connections conference news

October 2015
Vol. 14, Number 8

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

Are You Packed and Ready for the Conference?

Kelly Heatly,
Chris Kann,
Conference Co-Chairs

2015 qrca conference

The Annual Conference is coming up quickly!  You are in for a wonderful education-packed and fun-filled three days.  We would like to provide a packing list to help you prepare for your trip to Orlando …

  • Business cards to exchange with the many new colleagues, exhibitors, and sponsors you will meet; heck, you might even win a prize from one of the 20+ exhibitors!
  • Notepad or smart device for taking notes at the breakout sessions and roundtable discussions you have an opportunity to attend. You’ll be choosing from 27 incredible presenters, 7 session tracks, and 12 relevant roundtable topics.
  • Words of wisdom and enthusiasm to share at the First-Timers/Ambassadors “speed-dating” event.
  • “Glow” party attire and/or dancing shoes for the Thursday night “A Glow New World” party.
  • Athletic shoes and swimsuit for Healthy Connections – the walking trail on Thursday morning and the Lazy River walk upstream on Friday morning.
  • Undivided attention for the Demo Connections on Wednesday morning and keynote Gert Garman on Friday at lunch; prepare to be amazed and inspired.
  • Your appetite, some cash and/or credit card to enjoy dinner at Orlando’s best restaurants during the Dine-Arounds on Wednesday and/or Friday nights, plus the Tuesday night Early Arrivals dinner.
  • Power cords to charge up your smart phones so you can take selfies and post to social media to capture every fun moment in Orlando!

And if you haven’t registered yet, then it’s not too late. Click here:

See you in Orlando!

2014 conference photos courtesy of Babbletype

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2015 QRCA Conference Featured Speaker – Dynamic Creativity Expert Gert Garman

Chris Kann,

gert garmanThis year’s conference is inspired by our Orlando location, a seat of imagination and creativity. The breakout sessions and speakers will take you deeper into your own understanding of your creative potential, and we’ll help you get there with the assistance of our dynamic keynote speaker, Gert Garman, Director of the Collaborative Design Center at Valencia College in Orlando. 

“Absolutely everyone is creative; they just need to be properly inspired.” – Gert Garman

Attitude is key when it comes to creativity, according to Gert. You don’t have to be great at improvisation or especially flamboyant to be creative. It’s more important to demonstrate freshness, curiosity and playfulness — some key characteristics that help to create fertile soil for the seeds of creativity. Try integrating these characteristics into your daily life, and you’ll see the improvement in your own creative thinking and problem-solving process.

As both a student and teacher of the creative process, Gert will help redefine people’s perceptions about creativity, or “disruptive thinking.” While many consider arts and crafts the pinnacle of creativity, Gert reminds clients regularly that putting together a well-executed brand strategy, research project, spreadsheet or legal brief also requires a type of creativity that brings value and competitive advantage to companies every day! A regular speaker and attendee on the Florida Creativity Conference circuit, Gert likes nothing more than to be with others who enjoy pushing the creativity envelope to new heights.

“Working for Disney was an amazing experience” – Gert Garman

In working for Disney Destinations as a creativity and innovation catalyst, Gert had the opportunity to be trained and travel with the Cast Members all over the world to spread the Disney magic. Considered one of the most innovative companies in the world, she will share some of the details of her experiences and takeaways from her time working with Mickey.

“You will be infused in the magical vibe…let it inspire you!” – Gert Garman

Central Florida is known for its entertainment venues and many opportunities for play…a key component in creativity. Gert is known for her engaging, audience-involved presentations, and we look forward to seeing you all in Orlando to be inspired, to play, to be creative, and to bring new energy to your work long after the conference ends. 

The “Whole New World of Research” takes place in this setting, as we learn new approaches to tap into our inherent creativity. The result: expanding, exciting, and market-changing insights to bring to your clients. 

Gert Garman, a graduate of the University of Central Florida, will bring her extensive experience working with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer; Disney; Valencia College; and other thought-leading clients to her presentation “Creativity Tips for the Deep Dive: Techniques and Strategies for Uncovering Research Insights.” Gert is a certified facilitator in Creative Problem Solving and regularly attends the Creative Problem Solving Institute (CPSI), Mind Camp, and Florida Creativity Conferences. She knows the challenges and joys of qualitative research, and will no doubt inspire QRCA members when she shares her creative perspective as this year’s Keynote Speaker.
See you in Orlando!

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Mark Your Calendars for 2016 and 2017!

Hopefully by now you have registered for the QRCA Annual Conference, October 7-9, 2015 in Orlando, Florida. This will be another stellar event showcasing the latest methods, ideas, and insights in the field of qualitative research. Highlights include a triple feature plenary session featuring Jennifer Dale, Ricardo Lopez, and Claire Booth; double feature sessions that offer two presenters on related topics; and a creativity-focused keynote by Gert Garman. 

Register now if you haven’t already! You will leave Orlando reinvigorated and full of knowledge that will keep your qualitative practice at peak performance.

Be sure to plan ahead for the next QRCA conferences!

  • Co-chairs Susan Abbott and Kendall Nash are hard at work planning the next Worldwide Conference on Qualitative Research to be held April 13-15, 2016 in Vienna, Austria. This international conference is known for its high-level thought leadership, beautiful venues, and wonderful camaraderie. Mark your calendar now and look for more information soon.
  • Kate Wagenlander and Jeff Walkowski will lead the next QRCA Annual Conference, January 18-20, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. This will be our first January conference and will draw researchers from around the world.

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Variety Is the Spice of the 2015 QRCA Annual Conference

Kate Wagenlander,
Jeff Walkowski,
2015 Conference Speaker Subcommittee Co-Chairs

Have you registered yet for this year’s QRCA annual conference? If yes, whoo hoo!! We are so looking forward to seeing you! Not registered yet? Be sure to do it now to make sure you take advantage of the early bird registration discount!

There is a lot of variety in this year’s conference programming. What sort of variety, you ask? So glad you did! Well, there is variety in terms of session length (30 to 90 minutes) and in presenters: with new and “veteran” presenters, QRCA members as well as non-members, and speakers from across the globe including North America, Japan, and the UK.

And let’s not forget the variety in terms of the subject matter. There’s certainly something for everyone at this year’s conference. There are presentations geared toward those who are newer to the profession, and ones that will appeal more to those who are established in the industry. We created some tracks to help bring the content to life a bit more for you as well, as you work to determine which presentation to attend. There will be at least one presentation in each of the following eight categories (or “tracks”):

  1. Frameworks for Research – Considerations that impact study design and process
  2. How Do We Get Who We Talk to? – Issues related to recruitment
  3. Interviewing Skills/Approaches – Tools and techniques for gathering data
  4. Dealing with and Presenting Data – Tips for analysis and report-writing
  5. Client Management – How to more effectively work with clients
  6. Strengthening Your Business – Marketing tactics and ways to protect your practice
  7. All Things Digital – Technological tools in qualitative research
  8. Provocative Food for Thought – Other issues important in our profession

Do not fret; we will include these tracks in the conference program in a grid illustrating the track under which each presentation falls. So, if you see some tracks that pique your interest, you will be able to easily find out which presentations fit within that space. Basically, this is another way to help you determine the way you can, personally, get the most out of the conference.

We are also trying something new this year. A block of sessions on Friday will be known as “Double Features.” Attendees will choose one of three of these. Each Double Feature will consist of two presentations (two different presenters) on a related topic. Thus, attendees will get two points of view. The presentations are meant to support/complement each other. Rather than having to choose one session on the topic, attendees get to watch two presentations at once. One Double Feature is about gamification in qualitative research, one is about cognitive interviewing approaches, and the third is about mobile technologies that enable us to get closer to our respondents.

The entire conference program (descriptions of each session and presenter bios) is available online. A quick review of the info will show that the program certainly fits the theme of this year’s conference: “Whole New World of Research.” We look forward to sharing it with you. See you in October in Orlando!!

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Arriving Early? Join Your Fellow QRCA Members for Dinner!

Anne Hooper,

On Tuesday, October 6, we’ll continue the tradition of the Early Arrivals dinner… with a twist. Yes, you heard that right… we’re changing things up a bit this year! The Early Arrivals dinner has become wildly popular and is growing each year, so instead of one (very) large group of attendees gathering in one restaurant (with literally hundreds of separate checks), we’ll have a few small(er) group reservations set up at several different restaurants within walking distance of the hotel.

Please note that there is no need to “sign up” for a specific restaurant ahead of time (we wouldn’t dare compete with the famous Dine-Arounds!). You’ll just need to show up at the designated meeting place, grab a couple friends, choose a restaurant and enjoy your dining experience. Yes, there will still be separate checks (just not hundreds of them) so you can pay for your own meal.

Whether you are a first-time attendee or a conference veteran, our goal is to encourage connections in a more intimate setting (unless, of course, you feel dinner with 100 others is “intimate”). So please join us at Hilton’s Myth Bar at 6:30 p.m. and get ready to have some fun with old and new friends alike.

If you are interested in joining us, you can indicate so within the registration process. Alternatively, you can email Anne Hooper at

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Get Your Glow on at the Conference!

Kelly Heatly,
Chris Kann,
Conference Co-Chairs

2015 qrca conference

We are looking forward to seeing everyone in Orlando, October 7-9, where we will all experience a “Whole New World of Research.”   

If you haven’t registered yet, then jump on it nowRegister here:

What happens Thursday night?
Amidst the incredible sessions, marketplace, and networking at the conference is the always-fun, ever-exciting Thursday night soiree. This year’s “A Glow New World” party will be celebrated in the beautiful party pavilion overlooking the golf course and waterways. 

Will it be fun for both hams and wallflowers?
There will be something for everyone: dancing, karaoke, games, quiet conversation on the patio, and, of course, good food and cocktails! 

What should I wear?
Dress code is fun-casual. All attendees are encouraged to wear your best “glow” — you can use your imagination there; we’re in the land of Disney, after all. Neon, brights, glow-wear, bring it! 

Who is the party sponsor?
“A Glow New World” is brought to you by Digsite. Thank you, Digsite, for sponsoring our party this year!

See you in Orlando!

thursday night event 2015
“A Glow New World” happens at the Party Pavilion at Hilton Bonnet Creek on Thursday night!

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Healthy Connections at the Conference: Fun Walk and Lazy River Adventure

Alicia Menanteau,

Here is a summary of the Healthy Connections that have been planned for the Conference in Orlando:

THURSDAY, October 8, 7:30 am: Fun Walk and Pilates Cool-down
Come make progress on your 10,000 steps by walking the 1-mile loop of the Hilton’s property. Mouse ears or other creative hats are welcome! A post-walk cool-down will consist of a Pilates routine QRCAers can easily learn and apply anywhere, anytime during their future travels. Meet at the trail near the edge of the Hilton pool and conference center (see map below). Gear: walking shoes and sunglasses. Water and sunscreen will be provided.

FRIDAY, October 9, 7:30 am: A Lazy River Adventure
For a refreshing start to your day, come join us as we walk against the current in the Hilton’s Lazy River. Meet at the entrance of the Hilton pool (see map below) at 7:30 am. After 30-45 minutes of walking, for our victory lap we will cruise down the river on inner tubes*. Tubes and towels will be provided. Wear water-appropriate clothing. Fun tip: one round against the current in the Lazy River is like walking 4 miles on land!

healthy connections

inner tubes
*inner tube (noun): a doughnut-shaped, flexible tube inflated (typically inside a tire) to bear the weight of a vehicle

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Plan Now to Come to Vienna for “Leading Beyond: A Symphony of Transformative Thinking and Discovery”

Susan Abbott,, Co-Chair
Kendall Nash,, Co-Chair

vienna conference logo

The call for submissions to present is already out for the QRCA Worldwide Conference, to be held in Vienna from April 13 to 15, 2016.

Get your thinking started early, and get your ideas in by November 2. Orlando is the perfect place to do some serious brainstorming and collaboration on your presentation proposal while you sit in the warm sun.

Get the Call for Submissions details here.

Leading Beyond will stay with the all-plenary format that has served this conference so well in the past, including a combination of shorter and longer presentations from the main stage.

The poster presentation format will be changed slightly from prior years. If selected, your poster will be on display throughout the entire conference to give attendees a chance to absorb the information, seek you out for conversation, and trigger conversation among others. Posters are intended to stand alone, and not serve primarily as a backdrop for a mini-presentation. Time will be made in the program to ensure people have a chance to browse and talk to poster presenters. If you haven’t seen a poster presentation before, don’t worry! We’ll give you the support you need to be amazing.

Don’t forget: your presentation proposal needs to be received by November 2, 2015.

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