connections conference news

December 2015
Vol. 14, Number 10

QRCA Management News
Conference News
Chapter News
Committee News
SIG News
Member News

Worldwide Conference Committee Update

Susan Abbott,

Our speaker sub-committee (Susan Sweet, Pat Sabena, Sarah Davies) will shortly notify invited presenters for the upcoming April 2016 Vienna conference. More than 70 strong proposals were presented, making for difficult decisions and lively debates!! The program will feature speakers from 12 countries and four continents.

We thank everyone who submitted proposals for their creativity and responding to the invitation to be edgy and forward thinking.

The sponsorship sub-committee (Nikki Lavoie, Katrina Noelle, Martha Llobet, Mark Sumpter) is also off to a fantastic start. Three sponsors are already on board! The coveted spots are expected to go quickly. Be sure to remind favorite suppliers we would love to see them in Vienna as either a sponsor or with a trade-show booth.

To see what is available, check out the Sponsorship Registration page for information and a PDF download.

The marketing sub-committee (Foster Winter, Pam Goldfarb-Liss, Peter Lovett) mobilized social media support on LinkedIn and Twitter that led to the abundance of papers for the speaker sub-committee.

The focus of this sub-committee will be on inbound content marketing, with speakers invited to help providing compelling content even before the conference starts.  Stay tuned, and be sure to follow @wwqual on Twitter to stay current.

Our interactivity committee of one (Rebecca Bryant) is investigating unique opportunities for cultural immersion in the life of Vienna.

And, we are pleased to announce conference pricing for members will be the same as in 2014. For the first time, discounts will be offered to attendees from specific countries to make the conference more affordable to a global audience. Full conference pricing will be announced shortly.

In short, a fabulous group of volunteers is doing most of the work, with Co-Chairs Susan Abbott and Kendall Nash happy to bask in the reflected light of the team! 

Finally: A special shout out to our Board liaisons, Mark Sumpter and Jay Zaltzman, as well as the staff team led by Julie Cygan and Shannon Pfarr-Thompson.

Susan Abbott and Kendall Nash, Co-chairs, Worldwide Conference



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A World of Thanks to the 2015 Conference Committee

Kelly Heatly,, and Chris Kann,, Conference Co-Chairs

What a wonderful whole new world of research we all experienced in Orlando in October!

QRCA Conference     QRCA Conference     QRCA Conference

This amazing conference would not have been possible without the creativity, talent, and hard work of our amazing conference committee.  This dedicated team volunteered their time to make sure attendees received a conference full of discovery, innovation, and imagination.

Thank You to the following:

  • Jeff Walkowski, Kate Wagenlander, and the speaker committee for lining up an incredible mix of presenters and topics;
  • Katrina Noelle and her fabulous sponsorship committee for pulling together sponsors and exhibitors to enhance our learning/networking experience;
  • Isabel Aneyba and Pascal Patenaude for warmly welcoming our first-timers and matching them with ambassadors at an entertaining “speed dating” event;
  • Glenn Naphy for setting up session hosts and speaker liaisons to assist and introduce our wonderful presenters;
  • Kaylor Hildenbrand and Anne Hooper for kicking off the conference on Tuesday night with the fun Early Arrivals Dinner;
  • Claire Klages and Margaret Mariani for making us reservations at Orlando’s best restaurants on Wednesday and Friday nights, promoted by Diane Harris on Pinterest;
  • Alicia Menanteau for taking us on a golf course walk and lazy river workout at Healthy Connections events on Thursday and Friday mornings;
  • Tom Rich for lining up a dozen Roundtables of thought-provoking topics led by engaging leaders;
  • Steve Appel and Casey Bernard for relentlessly and creatively marketing our event through industry outreach and social media;
  • Mark Sumpter, our board liaison, who helped us make important decisions throughout the planning process.

And, of course, our conference would not be possible without our invaluable Ewald team: Conference Planners Julie Cygan and Bridget Fox; assisted by Darrin Hubbard, Nicki Brunner, and QRCA Director Shannon Pfarr-Thompson.

Chris and Kelly

Thank you very much!  Muchas gracias!  Merci beaucoup!

Chris & Kelly

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Inside the Mind of a First Time QRCA Conference Attendee

Margaret Mariani,

Thank you, fellow QRCA members, for the warm welcome at this year’s annual QRCA conference in Orlando.  As a newbie to the organization and as a first-time conference attendee, you genuinely and instantly made me feel a part of the QRCA family. I hope to pass along this same spirit to the next set of newbies who will join us in Vienna in 2016 and LA in 2017.

The conference was highly informative, inspiring, and energizing. Coming from the account planning discipline at advertising agencies, the conference reminded me of the good ol’ APG (Account Planning Group) conferences from the early 2000s. I have such fond memories from the APG conferences: we’d have these interactive work sessions that would be so packed that you’d sit on the ground just so you could be a part of them. And at APG, we’d open up our personal toolboxes and share our techniques and methodologies rather than boasting about our best case studies and award wins. It was raw, personal, and genuine. Thankfully, that’s how the QRCA conference felt for me. It felt real and honest — that’s something special.

Presenters, you all did a stellar job. It’s not easy being up there in front of your colleagues — for over an hour in some cases — sharing your point of view. Some of the presenters who specifically resonated with me were our keynote Gert Garman, the futurist Andy Hines, and creative idea protector Peter Totman. Gert energized me with her humor and world of possibility thinking. Andy taught me his master's futurist class in only an hour and a half! And Peter provided me with a framework and theory for how I was already approaching advertising optimization research — appreciative inquiry.  And we all sound smarter when we can add words of theory to our practice. 

So from this first-time conference attendee and QRCA newbie, thank you. You’ve reaffirmed my decision to fly solo as a full-time moderator, qualitative researcher, and brand strategist. You’ve welcomed me into your fold. And you’ve energized me by your spirit of sharing. Cheers to Vienna and LA!

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Upcoming US and International Conferences and Events

Karin Curran,

The QRCA International Chapter wants to encourage all members to get out and meet up. Members may be aware of events and conferences in their own countries, but less aware of those held elsewhere. So we will attempt to scour the web and our resources to collate a list of upcoming events of potential interest to QRCA members that can be easily reviewed should you want to extend your network, expand your skills, or just have a great reason to avoid the weather in your home town.

We are running sections in the QRCA Forum and in LinkedIn for people who are attending (or thinking of attending) any of these. Hopefully, knowing that other QRCA members will be there will prompt meet-ups and increased attendance. If you are going to an event, log onto the Forum or LinkedIn and let everyone know.

So to get started, here is the list of conferences in the first few months of 2016 that seemed interesting.

Dates Name Theme/More Info Organization Location
Jan. 25-27 2016 CEO Summit Website MRA South Beach, Florida
Jan. 28 Kids and Youth Research: Research Impact Website MRSUK London, UK
Jan. 28-29 Maghreb and Africa Market Research Summit (MAMRS) Website Moroccan Market Reseach Association (AMISE) Casablanca, Morocco
Feb. 1-3 The Media Insights & Engagement Conference

Embracing the New Paradigm: The Year of Multi-Cultural, Multi-Generational & Multi-Platform


IIRUSA Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Feb. 3-4 Pharma Market Research Conference Website   Parsippany, NJ
Feb. 23-24 The Quirks Event

Big ideas. Real-world solutions.


  Brooklyn, NY
Feb. 25 Consumer Health and Wellbeing

Using Research to Engage New Audiences, Identify New Opportunities and Deliver Responsive Propositions to Empowered Healthcare Consumers


MRSUK London, UK
Feb. 29-Mar. 2 ePharma Website IIRUSA New York City, NY
Mar. 8-9 MENAP Forum 2016: From Transformation... to Activation Website ESOMAR Dubai, UAE
Mar. 15-16 MRS Annual Conference Website MRSUK London, UK
Mar. 29-30 CASRO Digital Research Conference Website CASRO Austin, Texas
Apr. 4-6 Fuse Miami



IIRUSA Miami, Florida
Apr. 10-12 Latin America 2016: Research Renovation Website ESOMAR Bogota, Colombia
Apr. 13-15 QRCA Worldwide Conference

Leading Beyond: Symphony of Transformative Thinking and Discovery


QRCA Vienna, Austria
May 17-19 Asia Pacific: 2016: Get Connected! Website ESOMAR Tokyo, Japan
Jun. 1-3 2016 Marketing & Research Conference

Venture Through the Looking Glass


LIMRA Orlando, Florida


We compiled this list through our best efforts. It does not include all events that might be relevant and inclusion is not a QRCA endorsement of quality. If you know of anything we missed from this list or want to make sure an event is included in a future list, please email and let her know.

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