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Donor Voices: Sarah Kotva

Sarah Kotva, Fieldwork

January 8, 2021
Sarah Kotva: "I'm a proud Fieldworker. Before March of 2020 I was on the road making meetings happen and connecting the dots for our valued clients. I keep details organized and love to help meetings, site visits and projects run smoothly. I love getting a chance to solve any market research coordination challenge. No piece of scratch paper is safe, I have lots of random notes and love to-do and check lists!"

“I believe actions speak louder than words, but I never miss the opportunity to say thank you,” Fieldwork’s Sarah Kotva offers. Her unique career perspective and, Fieldwork’s company ethos, share this foundational quality of gratitude, putting teamwork at the core of all they do. “Fieldwork is a very collaborative organization,” she goes on to note, adding that, “…with the help of our team we are ready to solve any market research coordination challenge!” With this attitude, it’s no wonder then that Sarah’s legacy as a market researcher and Fieldwork team member is manifested in her adamant championing of client and colleagues alike. As a 20-year veteran of the company, spending much of that time on the road directly working with clients or attending industry events, Sarah has always been a pro when it comes to being a mobile support system for others. Now, grounded for the time being, she’s putting that energy and expertise back into remote support opportunities and reinventing Insights. “Part of being a proud Fieldworker is the willingness to do what is needed when it is needed, regardless of your title,” she shares. “While my time spent at airports and in hotel rooms decreased, my commitment to connecting to Fieldwork’s clients has not.”

For Sarah, the crux of research — and the pandemic’s impact on the research industry at large — is best witnessed in what we’ve been forced to adapt to: “While the digital advances in gathering insights remotely have been exciting, this year has really highlighted how important in-person research is. 2020 was a year that forced us to all look at everything differently.” Unflinchingly encouraging in the face of obstacles, she goes on to add that, “while it is not a secret that 2020 was a difficult year for in-person business/research, we think you would be surprised to hear all that we have been able to accomplish for our clients.” For those interested in following what Fieldwork, and other in-person research firms, have been able to accomplish despite health restrictions, she suggests follow the #facetofaceMRX hashtag on social media. “In my 20-year career at Fieldwork I have never been more excited about what the future holds,” she shares. “As market research has expanded from the standard focus group to incorporate other methodologies and technologies, Fieldwork has expanded with it. Medical device testing in Boston, no problem! Taste tests in Barcelona, just tell us when! Online focus groups throughout the USA, we’ve got you covered!”

“I love that I am making meaningful connections with smart, passionate people in my industry who I otherwise may have never crossed paths with.” Sarah’s own career, and her willingness to step up and heed the call to help others, is a direct product of the support she had on the way up and a drive to forge diverse and long-lasting connections with others. “I have been lucky to be surrounded by some extremely talented and impactful women throughout my career but two people specifically come to mind,” she muses. “I have had the privilege to work alongside Amy Gorlewski for the last 20 years and, regardless of the task at hand, she is someone I always want on my team. She is an example of humble leadership and letting your actions speak louder than words.” Similarly, Sarah cites WIRexec member and Insights superstar Priscilla McKinney as someone who has helped inform her own career path. “She is a mentor and momma bird to the entire Insights community,” she shares. “Priscilla is always ready to engage in a provoking discussion and has the experience and knowledge to teach me something new!”

Signing off, Sarah shares a final secret to creating one’s own support network via the individuals who make up the WIRe community. “I have found the best way to tap into this network is to simply ask, “Will you help me?” she imparts. “I am always pleasantly surprised with the amount of genuine and thoughtful feedback received from all sorts of strong leaders. The WIRe community is beyond supportive and ready to use their resources to support one another. There are so many educational and networking resources— if you are not sure, just show up to a WIRe event and watch it all unfold.” What’s her advice for those new to the Industry who are just building career momentum? “Just keep going! Ask questions, volunteer and take every opportunity you can to learn more about different parts of the business. Think about what you want and how you will make it happen. Put it in paper, say it out loud. Even the smallest steps are powerful ones in the right direction.”

Are you interested in learning more about corporate donorship opportunities with WIRe? Contact Michelle Andre for more information.

About the Author

Sarah Kotva, Fieldwork

Fieldwork is a company created by researchers for researchers. We offer state-of-the-art focus group facilities, the highest quality in respondent recruitment and global project management. Our collaborative team anticipates research needs and customizes solutions to get your research project done. You focus on the research and let Fieldwork handle the rest. We’re grateful for their support of Women in Research and excited to highlight their VP Sarah Kotva on this edition of Donor Voices!

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