Current Students in the Transformative Leadership (MA) Program

Maureen Gevertz
I chose to apply to CIIS as I believed it offered a cutting edge education focused on personal growth, creativity and realistic application of academic knowledge in the real world. All of my expectations have been met or exceeded. I wanted to bring my levels of professional skills and knowledge up a level and push my boundaries of exploration, and the Transformative Leadership Master's Program has provided that and more. I truly believe this is the interdisciplinary education every future leader needs to have, and the old guard MBA programs will not serve the 21st century needs and beyond."

Katy Paulson
My philosophy background naturally led me to appreciate interdisciplinary and integral studies, so when I discovered that CIIS could offer further growth in this field, I was elated! The online environment allows me to function in an academic community while simultaneously functioning in my local community. By incorporating such a diverse group of people from various areas, we have the opportunity to increase our range of influence. We are not only thinking about the various ideas which have shaped our society, but also about how those ideas can be utilized to advance social evolution. In the academic realm, theories of leadership and change are often taken for granted. The Transformative Leadership Program at CIIS is unique in pursuing these theories through non-conventional avenues which embrace creativity, imagination, and feedback from our peers. Rather than emphasizing our similarities in thinking, the program offers an open and flexible space to develop and foster our various talents.

Alumni of the Transformative Leadership (MA) Program

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."

Vicki Lukas
Vicki Lukas serves as the Partnership and External Coordination chief for the National Geospatial Program at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). In June 2008, Vicki was selected as project leader for the Federal Geographic Data Committee's Imagery for the Nation project to develop a reliable, sustainable imagery program in partnership with state and local government.

In September 2008, Vicki was presented an Outstanding Service Award by the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) for her work in leading the Imagery for the Nation and the USGS liaison programs. Vicki is embarking on the Transformative Leadership master's program at CIIS to further pursue her passion and develop her skills for transforming government and public service

Sunder Kaur Khalsa

"I was seeking a master's degree that would allow me to explore my own self as a leader while learning both subtle people development and leadership skills in partnership with down-to-earth practical skills for excelling as a leader in the 21st century. The philosophy of CIIS and the courses offered in the TLD program were a perfect fit.

"Since graduating with my master's, I have applied my skills in innumerable ways. Most clearly, my skills have contributed significantly to my career development. I was able to directly apply my knowledge of the principles and practices of 21st-century leadership both within the operations of my consulting company as well as with our clients. My education at CIIS contributed significantly to my quality of life."

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 the VP of marketing for a global logistics and supply chain technology company, where I am responsible for worldwide marketing efforts. The daily impact that my learning at CIIS has provided is pivotal personally and professionally. The philosophy of the Transformative Leadership program at CIIS allows us to remain in our communities while we got to school and immediately apply what we have learned.

"This is a fundamental strength as the applications take on a real-time approach. I can't imagine my life without CIIS, and know that I chose the best school, professors, and classmates to continue with a life of learning and transformation."


Mark Austin Thomas

"I anchor the news for CBS Newsradio in Los Angeles, and occasionally for the NPR affiliate in Southern California, KPCC. Previously, I've been the cohost of Marketplace Morning Report, heard nationally on NPR stations. I've also been the program director for one talk station, and the news director and assistant program director at another, both also in Los Angeles. I was the managing editor for the Tavis Smiley Show when NPR carried it.

"I have also worked as a reporter, editor, and news anchor in the San Francisco area; Boston; and Knoxville, TN. I came to CIIS looking to find a community of people interested in trying to change or impact some of the social and political conversations taking place globally. I found an institution that welcomes and encourages its students to think differently in order to see the world differently and then become a powerful agent of change.

"While a student in the Transformative Leadership program, I discovered a love for Buddhism and have begun an attempt to see where and how I can marry this mindfulness and compassion with a new kind of political engagement that can reduce the suffering we all see and experience daily.

"I am deeply grateful for the friendships and learning experiences I enjoyed as a student, and I can only wish the same for all current and future students."

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."

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