Tom has more than 23 years of experience in the financial industry in management and leadership roles, and runs his own business, Thomas Dowd Professional Development & Coaching, LLC. As a speaker, author, trainer and coach, he helps people creatively find ways to differentiate themselves in the workplace and to find their individual paths toward success. The company tagline is: “Transform into who you really want to be professionally.”
Starting in 2008, Tom was the vice president of education for Dirigo Toastmasters Club in Belfast. He is now a member of the Kennebec Valley Toastmasters Club. Toastmasters International is a supportive learning environment of more than 270,000 members worldwide looking to improve communication and leadership skills. Tom holds advanced communication and advanced leadership certifications with Toastmasters International, including High Performance Leadership certification. In November 2011, Tom was selected as the District 45 Toastmaster of Year, which represents more than 100 clubs in the states of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and the three Eastern Canadian Provinces of Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Tom has also exhibited consistent success when competing at the division (state level equivalent) and district levels in Toastmasters speech contests, which include humorous, inspirational, impromptu and evaluation events. He is the two-time reigning Table Topics (Impromptu) District 45 Champion (2012 & 2013).
Tom developed a series of management presentations into a speaking program called “Powerful Professional Transformation: Unleashing Leadership.” The speaking engagements turned into his first two books. Published in September 2012, both books have since garnered recognition in the business field. “The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World,” a book detailing Tom’s own professional growth based on lessons learned in his career, received honorable mention in the business category at the 2012 New England Book Festival (available in softcover, e-Book), while “From Fear to Success: a Practical Public Speaking Guide” received the Gold Medal in the Business Reference category at the 2013 Axiom Book Awards, Honorable Mention at the 2013 New York Book Festival, and Honorable Mention at the 2013 Paris Book Festival. “Fear” is available in softcover, e-Book, and audiobook.
Tom graduated from the University of Delaware in 1990 with a Communication degree, concentrating on interpersonal and organizational communication.
What inspires you to write?
Teaching people that it’s okay to make mistakes–as long as you learn from them. We are presented each day with the gift of feedback and key teachings that can make us better people personally and professionally. I had no thoughts of writing until I found that people sought me out as a mentor and coach to help them. Most of what I teach and write is based on my own lessons learned.
Tell us about your writing process.
I am surrounded by pads of paper–at my nightstand, my laptop bags, and everywhere in between. I have a terrible memory, but I get hit with these random thoughts that are typically new ideas for chapters. Most of what I write I like to refer to as “bite-sized” chapters that people can easily read and grasp. As soon as I have an idea, I often have a new chapter, so I need to do everything I can to remember it. After the idea is written, I like to let them stew for a while so when I start to write the chapter I will be able to add new context and examples.
What advice would you give other writers?
This advice is more for people who want to be writers–do it. Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote, “”Many people die with their music still in them.” We are all bursting with stories, lessons learned, and ideas that people want to read. There is an audience for everything. It’s important to clearly understand your goals–and it shouldn’t be to make money. The book industry is flooded, but there is an audience. The one person who comes up to you and says, “Thank you for writing your book,” is all that I want.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
As a speaker and author, I allow one to feed off of the other. I worked with a literary agent, however, I was going to speaking engagement without my newest material. I went with independent publishing for the speed to market, but will continue to explore the traditional publishing path as my platform grows. As a speaker, I pick up new ideas based on discussions with the audience and have met many people who continue to teach me about the pros and cons of self publishing vs. traditional, and I’m open to both. I even made one of a the books an audiobook because I wanted to test the market and give my audience options to meet their wants and needs.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
The publishing business is fighting it’s own identity with traditional publishing trying to figure out how to fit in the self-publishing business. There is some happy medium where self-published authors can get some marketing assistance while still having more control over their work.
What genres do you write?
business, self-help, reference, coaching
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
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