connections management news

March 2015
Vol. 14, Number 2

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

Membership Expansion Bylaws Voting Now Open; Annual Conference Moves to Q1

Mark Sumpter,

Membership Expansion Task Force Recommendations Are Now a Proposed Bylaws Change Vote

All members now have the opportunity to vote on a bylaws change for membership expansion. Please read additional information and vote.

As you may recall, the Membership Expansion Task Force (METF) did extensive research with our members in 2014, presented the findings at the Annual Conference in New Orleans, and recommended to the Board that the QRCA bylaws be changed based on the learning from their research. To recap, here is what they learned from our membership:

  • Generally speaking, membership is open to expanding the current requirement for QRCA membership.
  • Most important to membership is protecting our current culture, which drove opinions on who should/should not be considered for membership.
  • Areas recommended for expansion:
    • Including Academics is a “No-Brainer.” College professors and graduate students who teach research or conduct QR are readily accepted both qualitatively and quantitatively. Academics are seen as experts who add a theoretical counterweight to our speed-oriented client focus, and most feel this group would not change the culture of QRCA.
    • Other QR consultants, such as those in product design, branding strategy, and user experience who primarily practice QR are considered similar to current QRCA members in many respects, thus garnering more support than opposition. They are less threatening to QRCA’s culture because most members do not consider them to be clients and believe that they take an unbiased approach to research, much as our current membership does.
  • Areas recommended against expansion:
    • Allowing Ad Agency researchers to join was seen as a “conundrum” because they are often viewed as potential clients, but also as exciting “new blood” that could reinvigorate QRCA. However, this was the most polarizing group with those opposing inclusion vehemently opposed (believing they conduct biased research and will change our culture), and those in support expressing strong desire for including (they can tell a brand story well and would bring new ideas to QRCA).
    • Client-side qualitative researchers are a non-starter. Most feel this group would change the dynamics of the organization and are opposed to including them as members.

As a result, the Board approved the task force’s recommendations to bring to a member vote the expansion of our membership criteria to include:

  • Academics – including instructors and graduate students who instruct and/or specialize in the conduct and analysis of qualitative research;
  • Other qualitative research consultants in strategy or product/service development firms who primarily practice qualitative research.

I thank the METF for their excellent research and to all of you for your active and lively participation in this topic. As promised, the Board is opening this for a membership vote. The opportunity to participate in this vote will remain open through the end of March, and a reporting of the results will be shared in April.

VOTE NOW: Please click here for more information and to vote. Voting will remain open through the end of March.

Annual Conference Timing to Change from Q4 to Q1
The Board of Directors has approved a change in the timing of the QRCA Annual Conference, moving it to the first quarter of the calendar year beginning in 2017. This decision was not made lightly and took into consideration several key factors.

  • Each year the organization continues to hear from membership that Q4 is a busy time for their business and conversely that Q1 would be a better option.
  • We face greater difficulty each year in securing a conference location within our budget and in locations members indicate a willingness to go.
  • October is the most popular month for events in the hotel industry overall, and there are several competing industry events in the fall.
  • Q1 is not only a desired time of year for our conference (per a 2011 member survey on conference timing), but January and February have historically not had any competing industry events.

After our 2015 Annual Conference in Orlando, October 7-9, the next Annual Conference will be held in early 2017. There will be no QRCA Annual Conference in 2016 to accommodate this four-month shift.

As always, the Board wants to hear from you. Please feel free to reach out to Shannon or me with thoughts, questions, or new ideas! And, be sure to log on now and vote for the proposed bylaws change. Please click here for more information and to vote.

In your service,

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jay zaltzman
Jay Zaltzman

Action! From the Board

Jay Zaltzman, QRCA Secretary,

The Board has been busy, but first of all, I want to make sure no one misses this: IT’S TIME TO VOTE on the bylaws change for MEMBERSHIP EXPANSION.  Please vote! Click here to do so. Bylaws changes are important and we want to make sure members are heard. The proposed bylaws change would allow two new categories of people to be QRCA members: qualitative researchers in strategy or product/service development firms (up until now, you had to specifically work at a research company to become a member); and academics who specialize in qualitative research. Click here for more information and to vote. It would be great if we could get every single QRCA member to vote, to make sure our bylaws reflect the desires of our membership. 

In other news: you’ve heard we’re going to be moving our conference to January-February, right? Our 2015 conference is still in Orlando this October, and then the next conference will take place in the beginning of 2017. Somewhere warm ... which should be a welcome change for those of you who live, well, anywhere other than the Southwest or Florida!

What will you do in 2016, you ask? How will you get by without a QRCA conference?  Never fear! We will have the Worldwide Conference on Qualitative Research in April 2016. You know how you always wanted to go to our conference in Europe but couldn’t go to two conferences in a year? Now’s your chance! And with Susan Abbott and Kendall Nash at the helm, you know it’s going to be a good one. I can’t wait to find out where it’s going to take place.

What else have we been doing? We’ve been working with the Conference Committee on a great schedule for the Orlando conference. The Chapter Success Task Force is getting started with Abby Leafe leading the charge.  And we have extended our management contract with our favorite hard-working Minnesotans, Ewald Consulting!

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rick weitzer
Rick Weitzer

Call to Vote from Membership Expansion Task Force

Rick Weitzer, METF Chair,

Please click here to learn more and vote.

Last year, the Membership Expansion Task Force (METF) conducted extensive research in order to determine our members’ reaction to expanding the criteria for membership in QRCA. While we found considerable resistance to allowing client-side and agency researchers to join, we did find a great deal of consensus around the idea of opening membership to these two groups:

Academics, including instructors and graduate students who instruct and/or specialize in the conduct and analysis of qualitative research; and

Other qualitative research consultants in strategy or product/service development firms who primarily practice qualitative research.

After presenting these recommendations to the Board – and gaining their approval – our bylaws now require that our members approve these changes before they can take effect  And because we need at least 30 percent of our members to cast their ballots, I would like to encourage all members to please click here to learn more and vote as soon as possible. How you vote is up to you.

I want to thank our Task Force for their six months of service on our behalf, conducting three separate research studies (two qual and one quant) in order to determine the level of inclusion that our membership truly wishes to have.

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monica zinchiak
Monica Zinchiak

Getting to Know Your Board

Monica Zinchiak,

Talking about myself has never been a comfortable practice for me. I prefer understanding over being understood. I am perfectly suited for my chosen profession. 

In my past contributions to Connections, I have always centered my writing on QRCA, hoping my passion for this special group of people has come through, while avoiding writing about myself. This is my fifteen-year anniversary with QRCA and I can hardly even believe it. In its own mysterious way this organization has strengthened me, both professionally and personally. I cannot say it any more simply than that.

Confession: even typing this short note feels very awkward for me. Having to write about oneself is even worse than having to listen to one’s voice on tape. So instead of writing 500 words more about myself I thought I would give you 15 images to view: a snapshot of sorts that captures some of my life outside of QRCA.

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