connections member news

October 2014
Vol. 13, Number 8

QRCA Management News
Conference News
Chapter News
Committee News
Member News

Welcome New Members!

Please welcome QRCA’s newest members. Feel free to email new members directly and help them transition to our association. See someone from your home state? Consider reaching out to say “welcome” — one click and one minute of your time brings unmeasurable value to a new member.

Vicky Barsky

Left-hand Research
1851 W Berenice Ave
Chicago, IL 60613
United States

Jennifer Bauer

Philadelphia, PA
United States

Meghan Bazaman

7205 Hart Lane 2028
Austin, TX 78731
United States

Jacob Brown

Mozaic Group, Inc
378 Sausalito Blvd
Sausalito, CA 94965
United States

Lauren Cumming

Lux Insights, Inc.
Suite C, 15 Chesterfield Place
North Vancouver, BC V7M 3K3

Kim Day

Lieberman Research Group
6603 Colonial Ct
North Wales, PA 19454
United States

Debbie DiViesti-Sullivan

18 Howard Street
Cornwall, NY 12518
United States

Anna Field

Branding Science
11 Schalks Crossing Rd, Suite 626
Plainsboro, NJ 8536
United States

Cathy Forrest

CForrest Strategies, LLC
2145 44th Drive, Suite PHE
Long Island City, NY 11101
United States

Mike Gadd

Gadd Research Inc.
250 The Esplanade, Suite 305
Toronto, ON M4E 2N8

Cedrick Hached

Adhoc Research
1250 guy, 9th floor
Montreal, QC H3H2T4

Christine Haskell

Spark of Insight
111 First Ave So, Unit 605
Seattle, WA 98104
United States

Tiffany Hays

2147 Osburn Road
Arrington, TN 37014
United States

Steve Kalter

Acumen Marketing Research, Inc.
53 Reedy Meadow
Groton, MA 1450
United States

Shigeru Kishikawa

MROC Japan
Ichigaya Green Plaza 4F
3-4-2 Ichigaya Sadoharacho, Shinjuku-ku
Yubinbango, Tokyo 162-0842

Alvin Ty Law

PO Box 970188
Waipahu, HI 96797
United States

JB Scherpelz

Sivo Insights
18870 Rutledge Rd.
Wayzata, MN 55391
United States

Jennifer Spainhour

Spainhour Consulting Group
1332 W. Wolfram Street
Chicago, IL 60657
United States

Jin Zhao

INI international
Room 2204-2205, POLY-PLAZA,NO.9 Hua Qiang Road, Tia
Guangzhou, Guangdong 510630

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QuickTips: Getting Outside the Box

Roben Allong,

QuickTips is a monthly column for Connections, providing members with quick and easy (and cheap or free) ways of doing our work and living our lives. Give us your favorite shortcuts, high- to no-tech!  Please e-mail

When I was asked to write a QuickTips column, I thought I’d just jot down a few words about work/life balance.  Hey, it’s not rocket science.  But, truth be told, not too long ago I realized my own balance was out of whack.  I was trying to balance my checkbooks (business and personal), run a business, write discussion guides and reports, create presentations, answer client calls, make sales calls, answer emails, keep up with my blog, keep up my Twitter and Instagram accounts, create programming for the next QRCA NYC Chapter meeting, add to my skill box, stay relevant, keep in touch with friends, run my life, prune my garden—and did I mention network?—simultaneously!  Accomplishing all this from my “command center” home office just blows up any type of balance I am striving to achieve.   

So the solution I arrived at was to get outside of the box, literally and figuratively.  By far, the best money I’ve spent this year was attending the Creative Problem Solving Institute (CPSI) conference and renting office space at a local micro-business loft (Harlem Garage) in my neighborhood.  Micro-offices may be an urban phenomenon but I understand they are springing up all over.  You might want to check your local listings on Google; has a network in New York City, Chicago and Boston.

My own micro-office space is inexpensive, provides most of the comforts of a mid-size office, and is just a 10-minute walk from home.  Being away from household distractions in a new, modern, and quiet loft environment with other small business owners has helped increase my focus.  It’s also reduced my tendency to multi-task -  doing a bunch of household stuff and surfing the web when I should be doing my work. I keep nine-to-five office hours with an hour for lunch, as if I were in a corporate office.  Having fun areas to relax and breaks with (real) human interaction draws me away from the computer.

I also have room to conduct business meetings with multiple clients and colleagues in a hip, spacious environment.  There are lounge areas with leather couches, coffee tables, desks, conference areas with whiteboards, even hammocks and a coffee/lunch area with an espresso machine.  I do have lounge areas, a whiteboard, and even the espresso maker at home, but certainly not the multiple hammocks and conference room!  My point is that micro-offices have figured out how to mix work with play in a neat, accessible, and fun way.

Most of the businesses there are start-ups: brand strategy and design agencies, construction businesses, non-profits, etc.  Being able to network professionally and talk with other small business owners about their industries has not only opened the door to much-needed new relationship building, but has also opened my mind to new perspectives.  Ultimately, I think that makes me a better, more-informed, less-stressed researcher.

Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr: @trendiwendii

daniel berkal wedding daniel berkal wedding

Getting ready for the Annual Conference in New Orleans, October 15-17?  Click here for last month’s QuickTips feature by Frankie Johnson, “How to Get the Most Out of the QRCA Annual Conference” to help you prepare.

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Personal Connections: Call for Conference Selfies

Michelle Finzel,

The annual QRCA Conference is right around the corner, and we can't wait to see everyone!  Let's have some fun and show the folks at home what we're up to by taking selfies and sending them for publication in the Personal Connections section of November Connections. ( And, if you're at home, please do the same so we know what you were up to, too.)  I personally pledge to take a selfie while eating Beignets (because I really want to eat some authentic Beignets!)

Send in your selfie pics and a brief description of:

  • Who you're with
  • Where you are
  • How you are feeling
  • Who's photobombing you

Please send to

Thanks for helping us keep the fun of the Conference going strong!

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Michael Selz
Michael Selz

New Member Interview: Michael Selz, Dallas, TX

Mike Courtney,

Please tell us a little bit about you.  I'm guessing you were born young.  What is your earliest memory?
I had a plastic toy gun that, when you looked through the sight, you’d see a wild animal in a tree.  When you pulled the trigger, the slide would change to the animal on the ground.  I loved it then, but I shudder to think of it now.

Any childhood nicknames we should be aware of? 
None that you should be aware of. 

Who were you and what did you do before you got into marketing research?
An ad agency account guy.

What drew you to qualitative research?  Did you stumble into the field or was it your childhood dream to moderate?
I was a journalism major in college because I loved—and still love—to write.  With one foot (still) in the journalism world doing freelance, I got a job in a small ad agency and got my MBA in marketing.  After 12 years and three agencies, I realized I was much more interested in strategy—figuring out the message—than in shepherding ads through production.  And none of these places had planning groups, so when a friend started an ethnography practice, I jumped.  I loved it from go.

Please tell us about it about your company, what brought you to this company, and your role within the organization?
I got the entrepreneurial bug and left my last employer last April.  I am the president.  I also change the toner cartridge.

Is there a story behind your company name (Hummingbird Strategy)?  
I think hummingbirds are fascinating.  The honeysuckle in our backyard had just burst into bloom as I started working at home, and it was immediately set upon by these tiny relentless dive bombers of the bird world.  I also heard a radio segment around the same time about how tough hummingbirds are, punching way above their weight.  They dive in, drink deeply, and move on to do it again.  Just like a good strategist/moderator.

What’s it like in your office?  What do your co-workers talk about around the water cooler? (Do you have a water cooler?  Co-workers?  Pets?)
My dog is very happy to have someone nearby as she sleeps away the day.  I just have to be careful not to roll over her with my chair. 

Tell us about your typical day.  
I start at the gym, because no matter what else the day holds, that is a good thing.  Then I tackle the hardest stuff, because I am smartest in the morning, when the caffeine is still dancing in my brain.

Do you remember your first few moderating sessions?  If we were able to watch a video of that first session what would we see?
You’d see someone barely able to keep a group of crazed Chicago twenty-somethings on task as they were pre-gaming for a night out.  I learned a lot about pacing a group.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve encountered thus far as a qualitative researcher?  How have you managed (or overcome) this challenge?
I’m big on empathy. So, when I’m in a group, I’m listening hard to get to know them as well as I can.  It’s only afterwards that I see the connections that provide the best opportunities for a brand.

Imagine the government has given you access to the NSA database of consumer information to help you recruit the perfect respondents for an upcoming study—how would you use that information?
I wouldn’t.  I don’t need to conduct a sneak attack to get to the deep truths.

Imagine someone has created a clone of you, and the only thing left is to program the clone to act like you act.  What are the most important habits and attributes your clone needs to master?  What is the one thing that would tip off friends that it’s not really you?
My friends say that I am endlessly curious and collect an absurd amount of (useless?) information about everything—musical, cultural, political, anthropological.  So the clone better have gotten a liberal arts education.

What motivated you to join the QRCA and what do you hope to gain from your membership?
Networking and partnering.  I learn from the people around me.

What advice would you give others in the research industry who might be thinking about joining QRCA?
Can’t say yet.  But my first meeting was a blast.

Many industries, including qualitative research, have experienced significant changes over these last few years.  What do you imagine qualitative research and/or QRCA will look like in the year 2020?  Any predictions?
More use of science to augment what we learn face-to-face.

For you, the ice bucket challenge was… a brilliant piece of viral marketing that all my non-profit friends should learn from, instead of just resenting.

We locked you in a room and told you to watch YouTube videos for an hour—tell us what you would do.
I’d watch Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, RSA Animate lectures, PBS Idea Channel, and indie rock videos.

We are both in your favorite city with a day in-between groups.  What do we do?  Where do we stay?  Eat?
I am very food-involved, so I would already have a list—not necessarily the most expensive, but the most interesting. Also, a walking tour, even in Chicago when it’s 0 degrees.

What do your family and friends think about your career?  Do you find yourself moderating the family dinner discussion?  What would your family be like in a focus group?
My kids like that they understand what I do.  And they know the brands I work on.  And no, I do not moderate at dinner.  Do you think I’m crazy?

A new phone app coming out helps you double your brainpower for 7 hours each week—what do you use your super brain time for?
Memory improvement.

Its 6 a.m. on a Saturday, what are you doing?

Its 6 p.m. on a Saturday, what are you doing?
Cooking or planning to go out.

What books are you reading right now? (Real printed paper book or e-books?)
Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind. Paper.

Your approach to technology would best be described as… an enthusiast and early adopter.

Hypnotism and brain reprogramming are becoming useful tools, what bad habit or subconscious trait would you most like to change? 
A preference for morsels over mouthfuls.

You have just been invited on an all-expense paid trip to speak at a (non-research) conference, who is in the audience and what do you talk about?
How listening to out-there music has changed my life.

The final question: a client tells you they'll triple your project fee if you can beat them fair and square in a game.  You get to choose the game.  What game do you play and how likely are you to win?
Trivia.  I’d win.  Or be really disappointed in myself.

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QRCA Members Get Published!

Editor’s Note: QRCA has established many content partnerships that provide a platform for sharing the knowledge and expertise of our talented members, and QRCA members often contribute articles to industry publications. Each month, Connections would like to recognize those who have recently been published and share their articles with all members. Information provided by Laurie Pumper,

Recently published member articles:

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Kudos Corner

Editor’s Note: The Kudos Corner appears occasionally in Connections — whenever members want to publicly salute others who do good things for the organization. If there’s somebody in QRCA that YOU would like to commend for any contribution (large or small) to QRCA, please let us know at All submissions will go to the Editor-in-Chief of Connections and will be published anonymously.

This month’s Kudos...

A big thank you to Kendall Nash and Liz Van Patten who retired from their years of QRCA Board service in September.  Both Kendall and Liz shared their strategic thinking, creativity, wisdom and qualitative expertise with the board through many meetings over their respective three and four year terms, and their dedication and ideas have benefitted all QRCA members!
 Thanks to some important committees and task forces who have recently provided their research and recommendations to the board on a variety of important issues!

  • FieldCom, for their dedication and expertise in researching problem respondents and what QRCA can do to improve the industry.
  • TechCom, for conducting usability research with members on the QRCA website and making recommendations to the board for improvements.
  • The VIEWS Publisher Search Team: Shaili Bhatt, Jeffrey Jordan and Laurie Pumper for their amazing work in managing the request-for-proposals process, conducting interviews, and thoughtfully recommending a vendor to publish VIEWS. Kudos to Monica Zinchiak and Susan Saurage-Altenloh for providing their insights based on their experience during the last search.
kendall nash
Kendall Nash
Liz Van Patten
Liz Van Patten
Shaili Bhatt
Shaili Bhatt
Jeffery Jordan
Jeffrey Jordan
Monica Zinchiak
Monica Zinchiak
Susan Saurage Altenloh
Susan Saurage-Altenloh

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