The Center for Life Beyond Reed

Division of Student Services

Richard Thomason

Class year: 1984
Major: History
Company/organization: Blue Shield of California Foundation
Job title: Director
Company URL:

How did you get where you are? (e.g., education, brief work history, mentors)

After Reed, I wanted to work in politics, and as a result moved to Washington, DC. My first job was as an intern for Senator Bob Packwood, and afterwards I worked for Sen. Bill Bradley and for a law firm. I left DC to get a master's in public affairs at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School. From there I found a job as budget analyst with the California Legislative Analyst's Office in Sacramento. This led to a career in California health policy as legislative staff, government relations staff for Kaiser Permanente, and as policy director for a healthcare workers' union local. Since 2009 I have been a program officer, and now director, of statewide health grantmaking for a California health foundation.

What lessons have you learned along the way that you'd like to pass on to current Reed students?

Networking and schmoozing are key!

In what ways you think you can help Reed students?

I can help students think about careers in politics, healthcare, and philanthropy.

What else should students know about you? (e.g., volunteer engagement, avocations, interests)

I'm a new member of the alumni board, live in Berkeley and have two teenage daughters approaching college age.