About Us

Our Philisophy

At the Tai Initiative, we strive to educate the public through our three core lenses: Leadership, America-China relations, and the subnational level of relationship. The point of overlap of all three of these lenses allows us to provide focused, expert, educational material to our audiences. 

Leaders equipped with such knowledge and skills make lasting change. 

By empowering the individual, we create subnational leaders capable of bridging the gap between American and Chinese futures. 

Our Leadership

Executive Director

 Carson Tavenner (泰卡森)is a member of the National Committee for US-China Relations and a retired US Air Force officer with thirteen years of experience serving the Pacific Command.  His association with China began much earlier, in 1986, when he  initiated one of the early sister-school relationships in Washington State, between Puyallup High School  and Nankai Middle School in Chongqing.  He is a 1991 graduate of the US Air Force Academy and a 2000  graduate of the University of Washington’s Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies Masters  program. Currently he teaches Global Studies: China at Everett Community College. He has also taught world and East Asian history at the U.S. Air Force Academy, teaches leadership and teamwork in China through outdoor leadership programs, and is the Director of 爱世界 (Love the World), a non-profit bringing leadership and English training to needy Chinese communities.

Intern Team

Logan Ward – Website Operations Manager

Logan Ward is an undergraduate student at the University of California, Irvine double majoring in Chinese Studies and International Studies. He has spent 5 years studying the society and culture of China alongside Mandarin to better understand the rich origins of one of the worlds oldest civilizations. At the same time, he has been studying the international relations of Asia and concentrating on conflict resolution within East Asia to easier synthesize the way in which China plays a role in the greater East Asian theater. As a 5 year cadet in AFROTC, Logan is about to receive his commission into the US Air Force as a Cyber Operations Officer. 

Board of Directors

Ann Schodde

Ann Schodde has held ann schodde squareleadership positions in higher education and international non-profit organizations for over 30 years. In 2007, Schodde was the first President of the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy and currently serves as Senior Advisor. She has consulted or managed programs for more than 21 private foundations, professional associations, and government agencies including the Stanley Foundation, World Food Prize Foundation, National Council for International Visitors, Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs, and USAID. She has directed educational exchange and technical assistance programs throughout the world.  She has worked with embassy staff from over 60 countries and garnered financial support from the U.S. government and the private sector including the Johnson Foundation, Coca Cola Foundation, American Express, Gallup, and VISA. She is a frequent speaker and consultant for international organizations throughout the world. Schodde holds a B.A. degree from the University of Wisconsin and M.Ed. from Cornell University.

Greg Waldrop

Greg Waldrop square

Greg is the secretary of the board for The Tai Initiative.  He is a legal services consultant based out of Atlanta, Georgia, where he edits promotional and sales training tools for pharmaceutical training products of the Dezan Group and other independent clients.  Greg received his Doctor of Law (JD) from the Georgia State University College of Law in 2012, earned his Master of Arts in International Studies with a China focus from the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies in 2000, and attended SAIS’ Hopkins-Nanjing program in 1996.

Derek Linden

Derek Linden square

Derek is the President and Chief Technical Officer of X5 Systems, Inc. of Mountain View, California.  He has over 20 years of advanced electronicsengineering experience, particularly in the field of antenna design.  A 1991 graduate of the US Air Force Academy and a 1997 PhD graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Derek has nine years of military officer experience during which he became Chief of the Advanced Aerospace Technology Branch for the Office of Research under the Secretary of the Air Force in Washington, D.C.

Board of Advisors

Zhou Baolin, Chief Mentor, Beijing Exploration Cultural Development Holding Co. Ltd.; Co-Founder, China Green Marathon Action Consortium

Donald A. Bishop, Minister-Counselor, U.S. State Department Senior Foreign Service (Ret.); Board of Directors and Immediate Past President, Public Diplomacy Council

Larry Donnithorne, COL, US Army (Ret.): President Emeritus and Professor of Leadership and Ethics, Colorado Christian University; Author, “The West Point Way of Leadership”

Grace Guo, Strategic Consultant for Outbound Programs, The China Partnership of Greater Philadelphia

2 Responses

  1. May 20, 2013

    […] About Us […]

  2. January 8, 2015

    […] Carson Tavenner from the Tai Initiative, a non-profit dedicated to improving American-Chinese relations, offers some insight into the world of Chinese business culture. Eating and drinking together with prospective business partners is an essential step towards establishing a business relationship. But in China, there are very minute details that will say a lot about your cultural awareness and refinement. Tavenner says, “Enjoy the eating and drinking phase of the business development relationship. Do not view it as a ‘speed bump’ requiring what may appear to be unnecessary waiting time, or even feel like a waste of time.” […]

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