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Member Spotlight: Ellen Pieper

20 Jul Posted by in Cactus Call | Comments Off on Member Spotlight: Ellen Pieper
Member Spotlight: Ellen Pieper
HeadShot_Sep 2015

Ellen Pieper

Name: Ellen Pieper
Title: Account Executive
Company: Lightspeed GMI
Current City: Dallas, Texas
Hometown:  Durham, North Carolina (although, I’ve been somewhat of a nomad living in New York, Seattle and now Dallas).

Alma Mater: Columbia University

Years in the market research industry: I started with Lightspeed GMI about 6 years ago, when it was just GMI. In some ways, I was destined to be in this industry, however. My mom works at a large research institution and my dad does research at Duke University.  While some people wait tables or babysit as a first job, my first job was data entry at University of North Carolina and RTI

What is your educational background?
I was a psychology major at Columbia with a concentration in statistics and research.  I enjoy(ed) learning not only what people are doing, but why they are doing it. As I said, I think I was destined to work in this industry.  I continue to enjoy learning more about the research field and recently completed the UGA Principles of Market Research course and hope to get my PRC in the very near future.

What duties does your current job position include?
While my job is technically in “Sales,” I think of myself as a Point Person. I work consultatively with clients and prospective clients to come up with creative ways to solve their problems and meet their needs. My psychology background plays an important role in how I approach each project.  I love to analyze each situation and challenge.  I also feel like the key to succeeding in our industry (and probably most) is being adaptable and collaborative. No two projects are truly alike, and I need to be ready to change direction and focus quickly.

What’s the best aspect of your current job position?
 No two days are the same.  Working with MR firms, Qual research houses and even End Clients provides opportunities for me to use all different parts of my brain.   I also love having the inside scoop about new concepts and ideas. As Market Researchers, we get a heads up on what is on the horizon whether that be in Entertainment or CPD or even website redesigns.
…and the worst (if there is one) ?  There’s never enough time in the day to get everything done!

How did you first come to work in market research?
When I graduated college, it was time to find a job. As the researcher that I am, I started talking to anyone (and everyone) who would talk to me about their jobs.  Among them, I spoke to Mitch Eggers (Chief Scientist at Lightspeed GMI), who is a family friend. As soon as I talked to him, I knew it was a perfect match. It was a mix of the research techniques I knew from college, but in a dynamic environment.

What led to you to joining the MRA?
I joined the MRA to meet like-minded people and learn new skills. As researchers, we have a unique way of looking at the world.  Meeting other researchers and learning how they solve problems makes me better at my job. And heck, it is refreshing to use research lingo and talk about a “sample” without someone asking “oh, like what they have at Costco on the weekends?”

To what other professional organizations do you belong?
As a company, we are members of CASRO, ESOMAR, and ARF.  I am also a member of AMA of Dallas/Fort Worth. I try to go to as many events as possible, so I hear what’s going on in the industry. I hope to see you at an event soon (30th annual in Vegas anyone?).

What do you do in your spare time – hobbies or activities?
I am a total foodie. I love everything having to do with food — including cooking, watching Food Network,  taking cooking classes, hosting parties and trying new restaurants . I keep cookbooks on my nightstand instead of novels. I enjoy reading them for new cooking tips and recipe.  I even took cooking classes in Paris one summer as a teenager.  Now that I live in Texas, I guess I should get better at cooking Tex-Mex and barbecuing!

I am passionate about volunteering, too.  I am a member of the Dallas Junior League and volunteer at least 60 hours each year in the community.  It’s one of the organizations that is  close to my heart.

And of course, I’m a huge Duke Basketball fan. I grew up going to games and am a lifelong fan.  I enjoy watching all sports (well, except hockey and soccer), but my true passion is my home team.

Do you have any unusual talents?
Does being able to recite every word of Baby Got Back count?

Favorite book or movie?
Winnie the Pooh is hands down my favorite book. I cry every time I get to the end of the story. I look forward to reading that story to my children …someday.

What is your ideal vacation?
I enjoy trips that include a bit of adventure, plenty of sunshine and good food!

Final comment or quotable:
“You can’t stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” –  A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh (I told you it was my favorite book!)