2016 QRCA Worldwide Conference on Qualitative Research
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Giving Birth to a Conference

Posted By Susan Abbott, Friday, January 15, 2016
When QRCA President Mark Sumpter first asked me if I would chair the international conference, you could have knocked me over with the proverbial feather! What an honor and a responsibility! So how could I not say yes? But honestly, I did not stop panicking until Past President Kendall Nash agreed to link arms and co-chair with me. We had some amazing brainstorms over the phone – because this whole event is organized long-distance. We talked about the many challenges we face in our industry, with the pace of change. But it’s also a time of amazing opportunities for personal growth, and exciting new ways to deliver insights to our clients. As co-chairs, we had some say in the location of the conference, and are relieved that our chosen city has not been a headline item in a horrific news story. Vienna was truly inspiring for us when we started talking about our goals for the conference. As marketing folk, naturally we created a mood board to capture the feel and the vision for the event. We envisioned a symphony that brings many different instruments together – the many ways of thinking that inform qualitative insight. We wanted to celebrate the adventure we are all on, the path of discovery, even while we acknowledge that the pace of change, and the constant need to upgrade our learning can be overwhelming at times. We talked a lot about the most transformative experiences we have had, attending other events. We wanted to push our presenters to give us their edgiest content, to really take us on a ride into the future, to challenge our thinking, to help us all see the way forward. And wow, did they ever deliver! More about that in a future post!

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