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About TAI

We’re on a mission to help people transform their lives, workplaces, and communities.

We create and deliver innovative activities, exercises, and seminars to teach skills for personal and social transformation. At our core is a model for change called “transformative action.” This is based on scientific research into the strategies that are most effective for people who are working to change their lives and the world around them.

TAI is devoted to:

  • Helping people transform their own lives
  • Helping organizations transform their cultures
    • Corporations
    • Nonprofits
    • International agencies
  • Helping to transform educational curricula and delivery
  • Helping social entrepreneurs, innovators, and other people who want to make the world a better place

What makes us unique? 

Everything we do is based on the best scientific research

We are focused on solutions and strengths

We are focused on teaching through transformative experiences

-Organizations We Have Worked With-

Scott Sherman

Founder of Transformative Action Institute

Dr. Scott Sherman is the Executive Director of an award-winning social enterprise, the Transformative Action Institute (TAI). The mission of TAI is to train the next generation of social entrepreneurs, innovators, and change makers for the 21st century.

Sherman is an expert on the most effective ways that people succeed in their attempts to change the world – whether working for public health, the environment, or economic prosperity. He is currently writing a book summarizing his research, How We Win: The Science of Making the World a Better Place.

Over the last decade, Sherman has taught courses on social entrepreneurship and social innovation at numerous universities, including Yale, Princeton, and Johns Hopkins.

In 2005, Sherman won the international Echoing Green competition, which recognized him as one of the world’s “best emerging social entrepreneurs.” Sherman has also won awards from Ashoka U for excellence and innovation in teaching social entrepreneurship, including being part of the first class inducted into their “Hall of Fame.”

His curricula and workshops have been used at more than 50 campuses across the United States from Tulane and Harvard to Stanford and UCLA. His programs have also been used in dozens of nations around the world from Europe to Latin America, and from Africa to Asia.

Sherman earned his undergraduate and law degrees from U.C. Berkeley, as well as his Ph.D. in environmental studies from the University of Michigan.


Neela Rajendra

Director of University Programs, Transformative Action Institute

Neela’s driving passion in her work has been to develop strong leaders to create social impact. From her experiences teaching high school in the Marshall Islands to leading Claremont McKenna College to become the 30th Changemaker Campus, Neela has worked with both the young and experienced to focus their skills and talents to create positive social change. Her newest role as Director of University Programs is the perfect platform for her to continue her work to develop the next generation of change agents.

Her other life is as a new mom and violinist in the D.C.-based Americana rock band, The Riverbreaks (, who recently released their second album, Wildfire, at the Kennedy Center.






Transformative action is a model for personal and social change.


During his doctoral research, Scott Sherman, the Transformative Action Institute’s founder, investigated the question, “what strategies are correlated with success and failure when people try to change the world?” After studying hundreds of case studies across many social causes, the findings astounded him.

Most of the strategies that he learned as both a community organizer and a lawyer turned out not to be effective in solving social issues and conflicts. In fact, these strategies are often counterproductive. They can generate a bitter, fractious “us versus them” atmosphere where tremendous resources and energies are wasted in fighting, while solutions go undiscovered. As a result, many good-hearted citizens who are working for democracy, the environment, health care, and other important causes become burnt out, exhausted, and overwhelmed.
Instead, Sherman discovered that the people who were most often winning their campaigns were using very different tactics. These people were successfully transforming enemies into allies, hatred into goodwill, and conflict into collaboration. Rather than simply protesting about what’s wrong with the world, they were coming up with creative win-win solutions that uplifted all stakeholders. As a result, these leaders were successful in catalyzing the power, money, and creativity of everyone towards finding innovative solutions. With no term to define these tactics, Sherman called this phenomenon “Transformative Action.” He identified three key principles which made up this new model. (See the principles explained below).


 He realized that these principles were effective in describing how people can achieve personal change as well. The model provides the fundamental process for understanding how to turn negatives into positives, pessimism into optimism, and obstacles into opportunities for personal growth.
TAI Principles2
But how do people transform? And how can they develop these mind-sets that are essential for transforming the world?

The Transformative Action Institute was born out of the need for trainings and tools that can help people develop their capacities for creativity, emotional intelligence, resilience, optimism, courage, and other 21st century skills.

To read an in depth article by Dr. Scott Sherman on transformative action, CLICK HERE.