks on his lunch break as well as his further-flung worldwide travels. He takes particular interest in World Heritage Sites and places where he can experience first-hand the beauty and wonder of the natural world. We wish you all the best on your next adventure, Tom!

What is your favorite memory from working at ILFI?

Tom Bland: I have a lot of memories from my years at ILFI. Our early holiday parties were at some interesting locations, like Dig a Pony in Portland and an unmarked speakeasy in Seattle. I laugh when I think about how Sasha Tenzin’s dog Mingus and Cait McCusker’s dog Tomae used to chase each other around the Portland office at the end of the day, or the trips to Cool Moon for ice cream cones that we took on hot days. We had some fun times decorating the office for the holidays. One time we had a Christmas Tree and faux presents under the tree too, and Christmas lights around the office. One of the funniest memories was when Patti Southard attempted to put makeup on Jason at the Groundswell event in Seattle.

What is your key takeaway from ILFI?

TB: I think Jason’s idea of “three quarters baked” is a good one. Don’t throw just any idea out there—that would be “half-baked”, but instead get it most of the way there and then let the market define it the rest of the way. Tempered creativity.

What will you miss the most?

TB: The people of course. I will absolutely not miss the hour-plus bus ride to the office starting at 6:40 a.m., but I will miss the people. I’ve worked with Sandy Allen for a very long time now. We were the “parents” of the Portland office. I’ve worked with a LaRose for a long time too; first John, then Hilary, then Pete. I’ve watched a lot of people grow in their careers too, which is great to see. I’d like to know how their careers unfold in the future.

What will you be doing in your spare time?

TB: I don’t have much spare time. I’m on 5 boards, I have 80 tax clients, I volunteer regularly in Springbrook Park and Leach Botanical Garden, and now that I have a new grandson I’ll be going to Denver a lot. I will be able to sleep in until 7 a.m. though, and life will not be so hectic. Taxes are seasonal so for much of the year, I will have time to work in my greenhouse, yard and vegetable garden.

What was the most exciting thing that happened during your lunch power-walks?

TB: I used to have to cross the railroad tracks on my walk. Frequently there were freight trains going through, and I was on my lunch hour so I did not have time to wait for them to go by. If they stopped, even for a moment, I would climb up one side of the train car coupling (where two cars a linked together) and down the other. It only takes a second to do that, and more than once the train started again and I had to jump.

Written By

Alaina Kowitz

Alaina is the Communications Coordinator at International Living Future Institute.