Deborah Klotz was awarded the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association of Canada’s 2015 Emerging Leader Award at their National Conference this June. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a BSc in Psychology and English before joining Research Dimensions. In 2014 she became their Vice President of Qualitative Research. Deborah currently sits on the MRIA Qualitative Research Division Board of Directors and co-chaired its joint conference with QRCA.
You’ve played an active role with MRIA throughout your career, speaking at events and facilitating training. What do you get out of it? I have been extremely lucky throughout my career to learn from many amazing researchers – through mentoring, training, reading, and listening to speakers at various events. I truly value the camaraderie and sharing I’ve experienced in the industry. But, I also see my participation as a way to give back. Others really helped me grow and I aim to pay it forward.
You clearly think it’s important for young professionals to have a voice in the future of the sector, but do you think they get heard? I believe it is incredibly important for young researchers to be heard, and I do think there are avenues out there for them to share their thoughts – whether it’s through contributing articles in industry publications, speaking at events, or even posting on industry related forums. But, there is also a need to encourage them, and instill confidence to allow them to have an active voice. I know it would have taken me a lot longer to write my first article and speak at my first conference if it weren’t for encouragement from more seasoned professionals.
Who’s your biggest influence? My mentor and friend Margaret Imai-Compton, a long-standing member of the Canadian qualitative research community. Her enthusiasm for qualitative research, positivity, curiosity, and creativity always inspire me.
What would you do with a £1million research budget? I would design qualitative methodologies that incorporate leading trends in qualitative data gathering like mobile technologies, while integrating different disciplines such as cultural anthropology, and journalism. I believe the real breakthroughs are realized in “cracking” the information – creating a meaningful story and working with clients to really put momentum into their research based decisions.
What did you actually last spend too much money on? Recently, I splurged on an expensive bottle of wine while I was vacationing in Napa Valley, California… and no, I don’t regret that purchase at all!
What’s your most hated buzzword? “Insight”. Though it is a good word, it is used far too often and loosely in our industry.
What three words should researchers live by? Do I have to pick just three? Three that standout as being essential to qualitative research are… curiosity, open-minded, and authenticity!
What’s your advice for graduates interested in joining the research sector? Go for it! If you have a passion for exploring what makes people “tick”, this is a truly amazing industry. Don’t be shy, reach out to some qualitative professionals and ask them about what they do, what they love about research, and even what some of the challenges are - it will give you a good sense of what a career in research is like.
What’s the best opening line from a novel? Allow me to flip your question and quote my favourite closing line: "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." - The Great Gatsby by F. Scott. Fitzgerald
Finish this sentence; if I weren’t sitting here right now I’d be trying to squeeze in one more round of golf before the season ends (short as it is).
If you would like to try your hand at speaking at a conference, submissions can be made to Impact 2017 until 13 October here.