I’m the healthcare benefits administrator for a business management firm that represents entertainers. I’m also a video host for a segment of Saturday Morning Wake Up Radio. And I’m a blogger.

I’m the healthcare benefits administrator for a business management firm that represents entertainers. I’m also a video host for a segment of Saturday Morning Wake Up Radio. And I’m a blogger.

Tommica.jpg

TOMMICA

“We can’t be afraid of change, and we can’t think we’re in this alone. We have to develop a village.”

My first job was in the Air Force, right out of high school. My family didn’t know much about college, but my aunt was a military spouse. She came for a visit and said, “So, what are you doing with your life?” I was working at the supermarket at the time. She took me up to the recruiting booth. I was 17, and I wasn’t a disrespectful kid, so I said, “Okay, let’s do it.” She led me down a good path; I ended up with skills I’ll have forever. But developing skills in the military doesn’t exactly pave your way to a good life. You’re not handed a job just because you served your country. 

I got interested in healthcare when my mom got sick. I was living in Texas, but I came back to New York to be with her. I noticed she was getting loads of medical correspondence, and her response was to pay anybody who said she owed them. She just kept writing checks. Mom didn’t understand her options, so I began my journey within the business of the healthcare industry. 

I ended up getting a job as a registrar in a treatment facility. From there I got a medical billing certificate and started learning about billing and coding. I went to work for AFTRA health fund. One day I approached the HR Manager: “They tell me I’m really good at my job, so why can’t I get promoted?” She said, “Because you don’t have a degree.” So I obtained my bachelor’s degree in a year and a half. 

They created a position for me in management. It got really interesting, because this was around the time when Obama was building the new healthcare system. My dream became to work in Washington, to take part in that reform. I went back to school, this time to get my master’s in healthcare administration. But the universe threw a curve in my plans: I was pregnant, at 42. Because I was over 40, I was high risk. I had to go on bed rest and stop school. After my daughter was born, I finished my master’s. 

I got into radio because my husband is part owner of Saturday Morning Wake Up Show, and there’s a segment called The Beauty Cave, with five women hosts. My topic: Healthcare! I like that it gives me a platform to reach people who might not be paying attention. I’m so invested in this subject now. Friends ask me to explain things to them, and that’s part of the joy for me. I’m not really into politics, but I tell people, listen up. You may not be able to sit still for the whole State of the Union address, but turn it up really loud in your house and listen for those buzzwords: Social Security, Medicare, and so on. 

I’m currently studying to be a health insurance broker. I’d like to have my own company and be home with my daughter for a little while, while still helping people navigate this forever-changing healthcare system. I don’t know if I’d want to stay home every day, though. Now that I’ve done so much, I think I’d be antsy.

Interviewed on March 6, 2019

I’m a creative director, most recently in fashion retail. Right  now, I’m looking for a job.

I’m a creative director, most recently in fashion retail. Right now, I’m looking for a job.

I’m a theater producer. I started in the non-profit world and then opened my own shop to produce commercial theater.

I’m a theater producer. I started in the non-profit world and then opened my own shop to produce commercial theater.