Alyson Meister

Alyson Meister

Alyson Meister helps organizations to develop inclusive and resilient leaders, teams, and workplaces. Her research specialty includes topics surrounding identity and diversity as well as workplace stress, mental health, and wellbeing. Meister was named on the Thinkers50 Radar list in 2021 and subsequently nominated for a Thinkers50 Distinguished Achievement Award.


Her inclusion on the Thinkers50 Radar list was in recognition of her research on how people can navigate, manage, and overcome bias throughout their careers, and how feeling marginalized, stereotyped, or mislabeled impacts stress, wellbeing, and job performance. Diversity and inclusion are an important strand of her work with leaders, who Meister says need to examine how their identity and core values shape not only their own self-perceptions, beliefs, and behavior, but also how they perceive, label, and interact with others.


Her shortlisting for the 2021 Thinkers50 Distinguished Achievement Award was closely linked to her research on leader origin stories. This work explored the personal stories of 92 leaders to shed light on how the stories people hold onto and tell others shape their leadership motivations and behaviors, and how this differs for men and women.


Her practitioner articles regularly appear in Harvard Business Review and I by IMD, and her research has been published in influential management journals such as the Academy of Management Review, Journal of Management, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Human Relations, Journal of Management Studies and Leadership Quarterly.


Meister leads IMD’s Future Leaders program and has coached thousands of executives, teams and organizations across a broad range of industries, from mining and engineering through to professional services and technology, working with clients such as Lenovo, Maersk, Julius Baer, Sandvik, CMS, BHP Billiton, LEGO Group, Hilti and Cisco.


She was recently appointed as Chair of the Scientific Advisory Council for One Mind at Work, an organization that focuses on advancing mental health in the workplace, and serves on the executive committee of the Managerial and Organizational Cognition Division of the Academy of Management and on the editorial board of the Academy of Management Review.


Canadian-born Meister has lived and worked on five continents – North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia – and describes herself as a “global nomad”. Having had a wealth of practical experience before entering academia, she joined IMD as a professor in 2019 after previously working as Assistant Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior at the Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. 

Selected publications

The science of choking under pressure (Harvard Business Review, 2022)

Athletes are shifting the narrative around mental health at work (Harvard Business Review, 2021)

Staying mindful when you’re working remotely (Harvard Business Review, 2021)

Is your organization digging trenches or building bridges? (Harvard Business Review, 2021)

Now you see me, now you don’t: A conceptual model of the antecedents and consequences of leader impostorism (Journal of Management, 2021)

What’s your leadership origin story? (Harvard Business Review, 2020)

The stories that make us: Leaders’ origin stories and temporal identity work (Human Relations, 2020)

Toward a temporal theory of faultlines and subgroup entrenchment (Journal of Management Studies, 2019)

Identities under scrutiny: How women leaders navigate feeling misidentified at work (The Leadership Quarterly, 2017)

Feeling misidentified: The consequences of internal identity asymmetries for individuals at work (Academy of Management Review, 2014)



Named on Thinkers50 Radar list of management thinkers to watch in the coming year (2021)

Nominated for Thinkers50 Distinguished Achievement Award (2021)



Honors Degree in Business Administration

Ivey Business School, University of Western Ontario, Canada


PhD in Management (Organizational Behavior)

Melbourne Business School, University of Melbourne, Australia


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Alyson Meister's Publications
Logstor’s rebirth: Leading through crisis
Case study
How companies and talent can gain from a shared purpose
Purpose: is the hype justified?