Turning Adversity Into Inspiration

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The story of one family’s commitment to press on despite what life throws at them.

For three-and-a-half years, I have been a senior business analyst with CBS/GPS traveling around the country meeting extraordinary and hardworking small business owners and their employees. I strive to provide value and benefit to my clients, and I am proud to serve and deliver on that promise.

A business analyst is someone who analyzes change requirements and produces a provable set of deliverables that are used to design and implement solutions. Rather than consider myself a pure analyst, I prefer to represent and think of myself as an old-fashioned family doctor, similar to the doctors of yesteryear that came to your bedside when you were sick. Old doc had an incredible wealth of knowledge and always seemed to know what the sickness was and how to treat it. Like that doctor, I take my clients best interests to heart and become absolutely committed to providing every ounce of my skill and experience to do whatever necessary to help my patients (clients) get back to health.

As I travel, I am totally devoted to the work I do. Eighteen-hour days seem to be the norm for me. They are spent serving my clients, running to flights and driving to remote locations. But, most importantly, I spend 20-25 hours per client performing my diagnosis, analysis, in-depth study and interviews. Finally, I present my findings to my clients. The company is fully supportive of my need to take as much time, as required, to deliver the absolute best for my clients. I am passionate about what I do. I have the ability to bring about change in people’s lives and, in some cases, actually save lives.

What I do would not be possible without my wife, Lynn. She has an endless desire to assist me in pursuing my passion and commitments. She is not only beautiful, but also courageous, compassionate and deeply committed. Without her undying support and dedication to what we are trying to achieve, I simply would not be effective to my clients.

After Lynn was diagnosed with leukemia, it would have been much easier to just climb down in a hole, get balled up and scream bloody murder. However, to be honest, my lovely wife would not hear of that. She has proudly pressed forward, looking not at what people can do for her, but what she can do for others. Even through her treatments, she continues to speak publicly, mentor, coach, and provide guidance and leadership to those she works with and those who have been touched by cancer.

Those who know Lynn describe her as a gentle, warm and caring person, a true leader of the heart. She is a highly skilled individual who embraces each task with professionalism. Excellence is the benchmark for which Lynn operates. Whether it is leading the dedicated business development team, planning the next conference or taking the time to mentor a fellow colleague, her heart and soul give the absolute best.

Lynn was diagnosed with leukemia five years ago and given a reduced life span of five to seven years. Even though we have been in the fight of our lives to survive, we have found that there is so much more to life than simply surviving. We have taken this opportunity to give something of ourselves, rather than expect others to give to us. When we leave this earth, our desire is to be remembered for those lives we have touched.

Together, we made the decision to do something. We wanted to give back and get involved in an organization that could help make a difference. We chose to contribute our time and efforts to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, as there is such a need to help those who have been diagnosed with blood cancer. If they are like Lynn, they too love life and hope to live longer than their shortened life span.

Without the support of those most important to us, transformation will never happen. It takes a great deal of dedication and dollars for research to eradicate leukemia. I know that without the support of my wife, even though she is battling leukemia, I certainly would not be able to invoke positive changes in my clients’ lives.

Lynn has never thought about quitting life. Her optimism is infectious and her passion for life contagious. She is a true inspiration, and her constant support and commitment to me are the most important tools in my toolbox. We don’t think about the final destination; instead, we enjoy all aspects of the journey. It is the tremendous love and support she is receiving from me, family and friends that sustain her. Though, it is the pure, innocent encouragement from our four precious grandchildren that really brings that sparkle back into her eyes. The dream of watching them grow, being a part of their lives, being loved so unconditionally motivates her every morning to press on —even when the pain is overwhelming, she presses on.

In our years together, Lynn has shown me that we all need determination and commitment to ourselves and to those we serve. As I travel to new destinations each week, I work with clients whose businesses are sick. I know firsthand that treating a well person is somewhat different than treating an ill person. And so it continues in business. As I become aware and really listen to what my clients are saying when they ask for help, I become a business healer for them.

This year brings new hope for us— Lynn will be undergoing a bone marrow transplant as her younger sister is a perfect match. We know this is a risky procedure, but life is risky and so is being in business. This year also brings fresh hope to CBS/ GPS to help restore businesses and bring them back to life.

I tell my clients that when a patient is told they have a life threatening disease, they often panic and want to try everything they can to forget their problem. Doctors are faced with this challenge frequently. Their job is to get the patient moving forward; otherwise, they have no choice but to discharge the patient. This may motivate the patient to do something, even if it’s just a small step. So be it with CBS/GPS. It is my job to see sick and dying companies and offer them hope for their future’s sake.

About Rick Thomas 1 Article
Rick Thomas is a senior business analyst with GPS.


  1. Rick, it’s the challenges of life that test our character and give us perspective. Your article and attitude are an inspiration. God bless you and Lynn.

  2. Rick, I was so inspired to read this … your dedication to the simple idea of helping others succeed is extraordinary. Best of Luck!

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