I've Lived An Unexpectedly Rich Life
Much of my early adult life was been spent in wild places around the world; rock climbing, mountaineering, backpacking, some with pioneers like Yvonne Chouinard, Royal Robbins, John Long, and others. Throughout, I have pushed boundaries in the military, in sports and in business. I've always felt there was carry-over from one to the other, and the lessons learned were applicable wherever I went. And I was driven by curiosity and challenge, both for success, and excellence
I have traveled to countless countries for business; from China and Japan, to Canada and Europe, to Mexico and South America. I've been sought out for my expertise by countless professional athletes, entertainers, and Hollywood celebrities, and consulted to some of the largest and most prestigious corporations in the world. I've lived a life some have called amazing. As a young boy, growing up in a small Midwest farming community, I certainly didn't know what lay ahead. I watched my father, and all the other returning WWII veterans, as they toiled in single careers that lasted a lifetime, thinking that's how it was done. Needless to say, my life didn't follow that model.
My life growing up was similar to that to the boys in the film, "Hoosiers"
In fact, the school building featured in the movie was my mother's high school where she was a cheerleader. And the small town basketball teams mentioned in the film were ones I played against. Those I admired were John F. Kennedy (Intellect), Teddy Roosevelt (Toughness), and Father Larry Jaussaud (Kindness). Following high school, I enlisted in the US Navy, was deployed to Vietnam, served two deployments, was injured and medically retired. Driven by a curiosity in medicine, I determined to become a Nurse, and following graduation, and a stint volunteering in Appalachia with VISTA, I began my career, opening a consultancy as a Nurse Case Manager.
Since that beginning, I've managed both complex medical cases, as well as the health and fitness of many dozens of athlete clients in every sport imaginable, returning many to competition despite devastating, sometimes potentially career ending injuries. Men's Fitness Magazine called me "The Muscle Whisperer", and the trainer and coach who resurrected NBA Star Derek Fisher's career. In addition, fabled Coach, Pepe Laso, the "Father of Spanish Basketball" whose son is the Coach of Real Madrid, has called me the "best trainer in the world". And all this in the most recent chapter in a long and successful career.
Prior to my "big life" in Los Angeles,
I was a successful "Beltway Bandit" in Washington, DC
Following business school, I worked as a successful Consultant, starting with Arthur Anderson, initially in technology, but then expanding into quality, aerospace, health care, information security, defense, automobile, and many other industries. I've managed or participated in client engagements ranging from the NYSE, the White House, NASA, Intel, and Reebok, to Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space. Most of my business career was spent working out of four different Washington, DC offices, at different times, and with different firms.
My transition to the world of sports and fitness was precipitated by the overnight failure of a high value startup in Los Angeles, where I was a Principal Partner with a 16% equity position. I had left a very lucrative position with Global Crossing, as CEO of Pioneer Communications, for the opportunity. The business failed when the tech bubble burst, and I lost 600,000 shares of stock overnight, leading me to question my life's direction. I was nearing fifty years old, and while considering my options I decided to address the toll that years of stress, overwork, and endless travel had taken on my health. I joined an upscale gym, hired a trainer, and went to work. After a short while, I began to wonder if perhaps I needed to do something radically different. So, I took a leap of faith,reinvented myself, and became a Strength Coach and Trainer.
It began with headaches and a hand tremor.
They worsened to the point I couldn't attend to my business.
By 2011 my business was in high gear. Unfortunately, I began to have medical symptoms that were alarming, and knew was going to have to deal with it. After a consult and diagnosis in LA, I closed my business, and came to Tampa, Florida where my children, and five young grandsons were nearby, to receive treatment. I spent two years under intense medical care, and during that time, I reflected on what in life was important. I decided not to return to LA. Instead, afterward, I found work as an ordinary trainer, in a gym, in Sarasota, Florida, working primarily with an aging population, many of whom faced health challenges, limitations, and disabilities. It has been rewarding work.
I had been thinking about what's next, and it seemed a natural for me to leverage all this life experience I have acquired in order to continue to help others. Now, with True North, I'm circling back to where I began, which is in Health Care, where as a Patient Navigator I can offer guidance through a complicated system, in Life Coaching, and Leadership and Team development where I can leverage my own experience helping both individuals and teams. It's an exciting opportunity, and I look forward to this new chapter in my life and career.
My athlete and celebrity clients entrusted me to supervise all elements of their care if they became sick or injured,
just as I had done for Derek Fisher, and then for his daughter. My corporate clients trusted my leadership, judgement, and decision-making skills, as well as my ability to build and lead successful teams.
During my career, I worked with the CEOs of many Fortune 50 companies from a variety of industries, managed the health and fitness of many dozens of athletes from every sport, traveled around the world in the process. I have survived business failures, turnarounds, acquisitions, downsizes, mergers, and sales. I've declined CEO opportunities, and made more in a single year, than my father did in his entire lifetime. I also have personally experienced, marriage, divorce, child raising, business failure and success, the horror of war, personal sickness, loss of friends, family, and loved ones. I have faced my own demons, including depression, which has been present most of my life. I've done it all with my eyes wide open, meaning I've processed all these experiences, often with the additional help of others, understanding their implications, and learned from them. As a result, I live a happy and contented life.
I've come to appreciate, wisdom really does comes with age and experience. I now have both.
What better way to leverage all this, than helping others through my business, True North
I've found the most rewarding experiences of my life have come by doing good things for others. Those included my time working for Habitat for Humanity, giving my time as a Peer Support Volunteer at the Veterans Hospitals, and establishing the In The Spirit of Giving Foundation. In December, 2009 I received this note from Dr. Abramson at Sloan Kettering. After helping manage Derek Fisher's daughter through her treatment, Dr. Abramson referred several other families to me. I assisted each of them as they worked through the fear and worry associated with a child diagnosed with a deadly cancer. On a pro bono basis, I helped to guide each family through the process. Thankfully, all of them had good outcomes. I felt blessed to have the opportunity to help them all.
This truly is why I do what I do.
"Tom, you were an angel sent to help Derek's daughter,
but you have helped so many others you don't know.
You are a blessing, and it is an honor to know you."
David H. Abramson, MD
Chief, Ophthalmic Oncology Service
Department of Surgery
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, New York
December 25, 2009
Degrees & Qualifications
MBA, Marketing & Branding, Stanford Business School,
BSN, Minor in Psychology, University of Evansville
Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse
Certified Nurse Case Manager
BSI/ASQ Certified Lead Quality Auditor
Professional Patient Advocate Institute Training
Certified Peer Support, Veterans Administration
Owner, Elite Performance Management
VP Marketing & Sales/Equity Partner, Smart Charger
CEO, Global Crossing/Pioneer Communications
VP Marketing & Sales, GTE Information Systems Division
Partner/Consultant, The Market Group
Western Regional Account Manager, BSI Quality Assurance
Business Consultant, Arthur Anderson
VP Marketing & Sales, Kuschall of America
Owner/Consultant, Adaptive Concepts
Owner/Nurse Consultant, Therapeutic Solutions