QRCA 2020 Annual Conference banner

2020 QRCA Annual Conference Schedule

Session Tracks:

Master Technology

MASTER TECHNOLOGY: Employ technology to discover more about humans.

Build Business

BUILD BUSINESS: Explore ways to grow your business.

Humanize Research

HUMANIZE RESEARCH: Discover new ways to humanize deliverables in reporting, venues, eliciting empathy, and more!

Bolster Skills

BOLSTER SKILLS: Update your toolbox with new approaches and fresh twists on proven techniques.

Full Schedule

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

2:00 pm

Optional Tour: Austin Weird Homes Tour ($65/person)


The Weird Homes Tour® is a community of like-minded people who are inspired by the strange, the kooky, the odd and the unexpected parts of our world. Won’t you join us and find your inspiration? We’ll have a private tour of three homes on the Austin Weird Homes Tour to get a taste of what makes Austin “weird.”

Transportation will be provided by Ninja Buses — refurbished party buses like you’ve never seen before!

2:00 pm (1:15 departure)

Optional Tour: Austin in a Nutshell Hybrid Bike Tour ($65/person)


Meet your guide at the bike shop at Zilker Park, get outfitted with your bike and helmet, and then set out with your guide to see the best of Austin! Pedal along the hike-and-bike trail that runs through Zilker Park and around Lady Bird Lake. Turn north to check out the Italian Renaissance Revival of the Texas State Capitol building. Learn about the city's history as you roll through downtown. Head down Congress Avenue and over the Congress Avenue Bridge, where 1.5 million bats take shelter between the months of March and November. Continue to South Congress, Rainey Street, and the boardwalk trail. Get great photo opportunities throughout the two-hour bike tour!

(Van transportation to and from the hotel will be provided for the first dozen registrants.)

6:30 pm

Early Arrivals Event Options

See Suggestions

NOTE: Van transportation to and from the hotel is NOT provided — please make your way there via UBER, LYFT, or cabs.

  1. Bar Hop on Rainey Street
    Rainey Street, Austin, TX 78701

    Austin’s Rainey Street is lined with local bars and restaurants, many of which are in old converted houses. If you visit, be sure to stop at favorites like Icenhauers, Lustre Pearl, and Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden.

  2. Enjoy Live Music

    You’re visiting the Live Music Capital of the world, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding shows. Popular music venues include Antone’s, the Continental Club, the Mohawk, and Stubb’s. You can see who is playing while you’re in town by checking out Do512’s live music calendar.

  3. Sing Karaoke at Warehouse Billiard Bar
    10 pm onwards
    509 E Ben White Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

    At 11,000 square feet, the iconic Warehouse Billiard Bar is the largest in Austin and features a Karaoke night on Tuesdays, starting at 10 pm — however, you can come in earlier and enjoy a selection of draft beers, wines and choice cocktails; play some Poker or Incredible 3D golf, try your hand at pool, skeeball, foosball, shuffleboard, pinball, or video games; or just chill out with your buddies. The bar closes at 2 am. While the bar doesn’t serve food, there is typically a BBQ Truck in the large car park.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

7:00 am - 8:00 am

Web Creator SuiteQually Grooves inspired by Zumba

Back by popular demand on the first day of the conference! Get your heart pumping in this groovy Zumba dance class. It will get you energized and excited for the conference ahead. This class is for all levels of fitness, so no prior experience is required. Taught by Cher Chislett, International QRCA Chapter member from Frankfurt, Germany, Cher is a certified Zumba Fitness instructor (fitness or running shoes required).

7:00 am - 8:00 am

Caffé Medici


With locations all across Austin, even in the airport, Caffé Medici is a staple in the community. Their espresso is bold and memorable, and their seasonal latte flavor menu always has unique options.
Location: 2222 Guadalupe St B, Austin, TX 78705
Walking distance: 5 minutes

These highly caffeinated walks will be led by Charlotte Hayden, Barista turned CEO and co-hosted by Carey Rellis, our 2020 Conference Co-Chair.

Charlotte built Better Flavor Co. from a passion of coffee, vanilla lattes, and easy to understand ingredients. Throughout college, she researched coffee farms in Uganda and spent a summer working with one. After graduating, she decided to continue with a career in coffee where she learned about what goes into making her favorite drinks. She enjoyed the vanilla lattes made at popular coffee shops in Austin and searched for a vanilla simple syrup in the grocery store that would taste the same. The problem was that most of the flavors in the grocery store came with artificial ingredients. This led Charlotte to create an easy to understand simple syrup brand available in Austin, Houston, and online at betterflavorco.com.

7:00 am - 8:00 am

Exhibit Hall Set-Up

8:00 am - 6:00 pm

Registration Open

8:00 am - 9:45 am

Marketplace Open

8:00 am - 9:45 am

Marketplace Grand Opening and Breakfast

8:30 am - 9:45 am

RevFirst Connection - Official First Timers Welcome Event (all are encouraged to attend)


EVERYONE is invited to attend and connect on a human level with other attendees. This is the official ‘kick-off’ to the conference, where first timers and ‘veteran conference attendees’ will get to exchange and find possible partners to grow professionally. 

9:45 am - 10:00 am


10:00 am - 10:15 am


10:15 am - 11:15 am

methings logoKeynote: Rise of the Robots, Chatbots...Humans?
Kristin Luck

Session and Speaker Details

Without a doubt, the competitive environment of the market research industry is changing rapidly and broadening from an old paradigm of traditional research to a new one that converges with both business intelligence and data analytics providers. Both GfK and Nielsen have sold off their custom research businesses in favor of building out syndicated products and third-party data providers are, in some cases, eliminating the need for primary research entirely. With the rise of automation, chatbots and AI, many qualitative researchers are scratching their heads and wondering…where’s the long-term opportunity?

Serial marketing technology entrepreneur, quant jock and industry growth strategist Kristin Luck will highlight the trends driving global growth in the market research vertical, with a deep dive into the profound impact (and financial repercussions) of quantitative researchers’ dehumanization of the industry. Which may make you wonder…WTF is she doing as our keynote?

After spending years creating technology solutions that speed the time to insights and optimize research profits, Kristin has become acutely aware of the negative impact of many of these solutions on both respondent experience and data quality, illuminating the need to return to more authentic consumer interactions. She’ll also talk about how to cut through the research trends clutter and embrace technology solutions that RE-humanize the industry; creating greater growth opportunities for qualitative research than ever before.

Kristin Luck, founder of ScaleHouse and Women in Research, is this year's opening keynote speaker. She is a former member of the senior leadership team at Decipher, prior to the company's successful sale. A lifelong quantitative researcher, Kristin now advocates at the highest level for the unparalleled insights derived from qualitative research and is a fierce proponent for humanizing research, believing technology has the ability to increase — not decrease — human connection.

11:15 am - 11:30 am


11:30 am - 12:30 pm

Partner Spotlights

Session and Company Details

Civicom logo
"CCam focus™️ from Civicom®️: There’s A Better Way of Seeing Things!"

Recollective logo
"Expand Your Online Capabilities With Recollective"

20|20 Research logo
20|20 Research
"QualBoard 4.0: Flexibility to Address Multiple Needs"

Better Decisions

Better Decisions
"Adding Quant to Your Qual (While Keeping it Human)"

12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

Lunch and Resource Connection Time

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Humanize ResearchKeeping Austin Weird - Authentic Insight from Texas Creative
Daniel Berkal

Session and Speaker Details

Keeping Austin Weird - Authentic Insight from Texas Creative

Texas Creative is the world-renowned creative advertising portfolio program based in the Stan Richards School of Advertising & Public Relations at the Moody College of Communication of The University of Texas at Austin. A place that consistently turns out industry leading creatives and strategists that work in agencies around the globe. For those QRCs that work in communications, these people will become your future clients. But the world has rapidly changed. Different tools are available. The age of creative-test focus groups may be over. What are these people looking for in their qualitative research? What kinds of methodologies and approaches are most valuable to them? What are the needs of the modern creative industry?

This workshop will be co-led by an industry leader who teaches the Texas Creative program and will incorporate several current students who are at the leading edge of advertising in a structured forum to help Quallies meet the needs of Creatives and vice versa. We all have lots to learn from each other.

About the Speaker
Daniel Berkal is SVP Research and a partner at Toronto's The Palmerston Group. Daniel's team has conducted literally hundreds of energetic focus groups of various sizes, in-depth interviews, ethnographies, accompanied shops, mystery shops, videographies and ideation sessions among consumers and professionals in North America, Central America, Europe and Asia.  Daniel has worked on some of the most innovative brands in business and is best known for completely immersing himself in consumer environments. With projects featured in Fast Company and Forbes, he's been called "Hands down, the most unique, thought-provoking and game-changing qualitative researcher in the business. Period.”  Daniel holds degrees from McGill University and The University of Texas at Austin.

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Build BusinessWinning the Future of Qualitative… Things I Heard & Saw at Other MR Conferences that You Should Know Too!
Holly M. O’Neill

Session and Speaker Details

Winning the Future of Qualitative… Things I Heard & Saw at Other MR Conferences that You Should Know Too!

Like it or not, we’ve entered a new era in marketing research. Client values and perspectives are evolving. New technologies are constantly emerging. And, this pace of change is only likely to accelerate.

Over the past three years, I’ve been fortunate to attend six major MR conferences (plus fabulous QRCA events) and present at three of these. I listened to research innovators share their forward-looking wisdom and experiences; and attended thought-provoking educational sessions exploring technology and the future of the greater MR industry — all with an ear to how Qualitative might be impacted.

In this fast-moving session, we will review quick highlights of various MR shifts. We’ll cover technology as well as novel and alternative approaches, including artificial intelligence, automated MR platforms, prediction markets, new MR thought paradigms, generational and cultural shifts, breaking Qual rules, fresh twists on Qual study designs, microbrands, and more.

Come be part of a lively conversation and interactive exercise designed to help you tackle these changes head-on and wrestle with the all-important question, “So What Now for My Qual Practice?”

About the Speaker
Recognized for bringing innovation to Qualitative, Holly’s insights and strategies have helped clients launch new products, create influential brands and develop powerful advertising. She has advised leading companies such as Experian, GlaxoSmithKline, 3M, Jason Cosmetics, Princess Cruises, Center for Culinary Development and M86 Security.

A popular speaker, author, TV host and university instructor, Holly has presented at IIeX, Quirk's, AMA, TMRE, CPSI and Harvard’s Entrepreneurs Conference. She penned articles for Quirk's, Marketing News, QRCA VIEWS and MRA Alert!; and is featured in four marketing research textbooks published by Prentice Hall.

Holly has educated and entertained QRCA audiences at 13+ events!

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Build Business Don’t Fear the Do-It-Yourself Research Trend: Create Successful Do-it-Together Outcomes in a Time of DIY Research
Marianne Carr and Lauren Holderness

Session and Speaker Details

Don’t Fear the Do-It-Yourself Research Trend: Create Successful Do-it-Together Outcomes in a Time of DIY Research

Do you fear the DIY research trend? Whether an independent researcher, part of a research agency or a corporate research professional, the DIY research trend has likely impacted you. If your livelihood is focused on being hired by businesses to execute research, or you are someone who hires outside partners, access to new DIY technology can make it both easier and harder to execute meaningful qualitative research.

So, let’s talk it out. We still all need each other, probably now more than ever. In this session we will discuss the impact of the DIY research trend on both client-side and independent research professionals. Bringing it to life with real-world stories and advice for making these new relationships work for you. You will see how Doing it Together (DIT) can be actionable, profitable and rewarding. This session includes research into the trend, case studies and interactive activities that will help you plan for and embrace your own future.

About the Speakers
Marianne Carr is passionate about inspiring innovation in brands, products, projects and people. She has been working with Fortune 500 companies for over 25 years with a focus on market research, innovation and branding. With a master’s degree in Leadership, Strategic Innovation and Change, from the University of Denver, Marianne also facilitates ideations and teaches at the graduate school level. Currently, after gaining experience is industries such as healthcare, consumer considered purchases, CPG and retail, Marianne is in a career transformation providing support to entrepreneurs and non-profits through developing insights, leading strategic planning and executing project management. Marianne’s professional spirit animal is the platypus, ask her why.

Lauren Holderness is the Principal of the research and consulting firm Compendium LLC. Lauren has worked in a variety of roles with companies and brands for the past 25 years, with a proven track record of uncovering insights that lead to strategic, effective outcomes. She is a professionally trained and experienced facilitator, having moderated literally hundreds of focus groups and countless IDIs. Lauren believes in the growth and empowerment that comes with change. She has an innate interest in people, understanding their backgrounds, experiences and uncovering the ‘whys’ around their lives…which can make for some pretty interesting cocktail party conversations.

3:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Break in the Marketplace

3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Humanize ResearchRappers + Researchers + Realities: Exploring Unconscious Bias in Qualitative Research
Cynthia D Harris

Session and Speaker Details

Rappers + Researchers + Realities: Exploring Unconscious Bias in Qualitative Research

Rappers + Researchers + Realities will discuss unconscious bias as it relates to understanding humans in an evolving qualitative research landscape. Leveraging often-misunderstood rap culture, this discussion will show how rappers and qualitative researchers use a surprisingly similar approach in connecting authentically with their respective audiences.

The goals of this session are for attendees to gain (a) an understanding of their own unconscious biases, (b) new tools to overcome unconscious bias, and (c) a renewed commitment to shed limiting views that separate us from the people we all seek to serve. Rappers + Researchers + Reality is divided into three parts:

  1. Realize What Unconscious Bias Is: Understanding unconscious bias is the first step in adopting practices that prevent its compromising impact on our work as qualitative researchers.
  2. Acquire Tools to mitigate its impact: We will discuss tools to help us assess our own unconscious bias and to integrate new behaviors to overcome these beliefs in our research.
  3. Prepare for Our New Reality: As the landscape of both qualitative research and our world continues to evolve, we must lead our teams, our clients and our research into realms free of unconscious bias.

Come learn how to get to the truth of Human Experience that goes beyond unconscious biases. In the words of the late Nipsey Hussle: “Premature certainty is the enemy of truth.”

About the Speaker
Cynthia has a limitless curiosity about people, ideas and the world around her. A inquisitive idea generator by birth and a qualitative research enthusiast by design, she is committed to helping organizations uncover the next big idea that will take their business from existence to EXCELLENCE. When she’s not researching consumers or cognitive sciences or the viability of a big idea, she immerses herself in books, podcasts and workshops on leadership and entrepreneurship to constantly challenge her own thinking. Cynthia holds two degrees from The Ohio State University — an MBA from the Fisher College of Business and a BA in Strategic Communications. Her professional experience spans global and national marketing strategy, consumer research and corporate merchandising management for Procter & Gamble, Abbott Nutrition and Bath & Body Works. After nearly 15 years of marketing and research experiences, Cynthia is currently focusing on helping companies empathetically connect with the Consumers they serve as an independent qualitative researcher.

3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Build BusinessBreaking Free: Empowering Clients to Take a Leap
Susan Saurage-Altenloh, PhD, MBA

Session and Speaker Details

Breaking Free: Empowering Clients to Take a Leap

How do you frame your offer beyond standard proposal language to engage clients steeped in traditional approaches? What must they hear, know, believe, or anticipate to justify a new or innovative recruiting or data collection strategy? This presentation takes you deep into the thinking behind strategies to convince clients to break free of the established methodological framework for research.

About the Speaker
Susan Saurage-Altenloh specializes in designing innovative research strategies and producing results that meet clients' information needs. Her 20+ years of experience include facilitating more than 17,000 qualitative sessions, completing thousands of quantitative surveys and hybrid projects, and securing a reputation for producing reliable, timely, applicable results. Susan’s corporate experience includes understanding and coordinating the needs, perceptions, and resources of multiple entities into a cohesive plan for marketing, service line development, and message strategy development. With Susan’s guidance, clients take the leap to incorporate new methodologies frequently…and with great success.

3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Humanize ResearchRipping the Band-Aid Off — What Moderators, Field Service Firms, and Facilities Really Think about One Another
Michelle Finzel and Jonathan Schneider

Session and Speaker Details

Ripping the Band-Aid Off — What Moderators, Field Service Firms, and Facilities Really Think about One Another

Positive relationships between moderators, recruiters, and facilities are paramount to every qualitative research success story. The entire industry relies upon this symbiosis. However, constantly decreasing budgets and ever tighter timelines are just some of the factors putting relationships to the test.

This presentation will reveal the results of our own qualitative research with moderators, recruiters and facility owners to understand what they see as the biggest issues affecting the relationships between all of us and how to solve them.

About the Speakers
Jonathan has been in qualitative research since 2001 when he formed Square One Research with Liz Moore, a fellow QRCA member. Currently, the two own The Candor Company based in Atlanta, Georgia and Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. In 2015, he realized that qualitative research needed more candor and empathy. Participants needed more conducive physical environments to provider better insights. Moderators needed to be more transparent with their objectives to get more transparency from consumers. Everything Jonathan now does aims to make qualitative research feel more natural, open, and honest. Having always had an artistic eye and a creative drive, one of Jonathan’s skills is reporting via documentary style films. He wanted to go to film school but decided on an MBA from Emory University. He has a BA from the University of Virginia. In his spare time, he is an avid cyclist and Lego builder.

Michelle Finzel has been saying, “Thank you for calling Maryland Marketing Source. How may I help you?” since she was 8 years old. As the current President of Maryland Marketing Source, Inc., Michelle leverages her unique perspective of the industry’s development over the past 30 years and embraces the nuanced roles she has to play as a small business owner in her hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, in order to provide her clients with the streamlined results and personalized service they appreciate and expect. She also endeavors to ensure her company is an asset to the community by supporting other minority businesses, sponsoring local children’s sports teams, and engaging in projects that directly benefit the State of Maryland. Michelle has been published several times and has presented at several industry- and communications-focused conferences. She currently serves as Chair of the Field Committee for the Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA), has served on the board of the Baltimore Chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA), and is a member of the Insights Association (IA).

4:30 pm - 4:45 pm


4:45 pm - 5:45 pm

Round Table Discussion 1

Round tables are perhaps the most interactive of all the QRCA conference activities. Everybody has a voice. Everybody wants to hear your voice. We have selected expert content area leaders to guide discussions on the latest and greatest ideas in our industry — everything from running your business to picking the best methodologies to keeping your sanity. Attend a round table to share and learn from experts who are your fellow QRCs. It’s the best of the camaraderie we call QRCA.


5:45 pm - 6:45 pm

RevOpening Reception in Marketplace

7:00 pm - 9:30 pm



We hope you enjoy the dining options that we’ve selected for our Dine-Arounds on Wednesday and Friday evenings this year. There are plenty of authentic, local restaurants (and even a few food trucks) for you to experience, with cuisine ranging from barbecue to Mexican to Asian fusion to and beyond. You’ll surely find plenty of options that suit your taste buds — and your budget — in this town.

Read all about your dining options and sign up for your favorite online here.

Late Night

Two Stepping Optional Activity at the Broken Spoke

Event Details

Broken Spoke
3201 S Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78704

Two-Step Tuesdays with Weldon Henson
Every Tuesday at 8:15 PM
$6 Cover fee

Thursday, January 30, 2020

7:00 am - 8:00 am

Web Creator SuiteHealthy Connections: Movement Meditation Yoga Class


This breath-inspired journey will use gentle movement, basic yoga poses, guided meditation and music to help you shake off discomfort and distraction. It will prepare you for another day of learning, concentrating and sitting. You'll leave calm and focused for the conference day ahead with knowledge of a mudra (yoga for the hands) and a pranayama (breathing technique) to practice in the future. Taught by Anya Zadrozny, QRCA Board member and registered yoga teacher.

7:00 am - 8:00 am



Known for always having a variety of high-quality roasts, Houndstooth has built a name for themselves as the best coffee in Austin. The go-to place for a proper latte, espresso, or macchiato done right.
Location: 401 Congress Ave Suite 100C Austin TX 78701
Walking distance: 22 minutes

These highly caffeinated walks will be led by Charlotte Hayden, Barista turned CEO, and co-hosted by Carey Rellis, our 2020 Conference Co-Chair.

Charlotte built Better Flavor Co. from a passion of coffee, vanilla lattes, and easy to understand ingredients. Throughout college, she researched coffee farms in Uganda and spent a summer working with one. After graduating, she decided to continue with a career in coffee where she learned about what goes into making her favorite drinks. She enjoyed the vanilla lattes made at popular coffee shops in Austin and searched for a vanilla simple syrup in the grocery store that would taste the same. The problem was that most of the flavors in the grocery store came with artificial ingredients. This led Charlotte to create an easy to understand simple syrup brand available in Austin, Houston, and online at betterflavorco.com.

8:00 am - 4:30 pm

Registration Desk Open

8:00 am - 9:30 am

Breakfast in the Marketplace

8:00 am - 3:30 pm

Marketplace Open

8:45 am - 9:30 am

Optional SIG Meetings in the Marketplace

9:30 am - 10:30 am

Build Businessmethings logoUX Research Is Not a Synonym for Usability Testing
Kristine Remer

Session and Speaker Details

UX Research Is Not a Synonym for Usability Testing

Usability testing makes up a tiny fraction of the UX research discipline. More often, UX researchers use techniques such as wizard of oz, contextual inquiries, and Kano analysis to ensure companies solve the right customer problems. Learn about the different types of UX research, when to apply them, and ways to communicate and design actionable insights, such as task analyses and empathy maps. If you’d like to a gain a broad understanding of UX research or learn more about the intersection between UX and product management—this session is for you. Key Takeaways:

  • Walk away with a broad understanding of UX research methods and deliverables.
  • Help more immature clients move up the UX food chain or, at minimum, help them explore new ways to optimize the user experience.
  • Gain confidence to experiment (or specialize) in a specific area of UX research.

About the Speaker
Kristine Remer is a UX research consultant in Minneapolis. She regularly helps clients find giant bags of money by uncovering meaningful insights about their customers. In one case, she helped a company grow their online revenue from $1M per year to $1M per day. Over the past 20 years, she’s worked with companies such as 3M, Iron Mountain, Land O’Lakes, The Home Depot, Thomson Reuters, and UnitedHealth Group. Prior to falling head first into UX design and research, she was a journalist and writer. Kristine received her MBA from Webster University and undergrad degree in journalism and art from St. Olaf College.

9:30 am - 10:30 am

Build BusinessWandering or Wondering about the Future of Qual: Forging New Paths to Deliver Value in Uncertain Times
Randi Stillman and Rick Weitzer

Session and Speaker Details

Wandering or Wondering about the Future of Qual: Forging New Paths to Deliver Value in Uncertain Times

If “the most human company wins” in our chaotic, competitive marketplace (as Mark Schaefer wrote in Marketing Rebellion), qualitative researchers are well-positioned to help. Whether or not we have a seat at our ideal client’s table, we dwell at the intersection of marketing, strategy, and humanity. Our value is rooted in the connections we form with both our clients and respondents to reveal real-world insights about the human experience.

QRCs are wrestling with new realities — such as global business uncertainty, fragmentation in the “insights” space and in-house DIY research — mostly shaped by the disruption of technology, which makes the job of humanizing business decisions very challenging. These new realities have far-reaching implications for us, demanding that we proactively adapt and create new opportunities and avenues to deliver value to businesses and organizations.

To understand the challenges quallies face right now and the impact on and implications for qualitative research, we conducted IDIs with external thought-leading research stakeholders. We will present a composite, big-picture outlook on actionable trends based on the perspectives of diverse types and generations of research stakeholders, which include corporate, agency, entrepreneurial, academic, and facility and platform providers.

About the Speakers
Randi Stillman is Founder and Principal of Bottom Line Market Research & Consulting, with more than 25 years’ experience in qualitative research. During this time, she has designed, managed, moderated/facilitated, and analyzed thousands of in-depth interviews, ethnographies, and group discussions. Randi’s background includes graduate business education (MBA) at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, immersive participation in the school’s globally recognized laboratory in new product and service development, and Synectics training in creative problem solving for business teams and enterprises. She is a 10-year active member of QRCA and co-organizer of the three QRCA mini-conferences on leading-edge developments in qualitative research.

Rick Weitzer is the Principal of the Prell Organization, a marketing research consulting firm that uses qualitative and quantitative research methodologies to help its clients see their brands more clearly. Rick received his MS in Urban Studies from Cleveland State University and a BA in Psychology from Case Western Reserve University. He currently is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Webster University, teaching Qualitative Research to Doctoral students (in St. Louis) and Marketing Research to MBA students (in China). Rick has been a QRCA member for nearly 25 years and received its President’s Award in 2015.

9:30 am - 10:30 am

Humanize ResearchConnecting Human Experience to Design: Low-Budget Qual Techniques to Capture Insights that Inspire Big Ideas
Lisa Strick

Session and Speaker Details

Connecting Human Experience to Design: Low-Budget Qual Techniques to Capture Insights that Inspire Big Ideas

We know that qualitative research brings companies closer to the humans they hope to inspire with their products and messaging. But what if there is a tight budget and the client wants to skimp on research? In what ways might we be true to Human Experience Design in more affordable ways to capture key insights that will help create more relevant, compelling products?

This session will use a real case study to exemplify how a number of low-cost qualitative approaches were employed to capture deep human insights that were then used to design a brainstorm session that inspired relevant, big ideas.

Through this session you will learn how human experience research became the driver of successful new product ideation. We will focus on how we captured and shared the findings from low-budget primary and secondary research to help the client team better empathize with the humans (and their pets) who will be using their products. We will share how we leveraged the insights captured to bring the client team closer to the human truth; and, how we illuminated consumer stories to create custom brainstorming techniques that inspired breakthrough ideas.

About the Speaker
Lisa Strick, Chief Idea Officer of The Idea Bungalow, empowers growth-oriented organizations to envision and invent the future. A gifted insights & innovation professional, Lisa has an impressive track record across many categories leading global giants such as Unilever, PepsiCo, Bimbo, LeapFrog, Avery-Dennison, Maybelline, and Bayer on how to disrupt the marketplace with compelling new product and service offerings.

A respected author and instructor, and a sought-after speaker and facilitator, Lisa is often engaged to share her bespoke approaches to research design, strategic visioning workshops, creativity training, trend experience journeys, co-creation sessions and innovation processes that deliver breakthrough results.

10:30 am - 11:00 am

Break in the Marketplace

11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Humanize ResearchCultivating Connection: Helping Decision-Makers Understand the Humans Behind the Data
Cory Davison

Session and Speaker Details

Cultivating Connection: Helping Decision-Makers Understand the Humans Behind the Data

How do you connect the qualitative findings with the decision makers, to further drive action?

One of the biggest challenges for qualitative researchers is to deliver insights to the different audiences and promote a common understanding of who the humans are providing input in the research. In this session, you will learn techniques to help you connect decision makers with the customer’s real stories and to further act on the feedback that will improve their business outcomes.

Connecting the humans behind the data is about the dual role of the qualitative researcher; on the one hand, it’s about humanizing data to help decision makers understand the customer stories. On the other hand, it’s about connecting with the decision-makers who are interpreting the research from their own perspectives.

This session will present real case studies on how to use customer journey mapping techniques in your qualitative practices to help decision-makers relate to the human behind the data and to further take action that drives business outcomes.

About the Speaker
Want to know the right strategy to get the needed results? Cory will help you get unstuck from the analytics and gain clarity on the best path to get the results that you need. As a trusted strategist and master connector of people and data, she designs a clear path for clients and guides them on the execution.

Cory Davison is one of only 100 Gold Qualtrics certified qualitative and quantitative researchers in the world and a certified customer experience (CX) expert. For over 25 years, she has focused on helping organizations understand customers and stakeholders, improving business and operational outcomes by turning data into action. With a business degree and extensive experience as a consultant, entrepreneur and in corporate leadership roles, Cory is a guru in connecting the dots between data and qualitative insights that turn into actionable outcomes. Her expertise has been invaluable to companies in several industries: software and hardware technologies, manufacturing, automotive, financial, retail, government, lottery, non-profit, human resources, pharmaceutical and others. Cory has led ground-up B2B and B2C Voice of the Customer programs for companies such as Toyota Motor Corporation, BGA now HSBC in Latin America and SMART Technologies.

Most recently Cory, along with a team of research and design-thinking experts, founded 4Xperience to bring curated knowledge and expertise to companies who are continuously improving how they compete based on customer experience. Key accounts include companies such as Shopify, Shaw Communications, TAB Bank, Benevity, CREB.

11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Build BusinessUse Your Qual Skills to Market Yourself!
Jay Zaltzman

Session and Speaker Details

Use Your Qual Skills to Market Yourself!

Many QRCs are intimidated by marketing.  But we don’t need to be!  The very mix of skills that make for a good qually (people skills and analytical capabilities) are all you need to be a great marketer!

During this session, we’ll discuss how to position yourself (note: you don’t HAVE to focus on a specific industry if you don’t want to!), whom to target, and the wide variety of marketing options available to you and how to choose which to focus on.  You don’t have to do them all!  And we’ll get down to the specifics of several marketing methods including how to raise your profile, using LinkedIn and even — gasp! — cold emailing.

About the Speaker
Jay Zaltzman has been president of Bureau West Market Research for the past 20 years.  He also provides business coaching, helping small business-people grow their businesses.  He is an active member of the QRCA and a past president of the association. Jay was born in New York and moved to Israel as a child. He received his first qualitative research training in the Israel Defense Forces, where he was an interviewer of candidates as part of the recruitment process.  He began his career in market research after returning to the U.S. He currently lives in Palm Springs, CA.

11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Build BusinessAutoethnography: Real Human Real Quick
Jenny Karubian and Scott Koenig

Session and Speaker Details

Autoethnography: Real Human Real Quick

When respondents become storytellers, things get human real quick. When respondents are given the opportunity to tell their narratives as they experience them, our biases as researcher take a backseat.

Autoethnography turns the research enterprise on its head: We participate in their research, they take control and tell their own stories. We coach from the sidelines, while respondents are front and center.

Autoethnography is a relatively new methodology to consumer research. It differs from journaling in that it allows the market research team to connect more deeply with the consumer through peeling back of multiple layers of consciousness, thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.

In this presentation we discuss how autoethnography differs from other, more conventional methods. Our presentation will contain a case study where we show a side-by-side comparison of autoethnography and journaling. This case study will demonstrate the nuances of autoethnography. The session will be ideal for quallies who are interested in learning new methodologies they can add to their toolkits.

About the Speakers
Jenny Karubian is the CEO of Ready to Launch Research. She founded her company with a vision of bringing together age-old anthropological frameworks with cutting edge digital research tools. At Ready to Launch, she and her team deliver hybrid research solutions that combine ethnographic techniques and innovative research technology. Jenny Karubian was originally trained as a cultural anthropologist at The New School for Social Research, Emory University, and UCLA.

Scott Koenig is the founder of MRXology, a market research consultancy that bridges market research theory with innovative qualitative and quantitative solutions to help companies more fully hear, understand, and interpret the voice of the consumer. Scott was an early adopter of online qualitative research and online market research communities. He has also taught marketing and business courses for Western Governors University, Brigham Young University and Texas Wesleyan University and has been published in industry publications Quirk's, VIEWS, and Vue.

12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Lunch and Dessert in the Marketplace

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Build Businessmethings logoThe Torch Is Yours: Agile from the Hands of Engineering to the Researcher
David W. Tuffy

Session and Speaker Details

The Torch Is Yours: Agile from the Hands of Engineering to the Researcher

Digital innovations have lowered barriers to entry, disrupted once reliable business models, and dramatically decreased the time it takes for new products to become obsolete.

While many organizations are adopting Agile practices, they often fail to grasp the underlying principles needed to see results. Agility is not about doing more faster and cheaper. It is about understanding the market as early as possible, so you can focus on what’s most important. Successful companies engage in continuous conversation with their audience as the foundation of Agile methodologies.

In this session you’ll learn from an early adopter of the Agile movement how to build a culture of continuous innovation top down and bottom up.

We’ll use the four core values of Agile (https://agilemanifesto.org/) as a framework to uncover:

  • What is the role of Insights in Agile innovation?
  • How can leadership structure their organizations to maximize the benefits of Agility?
  • How can in-house research teams create successful Agile processes?
  • How do research agencies support their clients’ move to Agility?
  • What challenges will I face during an Agile transformation and how do I overcome them?

The presentation will include a deep dive into how to use a wide range of digital technologies to speak to and understand the market at all phases of the innovation life cycle.

About the Speaker
David has been in online software development for 20 years. In that time, he held nearly every role from support to engineering before settling into Product Management. He lead an Agile transformation at Napster, Inc., and advised on Lean practices at American Express before moving on to Product leadership roles. Before coming to Remesh, he built out product departments and defined strategy and process for OvationTix (acquired by AudienceView) and the category-creating employee engagement company Werk.co.

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Build BusinessThe Humanity of Board Games: Getting to those Nooks & Crannies that Technology Cannot Reach
Oana Popa Rengle

Session and Speaker Details

The Humanity of Board Games: Getting to those Nooks & Crannies that Technology Cannot Reach

In a world where videogaming relies heavily on the latest technology advances to create very expensive interactive worlds, board games are thriving. The board games market grew steadily in the past decade and it is worth almost $10B; astonishingly, board games raise 8-9 times more money than video games do via crowdfunding.

There is something profoundly human about playing a board game. They reach something deep in humans that no amount of technology can. And this is what QRCs need to learn because this is actually our edge and our future in an ever-technologized research industry.

This presentation will cover two parts:

Explore from a psychological perspective what is so profoundly human about boardgames and how qualitative researchers can use these learnings, irrespective of the method they choose.

Tips & tricks on how to create dedicated board games for qualitative research. While this theme is not new for qualitative research, attendees will learn how to transform research into a boardgame from beginning to end, by starting from gaming principles and theory, from the psychology of boardgames, and getting inspired from the most popular boardgames out there.

About the Speaker
Oana Popa Rengle has a lifelong passion for qualitative research, with 19 years of experience.

In June 2004, she set up Anamnesis as the first qual-research boutique in Romania. Since 2017, she has been consulting independently on qualitative research and strategic insight integration into business. In 2016, Oana received QRCA’s Global Scholarship award. Since 2018, she has been a feature editor for the Global Section of QRCA Views magazine. In addition to being a research practitioner, Oana is a certified Idea Generation and Creative Problem Solving processes facilitator, and a psychotherapist practicing Systemic Family Therapy.

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Humanize ResearchFG BnB! Getting Up Close and Personal in a More Human Environment
Abby Leafe and Laurie Tema-Lyn

Session and Speaker Details

FG BnB! Getting Up Close and Personal in a More Human Environment

What happens when you bring the sharing economy to the world of research?  Exciting things happen.  This presentation will show qualitative researchers how to think creatively (and practically!) about using alternative venues for conducting qualitative research.  We will explore how platforms such as AirBnB and Peerspace can be invaluable options to find the perfect spot to host a session, and we’ll talk about the ways to ensure that a project is a success once you identify the right non-traditional location. 

The session will draw upon the real-world experiences of the presenters using unique spaces to conduct qualitative research.  Among those experiences will be a case study in the snacking category, where an LA mansion proved to be the ideal setting for three days of focus groups and client innovation sessions for a start-up client on a budget, leading to development of a pipeline of new product ideas, some of which are now in the marketplace. 

Going outside traditional settings is not all roses and sunshine, however, and the presenters will also share their hard-earned learnings about how to avoid problems and ensure their own sanity when working in a new space that might not be set up for researchers.  You’ll leave prepared with ideas, excitement and practical tips to spice up your research locations for your next project. 

About the Speakers
Abby Leafe has been a qualitative researcher for 19 years, having started her career in advertising. In fact, a brief stint in graduate school was enough to make her run screaming from academia and she is forever grateful to the helpful headhunter who told her that, in fact, people will pay her to do research. She interviewed for a job in qualitative research shortly after finishing her MA and the rest, as they say, is history. Abby is a past president of QRCA and frequent presenter at industry events.

Laurie Tema-Lyn has been a creative catalyst and qualitative researcher for decades, also having started her career in advertising. She began doing qual when a client asked if she could apply the creative approaches she used with client teams for product innovation to their consumer learning. Hence, she began designing co-creation programs that “violated” many traditional rules of market research. Today her practice reflects a great diversity of research methods and clients. Laurie is a member of QRCA’s Board of Directors and the author of Stir It Up! Recipes for Robust Insights & Red Hot Ideas.

3:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Final Break in the Marketplace

3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Round Table Discussion 2

Session and Speaker Details

Round tables are perhaps the most interactive of all the QRCA conference activities. Everybody has a voice. Everybody wants to hear your voice. We have selected expert content area leaders to guide discussions on the latest and greatest ideas in our industry — everything from running your business to picking the best methodologies to keeping your sanity. Attend a round table to share and learn from experts who are your fellow QRCs. It’s the best of the camaraderie we call QRCA.


4:30 pm - 4:45 pm


4:45 pm - 5:45 pm

HatchtankQually Award Finalist Presentations


It’s Awards Season in Austin! Make sure to join us for the 2020 Qually Award presentations! You’ll get to see the big reveal of our top three excellent submissions. This year’s theme centers on alleviating traffic congestion in the world’s busiest cities. We need YOU there to vote for the winner, who will receive a $1000 cash prize. It’s also a great opportunity for you to soak up proposal writing inspiration. Many thanks to Hatchtank for sponsoring our text-based voting platform for the third year in a row!

7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

HarkConnect logoThursday Evening Event: The Bullock Texas State History Museum

Event Details

Stroll the streets of Austin and join us for an immersive evening of camaraderie with colleagues and cultural immersion at the Bullock Texas State History Museum — located only steps away from the AT&T Conference Center. Cultivate new friendships, sample authentic Austin food, and toast to a shining future of technology and human connections for qualitative researchers everywhere.

We will have free range roaming of the museum exhibits, which celebrate the history and stories about the great state of Texas. In keeping with QRCA’s tradition, this will be a fun and interactive evening with your fellow quallies! Explore the Bullock Museum website here.

Friday, January 31, 2020

7:45 am - 8:30 am

Web Creator SuiteHealthy Connections: Walking Tour

8:00 am - 4:00 pm

Registration Desk Open

8:00 am - 9:15 am


8:30 am - 9:15 am

Optional Chapter Meetings

9:15 am - 10:15 am

Build BusinessRecruiting Alchemists, Not Just Representatives: Using the Big 5 Personality Traits to Ensure Participants Are Qualified to Make Ideas Better, Not Safer
Peter Totman

Session and Speaker Details

Recruiting Alchemists, Not Just Representatives: Using the Big 5 Personality Traits to Ensure Participants Are Qualified to Make Ideas Better, Not Safer

Recruitment is often seen as the boring end of the process — methodology has always been the sexy bit, right? Wrong — the sexiest methodology in the world falls flat without the right participants. This is the story of how we used Big 5 personality theory to find the people our methodology deserved — and a unique experiment we conducted to find the sweet spot.

About the Speaker
Peter has over 25 years experience in qualitative research and ad planning. He is head of qualitative research at Jigsaw. He is a Fellow of the MRS and board member at the AQR. He has lived and worked in both the UK and US.

9:15 am - 10:15 am

Humanize ResearchBeyond Storytelling: Why, When, and How to Work with Stories
Anna Marie Trester and Criscillia Benford

Session and Speaker Details

Beyond Storytelling: Why, When, and How to Work with Stories

You know that stories are an effective way to broadcast information to an audience. But did you also know that real, everyday stories provide unparalleled insight into organizational and community cultures?

The process of collecting and working with real, everyday stories is called Narrative Inquiry. There are various approaches. In this session, we'll provide a step-by-step overview of our approach, and describe how narrative inquiry can be used to identify and change patterns of organizational behavior.  

As we share non-confidential learnings from collaborations with research partners in the US and Australia from different institutional contexts, you’ll learn best-practices for collecting, analyzing, and interpreting relevant stories. Our session will end with an interactive simulation of the core step in our narrative inquiry process: Story Listening. You will leave with an understanding of the principles and methods of narrative inquiry and how you can use them –– especially Story Listening –– to design culture change, employee engagement, and diversity and inclusion initiatives.

About the Speakers
Criscillia Benford and Anna Marie Trester are the co-founders of Pier Consulting Group, a boutique consulting agency that helps organizations leverage internal communications to improve employee experience and increase employee engagement. Criscillia studied narratology, rhetoric, and Victorian Literature at Stanford where she received her PhD. She has been helping people hone their communication skills for over 20 years, and has taught literature and humanities courses at the University of Chicago, Duke, and Stanford. Anna Marie studied sociolinguistics at Georgetown where she earned her PhD. The author of Bringing Linguistics to Work, Anna Marie has taught courses in improvisation, storytelling, and linguistics at a variety of institutions including Washington Improv Theater, Better Said Than Done Storytelling, Howard University, Georgetown, and University of Alberta.

9:15 am - 10:15 am

Humanize ResearchHeadache-Free Video + Research: From Down & Dirty DIY to a $20K Production 
Anya Zadrozny

Session and Speaker Details

Headache-Free Video + Research: From Down & Dirty DIY to a $20K Production 

Video takes your clients on an empathetic and enticing journey inside respondents' struggles, delights, motivations and fears. Incorporating video into your proposals and projects is something every market researcher can do and should consider. Adding video to your research projects does not have to be a headache-filled, time-sucking endeavor.  If done right, its bang far outweighs its buck.

In this presentation, professional videographer, editor and documentary filmmaker Anya Zadrozny will detail the things every researcher should consider to identify when and how to create and include video in research projects — from true DIY (just you and things you already own) to a full-scale production (hiring and working with a cameraperson and editor).

Combining her experience as owner of a video production company specializing in research-based content, interviews of directors, actors, qualitative researchers, respondents, lighting techs, videographers and sound engineers, this presentation will cut through the theory and deliver specific how-to, step-by-step ideas to demystify using video in research.

About the Speaker
Anya has over 15 years of experience as a videographer, producer and editor. She's produced projects worldwide for MTV, Vh1 and CMT Radio and now owns her own video production company. She is also a qualitative researcher, so is able to troubleshoot video issues from both sides of the coin. She's worked on projects and given advice to researchers for projects with video budgets in the low $100s to through the $30,000 mark. She is currently working on her first documentary.

10:15 am - 10:30 am


10:30 am - 11:30 am

Annual Membership Meeting and Town Hall Round-Up


All members are invited to join the QRCA Board for it's annual membership meeting! 2019 accomplishments and 2020 plans will be shared. There will be time for discussion and questions.

11:30 am - 1:00 pm

Awards Luncheon

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Humanize ResearchData Visualization for UX Research Methodologies
Nick Cawthon

Session and Speaker Details

Data Visualization for UX Research Methodologies

The use of Data Visualization for user experience research addresses a perceived need of extending the capabilities of the research team or individual; giving us the ability to display large datasets in insightful ways. Attendees to this talk will delve into learning about how to dimensionalize qualitative transcripts against quantitative survey data through a demonstration of a novel, custom visualization platform built from open-source tools. As researchers, we can begin to expand our skill sets and abilities in common tasks such as segmentation, correlation and pattern recognition.

Whereas we will continually advocate for the benefits from the abstraction that Data Visualization provides, ethically, these techniques require a narrative that is constantly being validated through human connection. Our goal for the use of Data Visualization is not to become a shortcut that replaces generative ethnography, but instead positioned as a complementary tool for iterative research cycles. By potentially unlocking these patterns of discovery, especially early on in the research process, we can create a more defensible position for our findings overall.

About the Speaker
Nick Cawthon helps run Gauge, a small consultancy in Berkeley, California, composed of ethnographers, visualization engineers, interaction and service designers. Past clients have included Adobe, Accenture, Asurion, the San Francisco Giants and other organizations that adopt a user-centric product design and development cycle. Nick has authored Æ : Aesthetic Effect, Investigating the User Experience of Data Visualization and teaches Data Visualization in curriculum of the Design Strategy MBA program at his alma mater, CCA in San Francisco.

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Build BusinessStreet Research: Learning from Humans at the Intersection of Authenticity and Insights
Kelly Heatly and Jill Matthews

Session and Speaker Details

Street Research: Learning from Humans at the Intersection of Authenticity and Insights

Insights emerge in the places where humans are making the decision, buying the brand, or experiencing the product or service. By learning in the moment, within the natural purchase or experience environment, you keep your research “real” — so let’s take it to the streets!

“Street research” involves gathering insights from consumers at the point of decision, purchase, consumption, and/or experience. By recruiting consumers ahead of time or via intercepts, and by using smart methods and technology to capture insights in the moment, you will gain rich insights on the street. Resilience required! The ultimate benefit: insightful, efficient, and agile research.

In this session, we will discuss effective applications for place-based research and best practices for successful execution, including low- and high-tech tools for on-site data collection and analysis/reporting. We’ll also share case studies with different methodologies and approaches, so you can think about the best way to take your research to the streets!

About the Speakers
Kelly Heatly, principal of Heatly Custom Research LLC, is a consumer insights consultant with over 20 years of marketing research experience. Kelly’s qualitative research experience spans new product development and optimization; brand positioning and communications; and user experience. She specializes in many different methodologies, selecting "whatever it takes" to talk to consumers and generate the insights needed to help companies make sound business decisions. Kelly proudly serves on the QRCA Board and the UTA MSMR Advisory Board

Jill Matthews is the President of Bright Cactus LLC, a marketing consultancy specializing in brand strategy consulting and consumer insights. Jill’s background in global brand strategy, insights, innovation, and shopper marketing makes her uniquely qualified to translate consumer needs and wishes into actionable insights with business implications. Known for her strategic mindset, coupled with entrepreneurial energy, Jill delivers impactful results to clients every time. Jill serves as a mentor to UTD MBA students, Type I Diabetes families, and also serves on Washington University’s Dallas Regional Cabinet.

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Build Businessmethings logoDigital and Human — NOT Mutually Exclusive!
Jennifer Cuthill and Sara Dougherty

Session and Speaker Details

Digital and Human — NOT Mutually Exclusive!

Curious to learn how you can use digital ethnographies to gain rich insights? Then this session is for you! Jennifer and Sara will share all the practical tips and tricks they have learned over years of conducting digital ethnographies. They will cover:

  • How to approach designing your study
  • How to develop exercises that are engaging and ensure you get what you need out of participants
  • Choosing the right platform that best meets your needs
  • What you should look for in your recruiting partners
  • Tips for keeping participants engaged
  • How to streamline reporting and analysis
  • And more.

You will leave the session with the knowledge you need to run a successful digital ethnography study … and you will have another methodology to include as part of your research toolkit!

About the Speakers
Jennifer brings many years of experience to Clearworks as a strategy consultant, product marketer, product developer and marketing strategist in industries ranging from retail to oil and gas. She leverages that background to get up to speed quickly on new industries and help Clearworks clients solve a variety of business challenges. She applies her curiosity and love of spreadsheets to dig deep into a wide range of products ranging from toilet paper to security software. On weekends, Jenn might be found cheering for her kids’ sports teams or trying to not be found at her favorite day spa.

Sara came to Clearworks from research, strategy, and operations roles across a diverse set of industries including health care, financial services, and the nonprofit sector. In those roles she developed her passion for people, innovation, and creative approaches to challenges, which she brings to the Clearworks team. A natural innovator, Sara loves exploring new technologies, methodologies, and creative games and tools—she has even developed a few of her own. On weekends, she’s likely to be hiking in the woods or digging in her own backyard oasis.

2:00 pm - 2:15 pm


2:15 pm - 3:15 pm

Build Businessmethings logoCan AI Help You? Leveraging Your Human Skills in a Digital World
Silvana di Gregorio

Session and Speaker Details

Can AI Help You? Leveraging Your Human Skills in a Digital World

We live an in age of artificial intelligence, where algorithms make suggestions to us and even make decisions that impact us. Evolving technology is giving us unprecedented access to more data sources than ever before and changing the way businesses gather and treat data in research.

The presentation will explore these evolving tools and discuss how QRCs can harness these tools to better support our work and get to deeper insights

We will discuss different considerations for qualitative researchers:

  • Why automation can be a good thing
  • Can AI be your friend?
  • Can software be designed so that algorithms can be clearly understood?
  • How can QRCs leverage their skills when using such software?

Attendees will leave the presentation with a better understanding of how they can leave the heavy lifting of qualitative research to AI giving them more time to focus on their human interpretative skills.

About the Speaker
Silvana is a sociologist and a former academic. She has been involved with training, consulting and publishing about qualitative data analysis software since 1995. She has consulted on qualitative research projects from the academic, government and commercial sectors worldwide. For 16 years she had her own training/consultancy business — SdG Associates - focussed on qualitative analysis using software. The software she covered included ATLAS.ti, Dedoose, MAXqda, NUD*IST, NVivo, Transana and XSight. Since 2013, she has been employed by QSR International, the developers of NVivo. She is currently Director of QSR Research — she works closely with the user community as well as potential users in ascertaining their needs regarding qualitative software development.

2:15 pm - 3:15 pm

Build Businessmethings logoWhatsApp, the Front Row Seat to Consumer Engagement
Mpho Mpofu

Session and Speaker Details

WhatsApp, the Front Row Seat to Consumer Engagement

How can a brand gain greater access to their consumers and achieve front-row seats into their lives?

Imagine an opportunity to wake up with the consumer and be part of their day from the moment they rise until they go to bed; a way to experience in real-time the influences and circumstances that shape consumer decision-making at every touch point during the day.

WhatsApp has become a preferred form of communication in emerging markets. It is familiar, easily affordable and accessible (compared to other research platforms).

This presentation will demonstrate how one can use WhatsApp as a multidimensional but non-intrusive lens into consumer lives through the use of text, audio and video connections. The methodology can be leveraged as a continuous ethnography throughout the day. It can give us access to every step in their experience and moments of influence.

WhatsApp is something consumers already relate to — helping them to feel more in control – it’s their safe space, the world they readily share. Come join us as we share the “how to” and benefits of this exciting methodology.

About the Speaker
Mpho Mpofu is the Founding Director of Masutane Consulting Services, a marketing research agency in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her background encompasses Consumer Relations, Market Research, and Business Development with over 10 years of experience. She is known for providing valuable consumer insights to both small businesses and major corporations. She has delivered keynote speeches, business presentations and training workshops focusing on the critical benefits of marketing research and its impact on business, products, brands and strategies. Mpho is the mother of two; she loves cooking and working with small businesses in under-privileged communities.

2:15 pm - 3:15 pm

Build BusinessThe Art of the Tease: Priming Respondents for their Best Creative Thinking In-Session
Noel van Aartrijk

Session and Speaker Details

The Art of the Tease: Priming Respondents for their Best Creative Thinking In-Session

If you’re looking to squeeze everything you can from respondents in an in-person qualitative research session — especially innovation-focused work — consider the rev up. Yes, we’re talking pre-work or “homework”.

Before they even walk into their research session, consumers are our eyes, ears, and pioneers — and they have ideas of their own. While respondents are in their element, in the wild, let’s leverage that opportunity for an output that is powerful and resonant. No more humdrum homework — it’s time to up the ante and give consumers a seat on the innovation team like they’ve never had before.

In “The Art of the Tease”, attendees will reimagine homework assignments as a way to pull out respondents’ sharpest thinking in-sessions, and add an entirely new dimension to the creative process. This session will share tactical ways to improve respondent engagement, prime the pump for them to be more insightful, and tap into their entrepreneurial spirit for more of those coveted lightbulb moments.

Learn how to engage your respondents with missions, challenges, and trend scouting ahead of their sessions — and impress clients with a research experience that starts and ends with them firing on all cylinders.

About the Speaker
Noel van Aartrijk is a Research Director with Good Run Research & Recreation, where she leads custom, full-service research for global brands. Her favorite projects include: annual innovation for an ice cream manufacturer; quarterly exploratory of the fitness apparel industry; and PSA work combatting distracted driving. She co-launched RVA Research, which supports local businesses with market research expertise.

Off-the-clock, you’ll find Noel walking her puppy, chugging coffee, and pronouncing her alphabet-soup name (it’s “van-are-trick”). Noel is a professor in the VCU School of Media, teaching research methods. She holds a Master of Science in Business degree from the VCU Brandcenter.

3:15 pm - 3:30 pm


3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Round Table Discussions 3

Session and Speaker Details

Round tables are perhaps the most interactive of all the QRCA conference activities. Everybody has a voice. Everybody wants to hear your voice. We have selected expert content area leaders to guide discussions on the latest and greatest ideas in our industry — everything from running your business to picking the best methodologies to keeping your sanity. Attend a round table to share and learn from experts who are your fellow QRCs. It’s the best of the camaraderie we call QRCA.


4:30 pm - 4:45 pm


4:45 pm - 5:30 pm

Wise Ways to Go Forward with Humanity: Bonus Keynote
Naomi Henderson

Session and Speaker Details

Animals have some incredible skills (e.g., crafty as a fox, or as nimble as a gazelle), but all lack the ability to smile or do critical thinking — and all the Artificial Intelligence in the world will never allow a computer to get the full humor in a joke. As QRCs, we use our craft and agility to navigate the world of qualitative research and to smile (or grimace) at some of the insights we gather. Come to the closing keynote and see if your list of conference takeaways matches Naomi's, and be ready to laugh!

5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

20 20Toast to the Bright Future/Hats off to Humans Happy Hour

7:00 pm - 9:30 pm



We hope you enjoy the dining options that we’ve selected for our Dine Arounds on Wednesday and Friday evenings this year. There are plenty of authentic, local restaurants (and even a few food trucks) for you to experience, with cuisine ranging from barbecue to Mexican to Asian fusion to and beyond. You’ll surely find plenty of options that suit your taste buds — and your budget — in this town.

Read all about your dining options and sign up for your favorite online here.