Kristin Luck on Women in Research

WIRe LogoLiving in Los Angeles in 2007, Kristin Luck had a conversation over cocktails with a group of other women working in market research.

They quickly found they agreed on the need for women in the market research profession to support one another.

The result was a networking group for LA-area women in market research called WIRe (Women in Research).

Luck gives particular credit to Elaine Coleman, now of Resolve Market Research. Coleman was new to Los Angeles at the time and was interested in meeting other women in research.

The group started out as an informal cocktail hour but has slowly grown to host more formal events.

“The mission for the group,” Luck said, “is to encourage empowering and nurturing relationships among women in market research.”

The group does that through a combination of informal get-togethers, networking events, and a new mentoring program launching in 2012.

Since 2007, the organization’s presence and scope have grown. In 2011 WIRe grew significantly, launching a website, holding more frequent events, expanding beyond Los Angeles, and welcoming more members to its Facebook presence.

Today the group’s networking meetings are held quarterly in Los Angeles and New York, and their first event in London is scheduled for May 24th.

“It’s exciting to see how the group has evolved and grown over the last few years,” Luck said.

Luck continues to run the organization along with Cassandra Rowe, Senior Manager of Consumer Insights at Netflix.

Kristin Luck

Kristin Luck

After stints at Lieberman Research and ACNielsen, Luck co-founded a highly successful market research technology firm, OTX Research (now Ipsos OTX MediaCT) along with Shelley Zalis. Her second technology venture, Foresight Consulting Group, was acquired by Decipher in 2007, and she has led that firm’s growth as president since that time.

As Luck rose through the market research industry ranks, she experienced a change in her surroundings. She said that market research is an industry that’s traditionally been dominated by women, but those women tend to be in lower to middle management positions. Luck pointed out that looking at the Honomichl 50, the CEOs who are women are a small percentage as compared to their proportion in the industry as a whole.

“I think it’s really important,” said Luck, “if you’re a woman in a senior management position – we’re all busy and we all have a lot going on – but it takes so little time just to give back to somebody and help them make that next step or give them advice.”

Luck says she is often asked about inclusion of men in the group. “We haven’t excluded men from the discussion or from any of our events. Even though our focus is on empowering and nurturing women in research, we’re a man-friendly group. I think it’s really important that men are part of the dialogue about women in research.”

WIRe events are purposefully kept informal, with no speakers and no sales pitches. Only recently has WIRe brought on sponsors. Luck cited ESOMAR as a key supporter.

The most formal presentation in recent meetings has been a screening of a film called “Miss Representation,” a documentary about how women are portrayed in the media, business and politics.

Luck said one of the lines in the film really resonated with her: “You can’t be what you can’t see.”

“It’s tough as a woman to understand what your career path is,” Luck said, “and how to get into a senior management position if you don’t see women in those roles, and you’re not being actively mentored and nurtured by other women that are in those positions.”

Asked what she would say to up-and-coming women in market research, Luck said she would advise “paying attention to your personal brand and getting passionate about something and figuring out what you love about the industry.  I think that you naturally excel at things that you love doing. You really have to stay focused on keep your eye on what the next step is and it’s important not to get pigeonholed in any one place. There comes a time where you have to leave and do the next thing.”

You can find WIRe at womeninresearch.com and you can follow them on Twitter with the handle @womeninresearch.  

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About Dana Stanley

Dana is the Editor-in-Chief of Research Access.

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