Sara Goetz and Sarah Buckley Faulkner
In October of 2019, the Cincinnati chapter of Women in Research tried out a new and engaging event format: an “open mic night” for sharing our experiences in the insights profession with each other. It was our hope that, instead of focusing on only one or two speakers’ expertise, an open mic would allow us to utilize the knowledge and experience of many women (and a few men) in the industry.
That night we posted three “topics” and brief descriptions of each as a guide for would-be open mic’ers. We encouraged attendees to sign up for a topic they felt comfortable sharing about (targeting 3-4 panelists per topic) and then our brave volunteers—along with a pre-selected moderator for each topic—discussed everything from how to be more mindful in your day to day, to when it is necessary to transition in your career, as well as how to stay on top of trends and resources.
Here are some of our key takeaways by topic:
A discussion of various career paths and progressions, based on personal experience.
How to prioritize, focus, and achieve what really matters in a “whole person.”
How we can stay on top of the latest industry trends, suppliers, tools & techniques.
What does all of this mean to you? Across all of the night’s panels, the common theme was the importance of being in-touch: with yourself, your company, your competitors, and your industry—and, of course, it all starts with understanding yourself.
Ask yourself: Are you surrounded by people who inspire you and who you would like to work with or for? Are you leveraging your strengths and passions on a day-to-day basis? Are you being present and positive in all aspects of your life – as an employee, partner, parent, student, mentor, friend, etc.? Are you being resourceful and staying in touch with industry leaders and topics that could affect you, your company, or your clients?
What we learned from our panelists is that it can be tough to juggle all of the moving parts of your life and your career and that sometimes you fail and sometimes you pivot. Everyone has a different story about what led them to market research and we saw examples of many diverse career paths among the panelists. Perhaps the most inspiring thing of all was seeing how each person came to understand their unique strengths and passions and translate those into fulfilling career and life paths
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