A long, long time ago…
It was 1987 and I was sitting in the backseat of my family’s car. We were most likely on the way home from church one Sunday morning. Leaving church and hiding behind my mom’s legs as she visited with other congregation members, an adult had probably asked how old I was. I was nine, soon to be ten.
Later, on the way home, staring out the window in a daydream, I began thinking about what life would be like when I was ten. Ten felt like a big milestone to me. I was going to be two digits old. Ten meant I was going to be alive for a decade (a word that I had learned not too long before). Within the next decade, I would tackle junior high, become a teenager, graduate from high school, learn to drive, move off to college, and vote in my first election. To turn two digits old was, in my mind, a turning point towards adulthood.
A more recent time ago…
Fast forward to 2010, I had been at the same company, Gannett, Inc. for a decade. I remembered hearing somewhere that most people would have three separate careers in their lifetime*. At Gannett, I had moved around with different job titles and departments and had worked in different locations and with different teams. But in my mind, it was one career. A career in corporate media.
By 2010, for many reasons, I felt it was time to move on from my position as research manager to find that second career of my lifetime. I came up with several plan Bs and left Gannett the following year. Throwing several of those plan Bs against the wall like spaghetti to see which would stick, I studied industrial design and landscape architecture at ASU; I studied geographical information science and technology at USC; I completed a family book publishing project; and I worked part-time remotely for Nielsen Scarborough.
That work with Nielsen Scarborough helped me understand that research was where I belonged. It’s a career filled with completing puzzles and finding stories – the perfect mesh for a kid of a math teacher and an English teacher. For a year, while working with Nielsen, I also freelanced with several other companies before deciding to make the move permanent. I pulled the spaghetti off the wall and served myself market research as a second career. But, really, market research is just an extension of my first career. I was a research manager, after all.
On May 11, 2012, Solutions Through Research officially became an Arizona LLC.
As I began this adventure, and to ensure my on-the-job training at Gannett was built upon the industry’s best practices, I furthered my market research expertise via the Market Research Institute International partnership with University of Georgia. I became a certified Insights Professional, Principal in 2018. And in 2021, I began teaching these same principles and best practices to Research Rockstar students. Research Rockstar is market research training and staffing agency associated with the Insights Association. As an instructor, I’m giving back to the industry by helping provide practical experience and guidance to other researchers.
This journey has not been linear. It has been a nuanced evolution. While my first career was in media, and my portfolio continues to serve media research and media companies, more recent years have brought other types of companies into the fold. Research firms, strategic advisory firms and agencies have been leveraging us as an extension of their team, to get more done for their clients by having a trusted partner who knows their research processes.
Over the past ten years, 40+ clients, hundreds of studies, and hundreds of brands have been impacted by Solutions Through Research. More than half of those clients have been active in the past 3 years and 70% have become repeat clients. To say the least, I am extremely grateful for all the clients I’ve worked with past, present and future. Each engagement is a new adventure and a new opportunity to learn something new, create lasting relationships, impact business strategy and relieve pressure for those we work with.
making it to ten years…
Making it to 10 years means we’ve refined our workflows, processes, and toolsets. We’ve learned what works and what doesn’t and have identified areas that can be refined even more.
Making it to 10 years means we’ve made it through ebbs and flows of economics. We’ve added additional resources – humans and tools – to help make workloads more manageable as new clients or projects come in. Many of you know this has been a struggle in recent years – to keep up and not turn away work. I’ve taken strides to find trusted partners to lean on and have been thrilled to work alongside folks like Sergio, Justin, Leah, Sunnev, Jacqueline, Kristin, Tiffany, and Megan. Learn more about my current helpers here.
Making it to 10 years means that Solutions Through Research has reached the milestone where adulthood is on the horizon. I’m taken back to that day in my family’s car, gazing out the window and dreaming about what the next 10 years will bring. I can’t wait!
I’m beyond happy to step into Solutions Through Research’s next decade with a fresh look and renewed perspective.
Thank you for joining me along this journey!
To mark this milestone, Studio Via created a new logo for Solutions Through Research. And HireAWiz refreshed the website they built for me five years ago with the new style guide. I’ve worked with these two partners for years and highly recommend both!
Find out more about the new logo here.
*I couldn’t find the career stat to source it, however BLS indicates the average number of job changes is more like 12, with older adults staying with jobs for about 10 years.