Tom's top Five Strengths:
When I was a child, I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I liked building models, creating things and envisioning different ways to do things. As I grew, sports and teamwork entered the picture, but my future was unclear all the way into college. In 1976, I met Jesus through a Campus Crusade meeting at my college - Auburn. Being a martial artist and self-proclaimed Buddhist (which was clearly in the minority in Auburn, Alabama), my spiritual journey up to that point was confused, to say the least. But, by God’s grace I started my relationship with Him before I had to begin making life-long decisions. What to do, who to marry, when to move, these questions could now all be held up in prayer, and God has led me down a path I could have never imagined for myself.
I grew up the son of an Air Force Officer and was born while we were stationed in Japan. I claim Colorado as home as it is where I spent my high school years. My dad said I could go to any college I wanted, but he was sending the money to Auburn - his alma mater. There I met my wife and decided to follow my father into military service becoming an Officer in the United States Marine Corps after graduation. I thought that would be my career. I held high valued positions including a tour at The Marine Barracks in Washington DC, where we performed ceremonies at the White House and provided security at Camp David. Most of my time, however, was in command of operational fighting units, including the Marine Corps first Special Operations Capable unit.
Although I made four six-month deployments, and missed the birth of two of my children, I didn’t see direct combat. This was a blessing, but also a cause of self-diminishment that I have fought throughout my business career. I left the Marines after twelve years of service and moved to Texas. First to work on large outsourcing deals with EDS, then to become a Partner with Ernst & Young Consulting.
This was certainly not the plan I had for myself. It was a better one. At E&Y I was introduced to the area of group facilitation and collaborative work. I felt called to this work, and I became one of the leaders of this center of expertise at E&Y. In 2001 I left to start my own company focused on this type of work. It was then that God lead me to Bob Buford. Bob was not only a mentor (and in many was a father to me) but, he also opened up to me through his Halftime and Leadership Network organizations, a world of ministry and church work even beyond the business network that E&Y had created.
Today my work extends to over twenty-five countries and has carried me from some of the biggest boardrooms in the US, to some of the most innovative churches around the world. My work is my passion and my biggest blessing short of my wife and family.
My wife, Elaine, and I will celebrate forty-two years of marriage this June. She has been more than a helpmate as she had to lead the family while I was deployed, and when I was home but fighting diminishment. Having a spiritual helpmate has help me from stumbling; and encouraged me when I fell. Our biggest challenge came with the ten year battle our oldest son had with a drug and alcohol addiction. His death for a motorcycle accident in 2009 actually drew our family closer, as we were able to see God in the tragedy. Today, our two daughters and younger son are all married, and we have eight grandchildren and counting.
Today my personal mission is to help people and organizations have the best conversations they can to do what God is calling them to do.