Cathleen Clerkin


Dr. Clerkin joined the Center for Creative Leadership in 2013. She is a scientific researcher with experience in industrial/organizational psychology, social and personality psychology, and applied social cognitive neuroscience. Her research has examined the integration of neuroscience and holistic practices into leadership development; the challenges faced by women and minority leaders; and the link between identity and creativity/innovation.

Prior to joining CCL, Cathleen taught psychology at the University of Michigan, and worked on a number of research projects both in the US and overseas. Her research has been published broadly in both academic and popular press venues. She has won multiple awards and honors for her research, including recognition from the National Science Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the American Association of University Women, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. An avid public speaker, Cathleen has presented her work at research conferences around the world.

Current Role

Cathleen is the manager of strategic research at the Center for Creative Leadership. She is the co-principal investigator of CCL’s Neuroscience & Leadership research project and the lead investigator of ‘Backwards in High Heels’ – a research initative focusing on women’s leadership. In addition to conducting research, Cathleen also creates research-based leadership tools and offers leadership presentations and workshops through CCL’s Speakers Bureau.

Areas of Expertise

Neuroscience & Leadership, Innovation & Creativity, Women’s Leadership, Holistic Leadership Development, Mindfulness, Positive Psychology, Social Identity, Diversity & Inclusion

Educational Background

Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; M.S in Psychology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley.

Professional Affiliations

Cathleen is a member of the Academy of Management, the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, and the International Leadership Association. She is also an Affiliated Research Scientist at the Center for Effective Organizations at the University of Southern California.

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Curriculum Vitae

Cathleen enjoys writing for both academic and popular press audiences and her research has been featured in numerous journals, books, white papers and blogs. Her contributions to the field have been recognized by several highly prestigious institutions, including the National Science Foundation and the American Association for University Women. Cathleen’s greatest passion is getting to share her research with others, and has presented at over 50 conferences, keynotes, workshops and invited talks around the world.

See Cathleen’s Curriculum Vitae

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Honors, Awards, Grants

  • Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association – Most Outstanding Poster Award, 2016.
  • University of Michigan –Hough Fellowship in Psychology & Ethics, 2012.
  • Ford Foundation – Dissertation Fellowship Honorable Mention, 2011 & 2012.
  • Nationa Science Foundation – East Asia Pacific Summer Institute Fellow, 2010.
  • American Association for University Women – Scholar of the Year, 2009.
  • Global Intercultural Experience for Undergraduates – Teaching Fellow, 2008.

Current Projects

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