2018 Conference - Friday Full Schedule
2017 Friday agenda

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This page provides details on each scheduled session and other program highlights for Friday, January 26.

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Friday, January 26

8:00am - 4:00pm

Registration Open

7:30am - 8:30am

Healthy Connections


Before another day of stretching your imagination at great workshops, get your body and mind in the right place. Meet poolside for the perfect informal morning warmup featuring stretches, Pilates and Yoga moves, guided by yoga instructor Meghan Guild, a doctoral student at Arizona State University. Just bring your water; yoga mats will be provided. 

8:00am - 9:00am

Breakfast and Optional Chapter Meetings

9:00am - 9:50am

Roundtable Discussions #2

  • 2019 QRCA Conference Preview & Brainstorm Session
  • The Wonderful and Maddening World of Webcam
  • Where Can Empathy Take You?
  • Show Your Work! Simple Ways to Visualize Data for Reports that Engage, Engross and Enlighten.
  • Zen and the Art of Qualitative
  • Kids, Teens and Their Parents: Important Research Partnership'
  • QRCA + CPSI = Relevancy
  • The Great Failure Share
  • Give and Take: How to Deliver Impactful Analysis in a World of Reduced Timelines

10:00am - 11:30am

Breakout Sessions

From Foundation to Elevation: Blueprints for Building Successful Online Communities
Presenters: Holly M. O'Neill and Michelle Finzel

There is more to a successful online research community than insightful conversation. Much like when constructing an actual brick-and-mortar community, cultivating an online research community requires a lot of work to be done behind the scenes before the neighbors (“members”) can even move in. This interactive session will focus on building the “bones” of an online community as well as effectively managing a community month after month, from two different yet important perspectives.

Two experienced QRCs — a first-year community moderator and a QRC who has managed and moderated the same online community for seven years — will share their unique viewpoints on building long-term communities from the ground up, including insights about platform selection, programming and design, selecting the best neighbors, mechanical troubleshooting, and methods for maintaining a thriving community.

Target Audience: QRCs interested in increasing their knowledge of building, moderating and managing long-term online B2C communities.

Holly M. O’NeillBio: Seasoned qualitative researcher Holly M. O’Neill, MBA, is well-known for blending creativity with analytics. Since launching Talking Business 20 years ago, her insights and strategies have helped clients grow established businesses, create influential brands and develop powerful advertising. Recognized for bringing innovation to research, Holly has advised such companies as GlaxoSmithKline, Experian, 3M and Princess Cruises.

A popular speaker, author, TV host and university instructor, Holly has presented at QRCA, AMA, MRIA, TMRE, CPSI and Harvard Business School’s Entrepreneurs Conference. Her work has been featured in Quirks, Marketing News, QRCA VIEWS, MRA Alert! and four Prentice Hall research textbooks.

Michelle FinzelBio: Michelle Finzel has grown up in the ever-changing world of market research. As President of Maryland Marketing Source, Inc., a full-service firm located in Baltimore, Maryland, Michelle remains passionate about communication in all its varied forms and enjoys the challenge of blending theory with practice, emotions with insights, and numbers with words.

Michelle has been published several times and has also presented at several industry- and communications-focused conferences on topics concerning public speaking, small group communication, and qualitative recruitment practices. She currently serves as Chair of the QRCA Field Committee and assists with the QRCA LinkedIn Group as well.

What’s Next? Options for Maturing Qualitative Research Consultants
Presenters: Jeff Walkowski and Lisa Gaines McDonald

At various stages in one’s career as a Qualitative Research Consultant (QRC), many probably ask themselves one or more of the following questions:

  • How did I get here and do I want to continue along this path?
  • Should/can I do something different? If so, what are some feasible options?
  • In terms of my career path, what would I have done differently in the past, if I knew then what I know now?

Additionally, as QRCs age, other questions arise:

  • How do I keep up with the pace of industry changes and technological developments?
  • Is there age discrimination in our industry? If so, how can I effectively deal with it?
  • What are some effective strategies for maintaining my income when my practice slows down?
  • How do I prepare for taking down my “open for business” sign?

This session will be led by two young-at-heart QRCs (in their 60s) who’ve asked themselves these very questions. Through primary research (interviews with QRCs at various career stages, career coaches, and other relevant professionals) and secondary research, a snapshot of best practices in dealing with these issues will be shared.

Target Audience: Early-, mid-, and late-career QRCs will benefit by having a stronger sense of the possibilities in our profession as we get better (not older!).

Jeff WalkowskiBio: Jeff Walkowski originally planned on being an educator, but fell into research instead — first as a Program Evaluator in the public service arena, and then in market research. Jeff started out as a “Quant Jock” until he discovered qualitative research. Once bitten by the qual “bug,” he left quant behind. Today, he is primarily known as “Mr. Online.” He finds opportunities to satisfy his original goal for being an educator by becoming a RIVA Trainer and co-founding the Online Moderator Training Institute. He has been actively involved in QRCA in many roles since becoming a member in the late 1990s.

Lisa Gaines McDonaldBio: Lisa Gaines McDonald worked 15 years for General Mills, Inc., The University of Minnesota Hospital and Clinic, Avery Label and Eli Lilly after her MBA from UNC, Kenan-Flagler School of Business. She switched to qualitative research because projects have a beginning and an end. It affords her flexibility and feeds her passion for the arts, social issues, travel and entrepreneurship. Collaborations resulted in the Advertising Research Federation Silver winner; Chicago Culture Plan 2012; research for Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America (Yale Press 2011) and Democracy Remixed: Black Youth and the Future of American Politics (Oxford University Press 2010).

A Fresh Look at Business Development: It Can be Easier than You Think!
Presenter: Marta Villanueva and Cheryl Stella Dalisay

Our industry has changed drastically over the past few years, leaving us with greater competition, smaller budgets, and clients who often are choosing to go the DIY route. If you have not been consistent with business development in the past, your business may be paying the price now or in the near future. Don’t love to sell? Don’t have the time? Neither do most QRCs, according to our deep dive into this topic with QRCs at all tenures. This interactive session will review the results from our study and incorporate tricks of the trade from many of the best qualitative practitioners. We will highlight solutions that can be incorporated quickly into busy QRC business lives. Understanding self-imposed constraints and that business development is not “one size fits all” can lead to unique solutions that will get QRCs unstuck and on a new path to greater success.

Target Audience: Any QRCs interested in cultivating business development.

Marta VillanuevaBio: Marta Villanueva is President of NuThinking Inc. She is a bilingual/bicultural expert with nearly 20 years of experience in insights. Marta has a proven track record advising Top 500 Companies. She holds a Master’s Degree from the International Center for Studies in Creativity. She is a creative thinker, grounded in marketing who gets more from consumers, using customized thinking tools. Marta has served QRCA in many roles, including co-chairing the Latino and Creativity and Innovation Special Interest Groups, 2012 conference Speaker Team Leader, and chairing the Business Development SIG. She is the QRCA 2015 Maryanne Pflug Award Winner. @nuthinkinginc

Cheryl Stella DalisayBio: Cheryl Stella Dalisay is President of Stellar Strategic Services, Inc. Providing both qualitative and quantitative research services for the past 28 years drives her unique perspective into both disciplines. She has been intimately associated with client-side, agency-side, and supplier-side experiences that allow her to drive her business, and those of her clients, with uncommon solutions. Cheryl graduated from the University of Illinois with a “custom” B.S. in Communications/ Advertising, specializing in statistics, research methods and social psychology. She is co-chair of the QRCA Online SIG and an active participant in the Business Development SIG. She has contributed to several QRCA conference committees as a Speaker co-chair, Dine-Arounds Committee and Session Host chair. She is a single mom of 4 who gets the meaning of “too busy for business development!”

11:30am - 12:30pm


12:30pm - 1:45pm

Presenters: Chris Kann, Markus Kasunich

Creativity is a fundamental part of our true nature. It is an essential aspect in human expression, and it is especially necessary for qualitative researchers. This session will help attendees to cultivate a deeper understanding of the nature of creativity and how it works...

read more

Breakout Sessions

The Future Is Virtually Here
Presenter: David Bauer

Virtual reality technology is rapidly being developed and is attracting enormous amounts of funding. This technology will certainly affect the worlds of entertainment, news, gaming, healthcare, business, research and other areas in a profound way.

This presentation will provide an overview of virtual and augmented/mixed reality and address how this technology will likely change marketing research practices. At least a few agencies have started using VR for research and this talk will explore some of these initial case studies. You will hear the perspectives from a variety of researchers as to how they see this technology being used in the coming years. We also hope to share at least one demonstration so you can better understand the experience of VR.

Embrace the future and learn how you can apply virtual technology in your research practice.

Target Audience: All qualitative researchers who are interested in developing technologies and how they can be applied in your practice.

David BauerBio: David Bauer has spent over 20 years exploring human perceptions and behaviors and their implications for business strategy. He founded the consumer insights agency Hemispheres in 2003. David and Hemispheres offer qualitative and quantitative research as well as ideation, user experience and strategy consulting.

Working in Seattle since the mid-'90s has provided him with many opportunities to examine how the online environment and tech devices are shaping consumer experiences. Prior to Hemispheres, he held positions at Q2 Brand Intelligence, Publicis, Tattoo brand consulting and Morla Design. David earned a BA in writing and marketing from Santa Clara University.

Masterclass: Designing Spectacular Methodologies
Presenter: Daniel Berkal

In the age of large commoditized corporate research, effectively standing out from the crowd is the key for any successful practitioner. In this session, QRCs will learn how to incorporate smart + proven methodological elements into their current approaches that will captivate current clients and help win new business. The speaker has been awarded top recognition from ESOMAR, the MRIA, the ARF and the QRCA for unique methodology design and theatrical approach to qualitative research. In this open-minded and interactive session, he will showcase effective techniques while working directly with attendees on their real-life challenges.

Target Audience: Audience Description: Consultants who wish to think outside the box.

Daniel BerkalBio: Daniel Berkal is SVP and a partner at The Palmerston Group. He's personally conducted hundreds of energetic interviews of various sizes, ethnographies, mystery shops and ideation sessions among consumers and professionals in North America, Central America, Europe and Asia. The recipient of the 2011 QRCA Qually for Excellence in Qualitative Research, Daniel has worked on 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.

A Gentle Nudge, a Kick in the Pants: Designing Research around Behavior Change
Presenter: Tom Rich

Why is it that sometimes consumers do the things we want them to, and other times they don’t? As QRCs, we often work with our clients to drive behavior changes in consumers. So, the better we understand the forces that influence behavior, the better we can serve our clients. And that’s why we need to know about the Fogg Behavior Model (FBM), a recently developed conceptual framework for understanding the factors that influence behavior change. The FBM is an immensely practical tool that is applicable to a broad variety of marketing challenges. This session will introduce attendees to this tool, review in detail its specific components, demonstrate how to use the model to gain hidden insights, and show how those insights can lead directly to actionable recommendations.

Target Audience: This session should be suitable for all QRCs

Tom RichBio: Tom Rich is a highly-respected thought leader in the field of qualitative research. Since founding his business in 1996, he has conducted thousands of focus groups, one-on-one interviews and online interactions for clients in nearly every industry. Drawing on his many years in brand management, Tom takes an approach to his clients’ research needs that is simultaneously creative, strategic and pragmatic.

A recognized expert on the application of analytical models to market research, Tom is a frequent and sought-after speaker at industry events and regularly teaches master classes for experienced qualitative researchers to help them hone their skills.

Tom currently serves on the QRCA Board of Directors as the organization’s Vice President.

1:45pm - 2:00pm


2:00pm - 3:00pm

Breakout Sessions

A Case Study on Designing Buyer Personas — While Leveraging Your Research Skills into Marketing Consulting
Presenter: Tamara Kenworthy

Companies continue to be challenged with a diversity of marketing strategies, while trying to reach multiple target audiences. As QRCs continue to enhance their service offerings, we are in a sweet spot to be a true marketing partner with our clients. This session will explore the research process for creating Buyer Personas — a popular marketing strategy being utilized by both B2C and B2B, which must be based on sound market research. Tamara will explore her work with two clients on building Buyer Personas — conducting the research and actually creating the personas for one of her clients.

She will build a case study clarifying the purpose of personas, research design methodology that is on point, the types of questions to support persona creation, and the strategy behind creating the templates for the final buyer personas. She’ll also share how her clients launched the personas internally and lessons learned. Working on this type of project can extend a QRC's ability to add value to clients beyond just conducting the research. You’ll leave this session with an applicable understanding of research for personas, but more importantly, how to leverage your research skills into serving as a marketing consultant to your clients.

Target Audience: Qualitative researchers of all skill levels, working with either B2C or B2B clients, as well as those who want to leverage their research skills into marketing consulting and help clients explore popular marketing strategies.

Tamara KenworthyBio: With over 30 years in marketing and research — on both the client and agency side of the business — Tamara started On Point Strategies 10 years ago to focus on planning and research. She is an accomplished marketing strategist with research expertise, and a researcher who thinks like a marketer. Whether conducting a research project or leading clients through the marketing planning process, she is adamant about "voice of the customer." She has conducted a variety of research projects across many industries, loves to facilitate groups and interviews, speaks on a variety of marketing and research topics, and currently serves as a Feature Editor for QRCA’s VIEWS magazine.

Backroom Games and Debrief Delights
Presenter: Melanie Bernstein

The backroom can be a dark cave where your clients turn into sugar-crashed, social media surfing zombies. How can you help your clients stay fully engaged, listen actively and enjoy the research process? And has this happened to you? The debrief session turned into a disorganized opinion-spouting free-for-all, where the loudest client dominated, and you walked away with notes that were undecipherable the next day when you sat down to start on the topline. How do you make that extra hour after the groups worthwhile time for you and your clients to stick around? In this session, I’ll share some tricks I developed from years spent in the backroom as a client. You will learn games to keep your backroom listening and engaged, ready to share their observations and aha! moments in the debrief. They’ll also enjoy the experience for more than just unlimited access to M&Ms. In addition, I’ll share structured debrief methods that will download your clients’ observations quickly and succinctly, so topline report writing becomes a snap.

Target Audience: Sole proprietors, new moderators, anyone interested in self-reflection.

Melanie BernsteinBio: Melanie Bernstein, founder of Bam! Pow! Insights, has more than 15 years’ experience of bringing meaningful change and solutions to problems through sound insights, innovative thinking and influential leadership. Having left the field of classical archaeology to study living people who could talk back, Melanie’s years leading research at Capital One transformed her into a consumer insights expert with substantial experience in brand development, new product development and integrated marketing communications. Having made the transition from backroom to the moderator’s chair, she enjoys combining traditional and cutting-edge methodologies for powerful insight delivery.

The Conundrum of Success: How & Why to Seek Meaningful Feedback on Your Work
Presenter: Vivian Harris

Why bother evaluating your work if business is good? And how would you go about it, anyway?

In his book, Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance, Atul Gawande says, “Betterment is a perpetual labor.” No wonder it’s so easy to avoid! Who has time for perpetual labor, on top of a full schedule of focus groups?

It can be easy to think that evolving simply means using the latest technology tool or having the slickest PowerPoint deck, and while those things are certainly part of what we have to offer, our skill set is so much broader. It includes things like effectively telling the story of the research, being timely in delivering materials, and working through difficult situations with grace — and each of these skills represents an opportunity to grow.

In this session, we’ll look at how sole proprietors and small business owners in MR and outside the industry think about client feedback, assess their own work, and stay motivated to evolve. And we’ll discuss ideas for how you can create a meaningful, doable process of your own for self-reflection, evaluation, and growth.

Target Audience: Sole proprietors, new moderators, anyone interested in self-reflection.

Vivian HarrisBio: Before founding VMHQ in 2008, Vivian built her career over 20 years at several small New England research firms — leading projects, managing operations, and mentoring staff. At VMHQ, Vivian provides qualitative research to clients in diverse industries, including pharma, media, home construction, and apparel. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Notre Dame, and an M.A. in English from the University of Chicago. She and her husband are empty nesters who recently relocated to Portland, Maine, where they walk everywhere with their two dogs. You can find her on Twitter at @vivianvmhq.

3:00pm - 3:30pm

Closing Remarks


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