Roben Allong


Rogue moderator focused on the global cultural zeitgeist, Roben Allong is an innovative researcher with indepth knowledge of consumer trends across a broad spectrum of brands and industries. She is Chair of the New York Metro Chapter of the Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA).


Claudia Antoni
Claudia Antoni

Claudia is a highly experienced international researcher and workshop facilitator. She has spent her whole career in qualitative research, has been with Happy Thinking People since its earliest days, is currently Senior Project Director. In July 2016, she founded the Agency’s Creative Lab. Claudia is a certified professional coach/ trainer and is responsible for all in-house academies.  


Daniel Berkal
Daniel Berkal

Daniel Berkal is SVP of Research & Innovation at The Palmerston Group. He’s partnered with the most innovative brands in business and is globally recognized for smart methodology design and immersive approaches. With projects featured in Fast Company and Forbes, he’s been called “Hands down, the most unique, thought-provoking and game-changing qualitative researcher in the business. Period.” All of his teeth have been sharpened by lasers to speed up the chewing process.



Missy Goldwasser Carvin
Missy Carvin

Missy Carvin joined New Directions Consulting, Inc. in 2007. Although she’s worked for the firm on a part-time basis since she was a kid, now she designs and implements “traditional” research projects, online studies, and CPS workshops. Missy serves as co-chair of the C+I SIG, and has received both the Rising Star and Maryanne Pflug Spirit Awards.


Rachel Cox


Rachel is a Qualitative Account Director at Relish Research with 10 years’ experience and a passion for semiotics and for creating visually engaging work.


Lesley Croskery

Passionate about both exploring and conducting qual research in Africa, I started In Focus Qualitative Research in 2003, and am based in Cape Town. Deliberately small we remain focused on getting the best out of our research. I am an assessor on the Unilever accreditation panel [since 2011], and a Unilever-accredited Research Lead and Moderator.


Tom De Ruyck

Tom gives more than 100 keynote speeches, workshops and in-company presentations every year.  He has spoken in 40+ countries and on 6 continents at major business, marketing, technology and research events. Tom is an expert in understanding and collaborating with consumers, creating consumer-centric-thinking organisations & preparing organisations and their employees for a future full of technological change, societal challenges and tremendous business opportunities.

Tom is a Managing Partner at InSites Consulting (one of the world’s most innovative marketing consultancy and consumer research firms) where he is responsible for innovation and advising global brands (IKEA, Heineken,…). He is also teaching as a Professor at different business schools in Europe and on the board of several (industry) organisations.  


Andy Dexter

Andy has 25 years’ experience and expertise as a serial entrepreneur, ideas person, CEO and senior advisor in the world of marketing, insight and strategy.    He has founded various successful insight agencies along the way, and now leads the Culturise Collaboration – part think tank, part virtual agency, with a mission to help businesses rediscover the art of the common good. He’s also co-founder of Signoi, a new AdTech startup developing AI tools for quantifying implicit meaning in text and visual imagery.    As an explorer and creative strategist, Andy has worked with many of the world’s leading brands on a vast range of groundbreaking projects, and won too many awards to mention.


Lydia Fuller

UK based, Lydia is the founder of Full Colour Research and an AQR board member. Lydia began her career over 12 years ago and whilst working across an array of methodologies and sectors she particularly enjoys speaking to teens and young adults, exploring their complex and evolving relationship with brands.


Alex Gordon


Alex is the CEO of Sign Salad, a cultural insight and semiotics agency.  Having founded the agency in 2007, he has conducted semiotic analyses across five continents for a range of global FMCG, alcohol, telecoms, luxury, technology, automotive, travel, pharmaceutical, sports, leisure, and public sector brands. Previously, he established the semiotics division at a leading global strategic brand consultancy, worked as a journalist, and as an academic. He has a PhD in Semiotics and Identity Politics.



Rebecca Harrison


Rebecca heads up the Qualitative team at Relish Research and has over 20yrs experience in research, spanning numerous continents and categories.


Maya Ilic


Maya has been with Ipsos since 2008. With strong expertise in FMCG, retail and tech, she leads project teams in designing, executing and analysing custom research. She specialises in digital research, and as the Communities practice lead in Spain, is responsible for helping different teams develop best strategy for their communities projects.  Maya has a BA in Psychology from Webster University Leiden in the Netherlands, and an MA in Social Psychology from London School of Economics.


Sarah Jay


Qualitative Research Director at Acacia Avenue with 16 years’ research experience and a particular passion for behavioural economics and evolutionary psychology.


Sarah Johnson
Sarah Johnson

Sarah got her start at BMP DDB in London, where she conducted qualitative research as part of the creative development process.  She has moderated groups and interviews on almost every topic in the UK, the U.S. and Canada. Sarah studied Anthropology, Philosophy and English at McGill University and Cambridge. She is a Riva-trained moderator, with additional skills in Semiotic Analysis.  She has presented at conferences and colleges on a range of market research topics.


Andrew Konya

A computational physicist by training, Andrew has spent the past nine years developing and applying artificial intelligence and machine-learning algorithms to problems in language, bio-sensing,  image analysis and other applications. His current focus is on developing artificial intelligence capable of engaging and understanding large  groups of people on behalf of a moderator. As a consultant to the United Nations, he works on  applying artificial intelligence to optimize peacekeeping operations.


Lucia Laurent-Neva


As founder of Visual Signo and co-founder of Semiofest she is a constant advocator for demonstrating the increasing relevance of semiotics, applied anthropology and design to global brand strategy in organisations. Lucia is academically trained in Design, Semiotics and Anthropology.


Ian Leslie

Ian Leslie is the author of two best-selling books on human behaviour: Born Liars; Why We Can’t Live Without Deceit, and Curious; The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On It, published in over a dozen countries around the world. He is a contributor to the Economist and the Financial Times. A former advertising strategist, Ian now advises businesses on communication, storytelling and curiosity.


Kymberly Loeb
Kymberly Loeb

Kym Loeb is a Research Manager with 3.5 years’ research experience. She has a BA in Political Science and Sociology and a Masters in Marketing. She has a passion for understanding the contextual and emotional drivers behind human behaviour. Kym is also an all-round social media guru.


Kevin McLean
Kevin McLean

Kevin has worked in research for longer than anyone can remember. He set up Wardle McLean with Judith Wardle in 1996. He specialises in qualitative research with a behavioural flavour and on communication studies. He sees his job as ‘mediating between what matters to people and what matters to organisations.’ In 1999 he co-founded the AQR/QRCA Worldwide Qualitative Conference series with Pat Sabena, over a crab cake lunch at Grand Central Station, NY. Kevin has written many articles and conference papers on research, is a former Chair of the MRS Conference and was elected as Fellow of the Market Research Society in 2006.


Ann Menard
Ann Menard

Ann Ménard is the Global Innovation and Category Insight Manager for Nestlé Professional Beverages. She has 20 years research experience, having worked in over 30 markets for both B2B and FMCG businesses. Ann is a RIVA trained moderator; passionate about exploring new research approaches, design thinking, and semiotics.


Kendall Nash

Kendall is a deeply rooted lover of research and leverages her profession as a means to discover the world.  She gets a thrill from revealing the connection people have with brands, and finds it hard to travel internationally without asking someone if she can peek inside their cabinets.


Dorrie Paynter


With over twenty years of experience in qualitative research, Dorrie Paynter, Principal of Leapfrog Marketing Research, has conducted hundreds of studies around the globe for clients such as YouTube, iRobot, Ben & Jerry’s and Netflix. She is a pioneer in online methodologies, has spoken at JMRA, JMRX, QRCA, AMA and NewMR conferences, is a former Board Member of the QRCA and recipient of the 2011 QRCA President’s Award. Dorrie decided to study culture from a different perspective and moved her family, and her business, from San Francisco to Tokyo where she has been living her own real-life ethnography for almost two years now.


Luke Perry
Luke Perry

Luke is deputy head of Qualitative at Jigsaw Research and has spoken at conferences for the MRS, AQR, QRCA, AURA in the UK and Europe. Luke has been practicing for 10 years and is always trying to draw from the very rich field of psychology to help unlock new insights.


Oana Popa Rengle 

Oana Popa Rengle has a lifelong passion for qualitative research, with 17 years of experience. Currently she is consulting independently under the Anamnesis brand on qualitative research and strategic insight integration into business. In addition to being a research practitioner, she is also a certified Idea Generation and Creative Problem Solving processes facilitator, and a psychotherapist practicing Systemic Family Therapy.


Maria Rosa Puras


Mari Puras enjoys discovering insights, identifying new brand opportunities and optimizing marketing strategies. With 20+ years of marketing research experience and as founder of Insight Marketing Touch, she conducts research in USA, Caribbean and LATAM, specializing in multicultural research. She has directed and moderated qualitative projects for a global research firm and built the marketing research division followed by leading a product marketing team for a large media company.  


Leonore Saintville
Leonore Saintville

Léonore has spent 16 years shaking up the consumer insight scene at L’Oréal, RB and Unilever.  3 years ago, she created Brand Act!, a brand consultancy specialising in innovation and co-creation. She mixes traditional research qualitative techniques with new approaches to help clients unleash business opportunities and ideas.


Alice Salisbury

Alice has always believed the big challenge for today’s brands isn’t keeping up with competitors, or even technology. The challenge is keeping up with consumers. She put that belief into practice, as researcher and planner, at Flamingo, M&CSaatchi and BBH, before founding Inkling in 2009.


Simon Shaw

Apart from a few unmentionable jobs as a teenager, Simon has always been a researcher. He co-founded Trinity McQueen, one of the UK’s fastest-growing research agencies. He has won MRS Awards for Application of Research (2017), B2B (2010), and was a finalist for Advertising & Media (2013, 2014) & Technology (2011).



Luigi Tolati

Luigi Toiati, Focus Chairman, is a Roman long-experienced qualitative researcher, suffering from the insane disease of Semiotics. He is speaker for QRCA and Esomar since 1991, winner of the Prosper-Riley Smith Award 2002, and of the Best Paper & Presentation, QRCA Qualitative Conference, Rome 2012. He recently wrote the book “The History of Toy Soldiers”.


Tomoko Yoshida


Tomoko is a seasoned qualitative researcher with 25+ experience.  While conducting 180+ FGIs, in-depth interviews, ethnographies a year in both offline and online, she works actively as a lecturer to novice researchers. She is a huge asset on multi-cultural teams given her talent for understanding objectives and expertly localizing the research to Japanese culture.