Q&A with a client-side researcher 

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

Could you describe your background and how your varied job experiences – from a buyer at Macy’s to a category manager at Hanes – guide your current role in consumer insights?

First, I am so glad to hear that you think people with different backgrounds and career paths would be of interest to others in insights. 

I was a buyer at Macys, then started in sales at Hanes and moved around at Hanes to category management, product marketing and now consumer insights. There are three common threads through all these jobs – understanding the business, building relationships and communicating effectively.  

I think knowing the challenges and goals for both sides of business, the retailer and the wholesaler, helps me execute work that is valuable and impactful. And, to have an impact, you need trust. Building relationships with your stakeholders is necessary. Finally, effective communication – clear and concise – will ensure your ideas are understood, you are using everyone’s time effectively and there is no confusion. 

Who – or what – has influenced your career the most?

Oh goodness. I truly think of my career as building blocks. Everyone I have worked with and everything I have worked on has built up my strengths and has helped me address my weaknesses. However, if I had to pick one thing, it would probably be reading Sheryl Sandberg’s book, “Lean In.” It was empowering to be told we [women] need to claim a seat at the table and not assume the back row. It helps illustrate that success as a female in business does not have to look like a woman acting as a man.  

When looking ahead to the next five years, what do you think will be the biggest challenge for consumer insights?

Sample and AI. I am concerned that our traditional methods of surveys and sampling are boring, repetitive and may not uncover true behaviors. Also, I worry that our sample is not as representative as we expect it to be in panels.

AI is amazing. So powerful. I love the efficiency it can provide. My concern is not about the technology itself but if teams will be able to adapt and get on board with the many possible ways software suppliers will be able to implement and innovate around it.