About Intro Image

I’m Sam Swaminathan

I am the founder of CCT. I am a trainer, consultant, speaker, and writer. Until 2015, my colleagues and I focused on leadership development, helping companies go global by identifying the right competencies, designing and delivering cutting edge programs, and facilitating organizational development. I now devote my time coaching individuals who wish to develop themselves. I also teach management at Pasadena City College, in California.

Sam's story

About Intro Image

Early career

I started my career as an electrical engineer in the Navy, but after ten years, I got tired of the rigid hierarchy and mindless regulations. Meanwhile, I went to business school, and after receiving my MBA, worked with Shell in the Middle East for a number of years. A brief stint thereafter as consultancy manager at a Big Four accounting firm did not go well. I was convinced that there must be a better way to help clients. Not sure what that better really meant, I took a sabbatical and taught for four years at a newly set up college system in Dubai. At that time, I started helping a student of mine [the only son of a rich businessman] stabilize his business, when his father suddenly died. This gave me time to clarify in my mind what would serve clients well, and how I ought to go about it. I got my magic mantra -  be honest, serve with passion, focus on client needs, and let your work shine through the mirror of your clients' success.

The start of CCT

With this as my central thought, I set up the Center for Creative Thinking in 1995.

My work was focused on leadership development, helping companies go global by identifying the right competencies, designing/delivering cutting edge programs, and facilitating organizational development. I strove to provide thought leadership and coaching to middle and senior level executives and help in identifying and managing talent. CCT became home to a small pool of talented consultants.

Growing CCT globally

Our clients were spread over several countries - from the USA to India and Sri Lanka. We helped organizations build their leadership pool in order to succeed in a global and highly uncertain world. Our clients belonged to diverse industries, sectors, and geographies, including cutting edge consulting giants, global technology leaders, engineering behemoths, transportation and logistics champions, leading industrial goods manufacturers, food distributors, construction conglomerates, government bodies, and retailers.

Having lived and worked in many countries, I have gained a deep understanding of the impact of cultural differences, and how this may be leveraged. I use storytelling as a foundational methodology, since stories cut across all divides - age, sex, culture, religion, race, level, etc - and is the most powerful tool available to influence thinking. So my calling card reads: Storyteller.

My goal for today

I hope to spread the knowledge I have been fortunate enough to gain working with great companies, and help ordinary persons become extraordinary leaders. I also look forward to working with leaders who wish to make a real and lasting impact in their spheres of influence.

CCT's goals


I help people understand the cataclysmic changes surrounding them and succeed under new circumstances.

The overreaching aim is to help people tap their potential and accomplish more for the benefit of all.


My work focuses on leadership, emotional intelligence, and customer focus.


My aim is to help individuals discover their leadership capabilities and then develop them.

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Helping individuals become responsible leaders
Helping leaders embrace conscious capitalism

The CENTER FOR CREATIVE THINKING was set up with one single purpose - to identify leadership talent in organizations, nurture that talent, create institutions where people find work enriching in every manner, and give of their best. CCT's overreaching goal was to develop leaders who leverage intellectual capital such that everyone wins - customers, employees, communities, and suppliers.  

The situation facing corporations and countries today is no different from that faced at the advent of the industrial age - no road maps, where past experience has limited value. Many of the capabilities required to create wealth in the twenty-first century are very different from the capabilities of previous decades. This will involve unlearning as well as learning. LEARN TO FORGET-DON'T FORGET TO LEARN!

As Tom Friedman put it some years ago, we live in a flat world. People in every corner of the world have access to information. As a result, information by itself is no longer a game changer. What we do with the information, once we have it, is likely to distinguish the winners from the losers.  

The advent of OPEN AI is no less than a tsunami striking an unprepared world. Machines will replace millions and millions of routine jobs. We human beings have to learn to excel in areas in which machines are hopeless. That means creating, emoting, feeling, caring, nurturing, liking, sharing, ... These are the new competencies.

The talent pools of organizations today are made up more and more of people from all over the world. Leaders therefore need to understand different cultures, accept styles and methods alien to them, take comfort in discomfort, and bind disparate people together. This requires that leadership be built around matters of the head as well as the heart.

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Sam Swaminathan