It truly was a pleasure to meet Emily Pattat, one of our amazing new MRA members, at the Corporate Researchers Conference in Chicago.

She was minding her own business, diligently networking with Matt Case and Dan Womack, PRC, at one of the round-table discussions, when I excitedly interrupted to gauge interest in being a subject for the October cover of Alert!. Emily could not have been more gracious or cooperative and, in case you missed it, certainly helped make the October cover a huge hit. Throughout the Conference, I saw Emily and was impressed by her enthusiasm, thirst for knowledge, and bright smile. She was the perfect candidate for a New Member Spotlight which, of course, she also kindly agreed to do. Thank you, Emily, for sharing a little bit about yourself; we think you are a remarkable researcher and person.

How long have you worked in MR?

12 years.

What exactly is your role in the industry?

I am the Director of Marketing Research & Analysis for ALSAC, the fundraising organization of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

What is your educational background as it relates to MR?

I received a B.A. in Psychology from Christian Brothers University and a Masters in Business Administration from Union University.

How did you get started? What areas of MR do you have experience?

While in college at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tenn., I was assigned to work with the Chair of the Psychology department. The Chair conducted a lot of research. I never thought I would enjoy working for her, but I came to love conducting research. While I was working in the Psychology department, Harrah’s Casinos corporate office called looking for an intern. I applied and got the internship in Employee Metrics, where we conducted research and developed testing instruments for employees and job candidates. When Harrah’s made the announcement that they were moving the corporate office to Las Vegas, a job came open in Marketing Research & Analysis. I applied and was offered the job and moved to Las Vegas, NV. In MR, I have experience in quantitative and qualitative primary research, including surveys (online, telephone, mail), focus groups, in-depth interviews, dial testing, slot product testing, ethnography studies, and usability testing. In addition to primary research, I have also conducted a lot of secondary research. In my current role at St. Jude, my department conducts primary and secondary MR as well as builds predictive models and conducts data mining.

How long have you been an MRA member? What motivated you to become a member?

I have been a member for two months. I received a membership by attending the Corporate Researchers Conference. I am grateful that this was included in attending the conference because it made me aware of all the benefits of being a member.

What do you consider the greatest benefits of membership to be?

I consider the greatest benefits to be the Alert!magazine, the MR Communities, MRA website and the access to upcoming educational opportunities. I also believe one of the greatest benefits of membership is all of the networking. I have met so many wonderful market research leaders from organizations across the world.

Have you volunteered for MRA? If so, in what capacity and when?

I have contributed in the Alert! magazine and have been asked to be a speaker at one of the MRA conferences.

Please tell me about your most rewarding or satisfying experience (your proudest moment) since you joined the MR profession.

Definitely the proudest moment since I joined the MR profession was being hired by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Being able to play a small part in saving children’s lives is so rewarding. St. Jude treats children with cancer and other deadly diseases, and no family ever pays St. Jude for care. It is an amazing place!

What is the strangest request you’ve ever had from a client or service provider?

When I was working at Harrah’s in Las Vegas, one of my projects was to conduct focus groups with women about the "Chippendales Show" that was playing at the Rio (one of Harrah’s casinos). Before conducting the research, my colleague and I had to do a competitive analysis, which included going to a competitor’s casino and watching "The Thunder from Down Under."

Before working in the MR industry, what was the most unusual or interesting job you had?

I grew up on my family’s farm in Somerville, Tennessee. While growing up, we all helped around the farm. I have ridden in cotton pickers, combines and tractors. I have also chased pigs and cows back into their pastures. It was a great way to grow up.

Are you married? Do you have children? What do you enjoy doing with your family?

I have never been married, but I do have a great boyfriend. Also, I am the oldest of four children and have one niece and two nephews. I love spending time with my family during holidays. Thanksgiving was so much fun! We all love watching and attending sporting events together.

What are your hobbies? What altruistic causes do you support?

I love sports. I played college basketball and several other family members played college sports too. Growing up in the South, you love the SEC. My favorite sports are college football and college basketball. I would say my favorite time of year is March Madness. I also love to read and love spending time with my family and friends. Of course, the cause that I support is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. It is such an amazing place to work and cancer has touched my life in many ways. I have five cousins and a brother-in-law that are/have been patients at St. Jude. My mom also passed away a couple of years ago of cancer at 52 and was truly my best friend. I am so grateful that I am a part of an organization that is working to find cures for cancer and other deadly diseases.