The inaugural year of the Insights Association was an active and productive time for its chapters. With the founding of the first international chapter in September, there are now a dozen in the network, providing education and networking opportunities locally in many regions.

If you haven’t been involved with your local Insights Association chapter, you’ve been missing out. And with a new funding and partnership agreement between the national association and the chapters, 2018 promises even more valuable events right in your own backyard. Coordinating the new partnership framework is newly hired Director of Chapter Engagement Hilary Fischer. Please contact her to learn more about getting involved with your local chapter.

Here’s a look at what the chapters were up to during 2017. Thanks to all who provided these highlights and kudos to the volunteers who made each gathering and learning opportunity possible.

New England

The New England Chapter’s Spring event enjoyed record-breaking attendance!

With approximately 200 members and over 1,000 in its overall network, the chapter enjoyed another busy year, organizing over a dozen events. With 191 registrants, the Spring 2017 Conference was the largest regional event in the history of the organization. Regional Rendezvous took place across the region over breakfast or in the evening with attendance for each ranging from 20 to 50 people. Each offered ample time for members new and old to meet or reconnect with their peers. Last, and certainly not least, we throw fantastic parties every summer and winter. 

Great Lakes –
Among the events hosted were local meet-and-greet networking events, our annual multi-city forum, winter conference in Key West, Florida and our fall conference in St. Louis, Missouri. Last year marked many first-time efforts for the GLC, and a ramp-up of our focus on diversity and education.

In April, we held a well-attended half-day forum across five cities (with webinars) with a focus on content relevant to the many student attendees. We were happy to award a Michigan State MR Master’s program student with a free 2018 conference package.

In Key West, we had great speakers and for the first time, we held a training session to help attendees maximize their LinkedIn profile. It was a big success and we plan to conduct an enhanced session at a 2018 conference.

This was the first time that we held a conference in St. Louis. Our programming team worked hard to ensure it was a great event. We had the highest attendance for a conference in several years, with more than 100 people on hand. We offered networking opportunities and our content included a panel discussion about diversity and inclusion (our first on this topic) in the market research field.

“I am honored to serve with such dedicated board members and advisors who always strive to provide top-notch educational and networking events,” commented Chapter President Sherri Dansby, PRC, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Southeast –
After several successful events in New Orleans, Charleston and Nashville, we took to the road again to host a meet-and-greet in Charlotte. The event was an amazing success with 74 registrations (equal to approximately one-third of our total chapter membership). The meeting took place at the NC Music Factory and was highlighted by a Greek buffet and an open bar. Generous donations from sponsors, Accelerant Research and Market Cube, allowed the affair to be free for all attendees. The room was full of insights professionals eager to learn and meet new colleagues. Our panel speakers, Brett Townsend (Electrolux), Erin Patel (Clorox), Jill Miller (Lowes), Brooks Deaton (NASCAR), Paul Rubenstein (Accelerant Research), and Ted Pulsifer (Market Cube), provided insights into their personal research journeys. It was an inspiring group that left all with a renewed passion to go for what you want in life! We contribute the success of this event to a dedicated, hard-working board of directors, awesome sponsors, and outstanding chapter members.

“I am lucky to have such an awesome executive board, board of directors, committee chairs and members with so many years of knowledge and all of the tricks of the trade. As a younger member in the industry, it is exciting to be a part of a group that is dedicated to innovation and excellence. Our chapter is stronger than ever and growing across our eight states each and every day,” commented President Morgan Valerie of Focus Group Testing.

Southern California – 

David Butler of PureSpectrum and Lindsay Finnegan of Critical Mix at the annual SoCal holiday party.

We finished the year with a bang and have ambitious goals for 2018. After transitioning leadership in the summer, the Board coalesced around a theme of incremental success and having fun. We succeeded in achieving our first goal of doubling attendance at the Annual Holiday Party and donating over $1,000 to charity. In 2018, the Board will add new members, create a volunteer task force, host three educational/networking events, and collaborate with the national headquarters on initiatives in our region.

Florida –

Attendees at February’s Educational and Networking event in Tampa. Left to right, starting with the back row: Rodney Kayton, Study Hall Research; Glen Lasher, Quest Marketing Group; Bonnie Reenstra, Blue Sky Research Group; Suzie Sligh, SSI; Maria Henson, Visit Orlando; Sharon Roebuck, Universal Orlando; Lucinda Burke, Universal Orlando; Mike Vandall,; Brittany Hanson, Publix Super Market Inc.; Michele Brown, HSN; Brittany Lark, Abt Associates; Randy Carson, P&K Research; John Ciesluk, Catalina Marketing

In 2017, the Florida Chapter hosted a number of highly successful educational and networking events in key member hotspots across the state, including Tampa, Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale.  The concept of bringing events to where our members are led to an overall increase in event attendance and member satisfaction. Attending members were delighted to reconnect with colleagues they have not seen in years; to put faces to names they have been doing business with via email or phone; forge new business relationships and personal friendships; and to learn from their expert peers. We believe we have found a winning engagement formula, which we plan to build upon. 

The new Board, which took office in June, is a dedicated group comprised of both corporate researchers and suppliers. We are excited about the future growth of our Chapter and what we can continue to offer our members.

Southwest –

Southwest Board leaders scout location for this year’s 32nd Annual Las Vegas Insights Association Combined Chapter Conference. Left to right: Jeb Bullis, President-Elect; Greg Carter, Treasurer; Lisa Hagen, Vice President; Alice Butler, Past-President Advisor Chair; Melanie Courtright, President; David Galloway, Immediate Past-President.

In an unusual year, our President, Melanie Courtright of Research Now, extended her leadership role until the end of 2017 as we coordinate calendars with all other chapters. It's a huge bonus for us to benefit from an extra four months of Melanie's guidance and organizational skills. Even with an extremely eventful year for her company, Melanie dedicated herself to our members and the Board and we thank her! She will be the 2018 Southwest Board Immediate Past President, her fifth+ year of the leadership cycle.

Our first annual event was the 31st Las Vegas Combined Chapter Conference, held at the Paris Casino and Hotel in March. The Southwest and Northwest chapters started with an amazing reception Wednesday night under the Eiffel Tower. Nine excellent presenters filled the Thursday and Friday agenda. Locations were negotiated for 2018's 32nd annual event, which will be held at Caesar's Palace Casino and Resort Wednesday-Friday, April 4-6.

Our second annual event, the Educational Forum, was held in Denver at the Curtis Hotel in August. Seven excellent speakers spent the day-long conference educating a group of 90 research professionals. Also in Denver that week, the Southwest Board conducted their annual planning, firming up finances, Board elections, marketing, membership and education/programming.

Members of our leadership team participated in the Insights Association’s Chapter Leadership Training in New York in conjunction with NEXT. This provided valuable tools and training for successful growth and execution. Throughout 2017, Southwest hosted quarterly webinars and published our quarterly newsletter CACTUS CALL.

In December, our board says goodbye to Meg Ryan, Director at Large, and Nancy Hernon, Past President Advisor, both of whom are taking a pause as they are busy with many volunteering positions, including other Insights Association chapters. Thank you, Meg and Nancy! 

Greg Carter of Seattle, another multi-board member (Northwest and Southwest Chapters) is stepping into the Southwest Treasurer position. Those duties have been fulfilled by the honorable and esteemed Steve Larson, past president and Southwest treasurer for what seems 196 years. The members of the Southwest Chapter extend to him our gratitude and thanks for your many years of excellent and consistent financial management. We look forward to building upon the success of 2017.

Greater New York –

Greater New York’s holiday party proved a smashing success with a packed house and many toys donated to the Toys for Tots program.

In January, we introduced the Joyce Rachelson Silver Service Award in memory of our beloved departed member. The award will be presented annually to a member who exemplifies similar levels of contribution and service to the Chapter and the research industry as exhibited by Joyce. Members with 20 years or more of service are eligible to be nominated. In October, Rhoda Brooks from IPC was presented with the inaugural award at an intimate gathering of her closest market research friends and colleagues.

In February, we held our first Find a Friend event, at which attendees were given game cards to complete as a way to meet other attendees – and win a prize! Industry newbies were invited, as well as representatives from the national Insights Association.

In March, we held a networking reception to close out the Quirk’s Event in Brooklyn, where members and non-members mingled and shared information.

On March 31st, we held a Lunch and Learn hosted at Schlesinger, where the topic of “Integrating Qual and Neuroscience Applications that Work” was presented by Allison Gutkowski from HCD Research and Bob Granito from Interactive Video Productions.

In May, we held a joint venture with the New England Chapter – Connecticut Research Rendezvous – featuring speaker Michael Kuehne from Focus Vision. Following “New Trends in Mobile Research”, both Chapters joined together in Stamford for the first-ever joint event between our two Chapters.

After the Insights Association’s NEXT conference, we hosted a Pop Up Networking Mixer at The Stinger at the Intercontinental Hotel where members from Chapters all over the U.S. met and mingled.

Kicking off our new Board year, we held a Rooftop Party for the start of summer. Our Board inductions featured a fiesta party theme, with a live mariachi band, sombreros, and we all shook our market research maracas. But, most importantly, we inducted our first Insights Association GNY Board!

To keep us in touch over the summer, we held pop-up events at three locations across the tri-state area: Edgewater, NJ, Garden City, New York and Stamford, CT. Winding down the summer, we held our Annual Mets Game Family and Friend Event on August 23rd in the Honda Clubhouse at Citi Field, Queens, NY. In September, we hosted a Volunteer Meet and Greet at the Survey HealthCare offices. This was followed by drinks at Jack Doyle’s by Herald Square. In November, Adriana Waterson from Horowitz Research was the featured speaker for our Lunch and Learn at the new Insight Loft in New Rochelle, NY. She informed us on Best Practices for Multicultural and Hispanic Research. Also in November we held a Pop-up/Meet and Greet with the Board where we jammed with the band RockHorse in NYC.

Closing out the 2017 year, we held our Annual Holiday Party at the Cutting Room in NYC, which was attended by 175 members. The event included a dinner with open bar and our famous holiday raffle. 

Resolve to increase the breadth of your knowledge this year and make connections that can take your career in new and thrilling directions get involved with your local Insights Association Chapter!