Making Positive Change: Lessons in Leadership with Retired Colonel Tom Brewer Part 2

Making Positive Change: Lessons in Leadership with Retired Colonel Tom Brewer Part 2

Being a leader is not for everyone; it doesn’t just require passion, practice, organization, and endurance, but at its core, leadership is about believing in people and wanting to make a change for the better. 

Tom Brewer knows this better than anyone because, even without realizing it, he was a leader from the start, even before his political career. 

In this episode of the Veteran Led Podcast, Tom shares with us his journey in politics and how his time in the army shaped him to become the leader he is today. 

Before Politics

Tom served his country for years, which included deployments to Afghanistan. After a lot of war exposure and several injuries, he had to spend two years of his life in the hospital, rebuilding himself, especially after an RPG attack. 

But then what? He wondered about what journey awaited him after he was medically retired.

Becoming an Instructor

Times were trying for Tom as he wondered what would be next as being a soldier was everything he knew. That’s when one of his colleagues invited him to join the equine program for wounded soldiers.

He accepted the invitation, not knowing that this would change his life forever. He knew he was a natural with horses since his father taught him from a very young age, but he also discovered that there was more to his leadership. 

Outside the battlefield, he was still someone that people looked out to for help and guidance, so before he knew it, he was teaching others how to work with the horses. 

Tom found that he could inspire, guide, and support other veterans. As he worked with the horses, he came to realize that what he wanted to do was lead and help others with his example.

Tom’s Journey to Legislation: Being a Good Leader in Politics

One day, Tom’s family proposed an idea – they suggested he should run for state legislature. To Tom, this was an unachievable and unimaginable idea. He wasn’t a politician; he knew nothing about the world of politics and its inner workings. So, naturally, his initial response was a big “no”.

However, in the following days, his family persisted with this idea. They pointed out the gaps in the current system and the unfulfilled and neglected promises of existing legislators.

Tom, with his integrity and passion for justice, knew he could make a genuine difference, so their words planted seeds of consideration in his mind.

After much thought, Tom finally decided to give it a shot. Not because he had nothing to lose but because he saw the potential for real change. Moved by this, he ran for the position in the last hour, on the last day, and with no money for his campaign. 

The Winning Journey: What Matters in Leadership

His journey to success wasn’t without effort; his opponent had a lot of money and power to win the campaign easily, so discouragement was ever-present. 

However, his friends, the wounded veterans, helped him; they proposed an unconventional strategy: a tour that involved riding across the district in Nebraska.

So began Tom’s journey, crisscrossing the district just with his team on horseback. He and his crew visited all the small towns, each with its unique charm and character. 

They met with everyday folks and listened to their stories, their struggles, and their aspirations. Tom wasn’t just there to win votes; he wanted to understand what these people truly needed.

He won their hearts, not just by his words but by his genuine desire to serve. He connected with people on a personal level, showing them that he was not just another politician but someone who genuinely cared about their wellbeing.

Against all odds, Tom won by a landslide. 

But, of course, winning the election was just the beginning. Now, he faced the task of fulfilling the promises he made during his campaign. It was a challenge, but one he willingly embraced.

How to Maintain Leadership

So, how did he maintain this drive through all his tenure as a senator? Maintaining leadership is no easy task; it requires continuous learning, self-improvement, and a deep commitment to the people. 

Tom, despite his triumphs, never rested on his promises. He continued to work tirelessly to make his words matter. 

Team-First Mentality

A great leader puts their team first, and Tom was no exception. 

He prioritized the needs of the citizens above his own, creating a supportive and inclusive environment that motivated everyone to do their best.

Effective Listening

If there’s one thing Tome knows is how to listen. Leadership isn’t just about talking; it is about understanding. 

By paying attention to what people needed, he was able to make informed decisions that benefited everyone.


Leadership requires discipline, both in personal conduct and in guiding the team. Tom incorporated discipline into his everyday life, which helped him stay focused and achieve his goals.

Motivation is Key to Being a Good Leader

Being a leader, for Tom, was about more than just a title. It was about using his position to inspire and uplift those around him. He took this passion and transformed it into his life’s mission: to make a better world. 

He knew the power of good communication, listened deeply, valued feedback, and kept an open dialogue with his team. This way, he inspired them to work together towards shared goals.

Berry Law

The attorneys at Berry Law are dedicated to helping injured Veterans. With extensive experience working with VA disability claims, Berry Law can help you with your disability appeals.

This material is for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and the reader, and does not constitute legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and the contents of this blog are not a substitute for legal counsel.

Related Posts

From Battlefield to Boardroom: How Veteran Eric Isham Built a Cybersecurity Empire 
From Battlefield to Boardroom: How Veteran Eric Isham Built a Cybersecurity Empire 
What Makes a Good Leader: Shilo Harris’s Journey From Trauma to Triumph 
What Makes a Good Leader: Shilo Harris’s Journey From Trauma to Triumph 
Army Veteran Vincent Vargas: Doing This His Own Way
Army Veteran Vincent Vargas: Doing This His Own Way

Subscribe to our newsletter

The Service Connection

Our monthly newsletter features about important and up-to-date veterans' law news, keeping you informed about the changes that matter.

Skip to content