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. 

I got into research by accident. As an economics major, I considered working for the U.S. Government, either at the U.S. Census Bureau or for World Bank. The summer before my senior year, I interned for the New York City Department of Human Resources. My job required me to go to SSI centers throughout N.Y.C., read case files and interview case managers for a project that would culminate in a meeting in Albany, N.Y. Through the process, I realized that I enjoyed telling stories through data, so much that my HRA director invited me to Albany to present the findings to his management as I was the “voice of their customer.” It was at that moment that I found my love of research. I had to rearrange my senior year’s course schedule to add a graduate-level data analysis class, offered by my favorite stats professor from my freshman year. He mentored me my last semester, encouraging me to move away from the public to the private sector because I had “a marketer’s personality.” Shortly after graduation, I accepted a full-time job at a small market research firm, Moskowitz Jacobs, working for the legendary Howard Moskowitz, and the rest is history.

Be curious, take risks and have fun. 

It is not going to happen overnight; it starts with taking baby steps to get a seat at the table of others in your company. I’ve spent most of my corporate career in highly matrixed organizations and in most instances, I was already working with product and/or R&D as well as branding and strategy teams. These are table stakes and if you want to expand, enable a culture of learning. Increasing awareness of your team through visibility via snackable insights – just tell your story over and over to “seed the need.” 

In my experience, HR, operations and even IT teams value storytelli...