Making A Difference

For the Good of Society

Thomas Tierney (MBA 1980)

Tom Tierney (MBA 1980) is chairman and cofounder of the Bridgespan Group and is a 2016 recipient of an HBS Alumni Achievement Award. In this video he talks about a new vision for guiding philanthropic activity that helped launch his organization.

“If the definition of entrepreneurship, as HBS proclaims, is the pursuit of impact absent available resources, boy did we define that!

“I’ve kept a journal for almost 40 years now. And in 1991 I wrote in that journal about the Make-a-Difference Company; it was a new entity that was going to use my experiences in helping CEOs, and coaching executives, and working with Bain, and all this stuff to be of service to the world. The idea was, taking Bain and Company—and to some extent Bain Capital kinds of skills—and creating a spinout of Bain that would serve philanthropists and nonprofit organizations both.

“Lots of the things that we take for granted today—the nonprofit sector and philanthropy—didn’t exist in the mid-‘90s. The idea of being of service to others, to help break cycles of intergenerational poverty, has felt to me as the highest possible calling. What a privilege to be able to help super-high-net-worth people take that money and redeploy it for the good of society.”

(Published September 2016)