connections management news

June 2014
Vol. 13, Number 5


QRCA Management News
Conference News
Chapter News
Committee News
SIG News
Member News
kendall nash
Kendall Nash

From the President

Kendall Nash, Kendall.Nash@burke.com

It’s hard to put into words how impactful, thought-provoking, and incredibly fun the AQR/QRCA 7th Biennial Worldwide Conference on Qualitative Research in Budapest, Hungary was. As one amazing speaker after another presented both up front and in fantastic poster sessions, I found myself scribbling notes about things to explore more for deeper understanding, things to implement immediately, ideas and people to connect with, and inspirational thoughts that I fully expect to bubble into something more for me—either professionally or personally—in the year to come. 

There were so many highlights for me, from the theoretical to the practical. A key theme I flew home with was the notion of the two-way relationship we have with our participants. I’ve always known I was lucky to do what I do for a living and have always valued the people, our willing participants, who I learn so much from in every project. But a key theme that ran throughout the conference was the idea of disclosure, and of sharing a piece of ourselves with our participants. It really got me thinking about my own personal approach and has motivated me to make some changes in the relationship I have with my participants. Plenty more to come on that topic in the future!

Getting in-context and really working with consumers was another topic of inspiration for many. Some of us do a lot of in-context work, but the bounds of what that looks like are being pushed forward. Clients passionately desire these close encounters— and getting people in a different frame of mind for sharing is yielding rich, real insights. I also appreciated the discussions around behavioral economics and semiotics, and I appreciated getting beyond theoretical discussions and into the practical. 


Simon Patterson

Foster Winter

Julie Cygan

Darrin Hubbard

After an intense day full of great content on Thursday, we had a chance to kick back for a dinner cruise on the amazing Danube River.  It was a special event and required me to pause and consider the amazing opportunity I had at that moment, surrounded by inspiring people with a backdrop like no other. Many thanks to Marta Hoffman for helping us identify and organize this exceptional event.

And we simply can’t miss this opportunity to again thank the conference committee, led by Foster Winter (QRCA) and Simon Patterson (AQR). The speakers who were exceptional, and the sponsors who made it feasible and the marketing and digital coordination that made it visible and engaging were all the products of committee members who invested in making this an event that impacted everyone in attendance. Thank you to Julie Cygan and Darrin Hubbard from Ewald Consulting for making this a seamless event, and to everyone who gave their time and energy to make it such a success.

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Monica Zinchiak
Monica Zinchiak

Action! From the Board

Monica Zinchiak, QRCA Secretary, Monica@zresearchservices.com

The Board of Directors met May 19, 2014, via conference call to take care of the organization’s monthly business. Updates to report from this meeting include:

  • We currently have 729 members; 50 fewer than last year at this time.  
  • The Annual Conference Speaker Committee has finalized the selection of presenters and the agenda is posted online. Special thanks to the committee for taking the care to find such outstanding speakers.
  • The Board approved a Website Content Evaluation Task Force with Jennifer Dale as Chair. Many thanks to Jennifer for heading this committee.
  • The Board is in the process of making the final selection of a publisher to produce the print and online versions of QRCA VIEWS.
  • The Board is currently drafting a RFP to address our redefined marketing needs and is looking for guidance with this effort. If you have knowledge and time to help with this task, please contact Kendall Nash or Shannon Pfarr Thompson
  • The Young Professionals Grant (YPG) application is live on the website.
  • The deadline for applications for the Global Outreach Scholarship for 2014 has passed. Good luck to the committee in selecting the recipients! 

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Getting to Know Your Board

Susan Sweet, susan@sweetinsightgroup.com

Editor’s Note: Each month, one Board member contributes an article to Connections on a topic of his or her choice. In this way, members get to know their Board of Directors a bit better.

For me, QRCA is all about personal and professional growth.

Like many of my fellow qualitative research consultants, I’m insatiably curious and I have a relatively short attention span, yet I’m always working towards personal and business growth. It’s evidenced whenever I look at my email inbox, my online “Favorites” tab, my Twitter feed, or the notes on my desk.


Susan Sweet with Kendall Nash and Pat Sabena in Budapest

The “reading nook” at Sweet Insight Group

At the moment, I’m attempting to read three books simultaneously, and I have several others that I reference constantly for inspiration.  I read blogs, participate in webinars, join online discussions, and attend conferences. “Quallies” like me never had so much access to such great content to help us stay on the leading edge of the industry. In fact, it can be overwhelming.

This is where QRCA comes in. QRCA members are my favorite content curators, sources of inspiration, teachers, students, confidantes, and friends. We have the best content in the qualitative industry, period. Our webinars (shout out to Qcasts and our awesome SIGs!) are some of the best available anywhere. Our LinkedIn forum has over 8,000 members, and both thought-provoking and practical threads are going at any moment. Our own QRCA Member Forum offers the most candid and helpful advice around—far deeper and more specific than anyone is willing to share on the “public” LinkedIn forum (use this resource!). And we put on the best conferences.

I had the benefit of attending multiple conferences in the past year and I can say, without a doubt, that the QRCA Annual Conference in San Diego and the AQR-QRCA joint conference in Budapest both provided me with graduate-level learning in advanced qualitative research skills, as well as help in running and growing my business. They also provided me with the opportunity to meet, connect, and share with some amazing people. QRCA members are the absolute best when it comes to helping one another, be it someone to commiserate with about a client situation, brainstorm ideas for a tricky project challenge, or celebrate the smallest victory. QRCA is filled with smart, hilarious, compassionate people, and I feel grateful to be part of it.

I’ve been a member of QRCA for 18 straight years. (That is not a typo!) I served a term on the Board of Directors more than 10 years ago, and I’m about to enter my second year of Board service yet again. Since I’m now an “old timer” I feel compelled to share some unsolicited advice. Here it is: get involved!

I encourage you to try something new this year—become part of a Special Interest Group, join a Committee or Task Force, contribute to a thread on our QRCA Forum, write an article for VIEWS magazine or Connections, submit a proposal to speak at our Conference, attend a local or online Chapter meeting, or make plans to be in New Orleans this October. Let your own curiosity be your guide and either dip your toes or jump in with both feet! Getting involved is the best way for you to experience maximum personal and professional growth through your membership. (And if I can assist with that in any way, please reach out to me or any other member of the Board and we’ll make sure you get connected. We’d love to help!)

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