Summer Greetings to the Philadelphia Chapter! Spring/Summer 2011


Dear Philadelphia MRA Members,


I just returned from a fantastic National MRA conference in DC.  The program was educational, entertaining and diverse.  The networking was fabulous.  And the mood of the conference was optimistic and positive.  For a moment, it almost felt like the happiest place on earth.  The conference got me thinking about how much we love what we do.  We are an industry that is willing to work together to learn and create.  Whether it is in my everyday business life or at an industry function I meet people who want to excel in research.  We are an industry of professionals that is constantly striving to do better and find more innovative ways to answer our client's research questions.  The national conference provided a venue for sharing. 


I believe the Chapter events extend that education, networking and sharing on a local level.  For whatever reason not everyone can make it to a national conference (although it would be nice), and so the chapters are the liaisons to national.  At the chapter level we can host events that educate the members and foster an environment of sharing.  Although we can't match the scope of the national conference, in smaller bits we can mirror the efforts.    


In order for the Chapters to succeed and provide the environment that fosters the excellence in research we have all grown to expect, we need the members to participate.  It is the members that share their knowledge, enthusiasm and spirit.  It's the members who are presenting new ideas at educational events or sharing a research story at a networking event.  It is this sharing that provides the positive, friendly and supportive environment that well all refer to as the MRA. 


This is my last letter for the newsletter as President.  I am overwhelmed with a mix of feelings.  I am sad to say good-bye as president.  I have worked with a wonderful group of volunteers this year who have inspired me to want to do more for our chapter and our industry.  I am happy because I know that Michael and the new board will continue to raise the Philadelphia Chapter to greater heights.   I will always stay involved with the MRA, it is my professional family.  I encourage all the members to participate.  The benefits are priceless. 




Meg Ryan





Philadelphia MRA Chapter Elections


The results are in and we extend a warm congratulations to the 2011-2012 Philadelphia MRA Board. Looking forward to another great year!



President Michael Georgianna

 President Elect - Natalie Dunn  

Past President - Meg Ryan

Treasurer - Becky Harrison

Secretary - Marie Pacenza


Directors at Large

Omar Barquet

Paul Posluszny

Terry Salat

Jason Saylor

Carrie Skinner


New York/Philadelphia Joint Chapter Conference 2011
by Trudy Fula, Pacific Market Research
joint conference

A fine time was had by all; an enthusiastic mix of members from both chapters attended this educational event held in the inviting atmosphere of the Borgata Hotel/Casino in Atlantic City.

We had a strong line-up of speakers including Paul Hockenbury from Comcast, who spoke of tight research budgets, the Comcast community panel for internal work, and the fact that seniors are the largest group adapting high speed data, but  in TV  rating polls people over 50 don't count. Lisa Peskin from Business Development University  gave us strong tips on  how to maximize opportunities with our clients, and Wes Osborn from Unisys  explained the trials and tribulations of budget cuts for research, along with the downsizing of his staff from 17 employees down to two. The highlight of the first day in my opinion, was Jonathan Kay from Penn Scheoen Berland with an enlightening look into the potential of the use of technology to promote health care issues and the use of cell phones as the medium for transfer of information, utilizing mobile diaries or sending information such as glucose levels; exercise and diet information, perhaps even photos of skin rashes to be used in diagnosing an illness without an office visit. The major stumbling block for the advancement of this methodology is  as expected; insurance companies and how do we reimburse physicians, as they will not be seeing as many patients in office; possibly an end to the medical insurance structure as we know it?

The  day  ended with a pleasant networking opportunity at the  cocktail party, and then for  many, a chance to explore the casino or the one of the many fine restaurants available in the hotel.

The second day speakers were equally as engaging as the first day starting with  Peter Johnson  from m-Lightenment with a riveting speech demonstrating in detail how  the use of mobile devices for real time data collection could expand the possibilities of collecting information from virtually anywhere on the planet through the use of smart phones. Bill Viereck followed with a look into the research process at QVC, the success of products through using all available tools to make sense of what is selling or not selling, and why. Research might not be just a snapshot of a market, rather it is a video.

Greg DePalma from TiVo concluded the session with "The 30 Second TV Ad is Dead" because of the use of DVR recording of television shows; no one watches the ads, further stating that 40% of households have a DVR. He went on to explain how those who have TiVo provide a wealth of information because their TV viewing habits can be tracked, and advertisers need to target their markets more appropriately in order to broadcast effectively.

Following the raffle, a boxed lunch was served and it was time to adieu to all of our colleagues, until next time.


Member Spotlight  - Carrie Skinner of STR

Tell us a little bit about your company:


Survey Technology and Research (STR) provides a full range of data collection services and specializes in multi-mode data collection. The majority of what we do is via phone and we also host web and IVR components, mail surveys and handle data entry or scanning retuned surveys via OCR/OMR. I manage project management and client services for STR and I feel privileged to work with such a great group of people.


How did you get involved with Market Research?


I worked in advertising in the project management realm for a lot of years when I decided I wanted a change.  My husband had managed a small market research facility in Atlanta a few years back and knew they were looking for a new manager. That sounded like a nice change so my husband put me in touch with Marshall Ottenfeld, Owner of Mid America Research who met me and gave me my first opportunity in the business. I have enjoyed the industry in various roles and specialties ever since.


Why did you join the MRA?


I joined in the hope of learning more from my peers in the industry. With not having been in the business for my entire career there is always something I can learn from others in the MRA. The fact that I truly enjoy the company of the members has been a great bonus.


What is your favorite MRA event?


I enjoyed the recent NY/Philly Joint Chapter Conference very much. I co-chaired a committee for the first time and got to witness the enthusiasm and dedication of the local members up-close. It was a great experience. That event also is enjoyable as we get to spend time with our friends from NY that we don't get to see as often. 


Are you a Philadelphia native?


No, I grew up outside if Pittsburgh, moved to Atlanta after graduation and lived there for 7 years. My family moved back to Pennsylvania 5 years ago. We reside in Allentown to be close to my husband's family.


Where would you recommend MRA national holds one of the annual conferences?


Atlanta, for totally selfish reasons. I love that city and miss the South. I would spend any time there that I could. I do think that Atlanta has a lot to offer the MRA conference such as a beautiful setting and Southern hospitality. 


What is your favorite Philadelphia area/activity?


I don't get to Philadelphia as much as I would like to anymore. I am usually in the Allentown area running kids to activities and doing "mom stuff". When I get to spend time doing things that I really enjoy it is usually something creative.


What are you hobbies?


I enjoy floral arranging and interior design. I also enjoy going to yard sales and finding treasures to refurbish or reuse.


Favorite Music:


My music tastes really span the gamut. I enjoy anything from country to metal, just depends on my mood. My favorite band is Dave Matthews and I see them every chance I get. 


Lunch and Learn

by Bryan Capell, Schlesinger Associates  


AA Lunch and Learn

On Friday March 11th 2011, members and non-members of the Marketing Research Association gathered together at Group Dynamics In Focus for a very insightful, and for many, a much welcomed discussion on the importance of balancing one's work and one's personal life in the fast paced world of business and marketing. Andera Alfonsi of Invenio Research was kind enough to spend her afternoon speaking on the issue of this Work-Life juggling act and what has led us to a time when such a balance is often skewed dramatically towards the former. Topics discussed, included the pressure placed on individuals to compete in the current economic climate and the lasting effect this can have on moral, as well as ideas and practices to help bring these high expectations down to a more manageable level so as not to sacrifice one's life and family which are often the driving force behind a person's hard work and commitment. The lecture was kept lighthearted with group breakout sessions that allowed the audience a chance to interact with one another as well as for everyone to bring their own personal experiences into the forum.   Much was learned on how we should all take a minute to step back and re-examine that essential balance between our life and our work and re-imagine how we can continue to keep our work ethic at the highest possible standards while also maintaining a strong sense of our personal self.



financial report 



Meg Ryan, PRC

Survey Technology & Research



Past President

Beth Carey, PRC


President Elect
Michael Georgianna
Reckner Facilities
Becky Harrison
Focus Forward
Natalie Dunn
Schlesinger Associates




Directors at Large 

Conal Murray
E Rewards

Liz Granahan
Focus Forward
215.367.4000 (244)  
Paul Posluszny
Marketing Systems Group
Robin Kaplan, PRC
Group Dynamics, in Focus
Terry Salat