connections conference news

November 2016
Vol. 15, Number 9

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

Our QRCA Conference Is Now Three Full Days — Epic from Start to Finish!

Kate Wagenlander Watson,
Jeff Walkowski,

Have you registered for the annual conference in L.A. this coming January? Early bird discounts are available through December 19 at

Traditionally, our conference lasted two and a half days, beginning on Wednesday afternoon and ending on Friday afternoon. But this year, we are officially beginning the conference on Wednesday morning — giving you a whole extra half day of perspective-altering content. What will we be doing on Wednesday morning to make it a full three-day conference? So glad you asked!

  • Time change! The Marketplace (vendor exhibit hall) opens at 8:30 A.M.
  • New! A light continental breakfast and a light lunch will be served in the Marketplace.
  • Another time change! First-timers will meet their Ambassadors on Wednesday morning instead of Wednesday afternoon.
  • Back by popular demand! Two years ago, Demo Connections was offered as an option for those who arrived early. Demo Connections is a showcase for four vendors to present their wares in a large-group format. This is a must-see set of presentations from vendors in a totally no-pressure environment. At press time, three vendors have been confirmed: Interactive Video Productions, QualVault, and VoxPopMe.

Once lunch is finished, the “regular” awesome educational programming begins. This conference has been carefully curated to provide a beginning, middle, and end for all attendees, but you need to stay till the end to get that full-circle experience. And trust us, you really want to!

We will kick off and conclude with sessions which highlight perspectives from outside of our professional bubble. We start with inspiration from Teen Press organizers and students (, and we end with lessons from Urban Confessional (, which specializes in the magic of “Free Listening.” Consider these two sessions the bookends of the conference. Not familiar with either? They truly epitomize the theme of this conference regarding the power of perspective and we can’t wait to share them, and all of the other spectacular content, with you!

Capping things off at the very end, there will be a workshop that will enable all attendees to harness the insights and energy from these three intense days into nuggets that will fuel our re-entry into the post-conference real world.

So, if you’re wondering whether you should stay till the very end, the answer is clear — yes, yes, YES!

Likewise, if you’re wondering whether to come in on Tuesday, the answer is another resounding YES! Plans are being made for those who arrive early on Tuesday to get together for dinner.

So, please plan your travel to take in the entire conference experience — from Tuesday night through Friday.

We cannot wait to see you in L.A.!

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A Conference Unlike Any Other: Getting at Humanity

Kendall Nash,
Mark Sumpter,

January is just around the corner — are you ready for three days of the most unique, mind-stretching content ever presented at a qualitative conference?

We’ve mentioned the exciting kick-off experience with the Teen Press, featuring John Seigel Boettner, the Chief Enchantment Officer, and two of the students highlighted in their film. John will share his passion for why he created this program, discuss how the key principles align with the mission of QRCA, and will push us to strive for the moment when a conversation becomes human. The kids will even put their skills to practice. Yes, we are turning the tables and one of you may be selected from the audience to be the participant! We encourage you to check out the short Teen Press film introduction at

Brian Gottlieb, a former political pollster and campaign strategist, will share lessons learned from political campaigns and how he has applied those to some of the largest Fortune 500 brands in the world. Brian will walk us through the 2016 election season and the insights he gained from research about the candidates, dive into examples of challenges and opportunities that arose in the qualitative research long before quantitative polls, and draw from campaigns he has worked on to show how qualitative research is the canary in the political coal mine and what campaigns can do when the canary sings. Attendees will leave with an understanding of how applying a political-style research protocol to a brand and market approach can lead to a desirable campaign strategy and better insights.

Previous articles have showcased speakers from outside of QRCA and outside of the qualitative research industry; but our conference is dominated by our own members, and they have incredible things heading your way. Here are just a couple!

pam goldfarb liss
Pam Goldfarb Liss

Pam Goldfarb Liss will show us ways to stretch research tools to provide clients the best possible access to ideas, in turn making you a more valuable consultant. She’ll cover more commonly used qualitative tools, as well as what’s new, and will have us viewing all of our tools as clay to form around objectives. The best way to do this is to channel Art Clokey, the creator of Gumby, who pioneered Claymation in the early 1950s. Come learn how to effectively use these tools to get to the humanity of your clients’ objectives and become a more nimble consultant.

Anya Zadrozny

After three days of a crazy amount of new ideas, it’s easy for people to feel overload. Your head is full of new techniques and perspectives, and you’re feeling inspired and motivated by your fellow conference attendees. However, finding the time, resources, and motivation to implement your new learning can feel like a daunting and impractical task, especially once you are back to your normal routine. Don’t worry! We will send you home with some help to put these ideas into practice immediately. Anya Zadrozny will close the conference by helping each of us leave Los Angeles with a personalized plan of action. Anya will share proven methods and tools to implement new learning (even the great things we learn or pick up outside of conferences), and offer ways to maintain your motivation now and throughout the year. We’ll also have an opportunity to share with each other the pieces of gold we’ve picked up throughout the conference.

Are you prepared to stretch your mind? To learn from others on reaching that human moment in our conversations that give us the deepest, richest insights? We hope you are as excited to attend in January as we are! Please check out the 2017 Annual Conference page for a complete session schedule and descriptions.
We look forward to seeing you in L.A.!

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