Editor's note: If you’re an end-client researcher and interested in participating in a Q&A with Quirk’s, please e-mail me at emilyk@quirks.com.

Director, Fan Insights, Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club 

I’ll confess that my research career started without much forethought. I just knew that I wanted a job that could let me engage all sides of my personality and education. I’m fortunate that it’s worked out well for me! Given my background, I was able to participate in the end-to-end research process from the get-go, from identifying client requirements and uncovering root causes to key challenges, to doing statistical data work in SPSS.

I think that everyone who makes the switch to client-side research realizes that they’re suddenly an influencer as much as – or more than – they are a researcher. There’s something a little bit humbling in knowing that decisions are going to be made with or without you, and you just hope that you can explain how they’re made better with you in the mix. I’m fortunate to have arrived at an organization that was primed for a data-driven transformation when I got here, but I’ve spoken with many people taking client-side roles who are met with a wall of “we’ve always done it this way,” naysayers. 

As a supplier-side researcher, I worked across many industries, but the breadth of challenges I’m tackling is wider working in-house. Part of my role is bringing a holistic research approach to parts of the business that might not traditionally have access to vendor resources, such as customer service or operations, and of knowing what all parts of the business are doing at any given time. 

There’s also great joy in providing answers quickly that drive fast change from one day to the next, especially in a stadium environment. There are times when the research cycle for a question might be less than 24 hours: launch a survey in the evening, review the results the next mo...