Skip to Main Content
News@Ivey · Communications

New Ivey faculty: Zoe Kinias

May 19, 2023

Zoe 02 Edit

Ivey is excited to welcome several new faculty members to campus this year! To get to know our new colleagues we asked them some questions to learn about their interests inside and outside the classroom.

Get to Know: Zoe Kinias

Zoe Kinias is the inaugural John F. Wood Chair in Innovation in Business Education and an Associate Professor of Organizational Behaviour. She joined Ivey from INSEAD in Singapore where she was an Associate Professor of Organizational Behaviour with responsibilities across the France and Singapore campuses.

Originally trained as a psychologist, she has been teaching at business schools since 2007. Her research focuses on interventions to overcome deleterious effects of psychological defenses, understanding and improving Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) challenges, and combinations of these streams.

Kinias was the first Academic Director of INSEAD’s Gender Initiative, which aims to empower women leaders and create more equitable opportunities for all. She was also the Chair of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Taskforce (2020), and the Organizational Behaviour Area Chair (2019-2022). During the 2022-2023 academic year, Kinias visited Rice University where she worked with a new Virtual Reality research and teaching tool that was developed at INSEAD. At Ivey, she will be teaching the HBA1 Leading People and Organizations (LPO) course, and executive sessions on Organizational Behaviour and leadership topics.

As Chair of the John F. Wood Centre for Innovation in Business Learning, her work is helping Ivey achieve the goals of the Ivey Next strategic plan. Through collaborations with other Ivey faculty and programs, Kinias will be an integral part of the Ivey community in developing learning experiences for the future.

John F. Wood Centre For Innovation in Business Learning

The centre was established in 2017 after a generous $7-million gift from the late John F. Wood, HBA ’64. This remarkable contribution helps Ivey be a global leader in developing the future of business education. One of the latest innovations is the introduction of digitally enhanced cases. Ivey’s fundamental business education is provided through the case study model typically delivered in a PDF format. Ivey Publishing has recently launched Digital Learning Experiences (DLEs), which convert the traditional PDF into a digital interactive tool for a more engaging learning opportunity.

Also established by this gift is the John F. Wood Chair in Innovation in Business Education, which is held by Zoe Kinias. This role examines the relationship between technology and in-person learning to help Ivey provide engaging and advanced education for its students. Kinias and the John F. Wood Centre for Innovation in Business Learning will provide research and develop new teaching tools to help create the future of business education.


Q&A with Zoe Kinias

How do you feel about leading the Wood Centre for Innovation in Business Education?

Excited, curious, and well-prepared.

What excites you about this opportunity?

My vision as the inaugural John F. Wood Chair is to develop a community for pedagogic innovations that better enable educators to equip leaders for the future of business. We will start with addressing identified needs for building and integrating technology and inclusive practices, all with a learning mindset and entrepreneurial spirit.

I am excited to lead the Wood Centre. We have an opportunity to chart a new path with the generous financial support of the Wood Foundation and the strong foundations of Ivey and Western in alignment with their new strategies. There is also the potential for collaboration with my established and growing network of leading business educators and scholars.

More broadly, I’m excited about Ivey – and the HBA program – because I earned my bachelor’s degree in an honours undergraduate program. Although Ivey is unique, this is a return for me to an elite program embedded within a large academic institution, and I feel passionate about making the highest quality education available to diverse profiles of students and participants.

What is the most important thing business executives can learn from your research/area of expertise?

We must value the richness of diversity in people’s experiences, and to optimize performance, we must work past defenses.

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

I was born in a small town in the Midwestern U.S., and then mostly lived in Arizona as a child – the “Wild West.” But my father lived in New England for a bit and then in North Africa for many years, so I can’t cleanly say I’m from any one place. Rather than describing any of these places, I can say that I grew up with an unusually deep understanding of cultural variance, that there is not just one way to be or to do.

Who have been your strongest influences in life?

I’ve been fortunate to have had a magical combination of challenges to overcome mixed with resources to draw upon through much of my life. Early foundations regarding the importance of hard work and social connections, combined with multicultural experiences and an adventurous spirit have all led to how I approach my life and work now. Many people and experiences have led to my current perspective. In addition to valuing diversity and “outside the box” solutions, I’ve also grown to deeply appreciate the benefits of clear boundaries to provide a launchpad and implementation efficacy for the practice of strategic innovation. Sometimes I am in awe of the amazing people I get to connect with regularly in my work – many of them are strong influences in my life.

What led you to your career?

There was a moment as an undergraduate college student when I identified with my honours college professor – I saw myself in her. Shortly thereafter, I learned that PhD students are paid while they study rather than paying tuition. There have been calibrations and adjustments to my plans from there, but that was the pivotal point that set me on this trajectory.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

My partner and child (and dog) are central to my life beyond work, and since moving to London, Ont., I’ve become a little bit obsessed with the idea of a garden. I’m enjoying learning about composting now that we have a yard.

What might someone be surprised to know about you?

I have done more than 100 scuba dives and have a rescue diver certification.

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

Probably Nina Simone and Lauryn Hill’s Feeling Good from The Miseducation of Eunice Wayman.

What book would you recommend to others? On the personal side? On the business side?

Here are some personal and business-relevant favourites. I recommend Katherine Applegate’s fiction for family reading. Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen is great for (re)learning Western history. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus is an empowering page-turning fiction about a woman’s experience in a man’s world (trigger warning). The Person You Mean to Be  by Dolly Chugh helps with how to approach the challenging topic of EDI. And Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a practical high-level guide for anyone striving to develop gender equity.