Indigo Impact Initiative couldn’t achieve it’s mission without it’s dedicated team of employees, partners and advisors! Click on each image to learn more!

David Kalish spent 26 years in finance, running trading desks at hedge funds D.E. Shaw and Citadel Investment Group. At Citadel, he pioneered and developed the first collocated High-Frequency trading strategies for stocks, futures, and currencies.

After retiring from finance in 2014, Kalish joined the Indigo Project, using his talents to change education. Leveraging his experience from Wall Street, Kalish has harnessed powerful data tools and algorithms in order to enhance educational spaces, and helped create unique programs for Indigo. He graduated with honors from Columbia University with a BS in Industrial Engineering and holds a BA in Physics from Colgate University.

Dr. Ulcca Joshi Hansen is an award-winning author and advocate whose work is aimed at changing the dialogue around education in America by supporting schools, districts, and individuals as they identify ways to support and enrich all students. She began as an elementary school teacher in New Jersey, and since then has devoted her career to transforming education systems in the US to better reflect what we know about human development and the science of learning. She has consulted with a variety of organizations, including the US Department of Education, Oxford University, the British Government, Stand for Children and Wend Ventures.

Dr. Hansen is currently Chief Program Officer at Grantmakers for Education, where she is an integral part of the Benchmarking program which offers insights into where and how funders are working, their evolving priorities and their role in supporting education innovation that benefits the nation’s learners. Dr. Hansen holds a PhD from Oxford University and a JD from Harvard University, and is certified as an elementary and early childhood educator with a focus on special education.

Born in the Delta Region of Mississippi during the era of segregation, Clifton L. Taulbert overcame obstacles and barriers to education in order to redefine success and inspire others. An entrepreneur, author, and consultant, Taulbert is President and CEO of the Freemont Corporation (a human capital development company), serving Fortune-500 companies, small businesses, K-12 schools, community colleges and federal agencies. Additionally, Taulbert is President and CEO of Roots Java Coffee, an African-American owned National Coffee Brand.

As a world-renowned author, Taulbert has written 13 books, including “Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored,” an international bestseller and “Eight Habits of the Heart,” which garnered him an invitation from Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to speak on the Supreme Court.

Taulbert has received numerous honors including: United States Enlisted Airmen Hall of Fame inductee, National Jewish Humanitarian of the Year, Arthritis Foundation Volunteer of the Year, and was recognized by the NAACP 27th Annual Image Awards for his contribution to literature.

William Tiger spent his career at General Motors (GM). He joined the GM Institute through a co-op program that allowed him to practice in the field before officially beginning his career. Tiger spent over 30 years in GM plants throughout Michigan, Canada, and Maryland until 2015 when he became plant manager at the Lockport facility. Under Tiger’s management, the Lockport plant has increased production, securing funding to retain over 350 jobs and making temporary employees permanent.

A member of the Miccosukee Tribe, Tiger is heavily involved in promoting the STEM field within the Native American community in Western New York. In 2017 he was named the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) Professional Of the Year and supports AISES in numerous ways. He also sat on the Board of Directors for United Way of Greater Niagara, and is on the National Council for the Smithsonian National Museum of American Indians.

Gina Vullo is the Educator Mentor/Adult Learning Coordinator at Phoenix Coding Academy and Bioscience High School in Phoenix, AZ. PCA is a learning community engaging students in computer science pathways and innovative academic experiences. Bioscience is a nationally recognized STEAM campus focused on biomedical and engineering pathways. Vullo, a National Board Certified Exceptional Needs Specialist in Gifted education, also serves as the Gifted Facilitator at PCA. As an educator with an innate ability to develop talent and match learners to the appropriate education, Vullo coaches all learners to think for themselves and make transformational choices so that they can create a better world. Vullo holds a M.Ed. in Educational Administration from Grand Canyon University and an M.A. in English Literature from Northern Arizona University.

Executive Director

Sheri Smith is the founder and CEO of the Indigo Project and the Indigo Impact Initiative 501(c)3. Indigo, established in 2013, is a social enterprise with the vision of catalyzing a learner-centered education system that cultivates innovation, entrepreneurship, and empathy.

“I have discovered that meaning comes from feeling intrinsically valuable and from doing work that aligns with my deepest self,” Sheri explains about her inspiration for launching Indigo. “Our journey in life is to become fully expressed and finding environments and relationships where we are valued for who we are.”

Introduced to assessment technology for hiring and employee development in her early 20s, Sheri has become an expert in these tools, which are used to build high-performing teams, coach leaders, and align human capital to the goals of an organization. Indigo uses those same concepts to engage students, empower educators, and transform schools.

A career entrepreneur, Sheri was integral in starting a metals distributor, coaching and consulting firms, and running a small retail housewares company. In 1998, Sheri designed the first website hosted at the US Department of State for Vital Voices, a global women’s rights initiative.

Sheri has spoken at various conferences, authored two books, conducts research, and authors papers. She graduated magna cum laude from American University with a B.A. in International Studies, and holds an M.A. from Georgetown University in Communication, Culture and Technology.

“Many students measure their value against standardized academic achievements. We need to redefine our educational values to see the intrinsic strengths in individuals,” she said. “Our future innovators will be defined by their individual genius, love of learning and possessing the self-awareness and confidence to make a difference.”

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