connections management news

February 2016
Vol. 15, Number 1

QRCA Management News
Conference News
Chapter News
SIG News
Member News
monica zinchiak
Monica Zinchiak

From the President

Monica Zinchiak, monica@zresearchservices.com

The QRCA board of directors attended their annual strategic planning meeting early in January. We spent 48 hours directing the next two years of QRCA’s organizational initiatives. The take-aways from this meeting were numerous, and you will see many of the newest roll out in the coming year. Congratulations to all our volunteers who contributed to this meeting.

One of the main agenda items discussed in that meeting was enhancing member value through our chapters, SIGs and committees. Overall, membership is trending downward; the board was in agreement that local chapter health and stability is one of the keys areas to focus on, with the belief that this will increase member satisfaction. There was a lengthy discussion about encouraging chapters to think outside the box to create interesting meetings (or as I like to call them, chapter experiences) and figuring out how the Content Committee can help. Please voice your opinions and share your ideas with your chapter chairs. Enhance your knowledge and skill level by attending a local chapter meeting – there are at least 4 per year in most metro areas. Support the QRCA by sponsoring a colleague’s attendance and have them accompany you to a local chapter meeting.

What are some of the other ways you would like to see your membership increase in value on a local level? Drop me a line either on the Member Forum (see the QRCA Suggestion Box) or, if you don’t want your thoughts posted publically, you can contact me directly at Monica@zresearchservices.com. I look forward to hearing what’s on your mind.

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Corette Haf
Corette Haf

Action! From the Board

Corette Haf, QRCA Secretary, corette@qualonline.co.za

On behalf of the QRCA Board of Directors, we would like to wish all our members a very happy, healthy, and productive 2016! We trust you enjoyed the holidays, whether they were winter holidays in the northern hemisphere, or summer holidays as here in my part of the world in the southern hemisphere. Global warming seems to have been the common denominator with little snow and unusually high temperatures in North America and Europe, while we are suffering from a heat wave and severe drought conditions here in South Africa. As I am writing this though, the USA is bracing itself for the first blizzard of this winter and many parts of Southern Africa have been blessed with rain.

Towards the last week of January I escaped from my local 40 degree Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) climate to attend the annual extended in-person board meeting. This was held in Secaucus, New Jersey, where we enjoyed the hospitality of our Vice President, Manny Schrager, and his staff at Consumer Centres. The Board met 10 - 12 January 2016 and discussed current business including the 2016 strategic plan and budget. We are excited to share the following decisions with members (these include decisions taken at our 21 December meeting, which occurred after the deadline of the last issue of Connections):

  • The 2015 Annual Conference Committee executed yet another successful conference that came in slightly ahead of budget projections.
  • The initial 2016 budget was approved.
  • Discounted membership pricing for researchers from low GDP countries was institutionalized. This is a great benefit for international members from countries with weaker economies. Please help us to promote this to your international network. The GDP adjusted dues can be found on the QRCA website.
  • In the previous issue we shared the decision to create a Content Committee to curate and manage the content for QRCA entities (as recommended by the Chapter Success Taskforce). We are now happy to announce that Roben Allong is the new Content Committee Chair.
  • The Membership Committee is going to focus on LinkedIn and how to optimally leverage that discussion group.
  • The Marketing Committee is hard at work and, at present, focusing on marketing the upcoming Worldwide Conference that will take place in Vienna on 13 - 15 April 2016. The majority of board members are planning to attend this event and look forward to seeing you there. Registration is open now. If you have not yet attended one of these worldwide conferences, this is the ideal year to do so. Remember that apart from early bird discounts for all, researchers from lower GDP countries and attendees from all our industry partner organizations will benefit from discounted pricing.
  • We are committed to promoting our conferences, both the annual conference as well as the worldwide conference, widely to non-members who qualify to attend.
  • Due to the cost of international shipping, international members did not receive the last few copies of VIEWS. Our international members, however, reported that they missed this benefit and it was decided to reinstate mailing copies to all members. Members who prefer to read the digital copy will have the opportunity to opt out of this postal delivery.
  • Planning for the revamped Qualitative Excellence Award was presented and approved. The first winners of the revamped award will be presented at the January 2017 conference. Watch out for the announcement of the full details to follow soon.
  • Ewald staff are available to provide enhanced support for chapters and SIGs, in particular to relieve their administrative and financial management. This will be presented to Chapter and SIG leaders in more detail at the next quarterly meetings.

Our next monthly conference call meeting is scheduled to take place on Monday 22 February.

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Kathy Doyle
Kathy Doyle

A Look Back... and Forward

Kathy Doyle, kdoyle@doyleresearch.com

As a new member of the board and a person whom many of you may not know, I wanted to share some background. I live on the north shore in Chicago, IL, within two blocks of Lake Michigan, and have recently become an empty-nester. I was warned about how lonely it would be, and how adrift I would feel. Wrong. Perhaps something is wrong with me, but I like it! And it has given me some extra time to give back by joining the QRCA board.

I have been a member of QRCA for over 25 years. In that time, I have seen our industry change in ways that are so dramatic it's hard to believe they have occurred in my lifetime.

When I started my business in 1986, it was me and my father, a fax machine, a typewriter with carbon paper, and just the beginning of an awareness of something called the Internet. The competition was minimal – especially if you were willing to step inside a focus group room with kids! I literally outfitted facilities around the US with colorful pillows so I could sit on the floor at kids’ eye level. Radical! Clients were amazed.

The life of a qualitative researcher was a life on the road. QRCA conference speakers shared tips and tricks for surviving the travel and making the most of the opportunities that travel brought. After groups, clients would want to go out for dinner and drinks – and this was when groups routinely finished at 10pm. I recall one outing where the client insisted on going to a bar with a glass dance floor, with pacing lions below while patrons danced above their heads. It was very hard to get up the next morning and talk to seniors about laxatives...

That was also a time when you could come squealing into an airport 15 minutes before your flight, race down the hall to the gate, and hop on the plane. I know… I did it many times. It’s hard to imagine pulling that off today, even with TSA Pre-check!

Today the life of a researcher – at least at Doyle Research where we have embraced online and mobile methods – looks very different.Travel is minimal, and there are times where we never meet the client. In fact, sometimes we have to make a concerted effort to get them to even speak to us on the phone! Water cooler conversation now focuses on how to build a relationship with clients you may only ever meet virtually. And yet... mobile and online research have created unprecedented opportunity to really understand a respondent's life, day to day and over time, that simply was not possible before. At least not within the budget and time constraints of most of our clients.

The business aspects of our profession are much more challenging than they used to be. For someone who fits the profile of a qualitative researcher who really doesn’t like to write, the need for constant content marketing creates heartburn. And procurement... not my favorite business change! They don’t know what we do, and really don’t care what we do. What they care about is getting the best possible price, and enforcing the worst possible payment terms.

However, the QRCA has been a part of my life through all of the changes in our industry. I have been able to stay abreast of trends, learn best practices, make new friends who know what I do, and meet new vendors who have gone on to become valued partners. It is our challenge as a board to continue to offer our members a vital organization that is embracing change while treasuring our past; welcoming new members from across the globe; recognizing that the digital generation has very different needs and expectations than those of us from the “boomer” generation; and elevating our profession across the broader market research community. I’m glad to be a part of that mission!

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