Top 40 under 40: Music dean singled out for visionary leadership

Jun 26th, 2019

By Jeff Green

Dr. Ian Sutherland. Photo by Rich Blenkinsopp.
Top 40 under 40: Music dean singled out for visionary leadership

The dean of the School of Music is receiving a coveted national award.

Dr. Ian Sutherland is among this year’s honourees of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40, an annual program that recognizes this country’s emerging influencers for their exceptional achievements.

Humbling experience

“To think of myself as one of the top 40 under 40 in Canada, is unbelievable,” said Dr. Sutherland, who was born and raised in Lewisporte, N.L. He received his B.Mus.(Hons.) and M.Mus. degrees from the School of Music before completing his PhD in sociology and philosophy at the University of Exeter in the U.K.

International roles

A globally active speaker, facilitator and organizational development practitioner, Dr. Sutherland is a leading expert in the intersection of arts and business.

Combining expertise in sociology, philosophy, creativity and leadership studies, Dr. Sutherland has worked as an academic leader, educator, researcher and consultant, delivering courses, workshops, seminars and lectures in more than 40 countries worldwide.

His research is wide-ranging, including studies on leadership development, the aesthetics of power (he was awarded Outstanding Article of the Year by the Academy of Management Learning & Education in 2016), the social dimensions of creative processes and socio-political dynamics of early 20th-century music in Europe.

“I hope this honour increases the volume of our stories.”— Dr. Ian Sutherland

Before returning to Memorial in 2016 in his current role, he served as associate dean for research and director of PhD studies at IEDC–Bled School of Management in Slovenia and as a research fellow of the Centre for Leadership Studies at the University of Exeter. He has also held appointments in Poland, Germany and the United States.

Dr. Sutherland says the award honours interdisciplinarity and the pursuit of academic leadership.

“I’ve forged a career that is wildly interdisciplinary — music, sociology, philosophy, organizational behaviour, leadership studies, creativity studies, innovation, strategy,” he said.

“My career has always repelled boxes and organizational silos. To be frank, in the world of academia, that’s risky. Being recognized with this distinction honours the pursuit of interdisciplinarity. To me it validates such work, and more importantly, I hope it inspires others to commit to building connections across fields and areas of human endeavour – to be interdisciplinary.”

Highlighting Memorial

Dr. Sutherland says he hopes the Top 40 under 40 recognition will also highlight the “incredible” work led by Memorial researchers, staff and students.

“From humble beginnings born out of the most noble of goals, the university has grown from Parade Street to the international stage,” he noted.

“Yet, we seem bashful, in a most Canadian way, in singing our successes as loudly as our voices will carry them. I hope this honour increases the volume of our stories, our successes, and helps remind us of the transformational work Memorial University brings to Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada and the world.”

The Toronto-based company Caldwell Partners announced this year’s Top 40 under 40 honourees on June 26. Recipients will be recognized during a ceremony on Nov. 6 in Toronto, Ont.

Jeff Green is a senior communications advisor with the Office of the Vice-President (Research). He can be reached at



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