Alumni Spotlight: John Ramstead Goes From Tragedy to Transformation


What have you been surprised by in your second half?


Each month, we highlight a story of a Halftime Institute Alum in the hopes that their story will encourage and inspire many others in their second half journeys.

Our alumni network, which we affectionately refer to as “Halftime Nation,” is full of surprises. Two really pleasant ways I’ve been surprised in the last year are the subject of this month’s alumni spotlight.

First, I’m constantly surprised by the diversity of the people who have benefitted from (or are currently benefitting from) the Halftime Institute as clients. When I talk to our alumni and our current clients I discover people from all walks of life representing dozens of different professions and academic and business backgrounds.

Some Halftimers discover that they require a complete 180 degree turn to move from success to significance in their second half. Others find that only a slight course correction or two is needed to “finish well.” Of course, the majority fall somewhere between those two extremes.

In addition, it may seem sometimes like all the stories you hear from our alumni communications are about Halftimers who launch some highly visible and exciting venture as they follow God’s call on their life. However, fully sixty percent of people who go through the Halftime Institute maintain their current “platform” and stay in their first half role or profession, simply refocusing their lives to create more margin and opportunity for impact.

The genius of the principles and processes that have evolved at the Halftime Institute from Bob Buford’s original vision is that, when practiced diligently, they can help almost anyone who sincerely desires to transition from success to significance and create more joy, impact, and balance in their lives regardless of whether the change required is large or small.

A second thing that has been a very pleasant and welcome surprise for me is the number of alumni whose second half calling isn’t focused so much on a specific need or category of mission service, but rather is defined by leveraging themselves to impact lives, creating a true “ripple effect” that extends the impact of the Halftime principles way beyond themselves. This month’s Halftime Nation spotlight falls on a fantastic example of just that kind of leverage.


Alumni Spotlight: John Ramstead’s Story of Tragedy to Transformation

As an officer in the United States Navy, John Ramstead honed his leadership skills in the cockpit of F-14A Tomcat fighter jet flying off aircraft carriers including combat sorties in Desert Storm. He was tapped to attend the Navy’s Top Gun Fighter Pilot training school (can you hear the Danger Zone theme song?). Unfortunately, during that season, John was sidelined by a softball accident that resulted in nerve damage to his eye, making it impossible for him to continue on the path he thought was his destiny.

In his time of confusion and uncertainty, he came to know and trust in Jesus and discovered that purpose in life has more to do with “being” than with “doing.”

Never one to stay idle for long, John soon started a series of technology companies and then plunged into a successful career in tax and financial planning. It looked like things were back on track for John as he built on his successes one after another. God wasn’t through with John, though, and soon he was once again experiencing the Refiner’s fire.

A horrific horseback accident left John with shattered bones throughout his face and head, blinding him permanently in his left eye. He also broke bones in his neck, crushed some ribs, punctured a lung, and endured 23 surgeries as well and a 20-month stay in a traumatic brain injury hospital. Miraculously, he recovered completely in every area except he was only able to work 20 hours a week and his visual processing significantly impaired and found himself once again wondering what God was trying to teach him.

In 2013, John came to the Halftime Institute to take advantage of Halftime’s proven teaching, coaching, and connecting model to discover what his second half calling might be.

I had the opportunity this week to go back and look at John’s roadmap and mission statement from his Halftime experience. Not surprisingly, John’s StrengthsFinder analysis indicates his strengths include “strategic, achiever, belief, connectedness, and learner.”  His spiritual gifts showed up as “administration, exhortation, evangelism, pastor and shepherd.” What a combination!

I suppose then, it should be no surprise that his mission statement reads, “To use my life to equip leaders to boldy impact the culture for God.”

From that mission statement, and with the support of his Halftime Coach, John launched Eternal Leadership (, a coaching and consulting firm that does exactly what his mission statement states.

John recalls, “As I recovered I sought direction on why God saved me and what He now wants me to do.  He led me to a new calling: take the life He’s given me and pour it into other leaders to equip and inspire them to work in His Kingdom. My twenty-five years as a Navy fighter pilot, entrepreneur, Fortune 500 management team member and board chair has led me to serve others towards extraordinary lives, businesses and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Last week, INC Magazine recognized John’s Eternal Leadership podcast as one of the top 12 podcasts for leaders available on the internet! You can read the INC article by CLICKING HERE.

What a great example of a member of Halftime Nation who wouldn’t let anything stand in the way of transitioning from a first half of success as a military and business leader to a second half of significance as an encourager and coach creating leveraged impact in the lives of other leaders that will rock the Kingdom for years and years to come!

If you haven’t listened to the Eternal Leadership Podcast, you’re missing out! John has not only shared his own remarkable story, “Overcoming Adversity” ( he has also interviewed numerous Halftime Institute leaders over the past several years.

Jeff Spadafora – Finally Fulfilled – From Smoldering Discontent to Lasting Joy – Click Here

Dean Niewolny – Find Your Passion, Find Your Calling – Click Here

Ken Blanchard – Refire Your Life & Leadership – Click Here

Lloyd Reeb – Success to Significance – Click Here

Diane Paddison – Achieve Your God-Given Potential – Click Here

Don Akenbrandt – Discover Your Place in God’s Story – Click Here

Paul McGinnis – God Said “Go!” So I Did! – Click Here

Dave Sanderson – Leaders Are Last – Surviving The “Miracle On The Hudson” – Click Here

Scott Boyer – A New Business Model For Kingdom Impact – Click Here

Peter Greer – Clarifying Your 40/40 Vision – Click Here

John Ramstead – 4 Mindsets Every Leader Must Master – Click Here

John Ramstead – Discover Your Core Values – Click Here

Jeff Spadafora – The Joy Model: A Step-by-Step Guide to Peace, Purpose, and Balance – Click Here


Join me in sharing John’s inspiring story with others YOU know who may be looking for greater joy, impact, and balance in their lives!

Tim Dammon serves as Chief Philanthropy Officer and Director of Alumni Engagement at the Halftime Institute. He provides coaching and encouragement to Halftime clients whose calling is around using their financial resources to make a measurable, lasting impact and work to build the investment community of committed and generous partners who recognize and fund Halftime’s high impact work around the world. As Director of Alumni Engagement, he works to deepen relationships with graduates of Halftime programs to insure their sustainable and effective engagement in their second half calling.

Tim has a a Master’s Degree in Engineering Psychology and Human Factors from Houston’s Rice University. His career has focused primarily on technology, which included stints at Compaq Computers, Gateway Computers, ideaEDGE Ventures, Entropia Distributed Computing, and finally the Iomega Corporation where he was Global GM for a $5-700mm consumer product line. Since Tim left the technology sector, he has served in various leadership roles in the non-profit sector. Tim was the Chief Relationship Officer for The Seed Company, an affiliate of Wycliffe Bible Translators focused on building translation teams with mother tongue translators around the world and developing financial investors in the United States to support translation projects. Most recently before joining the Halftime Institute team, Tim served as President/CEO of Angel Flight South Central, a helping ministry comprised of more than 1,200 volunteer pilots and aircraft owners participating in entrepreneurial philanthropy by using their skills and resources to provide free air transportation for people in need of medical care not available to them locally. Tim is also a sommelier and enjoys travel. He lives in Dallas with hi wife, Lisa. They have three daughters.

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