What's something that people are surprised to learn about you?
That I'm funny. Because I'm quiet and I don't say a lot, so when I do and it's funny, people are surprised. I like that it's surprising—I can't decide if I get more satisfaction out of the laugh I get or the reaction of surprise that I've said something funny. I don't want to be a stand-up comedian, but I think it's the most fun to make other people laugh. And I like seeing the surprise on other people's faces.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be and how would you use it?
My gut instinct answer is invisibility because I really like to be the fly on the wall in a room. It's not that I want to spy on people; it's more that sometimes I'm just really entertained by the room around me, but I don't necessarily want to participate in it. Like at big parties—I hate parties. Making small talk is the most painful social experience for me, especially with strangers or people I haven't seen in a long time. Like, when they ask, "What's new?" How am I supposed to answer that? "Well, I don't know—I haven't seen you in five years. Everything is new! Or was new, three years ago, but now that's old news, so no, I don't really want to catch you up on the last five years of my life." So, it's times like that when I just want to enjoy an experience but not have to be a part of it.
What's one quality you admire in someone else and wish you had more of?
The ability to take a risk. One of my heroes is Greg, who takes risks all the time, and I don't have that in me the way he does. What I admire in people who take risks is that there is a confidence in them that they will succeed, but they are also prepared to handle not succeeding. I don't need to succeed at everything, but I'm very hesitant to try something if I don't know that it's going to go well—and Greg is just more willing to give it a shot and see how it goes.
What inspires you?
My nieces and nephew. In some ways, it's just because they're kids, so everything is exciting and interesting to them. But they're also really good kids. They're aware of the world now, so they think about how things going on in the world are going to affect their friends. So, they're mature, kind, and caring, and they still get excited about so many things. I hope they keep that excitement. They inspire me to value what I'm doing, where I am, and who I'm with as opposed to the things I have.
Why is being people-first important to you?
I wish things were more simple. We get so caught up in our own worlds, we forget that other people aren't in it with us every day. We need to remember that the people we serve are not always retail experts, cosmetics experts — or market researchers. We need to talk to people in a way anyone can understand, not just those of us who live it day to day. And this doesn't just apply to corporate America. When I find a parking space, why is it so difficult to figure out if I can park there on the day and at the time I pull up? Why does it take me an hour to match up my medical bill with the statement from the insurance company? And I don't even know where to start to make sense of ballot measures come election day. Help us out; keep it simple.
What's your favorite type of research project to work on?
Segmentations. They're really challenging because you have a ton of data to swim through to get where you're going, but I find them to be the most interesting. I think what's most interesting is how it works. The outcome is just amazing. The fact that you're able to define people and figure out who they are from all this different information is fascinating to me; and then knowing that there are other people like me is nice—that I'm not the only person in the world who thinks or does something a certain way. And I like that the analysis figures out who people are based on lots of different things, not just how they define themselves. It's interesting how different those two things can be sometimes—what you say versus how you actually behave—and that difference gets washed out in a segmentation.
What's your favorite part of the research process?
It isn't really anything about the process itself that's my favorite thing. It's more about knowing that what we do helps our clients—yes, the businesses, but here I mean our individual client contact. One of my favorite past jobs early in my adult life was as an administrative assistant to a marketing executive. I knew the work I did made her life easier and she valued the support I provided. In the same way, I love knowing that the work we do makes our clients' lives easier and when they express their appreciation for our efforts, it's extremely gratifying.
Tell me one thing you love about working at Bovitz.
I love these people. I think about challenges that I have on a daily basis and how the people here are able to help me get through them. And I want to help them get through theirs. There are no bad seeds here. People are genuinely interested in working with each other and having a good time during the day. We spend a lot of time together, and to know that it is going to be a pleasant time—that's important.
Tell me about some of your colleagues.
The first person has to be Debbie. She has been through things in her life that could easily have made her an angry or negative person. But if you didn't know it, you wouldn't know it, and I think that is an amazing quality about her. Even when things suck, she is genuinely positive. She's not putting on a show; that's a decision she has made—to be positive about life. I call her my soulmate. Working with her every day is the best thing that I could ever have.
And then there's Steve. There's the entertainment value he brings, of course, but also the fact that he cares so much about us and the work. He'll work through something with you as long as you need him to and he offers suggestions to make sure the end product is the best it can be. I always want to do something for him or give him something in return, but he doesn't want it—he just wants to have helped. That's so valuable.
And then Jenny—I love Jenny. When I interviewed Jenny many years ago, I remember thinking, "Damn, it's not my turn to have someone on my team" because I wanted Jenny. But at least someone else here got her. And to see what she's doing now—I don't want to sound condescending—but I'm so proud of her. She and Alexandria are probably the two who have grown the most in this company, and it's the greatest thing to see.
What's one way that you're the same as your childhood self?
I am still able to entertain myself easily. I do this primarily with arts and crafts—knitting, coloring, scrapbooking, painting my fingernails and toenails, etc. I really enjoy my alone time. My mom tells me that, when I was little, being told to "go to your room" wasn't such a bad punishment for me because I'd just pull out a coloring book or something and entertain myself for hours. I can still do that today...
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