One of those rare creatures who actively chose research as a career, Sabrina has spent the last decade working across the sector; starting by going through the TNS grad scheme; spending time building, running and selling long-term online communities, and most recently driving long-term loyalty for a plethora of brands. She tries to integrate into her local communities whether they like it or not, having been a FoodCycle host in Peckham, a choir member in Nunhead, and a hospital radio co-host in Marsden. She counts odd-sock wearing as a special skill on her CV.

Sabrina currently works at Motif and is a member of the MRSpride steering group.

I wish someone had told me at the beginning of my career to get as much experience as possible, and always remember the details! You’ll always want to remember a project you ran years ago as it will help with questions you’re trying to answer later. Also, play to your strengths and be yourself, get stuck in if you want to, no one minds someone who tries hard.

I most admire one of my old bosses, who has such a great balance of work and family/fun. His motto is: ‘Just do what you gotta do’. I have used this profusely since working with him. Also, it’s cheesy I know, but I do admire Michael Brown for setting up MRSpride. It was a long time coming, but it’s such a great group and has brought real purpose and direction to some extremely important topics. Michael himself is one of the most self-effacing, genuine people I’ve ever met.

It’s difficult to know what a future-fit research world looks like in the midst of a pandemic, but core to research is understanding people’s shifting needs and as the world wakes up to new challenges every day, our role becomes more and more important. The key will be understanding the whole picture, every group of people, in any location with any income, not solely the audiences who have been telling the stories in the past. This will help to create products and services that are fit for a ‘new normal’ future.

My resilience tips for when times get tough are:

1) Make a plan to ensure there’s a way to handle the tough times and get through them.

2) Speak to others, either to get advice, to vent, or to offer support.

3) Spend time doing other things that make you feel good - usually I’ll go for a run, or if it’s really bad I’ll go to the piano or play some tunes really loudly in the car.

The most fun I’ve had whilst doing research was running a live chat focus group with 10 customers, that was being projected remotely into a client’s main hall with hundreds of stakeholders watching the group unfold. It was both terrifying and exhilarating… and with my poor typing, nerve wracking.

The one story I’ve always wanted to tell but never had a chance is fictional. I’ve literally told all the real-life stories I’ve ever had millions of times. I’ve got loads of stories I’d love to write though, if only I had the time (and any kind of dedication).

It's tricky to think of a research project I wish I had worked on, as you don’t know the projects you didn’t work on, but there are a few cultural projects that are extremely interesting - for example the TRIBES community from Crowd DNA and the work About Loyalty is doing looking at how charity will be impacted through Covid-19.

To me, great leadership looks like inspiring, unique and progressive ideas, fairness and allowing autonomy.

The main challenge in building a more inclusive world is fear. Mainly it’s fear of difference that fuels most people. If we could alleviate fear we would get further faster.

I’m one of the few people in the sector who chose to get into research straight from uni, so technically I don’t want to do anything else, but if I wasn’t doing this, I would be in music - production, promotion, management, writing, cleaning, whatever. I’d need more in the way of talent though. I’m partially on the way to making my dreams come true by working at my local hospital radio… I might have found my calling: talking crap and listening to music, there’s no better job.



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