Alumni of the Transformative Leadership (MA) Program

Heather Scott

Transformative leadership is really needed for these complex and transitional times. In fact, it's an imperative. Transformational Leadership (TLD) at CIIS is primarily about self-inquiry and transformation with an understanding of that connection to society. I was attracted to this school and this program because of this connection between personal transformation and social change. Personal development is built into the program.  TLD provided a container for meaningful exploration of personal goals but, more importantly, it guided me to think in new ways and to discover my own truths relevant to the world today. The support and feedback from faculty and peers, combined with an edgy and current discourse on self, society, and transformation helped me recognize where my next contribution to society might arise. 

Transformation is subtle and elusive but, still, it happens. In my case, it snuck up on me and only became apparent after I had embarked on a new career opportunity. Having recently settled into a new job as executive director of an international retreat center in rural Nova Scotia (, I realize that much of what I have always aspired to for my life and leadership has finally come to fruition, and this aspiration was uncovered and developed during my two years in TLD.

Alejandra Siroka

"My life-long passion is to help individuals and organizations thrive by communicating and living their values after understanding the impact of their unconscious communication patterns.  Prior to studying at CIIS, I had earned two master's degrees and had engaged in self-inquiry and spiritual studies for twenty years, yet something was missing.  I knew CIIS Transformative Leadership graduate program would help me bring forth a powerful offering.  I approached the program with the desire to study leadership, consciousness and transformation through the lens of conscious communication. 

 The Transformative leadership program helped me found and launch Language Alchemy, a transformative consulting and coaching business. I developed Language AlchemyTM process integrating practices and insights from neurobiology, cognitive science, psychology, compassionate communication, and Eastern sciences and philosophies.  Language Alchemy has blossomed in ways I did not anticipate. I have been invited to present at conferences, facilitate workshops, consult with organizations and contribute to numerous clients.  I have the privilege to witness people and organizations thrive, achieve their desired goals and develop conscious and satisfying human connection."

Elizabeth Nicolosi

"As soon as I found the Transformative Leadership Program I knew it would deepen my experience and knowledge as an aspiring Executive Leadership Coach.  I came from a traditional brick and mortar educational background and was a little unsure of the online approach.  I was wrong. This hybrid learning model met all of my needs: challenging and interesting studies, an experiential learning approach, flexibility for a working professional, having a small and close cohort community of fellow scholars and being easily connected to my professors who were invested in my growth and development.  Now I am Executive Leadership Coach & Talent Development Program Manager at Square I am proud of the work that I do and the impact it has in the world.  This is the right program for anyone ready to lead."

Laura Handy

I currently serve as the Executive Director of Heart of Oregon Corps, a youth conservation corps, leadership development, and job skills training non-profit in Central Oregon (  We support, teach, guide and challenge our young people, ages 16-24, to transform their lives through hard work, education, and service to the community.   At a leadership level, I work to facilitate change, develop people, build partnerships, and increase organizational capacity. The TLD program at CIIS taught me that leadership must be developed and cultivated at all levels of an organization, and gave me the tools I needed to reflect, listen, act, and persist as a leader. It also taught me that transformative practices are a journey, not a destination.

Roseanne Olszewski

It is hard to put into a few sentences the impact the TLD Master's Degree program has had on my personal and professional life. Personally, I give credit to the classes, intensives, my cohort, and the TLD curriculum for my transformative journey. I emerged from the program a woman integrated with vision, potential and courage.  My metamorphosis was supported by the CIIS/TLD faculty as I explored creative worlds within my Self through a comprehensive course of study. As a result of this academic alchemy I found my professional voice which allowed me to create a Capstone project of the work I needed to bring into the world.  I've created a successful practice aptly named Metamorphosis ~ Become Who You Are Meant to Be!  My work as a private counselor, consultant, and educator allows me to assist others on their life journey utilizing the creative leadership skills I honed in the TLD program at CIIS.  Peaceful regards on your journey.

Sophie Herting

The TLD Program has rooted me in this world and its effect continues to show up in my career, relationships and entire being. I now have valuable tools and my toolbox keeps on helping me to "go full circle". The amount of mentoring I received through Professors Dan Crowe and Alfonso Montuori has been more than I could have ever asked for. A Degree with such huge impact that one only understands after completion. Learning never stops, but it all started on day one of TLD.

What is Transformative Leadership? Only you will know. Thank you to all the faculty of CIIS to offer such immensely valuable and much needed education. I would decide to do get that degree again in a heartbeat.

Philip McAdoo

"The TLD program is not just about reading the texts, or finding out more about who you are and what you can and want to do, or new ways of relating to people, or action in the world-it's about putting them all together and really embodying transformative leadership. I have been using the skills I learned in the TLD program.

"While I've been in the program, I've started a nonprofit organization called Teen2Teen. I've also worked and volunteered at East Side Community High School. I plan to codesign a program for young men based on Xpand, a mentor program I created that introduces inner-city boys to travel. I also traveled to Port Elizabeth, South Africa, this past summer to work with the Ubuntu Education Fund."

Tara Ryan

"I am currently a Chief Marketing Officer at a cloud software company. My TLD Masters taught me how to practice transformative leadership! I practice integrating my mind, body spirit and my personal and professional leadership into one present presence. My values are now my behaviors and there is not a plaque or piece of paper that represents - it is me. The coursework, relationships and network will be part of my life forever, not to mention the two beautiful children that I found the strength to have on my own following my journey in the TLD program at CIIS."


Mark Austin Thomas

"My experience with the TLD program at CIIS was invaluable and something I draw on often, both to spot and develop leadership qualities in others and within myself.  I have a fondness and high regard for the faculty at TLD specially and CIIS generally and have recommended the school to others."

"I practice and sometimes teach Buddhist classes. I'm also an Adjunct Faulty member at Fullerton College, consult for radio stations across the country and work as a Part-Time News Anchor at KNX-CBS All News Radio in Los Angeles. All of that, plus parenting a 14 year old daughter keeps me young."

Sierra Webb

"I was drawn to CIIS for two main reasons. First, I didn't want to commute anymore, and the online aspect allowed me to remain living where I was while still attending a great graduate program. Second, I wanted a humanities-based program that would somehow fuse together the various subjects I was interested in. I'm lucky that in my job I can use what I learned in the program, particularly the interpersonal and communication skills. I apply them daily in a municipal government.

"For my Capstone, I led an effort in my workplace to enact the Inclusive Communities Partnership in our town and in our schools. The project I started continues. I've also just recently been chosen to participate in the Rotary Group Study Exchange program for young professionals recognized for leadership in their vocations."

Cheryl Johnson
"I was drawn to CIIS because of its stated mission to enhance leaders who want to make a positive difference in the world. I already knew I was a leader, but I stood on the fringes, uninspired by the leadership status quo. I have emerged from the Transformative Leadership program feeling very confident about my personal leadership style and my ability to positively impact the quality of life in the world. I have had both the honor and pleasure of learning with a group of phenomenally talented and like-minded people, in a fiercely supportive environment. The CIIS faculty are as brilliant as they are courageous and committed. Anyone seeking a leadership program that is both cutting edge and relevant, should come to CIIS."

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