International Women’s Day Series: Dr Cassandra Chapman

Our International Women’s Day Series celebrates UQ business, economics and law professionals excelling in their careers.

Connecting personal ambition with social justice

Profile photo of Dr Cassandra Chapman standing in UQ's Great CourtSpecialising in donor psychology and fundraising, Dr Cassandra Chapman works in the Business School as an Associate Professor of Marketing and is an ARC DECRA Fellow.

Coming to academia from nonprofit marketing, Cassandra's research focuses on the psychology of charitable giving, trust in nonprofits, and public responses to charity scandals. She uses diverse methods to understand when and why donors are more (or less) willing to give to particular causes and the implications such preferences have for how charities communicate. Her research has won national and international awards, including the Skystone Partners Prize for Research on Fundraising and Philanthropy (AFP, 2020) and the Gabriel G. Rudney Memorial Award for an Outstanding Dissertation in Nonprofit and Voluntary Action Research (ARNOVA, 2019).

What are 3 words that best describe you?

Curious, intentional, impatient

What do you love most about your job?

I get paid to ask big questions, talk to smart folks, nurture other people’s careers, and generate knowledge that can make the world a little kinder and fairer. Plus, I have a lot of flexibility in when, where, and with whom I work. It’s pretty neat.

How do you define success?

Success is doing something that matters to you and doing it in a way that makes other people feel good along the way. Why do you think education is so important in advancing a woman’s career? Education is fundamental to anyone’s success. It’s a process of downloading infinite lifetimes of effort and knowledge so that we don’t each have to start from square one.

What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?

Men. The data on this is compelling: men show unconscious bias against women and their needs in ways that they are surely not aware of. Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez is an eye-opener—I encourage every man to read it and then become an ally for change.

Who inspires you?

Almost everyone has something inspirational about them if you’re paying attention.

Who or what has been your greatest source of support?

The random assortment of incredible humans I have collected over the years and around the globe.

What’s been the biggest ‘pinch me’ moment of your career?

Being promoted directly from Lecturer to Associate Professor. When I got the news, I was in shock and then felt quite emotional. Both the promotion itself and the accompanying heartfelt messages of celebration from colleagues made me feel appreciated. Isn’t that all any of us really want?

What piece of advice has changed your life that you think would help other women?

Courage is not the absence of fear but the belief that some things are more important than fear.

What are your tips for other women hoping to excel in their careers?

Personal ambition and social justice are intertwined. By pushing forward in your career, you can help to create an environment where women are in senior roles. This makes it a little easier for women who follow.

View more inspiring stories from female-identifying UQ staff working in the Faculty of Business, Economics and Law.

Last updated:
21 February 2023