Sheri Smith is the founder and CEO of the Indigo Project and the Indigo Impact Initiative 501(c)3. Indigo, established in 2013, has the vision of catalyzing a learner-centered education system that cultivates innovation, entrepreneurship, and empathy.
A lifelong 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.
Introduced to assessment technology for hiring and employee development in her early 20’s, Sheri is 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 the same concepts to engage students, empower educators, and transform schools.
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.
It makes me sad to see people living life in a deadened state - not because they aren’t smart or talented or amazing, but because they are in a situation that doesn’t fulfill them. Today’s education system does not set children up to understand who they are or make choices that bring out the best in them. I want to live in a world where people see their own value and the value of others.
When I first took the assessment, I was 22, and a few things really impacted me. First, I saw that my sense of self was really low. I was talented, with an extreme behavioral style, and had a lot going for me. However, I had such a low sense of self that I couldn’t see my strengths. It was shocking to me to see, on paper, this mirror reflecting who I was. This powerful experience catapulted my life into a totally different trajectory; I started pursuing the question, “Who am I, and how do I find meaning and aliveness in whatever life path I choose?”
I have since discovered that meaning comes from feeling intrinsically valuable and from doing work that aligns with my deepest self. Our journey in life is to become fully expressed, finding environments and relationships where we are valued for who we are. It is so simple and yet so complex.
Many students measure their “value” against academic achievements. Now is the time to redefine what is valuable and recognize that intrinsic value is completely different in each situation and for each student. One way to shift this paradigm is to introduce a new set of metrics into the education system that reveals deeper, personal information and guides students toward self-awareness and fulfillment. This is why I launched the Indigo Project.