connections management news

August 2015
Vol. 14, Number 6

QRCA Management News
Conference News
Chapter News
Committee News
SIG News
Member News
mark sumpter
Mark Sumpter

From the President

Mark Sumpter,

This is my 10th and final Connections letter to you as your President.  It is with both great humility and honor that I have served in this capacity for QRCA over the last 12 months.  I was looking back at my first letter to you when I wrote, “I am sure many of you are asking the same question I ask myself, 'How did this happen?'”  I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to take on this role and look forward to future opportunities within the organization.  Thank you for warmly embracing and supporting me in this position… including through some particularly polarizing issues.

QRCA plays a vital role in our professional development and growth.  There is no better organization to be involved in, or better people to be surrounded by.  This past year, the Board has worked overtime to continue strengthening the relevance of QRCA.  I am pleased to share some of our major accomplishments over the last year:

  • Approved the TechCom recommendations to further improve the website usability for members
  • Provided 15 young researchers grants to attend the 2014 conference (recipients of the Young Professionals Grant)
  • Approved an extension of the membership discount for international members based on their GDP
  • Approved a Bylaws change vote in February per the recommendations from the Membership Expansion Task Force – the change was resoundingly approved by membership
  • Approved a re-design of the Virtual Chapter to better meet international members’ needs by creating an International Chapter
  • Approved an extended Ewald Consulting management contract to include the QRCA’s sole ownership of the International Conference on Qualitative Research
  • Updated the Annual Conference, Chapter, SIG and Visual Standards Policy Manuals
  • Created a QRCA International Conference Policy Manual
  • Approved Vienna, Austria as the site of the 2016 International Conference from April 13 to 15
  • Approved a contract for E&M to be the publisher of VIEWS for the next two years
  • Created a QRCA Qualitative Excellence Award Program Task Force to re-invigorate the awards program
  • Approved the Membership Committee’s plan to launch the New Member Ambassador Program that will welcome and engage new members
  • Leadership Personnel News
    • Approved Julie Medalis as the Marketing Committee Chair and Diane Harris as Vice-Chair
    • Approved Kendall Nash as MemCom Co-Chair alongside the current Chair, Philip Smith
    • Approved Laurie Bredenfoerder as the new Editor of Connections
    • Approved a Young Professionals Grant Committee Chaired by Monica Zinchiak to ensure the long-term success of the YPG program
    • Approved the creation of a Chapter Success Task Force mandate led by Abby Leafe as the Chair
    • Approved a 2016 spring International Conference Co-Chaired by Susan Abbott and Kendall Nash
    • Approved a January/February 2017 QRCA Annual Conference Co-Chaired by Kate Wagenlander and Jeff Walkowski

And, there is so much more I could share.  It’s been a privilege to serve alongside such a talented group of individuals, and I am sure that we will see even more great things accomplished in the year to come.  

The organization would not be where it is today, nor be able to continue, without the dedicated support of all our volunteers.  Thank you for this exciting opportunity to serve, and join me in congratulating and welcoming Monica Zinchiak as our incoming President!

Back to Top

jay zaltzman
Jay Zaltzman

Action! From the Board

Jay Zaltzman, QRCA Secretary,

I hope everyone’s enjoying their summer!  The Board is busy working on making membership more valuable.  We are excited about the work of the Chapter Success Task Force, about ways to make chapter meetings more appealing. 

We appreciate the great work being done by the Membership Committee, and based on its recommendation, have approved up to two years of free membership for graduate students in our field.

We are also excited to share that we have received 27 applications so far for the Young Professionals Grant for our 2015 annual conference and are looking forward to more.

And we approved Susan Sweet as future Co-Chair of the Industry Relations Committee.  When Susan completes her Board term in September, she will step into that role, joining Co-Chair Liz Van Patten, and replacing Rick Weitzer in the role.  Rick will continue to be involved with the committee.  Thanks, Rick, Liz and Susan!

Back to Top

shaili bhatt
Shaili Bhatt

Getting to Know Your Board

Shaili Bhatt,

When I joined QRCA in 2004, I was one of its youngest members at the time.  I presented a session on video editing to the audience at the annual conference that year (a thrill!), although I had everything to gain from the more experienced qualitative researchers from every corner of our association.

The depth and breadth of content from VIEWS magazine, Chapter meetings, QCasts, Connections and some of the best sessions from our annual conference charge my internal qual batteries and trigger new ideas that have shaped my work. I’ve attended conferences in Phoenix (2004), Beverly Hills (2005), Atlanta (2006), Vancouver (2007), Fort Lauderdale (2008), Barcelona (2008), Palm Springs (2009), Philadelphia (2010), Prague (2010), Las Vegas (2011), Montreal (2012), San Diego (2013), New Orleans (2014), and this year—to my Disney-heart’s delight—we will be in Orlando!

I’m a big fan of QRCA conferences.  I look forward to three jam-packed days of educational content.  It’s fun to attend sessions and workshops with rooms full of curious researchers, plus the case studies and vendor demonstrations are qualitative-focused and highly relevant to what we do.

Paralleling this mix of helpful refresher sessions, technology and brilliant new ideas, QRCA is also an association of personal connections.  Meeting new and long-time colleagues and discussing our qualitative specialties and experiences in person make it an educational and socializing paradise.

All of the hugs, smiles, pages of notes, dancing and cocktails…unlike other conferences, it remains non-profit and non-competitive, and I love it that way.  I always feel like my work is even stronger after I return from our annual qual-pilgrimages.

We are more than a Facebook group, more than a LinkedIn group, and more than a hashtag on Instagram or Twitter.  We are QRCA.

So many suppliers and organizations have come and gone since my first annual QRCA Conference, and our industry has encountered many new technologies and challenges.  Still, it’s rare to find a group of people that instantly connects the way that we do.

Rounding out my 12th year in our association, I see QRCA Leadership to be even more about giving back, listening and supporting our members and your goals. What do you want to see from QRCA?  What do you want to learn or teach?  Do you want to write an article for VIEWS magazine?  Do you want to present a client-facing Qcast next year?  Let’s make it happen!

Qualitative research is about people’s lives and choices.  Members like you, with above-average communication skills, dedication to the craft and your fun spontaneity, reflect our “excellence in qualitative research,” QRCA’s timeless tagline. I am so grateful that you found QRCA, and thank you for choosing to be a QRCA Member.

Whether or not you are currently (or were previously) volunteering in any of QRCA’s activities, I want you to know that the association appreciates your time and commitment to our community, and I hope that you will continue to identify as a QRCA Member for years to come!

I have one more year to serve on the QRCA Board of Directors, but I will always choose to be a QRCA Member.  With some wishful thinking, we will continue to meet—for example, at my 20th QRCA conference in 2023 and perhaps my 30th conference in 2033... For now, from one QRCA Member to another, I look forward to seeing you at the Annual Conference in Orlando this October!

Back to Top

Elect Your QRCA Board Members Now!

Shannon Pfarr Thompson,

The QRCA Nominating Committee is pleased to present a recommended slate of Board candidates to serve a two-year term.

The voting deadline is August 14, 2015. Please vote for a maximum of three Board candidates.

Already interviewed and carefully considered by the Nominating Committee based on their qualifications, each candidate has a platform statement and a short video for review. Please take a few minutes to review the candidates’ materials and cast your vote today.

Simply log in to vote.

Thanks in advance for taking the time to vote in this important election. QRCA belongs to you, and your elected directors help set the course of the association in the coming years.

If you have questions about the election process or ballot, email them to

Back to Top