“Developing new business concepts has always been a passion of mine,” reveals Stern alumnus, philanthropist, actor and author Tommy Head (BS '11). “It’s one of the reasons I chose to study at Stern. I’m constantly thinking up business ideas, often inspired by my personal experiences.”
One such life-changing experience – being evaluated for childhood leukemia – was the impetus for founding his non-profit organization Childhood Cancer Society (CCS) when Tommy was just 16. “Having my family around during that difficult time created the support I needed to cope. I was thankful to not have leukemia, but I witnessed so many families severely impacted by their child’s struggle with cancer and I wanted to make a difference.” CCS helps families afflicted with pediatric cancer by providing funds for medical care, accommodations and travel expenses during treatment as well as gifts for patients.
Tommy’s actual diagnosis of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP) meant limited involvement in sports and he eventually turned to another one of his passions, acting. After attending performing arts camps and appearing in a college play at age 12, he was signed by an acting management company. Over the years, he’s featured in several commercials and even a role on ABC’s One Life to Live and eventually became a member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG). Through SAG, Tommy volunteered for its BookPALS program reading to elementary school students and found inspiration for his most recent project.
“BookPALS was one of the greatest experiences in my life and the catalyst for writing my own children’s book, Rudy Comes to Play on a Rainy Day,” explains Tommy. “It’s an uplifting story about a boy who meets two mystical creatures that help him cope with ‘rainy day syndrome’ and turn a dreary day into one full of fun and laughter, proving that good things can come from any situation. The message, inspired by elements of my youth, is one I hope to convey to all children while raising money for families struggling with childhood cancer as 100% of the book’s sales go to CCS.”
With the publication of his book, Tommy has creatively merged several of his passions and says there’s more to come. “I’m always writing down business ideas to develop later. Studying finance and marketing at Stern deepened my business knowledge and my entrepreneurial drive. My experiences over the past four years have prepared me to continue to manage CCS effectively and given me increased confidence to fulfill all my ambitions.”