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Meet Chloe Cameron, Ivey PhD candidate

Apr 1, 2022

Chloe Cameron Phd 1

Ivey’s PhD Program in Business Administration is a full-time research-based program designed to develop scholars and to place graduates at high-quality research universities around the world. Our PhD candidates are showcased at conferences around the world and regularly featured in top-tier academic and industry publications.

To help you get to know them, we’ve asked them about their academic and personal interests.

Get to know: Chloe Cameron, HBA ’12, AMBA ’21, PhD Candidate 

If you were to ask her about her journey, Chloe Cameron would tell you that she did not intend to pursue a PhD. But, after meeting Rob Austin and Martha Maznevski, PhD ’94, (her current PhD advisors) during her AMBA, she was so intrigued by their work that she decided to change her career path.

Cameron was born in Germany into an Air Force family. As a child, she moved back and forth between Germany and Canada, living in several different cities. When she was 17, she moved to London to complete her education at Ivey. Following the completion of her HBA in 2012 and AMBA in 2021, she joined the PhD program to collaborate and contribute to neurodiversity research.

Q&A with Chloe Cameron 

What attracted you to Ivey’s program?

Ivey is known for many things. For me, the main draw was absolutely the faculty. Neurodiversity in organizations is a surprisingly rare topic in management literature. When I first heard about Rob Austin’s work in this area, I felt compelled to put as much energy behind it as I could. Although I personally do not identify as being part of a neurominority, I am close to people who do, including my partner. I know there are millions of people who face the same challenges he does. Those who are being held back within organizations and who struggle to make their ideas and abilities understood in the current system.

What is your research focus?

My research focus is neurodiversity and cognitive diversity in organizations. That includes the structure of and dynamics within neurodiversity employment initiatives, a social enterprise that is focused on neurodiversity employment and team configuration. I’m largely interested in creating knowledge that will help reduce the marginalization of people based on the way they think.

Why is that area appealing to you? What big problems/issues need to be addressed?

I believe there is a huge population of people with different strengths and perspectives who are consistently penalized just for thinking differently. It’s not only people with autism, dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and other neurodevelopmental conditions, but it’s also creative people who are diminished in corporate settings. Managers need to be given the knowledge that is necessary for them to support individuals who can contribute enormous value, but don’t fit the traditional mould. 

How do you see your research making an impact?

My research goal is to help organizations understand what it means to be inclusive of cognitive diversity. I firmly believe that discovering how to unite all types of minds will lead to a win-win situation. Organizations and individuals will benefit, and through that process, we will be in a better position to confront the world’s biggest challenges.

How do you see research as an aid to business improvement?

Most organizations don’t have designated resources to put into deeply understanding the topics that our research explores. By separating out this function, research output becomes a resource that can be used by any organization to improve on a huge spectrum of performance dimensions. 

What previous experience prepared you for this?

I really learned about neurodiversity at work when I met my partner. At first, I thought he was really difficult to work with, but I knew that I needed to build a relationship with him. I didn’t feel like he trusted me, but, I spent 10 months working to gain his trust (which at the time was purely professional). I got to know him, and his mind. I saw that there was a discrepancy between the quality of his ideas and how they were perceived by other people. The experience made me aware that organizations are wasting talent. Having learned more about it, I know that many people don’t even get the chance to be hired into a role. I want to see during my career a real change in both job opportunities in this space and in the perception of cognitive difference.

Where did you grow up and what was it like there?

It’s always been hard for me to answer when asked, “Where are you from?” I’m from nowhere, really. I was born in Lahr, in South Germany. From there we moved to Belleville, Ontario; then back to Germany; then to Winnipeg, Manitoba before I moved to London, Ontario for my undergrad. After that, I moved to British Columbia. It was bittersweet. I had my family to rely on and I met amazing people along the way, but it was hard when we moved. I believe I am who I am because of how much of a challenge all those moves were.

Who have been your strongest influences in life?

My parents, sister, partner, former boss, ex-boyfriend, and teachers. 

My parents heavily influenced my core values. They have supported me, and continue to do so, in ways that are unimaginable. They helped me become a person who is self-sufficient, but not afraid to trust and love deeply. 

My sister is my lifelong best friend. When our family moved when we were young, we moved away from friends and had to build new relationships, but we always had each other. This is still the case today. 

My partner helps me think about things from perspectives that I couldn’t have come up with myself. He supports me in my efforts to be everything I can be. 

My former boss helped me to overcome the sexist, limiting feedback that I received early in my career. While I don’t consider myself to have been held back by sexism, I’m glad that she came into my life when she did. She showed me that I should be confident in who I am and not act on feedback from people who are not acting in my best interest. 

My ex-boyfriend, who had a philosophy background, taught me how to argue persuasively and helped me develop a healthier approach to debate and acknowledge the relative unimportance of being right. 

Last but not least, I’m sure that I would not have been able to pursue an academic career path had I not had such a wonderful educational experience. Teachers can be critical influences and I couldn’t have asked for better ones. 

What might someone be surprised to know about you?

In my teens and early 20s, I used to spend hours on end researching music, finding songs, learning lyrics, and building playlists. I took pride in building the best playlists all through high school and university. To this day, I still love music more than most people. In a parallel universe, I’m a DJ.

What is the most played song on your playlist as of now?

I’ve not had an “obsession song” for a while, but a couple within the last year are Portugal. The Man – Feel It Still (Griffin Remix) and Robby East – Like Home.

What is your best podcast recommendation?

I listen to Blinkist, a book-summarizing subscription service. It’s a great way to get the core points of books that you know you’ll never read. I love reading books and listening to full books on Audible, too, but for those ones you’re vaguely interested in, but not willing to put in the time, Blinkist is awesome.

What book would you recommend to others? Why?

I’d recommend Educated by Tara Westover. The only book that has come close to moving me as much is Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. These true stories make you appreciate how hard some people have to work to get to where they are.

If I’m talking about books that would be enlightening on my topic, I’d recommend books like The Dyslexic Advantage by Brock and Fernette Eide, The ADHD Advantage by Dale Archer, and The Autistic Brain by Temple Grandin and Richard Panek.

What tips have you learned for staying connected in an online learning environment?

My classmates and I have a group chat on WhatsApp that usually has funny threads going daily. Now that we’re starting to go back to in person, we’re finally getting to know each other in real life, which is admittedly so much better!

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