As family and community engagement manager, “our guy” Tom Taylor gracefully leads our staff who connect with parents, businesses, and community organizations in central Indiana. He also wears many hats as all-around tech guru and master of a good spreadsheet. Learn more about Tom in our latest Last Day Q&A!
What three traits define you?
Kind, Resourceful, Detail-oriented
What is your personal philosophy?
Treat others the way you want to be treated.
What’s one thing you couldn’t live without?
My family. It would also be tough to have no internet. I love learning and discovering new things. With so much knowledge at my fingertips, I’d struggle being unable to answer all my own questions every day.
What is the greatest challenge you have had to overcome in your life thus far?
Depression. Through high school and college, I struggled with undiagnosed and untreated severe major depressive disorder. I sometimes deal with pangs of it now and again but have learned to overcome those thoughts and feelings.
What is the one thing you cannot resist?
Documentaries. Even the black–and-white Ken Burns ones fascinate me.
What is your greatest fear?
The tragic death of one of my sons or my wife. The only nightmares I’ve ever really had that have stuck with me involve one of them getting hit by a car or falling off a precipice.
Where is your favorite place to be?
In the den at our house, just chilling, or, in our yard doing maintenance or home improvement projects. If we’re talking travel, I love the mountains and wildness of Oregon and Colorado. Those spaces call to me.
What is your favorite thing to do?
Home improvement projects
Where is the best place you’ve traveled and why?
It’s tied between Colorado and Oregon. We traveled to each as a family when I was younger, and I vividly remember many scenes of the vast wilderness and have wanted to return ever since. My wife and I also did a few days on the Appalachian Trail, which were extremely enjoyable. I’d love to eventually do all 2,200 miles of it.
What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?
One of my first jobs in high school was to set up and tear down a farmers’ market in my hometown of Wheaton, IL. It involved moving these extremely heavy cargo carts from about a block away to the market location and setting up over 100 temporary structures for the seller booths, then taking them down the next day. It was actually pretty fun, but really tiring.
Which one would you want most – flying cars, robot housekeepers, or moon cities?
All three, honestly – but if pressed I’d have to choose a robot housekeeper. I am very particular about keeping my living space clean, so not having to constantly be cleaning up after everyone sounds pretty awesome.
What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?
I would probably be a software developer of some kind. In college I had originally wanted to major in Computer Information Systems and programming but was talked out of it.
What would you most like to tell yourself at age 13?
I was extremely introverted and would get very anxious in social situations. I would tell myself to take things less seriously, have fun, make mistakes, and be okay with looking like a fool. Life’s too short.
What are your three words or phrases you overuse the most?
Sheeshcabobs, whoaly-moly, and o’queso. I know these are all made up words, but I say them a lot.
What is the best book you have ever read?
My favorite book as a child was The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. It’s quite “punny”. I am also a huge Calvin and Hobbes fan.
Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
My wife and I technically became “foster-grandparents” within three months of marriage. We were married in May 2012 and became “houseparents” at a children’s home to four teen mothers and their five children that following August. We also went from having no children of our own to three within six months. We began fostering-to-adopt two six-year-old fraternal twin boys in March 2014, then welcomed our first biological child that following September.