Tom Adams

Tom (Thomas H.) Adams – Writer; Student of Spirituality, Recovery, and Leadership:

Tom Adams is retired from a career in leadership with nonprofit organizations. Throughout his work life, he wrote on a range of topics including leadership transitions, spirituality, recovery, and racial justice. Since 1980, he has benefitted from participation in several Twelve Step groups and has embraced recovery as a grace-filled way to learn, grow along spiritual lines, and give and receive love.

Earlier in 2020, Tom launched a website ( and a weekly blog, which he calls “Critical Conversations.” He explains his intent for the site in this way: “This website invites the exploration of critical conversations vital to the intersection of personal and community life: love, spirituality, leadership, recovery, and justice.”  To receive his weekly blog post, sign up at

Tom focuses his writing on the following topics:

  • Recovery & Growth – how facing and recovering from the misuse of substances or addiction to behaviors can improve lives, families and communities and provides opportunities for learning and growth for all.
  • Racial Equity & Social Justice– how each of us has the opportunity and responsibility to actively contribute to a more fair and equitable community and world and how, together, we can take on the challenging work of righting racial inequities and unjust practices.
  • Spirituality & Love– how the many ways of loving and beliefs about love connect with and nourish our souls, spirits, beings—our spiritual growth.
  • Leadership & Transitions– how thoughtful attention to the ways leaders transition in and out of leadership positions can positively transform the experience for the leader, the organization, and those served.

Tom shares his recovery-related posts here at Recovery Speakers.

Tom’s goal with his writing is to connect spirituality, recovery and everyday life, topics that for him and others too often get pigeon-holed and addressed in pieces. His background in social work and participation for several decades with the Shalem Institute, an ecumenical organization that fosters contemplative spirituality and leadership, have aided his Twelve Step recovery.

In the 1990s, while in a difficult period of divorce, he became interested in books for young people and children. He discovered there was, at the time, no biography for young people on Bill or Lois Wilson. He began research and writing of a book on Bill and Lois Wilson and the legacy of their amazing marriage. Not finding a publisher, and otherwise engaged in a second marriage and starting a business, he put the work on the Wilson book aside.

In 2018, Adams intentionally retired in order to have more time to write and to finish the book on Bill and Lois Wilson. Adams and co-author Joy Jones, a widely published Washington, DC-based writer for children and adults and also a student of the Twelve Step way of life, are in discussion with publishers and intend to complete an adult book, Bill and Lois Wilson: A Marriage that Changed the World, in the first half of 2021.

Tom’s nonprofit career included community organizing and neighborhood development work in Baltimore and 20 years as a senior manager with NeighborWorks America, a national nonprofit in the community development and affordable housing field. Tom’s work there resulted in his leading of research efforts for the W. K. Kellogg and Annie E. Casey Foundations on how to improve positive gains when nonprofits change executive leaders. His book, published by Jossey-Bass, The Nonprofit Leadership Transition and Development Guide, is one of a handful of leading reference books on this topic. In 2002, he co-founded TransitionGuides, a business that offered consulting on leadership transitions and succession planning nationally. In 2014, he merged his business into a larger consulting company, Raffa PC, which is now Magnum LLC.

Tom lives in historic Greenbelt, Maryland in a cooperative developed as part of FDR’s New Deal in 1939. Dwelling in a planned community, Tom and his wife Geraldine are able to walk to everything needed, including a Twelve Step Club. Geraldine is a nurse. Together they devote time to their four children and six grandchildren, along with various volunteer projects.

Here you can view the contributions that Tom has made to Recovery Speakers:

Unexpected Compass in Hard Times?

What Bill Wilson can Teach us About the Coronavirus

A Thanksgiving Birthday Legacy: Bill Wilson

Coronavirus and Addictions: So Different?

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