Marketing Research and Insight Excellence Award finalist, Timothy Cornelious, director of operations, QuestionPro

Editor's note: Timothy Cornelious is the winner of the 2022 Fearless Leader Award which is a category in the Marketing Research and Insight Excellence Awards. To find out more about the awards click here.

What makes a good leader?  

A good leader is a steward who is equal parts accountable, empathetic and purpose driven.

  • Accountable: Good leaders are present. They are the first to get their hands dirty and never ask for something they wouldn’t or haven’t done themselves. 
  • Empathetic: Good leaders lift as they climb creating value for all that come into contact with them. Good leaders care about your past as only an indicator of how far you’ve come.
  • Purpose driven: Good leaders are able to zoom in on problems and zoom out to see the system and how to drive change as a whole. They believe that doing the next right thing, regardless of financial impact, will win out in the end. Good leaders inspire change, lift as they climb and make the world better for all they interact with.

How do you see research and insights changing in the next five years?  

I believe consumers will continue to evolve their understanding of the value in their data. I believe consumers will only interact with us as researchers if they are being heard and directly helping to create tangible change toward a better future. I believe companies and brands that aim to include growing populations traditionally ignored in online methodologies such as those with invisible disabilities, the socioeconomically disadvantaged and nonnative speaking populations will win the large consumer base of socially conscious consumers. I believe in the long-term value of customer micro interactions to create an equitable landscape for up-and-coming brands over large players in the space. In the next five years, I hope to never see another demographic question again.

What advice do you have for someone entering the industry?

Wild idea here, take surveys. Learn what it’s like to take a survey from every possible app, platform or provider you can. If you do this often, you’ll be a huge asset to researchers that get caught up in the actual science of predicting the future. 

In the first company or organization you join, soak up and experience every facet of the space. Find what you like doing but more importantly, find out what you won’t do. Learn enough to execute at the highest level and advocate for change when necessary. If you find a problem worth solving, our community will rally around you to help address it. The world has never been more connected so surround yourself with people who don’t look like you. As the industry changes, don’t get caught up in the mechanics. 

I’m often a broken record on this but Dr. Maya Angelou said it best, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”