BeALifter Leadership Interview Series: Sharing Leadership Lessons with Bruce Waller… #1 Tony Bridwell, Partners in Leadership, Inc.

Sharing Leadership Lessons with Bruce Waller… #1 Tony Bridwell, Partners in Leadership, Inc.

10 Questions from Leaders that make a difference!

Jim Rohn once said, “Your success in the next 5 years will be determined by the books you read and the people you meet.”

This is a testimony to my personal leadership growth over the past 20 years. I continue to learn each day by connecting with some of the most talented people in business. In this series, I want to add value to your leadership growth by introducing you to leaders that make impact as they share challenges, successes, and perspectives on their journey as a business leader or in their personal life. So let’s get started…

Today, we are going to hear from Tony Bridwell, Speaker, Author, and Partner at Partners in Leadership inc. Tony was recently recognized by DallasHR (the largest SHRM chapter in Texas) as the “2015 HR Executive of the Year” for his role as Chief People Officer at Brinker International. In 2013, Tony wrote “The Difference Maker”, a fable about a how to make a difference in the lives of others. Tony’s will be releasing his latest book titled “The KingMaker on JUNE 14, 2016 which is part of a leadership book series that will inspire its readers to lead with purpose at the highest level… Tony Bridwell 2

Now, let’s talk with Tony

1. Where did you grow up?

You and I have a connection here. Your wonderful bride and I grew up together in the same small town of Duncan, Ok. In the heart of the Oil Patch

2. How did you get started in business/career?

Growing up in Duncan presented a limited list of options for business. Many of my friends I grew up with stayed to make Duncan a better place for future generations which I am eternally grateful for. For me, I chose to come to Dallas and begin my career. My first job was as an Intern Architect in the early 80’s. I was convinced I would be an architect from then on. Little did I know it was just a foundation for where I am today.

3. Do you remember a challenge or life lesson that you had to overcome early in your career which made you a better leader?

Two things stand out. One, I failed in business early which gave me an important insight into humility and vulnerability as a leader. Second, I had to become a life long learner. When I began my career I foolishly believed I was done with learning.

4. What was that moment when you knew that you had found your lane, your purpose?

What a great question. The big reveal happened for me when I finally realized life wasn’t all about me. My purpose in life is to build others up to be on purpose. I am the happiest when I remain centered on my purpose. When I began focusing on others my purpose quickly came into focus. For me this happened when I began serving in my local church. People ask me frequently how to find their purpose. The simplest answer is this, pay attention to your gifts and talents. When you focus those gifts and talents towards serving others you will experience an overwhelming sense of fulfillment. It is in that moment you will discover your purpose.

5. What is your most favorite achievement in your current role?

When people come up to me a let me know that something I have said or written has had a positive impact on their life. It is both extremely humbling and rewarding at the same time.

6. Is there any one person that inspired or mentored you along the way?

Each season of my life has revealed a person bringing inspiration and mentoring. When I was fresh out of school, Dr Dan Pruitt saw in me what I could not see for myself. When I began my first job Ray Frazier taught me what it meant to be a teacher. John Phillips inspired me to live my faith everyday, not just on Sunday. Dr Joe Cook continues to push me to think critically about life, Dr Brent Taylor has taught me how to stretch my ability to serve. There are so many more. The point is, each season of life brings new opportunities to learn and grow. My only regret was not being more aware while in the moments of some of my earliest mentors.

7. Do you have a saying or mantra that you live by?

There are two important sayings that I try to focus on daily. First, Lead with Love. I need to remind myself of this each moment of the day. When I lead out with love my influence is much greater. Second, Be on Purpose, meaning to stay focused on my purpose in life AND to be meaningful in all I do in life.

8. What book are you reading or audio to help grow your leadership right now?

In the last 18 months I have devoured 14 books. Currently, I am in deep with historical biographies mostly from the birth of our country. My dear friend Dr Brent Taylor has written a tremendous book titled, Founding Leadership: Lessons on Business and Personal Leadership From the Men Who Brought You The American Revolution.

9. Can you share any of your daily disciplines that help you stay focused as a leader?

My faith is the foundation of my life, I do my best to spend time early in the morning ensuring I am grounded in what I believe. Confidence comes from conviction which produces courage. My time early in the morning is focused on spending time growing in faith. In addition to building upon my faith foundation there are a few things I work at doing each and every day. First, learn something new each day. Second, teach something to someone each day. And third, I tell someone they are appreciated.

10. What advice would you give others to help them on their leadership journey?

This is a big question. To keep it simple, be on purpose in all you do, lead with love as you go, and do the journey with someone else, after all, two are better than one.

Thank you for sharing your wisdom, Tony! Living on purpose and leading with love will make a difference in business and in our personal life! ….and love the part about taking the journey with others. My hope is that others in HR and Business will be impacted as much as I have been by this interview,  and the books you have published… I am certainly looking forward to The Kingmaker coming in June! Check out more information at

Bruce Waller, CRP, PHR, SHRM-CP is the Vice President of Armstrong Relocation and Companies in Dallas, Texas. You can visit his BLOG “A Relocation Minute Update” with Bruce Waller at for more information on employee relocation resources, Call 972-389-5673, or email if you want to recommend other leaders in HR that would like to share their story.

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