Jen Belcastro

Vice President

I’m a fighter by nature. I have always been the type of person to figure out what I want and then do whatever it takes to get it. My tenacity, determination and perseverance (and sometimes stubbornness) have enabled me to achieve all the things I’m most proud of in my life—both personally and professionally. Maybe these traits are why I look so serious all the time! But even with my resting serious face, I’m really quite a fun person! I can be sarcastic and witty (at least I think so!) and self-deprecating—traits that come in handy maybe just a little bit too often!

How do you describe to other people what you do for a living?

I ask them what toothpaste brand they use and why.

Why are you working in research?

One of my first college courses was in Cultural Anthropology. On the first day of class, in a large auditorium at ASU, the professor changed the course of my life forever. I remember having goosebumps as I listened to him talk about the study of human culture through vivid narratives of his own experiences. I was absolutely captivated. At that very moment I just knew where I wanted my career to go and I went on to pursue both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in the discipline. I had found my passion! So, when I discovered that market research allowed me to be an anthropologist of sorts, my career was born. Learning about people continues to fascinate me and expand my own view of the world—daily! I’m always learning something new and the appreciation I have gained for all the different perspectives, behaviors and motivations people have has changed my life in an invaluable way.

What's your favorite type of research project to work on?

I love working on consumer segmentation studies. I find it so interesting to learn that about the different things that motivate and compel people. It reminds me that we don’t live in a homogeneous world. If everyone was the same, the world would be a boring place! And, my favorite part of a segmentation study is the classification survey! I love taking them after the study is complete to see which segment I fall into.

What's another question you have about the world that you wish you could research?

Why people get so unhealthily addicted to social media—especially Instagram. It scares me for the future world!

Why is being people-first important to you?

I recently came across a quote on LinkedIn from Richard Branson that sums it up for me: “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” It’s a WIN-WIN. It seems so commonsensical, yet I’m AMAZED at how many companies get it wrong. So, it was really refreshing to join Bovitz who truly lives and breathes the people-first mantra and in working here, I can clearly see this tenet in action in so many different aspects. I love it!

What's your favorite part of the research process?

Telling the story! Answering our clients’ most vexing questions and offering solutions to overcome business challenges is definitely the most rewarding part of the process for me. I also love standing in front of clients and presenting them with new insights. Watching an audience light up over things we’ve uncovered by talking to people never stops being fulfilling to me! It’s such an adrenaline-booster and an amazing sense of accomplishment to wrap up an engagement knowing you’ve had positive business impact. That said, this is also the part of the process that I lose the most sleep over. I just want to make sure we are getting it right!

What's something that people are surprised to learn about you?

While in grad school, I spent a year interning at the Denver County Coroner’s office, assisting with autopsies. Solving the mystery of how people died was fascinating to me. I would love to have been a detective solving crimes! I learned so much in that experience, and while I never pursued that career path, I did walk away with some crazy stories. These days, I still get that fix by reading crime novels, watching crime shows, and playing armchair detective, which is still pretty fun.

Tell me about one of your favorite people in the world.

My daughter inspires me to be a better person every day. She’s so empathetic, caring, happy, and sweet. These are all traits I’d like to exhibit more often so she helps me with that. It’s amazing how much an adult can learn from an 8-year-old.

What's one of the best pieces of advice you've ever gotten?

I’ve been given a lot of great advice over the course of my life so it’s hard to pick the best. But my personal trainer once gave me some advice when, with a different company, I was experiencing some difficult colleagues and work situations. He said, “Don’t let your value decrease because of someone else’s inability to see your worth.” He then followed it with a quote he heard: ”Some people don’t like you just because your strength reminds them of their weakness. Don’t let the hate slow you down.” And it’s so true. So, these things remind me to stay true to myself, keep focused, maintain my integrity, continue to do good work, and try to have a positive impact in all that I do. I take so much pride in everything I do, so when I can go to sleep at night knowing I’ve done a great job, then that’s all that really matters.

What inspires you?

Having a positive impact on people’s lives. I’ve had many of the people I mentored along the way thank me for the positive impact I’ve had on their lives, sometimes professionally and sometimes personally. Many still call me for advice and guidance many years later and that’s the best compliment in the world to me.

In the Industry: Since 2004

At Bovitz: Since 2018

Education: MA in Anthropology from University of Colorado, Denver

Her best quality: Resilient