Cathleen Clerkin

Senior Director of Research at Candid & CEO Affiliate Research Scientist

Cathleen Clerkin is the Senior Director of Research at Candid, a nonprofit dedicated to getting you the information you need to do good. At Candid, Cathleen leads the research function, working closely with partners to make meaning out of Candid’s large database on nonprofits and foundations.

Before coming to Candid, Cathleen was Director for Research at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), and was the co-principal investigator of the Neuroscience & Leadership research project and the principal investigator of Backwards in High Heels (a research initiative focused on women’s leadership). Her research interests include integrating neuroscience and holistic practices into leadership development, the challenges faced by women and minority leaders, and the link between identity and creativity/innovation. Her research has been published broadly in both academic and popular press venues, and she has won multiple awards and honors for her work, including recognition from the National Science Foundation and the American Association of University Women. In addition to conducting research, Cathleen also creates research-based leadership tools and offers leadership presentations and workshops.

Cathleen holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Psychology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


Fernandez, K., & Clerkin, C. (2021). Leading through COVID-19: The impact of pandemic stress and what leaders can do about it. Greensboro, NC; Center for Creative Leadership.

Fernandez, K., Clerkin, C. & Ruderman, M. (2021). The stories we tell: Why cognitive distortions matter for leaders. Greensboro, NC: Center for Creative Leadership.

Truninger, M., Ruderman, M. N., Clerkin, C., Fernandez, K. C., & Cancro, D. (2020). Sounds like a leader: An ascription–actuality approach to examining leader emergence and effectiveness. The Leadership Quarterly, 101420.

Fernandez, K., Clerkin, C. & Ruderman, M. (2020). Building leadership resilience: The CORE framework. Greensboro, NC: Center for Creative Leadership.

Ruderman, M. N., & Clerkin, C. (2020). Is the future of leadership development wearable? Exploring self-tracking in leadership programs.  Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 13(1), 103-116. doi:10.1017/iop.2020.18

Recent Research