connections member news

September 2014
Vol. 13, Number 7

QRCA Management News
Conference News
Chapter News
Committee News
SIG 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.

Satya Bonala

Vox Populi Research Pvt. Ltd.
J 8/19, Ground Floor
DLF Phase 2
Gurgaon 122002

Stacy Dye

224 Grandview Dr
Fort Mitchell, KY 41017
United States

Martha Gordon

Independent Qualitative Consultant and Moderator
750 Dartmoor Rd.
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
United States

Frank Gutowski

MarketVision Research
217 Shady Lane
Downers Grove, IL 60515
United States

Adam Henderson

Henderson Insight
933 S Euclid Way
Denver, CO 80209
United States

Martin Higuera

1431 Venetia Ave
Coral Gables, FL 33134
United States

Vivianne Hiriart

803 Balboa Ln
Foster City, CA 94404
United States

Alexandra Howson

Thistle Editorial, LLC
United States

Jane Lee

C1 Consulting
221 Main Street, Suite 1580
San Francisco, CA 94105
United States

Michael Selz

Hummingbird Strategy, LLC
6715 Duffield Ct
Dallas, TX 75248
United States

Jeremy Stabile

1 E Erie Street, Suite 600
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

Michaelle Van Linden

616 Gunderson Avenue
Oak Park, IL 60304
United States

Theresa Wrobel

15 Rosetree Lane
Lawrenceville, NJ 8648
United States

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QuickTips: How to Get the Most Out of the QRCA Annual Conference

Frankie Johnson,

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, anything from high- to no-tech! E-mail  See you at the conference.

I recently posted a question on the QRCA Forum asking members for their tips on how to get the most out of next month’s conference. Here are just some of the great replies submitted by members.

Arrive a day early and stay at least a day or two after the conference. There's never enough time to socialize with old friends and new, and it all ends up feeling like a whirlwind! Leaving the extra time enables me to enjoy the location, enjoy socializing, and to be able to absorb all the new information. Jay Zaltzman

Bring a lot of business cards. There are casual conversations happening all the time, with professional "speed-dating" events to meet other QRCs, and fabulous prizes to be won in the QRCA Marketplace! Don't be afraid to write on the backs of other people's business cards to remember your conversations and memories of the event. Not only will you learn the best there is to offer in qualitative research, but I have also made many lifelong friends at the Annual Conference. Get connected in New Orleans! Shaili Bhatt

For the times when we have "competing" speakers, don't wait until the last minute to choose which session you'll attend. Take some time beforehand to read through all the titles and descriptions and choose the sessions that sound like they'll teach/help/stimulate you the most. Resist the temptation to always sit with people you know. While seeing and re-connecting with familiar faces is part of what makes the conference so special (I've never seen and received so many hugs at a professional conference!), so is the fun and learning that comes from making new friends. Try to leave New Orleans with some old friendships refreshed and some new friendships created. From my experience, it won't be difficult. Paul Tuchman

Sometimes one can come away from a conference and it will all be a blur. I've created some goals for myself that work time and again: 1) Learn a new skill/technique/idea to be applied to the actual body of research knowledge I already have. 2) Learn a new idea for how to do business better. 3) Meet one person I'd like to get to know better. These have served me well over the years. Diane Harris

My best advice came from Jay Zaltzman, who “suggested" I join in the first place. He said to volunteer for something small. I did the Dine-Around boards for that first year and I felt a part of things — plus everyone kept introducing me to others as "the one who did the Dine-Around boards." By doing something small, I was fully engaged and never felt alone. Caryn Goldsmith

1) Participate in all the "social" activities. Don't retreat up to your room early, as those are often great ways to really get to know your colleagues, learn more about what others are doing, make connections that will help you in your business after the conference ... and to have fun. 2) Once in a while you may find yourself in a presentation that isn't living up to your expectations, and if that happens, it is OK to leave mid-talk and join another presentation. Luckily that doesn't happen very often, but don't feel like you have to sit there for the whole presentation if you aren't getting from it what you expected to get from it. 3) Don't come expecting to have 8 hours a day to work on a project for a client. It's a full schedule and you'll obviously get the most out of it if you take advantage of all it has to offer. Dorrie Paynter

10 things to do to have the greatest conference ever: 1) Arrive 1-2 days early – enjoy the city and location. Have tips (places to go/things to see, where to get the best coffees, best run, late night drinks with friends), so you can share with members coming later. You will be a hoot and the person everyone wants to talk to :-). 2) Speed dating is a MUST — bring a lot of business cards. 3) Go to the market/meet the exhibitors. Fill in the jars with your business cards, get a chance to win great prizes, and meet potential suppliers and other members. 4) Go to the Wednesday AM Demo, a great way to learn more and see how you can improve your business.  5) Do the Healthy Connections on Thursday and Friday AM and meet others in a casual setting. 6) Enjoy the Thursday evening party — bring Tylenol or Motrin. 7) Stay a few extra days — bring your husband/wife/friend for the weekend (and expense it). 8) Go out for the dine-arounds — plan in advance because the great restaurants fill up fast. Get a group together and have fun. 9) Since it will be in New Orleans, pack up some beads for Bourbon Street. And 10) The obvious: plan in advance! Book the time in your calendar, book your flight, and come to the conference. BE THERE. Oh, and have fun! Marc-André Leduc

My own tip? Binge watch all four seasons of Treme (on HBOgo / Amazon Prime / Netflix DVD) for a taste of the real New Orleans post-Katrina. The show features some wonderful local musicians and stories. Frankie Johnson

To learn more about New Orleans as a great tourist destination, and information about the Blues & Barbecue Festival on the weekend following the conference, check out To see more tips on the Forum, click this link AFTER you log in as a member.

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Personal Connections: Summer Adventures Wrap-Up

Michelle Finzel,

Daniel Berkal, tell us about your summer!

I had quite the interesting summer, culminating in getting married to the beautiful Megan Berkal (nee Shrubsole) on August 23.

daniel berkal wedding

Sidney Clewe, tell us about your summer!

It was all smiles with my little brother after successfully summiting Mt. Eolus at 14,085' in the Southwest part of Colorado. We are sitting on a rock near the crux of the infamous "Catwalk," a 100' section around 2-3' wide with 1,000'+ drops on each side. My brother, John, and I were able to spend four days in the backcountry outside of Durango, CO, enjoying each other's company, celebrating his college graduation, and enjoying the lack of cell and internet service (a true vacation!)

sidney clewe summer plans
Quality time making memories for a lifetime

Jennifer Dale, tell us about your summer!

Where did you go? Nowhere
When? All summer
With whom? n/a
Favorite thing you saw: Family leaving. And I always enjoy seeing one of my island buddies; wild donkeys are everywhere on St. John, so while I may not get to the beach, I do get some island flavor when I need to leave the office.
Favorite thing you did: Finished a book with Susan Abbott!

st johns donkey
One of Jen Dale’s St. John buddies

Terah Farness, tell us about your summer!

This picture that sums up the best of summer for me…
terah farness best summer

…it isn’t exotic or far-off, but I am glad it isn’t. It is the reason why I stay in SW MI — and why we <3 Michigan. The beach!! My family vacations there for a week every summer, and tries to get there every other beautiful Saturday we can. The beach is a place to unplug, relax, and enjoy the beauty of nature and the magic of a sunset.  In South Haven, it seems the whole town comes out to the pier to watch the sky turn shades of pink and orange, it never loses its thrill. It doesn’t matter if you are 2 (like my youngest) or 65, like my mom!

Kelly Heatly, tell us about your summer!

Where did you go? San Antonio and South Padre Island, TX
When? Last week of July
With whom? Husband and two sons, ages 8 and 11
Favorite thing you saw: Seeing my 11-year old play a serious game of golf in San Antonio, helping my 8-year old fly a kite, and spotting a sea turtle on the sand bar in Padre.
Favorite thing you did: Fishing with the whole family in the surf in Padre where we caught and released whiting and catfish.

kelly heatly beach family

Pat Kirmayer, tell us about your summer!

My “staycation” this year involved me, my husband, and our newly rebuilt house and gardens. (Thank you, Sandy!) We learned that there's a reason the product is called "Miracle Grow." If you use enough of it, even concrete becomes a viable growing medium. These are true California Giant Zinnias, grown optimistically from seed.

pat kirmayer and flowers

Merrill Shugoll, tell us about your summer!

Where did you go? Chicago, perhaps not intriguing, but awesome nonetheless.
When? July 1, 2014
With whom? My husband Mark and good friends including my college roomie.
Favorite thing you saw: The Last Ship, Sting's New Musical. (It was awesome and Sting came up on stage at the end to sing the signature song from the show.) It was amazing!
Favorite thing you did: Theater and more theater and good dining in one of my favorite cities other than NYC and DC.
What is your favorite picture from this summer and why? Our daughter Cara and Stephen just got engaged. We are so thrilled. The wedding is planned for April 12 at the Carnegie Institute for Science. Cara is a QRC and is third generation at Shugoll Research, and Stephen is a pilot. They are both musicians. If you're a parent, you know why it's my favorite pic of the summer, and you know what it means to both Mark and me J!

merrill shugoll

Janet Standen, tell us about your summer!

Where did you go? England, Spain (well Menorca, one of the Balearic Islands, to be precise), Paris, Germany and Amsterdam.
When? For five weeks of true vacation "European-style!" in June/July.
With whom? My 14-year-old daughter Sophie before she started high school, my husband Julian and many members of my family and friends along the way.
Favorite thing you saw: Amsterdam in a heat wave and everyone diving in the canals, and the Rhine Valley!
Favorite thing you did: Hanging out with family members and good friends all over Europe!
What is your favorite picture from this summer and why? In this picture my husband Julian and I are relaxing over dinner on the banks of the Rhine — what's not to love!

janet standon

Randi Stillman, tell us about your summer!

Randi Stillman took a mini summer vacation in Hyde Park, Chicago, to attend and celebrate her son Ari's graduation from the University of Chicago with a Masters in Social Sciences. Who knew? He's pursuing market research and is eyeing the annual QRCA conference in New Orleans!

randi stillman university chicago ari
Randi with Ari on the University of Chicago campus on a scorching hot and humid Labor Day weekend.

Laurie Tema-Lyn, tell us about your summer!

I can’t quite describe anything about this summer as typical. I did not get to have a vacation, though I did get to the beach three times, am still relishing luscious Jersey tomatoes from my garden, and have spent many evenings outside with friends and family enjoying good food. But the real energy of the season has been devoted to witnessing and helping in major life transitions.

My dad, who had been living independently, fractured his femur late spring; and he spent most of three months between hospital and rehab. (It’s hard to imagine how a person without family gets through situations like this, because health system stays require enormous vigilance and overseeing by a patient’s family or advocates to see that the right care and treatments are given!) When Dad started to get his strength and more mobility back, my sister and I put our focus on helping dad launch into the next chapter of his life — finding an excellent assisted living home nearby. He is happy and well cared for, and we are finally able to spend less time worrying about his daily needs and care. (Though we still are entrenched in the huge task of selling his home and property.)

Now to the joyful witnessing…my husband and I welcomed in our first grandchild in August and spent a joyful week in the Boston area with baby Luciana, parents Rachel and Jose and Jose’s family in from Lima.

laurie tema lyn granddaughter
I’m not prejudiced, but Lu is a beauty, isn’t she?

So as I reflect on the summer of 2014, it was filled with a lot of work and worry and also much joy. Certainly a season to remember!

Marta Villanueva, tell us about your summer!

My favorite picture from this summer represents meeting a major milestone. After countless hours, jam sessions, and assignments, I finished the Graduate Certificate in Creative Problem Solving, Creativity, and Change Leadership this summer at Buffalo State College. It has been a life-changing experience. I look forward to continuing the journey to the M.S.

marta villanueva

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peter switzer
Peter Switzer

New Member Interview: Peter Switzer, Chicago, IL

Mike Courtney,


Please tell us a little bit about you. What is your earliest memory of? Any childhood nicknames we should be aware of?

Yes. I was born — according to family lore, and very different from the rest of the household entourage. To this day, my parents think I was adopted; but no one really knows. Earliest memory: standing in my crib one night and thinking, "What the hell am I doing here?" 

Nicknames are sealed on the lips of those who uttered them in my adult mistake...and are no longer "with us."

What drew you to qualitative research?

Have always been interested in people — what they do and how they think — which led me to get into research originally (Market Facts years ago) and has pretty much kept me either directly or indirectly in the field ever since. Have always loved qualitative, and have been using those skills in one form or another throughout my career be it research, advertising or planning.

Company and Work-Related:

Please tell us about your company, what brought you to this company and your role within the organization?

ClearSight Qualitative Research is my own company — newly minted after spending years in the supplier and agency worlds. I wanted to finally apply all my learning and experience to help organizations better understand and empathize with their audiences; the end result: gaining more loyal users and fans.

Office-wise, I work in an incubator in the Chicago Loop with lots of other startups. Great energy, great space and great coffee. What else could I need?

Imagine someone has created a look-alike clone of you; 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?

Clone-wise; the "other me" would need to master understudying the arts of
1) Initiating great conversations
2) Active listening
3) Creatively tying input back to the original strategic purpose of the exercise.

They'd also need a rather dry sense of humor, and the ability to remember to start the dishwasher before going to sleep. The immediate tip-off the clone was not me: allowing people to eat or drink in my car. Rumor has it I'm a bit compulsive about certain things. Nasty, vicious rumors.

Personality Related:

We locked you in a room and told you to watch YouTube videos for an hour — tell us what you would do?

I'm a travel and airplane history geek: Watching old travelogues and PR videos of the DC8, 707, and Caravelle introductions are a hoot; and an interesting reminder that civil aviation at one point in time was actually "civil" — kind of.

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?

Would use it to read more...too many books and news articles, not enough time in the day.

What books are you reading right now?

Irwin Shaw — The Young Lions, Herman Koch — The Dinner, Bill McGowan — Pitch Perfect and Maria Giudice/Christopher Ireland — Rise of the DEO. I alternate between digital and paper...there's something tactile about paper digital can't duplicate. Plus, I hate it when my iPad flips pages if I accidentally hit the screen in a manner not to its liking. 

Your approach to technology would best be described as:

I'm a tech wannabee. I'm primarily Mac, but am also learning Windows 8. Have an iPad as well as a Surface. Definitely an iPhone user.

Industry/QRCA related:

What motivated you to join the QRCA and what do you hope to gain from your membership?

I joined because I want to have opportunities to connect with and learn from my peers...there's a ton of great experience and perspective to exploit.

What do you imagine Qualitative research and/or QRCA will look like in the year 2020?

By the time 2020 hits, there will be many more opportunities to digitally connect, but there will still be a basic "goodness" to having everyone sitting in the same room at the same time.

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?

I’ll answer the last question first — since you really want that one, and frankly it's the easiest to answer: Scrabble. Without a doubt. Problem is I'd probably get fired for beating the client so badly. Me losing simply does not happen. 

Also played Mahjong when I lived in Hong Kong. Perhaps my winning too many games over there necessitated me moving back to the States. I'm a bit rusty these days, but the last time I played here, I won over $150 in a single game along with the hatred of the party host and his friends. We will not speak of this ever again.

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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:

AMA Marketing Insights Print and E-Newsletter: The Secret Weapon of Research: Using Win/Loss Analysis to Assess Valuable Consumer Feedback and Strengthen Your Marketing Mix
Jennifer Berkley Jackson, owner of The Insight Advantage and co-chair of the QRCA San Francisco Chapter, recommends that all organizations and businesses do win/loss analysis to gather a wealth of information that allows them to improve close rates and attract more customers.  Win/loss analysis is the process of following up with new customers and prospects that chose your organization – as well as with those who didn’t choose you.

AMA Marketing Insights Print and E-Newsletter: A Qualitative Research Challenge: 7 Days, 7 Countries, 7 Ways
Jim Bryson, founder and CEO of 20|20 Research and a QRCA past president, reports that new trends in technology are helping researchers reduce the time, budget and complications in multinational qualitative research — and details what he and his colleagues call the “three sevens challenge” and the myriad insights they discovered in a project dealing with snack foods.

AMA Marketing Insights E-Newsletter: Creating Space: Clearing the Unconscious for Better Research
Chris Kann, president of CSK Marketing and past president of QRCA, says, “Putting in place a conscious request to respondents to be as clear and present as they can be during their time in the facility is an important step to improving the quality and accuracy of the research.” Chris offers suggestions to help respondents to be fully present, such as turning off cell phones and helping respondents relax.

GreenBook: Recruiting: The Innovation Gap?
Allison Rak, owner of Vatoca Partners and a QRCA member, explores creative approaches to recruit participants for qualitative research projects. One model is to partner with a non-profit organization to reach fresh, high-quality recruits who are willing to share their insights as a way to support a cause in which they believe.

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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...

Thanks to the Revenue Task force for their great work in researching and recommending potential revenue sources to the QRCA Board. Task force members include Chair Joel Reish, Julie Medalis, Katrina Noelle and Manny Schrager.

Thanks to the 2014 Nominating Committee who has spent the last couple of months seeking and interviewing potential candidates for the 2014-16 QRCA Board of Directors! This small and effective team has put in numerous hours, and they have put together an amazing slate of candidates for your consideration and vote. The 2014 NomCom includes Chair Mark Sumpter, Farnaz Badie, Barbara Gassaway, Kendall Nash, Susan Sweet, Laurie Tema-Lyn and Kate Wagenlander. Your dedication to QRCA is greatly appreciated!

joel reish
Joel Reish
julie medalis
Julie Medalis
katrina noelle
Katrina Noelle
manny schrager
Manny Schrager
mark sumpter
Mark Sumpter
farnaz badie
Farnaz Badie
barbara gassaway
Barbara Gassaway
kendall nash
Kendall Nash
susan sweet
Susan Sweet
laurie tema lyn
Laurie Tema-Lyn
kate wagenlander
Kate Wagenlander

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