The Market Research Council (MRC) was founded in 1927 to provide an “off-the-record” confidential forum for the exchange of ideas and issues and its mission is to promote the field of market research. Previous Presidents have included George H. Gallup (1934-1935) of polling fame, Rena Bartos (1991-2), one of the first female advertising executives in the country, who dramatically changed the way advertising envisioned women, both in the board room and in the way products were marketed to them and David F Poltrack (1995-7) the legendary insight leader at CBS who recently retired after 50 years there.
When Fiona moved to New York 6 years ago, she was introduced to the MRC and since then has since enjoyed networking with people who push the boundaries in market research.
Each year the MRC appoints a President to take on the mantle of developing and leading the organization. Fiona takes over from Kym Frank, Global Chief Experience Officer at Motionworks International.
During Kym’s Presidency, she oversaw the overhaul of the website to encourage greater engagement alongside the pivot from luncheon meetings at the Yale Club toward more regular virtual meetings.
Fiona aims to keep the values and essence of the MRC whilst also making it more representative of the market research industry. Her theme for her Presidency is Celebrating Transformation. She plans to broaden the footprint of the MRC by firstly, opening the doors to younger Change Makers, secondly, extending appeal to wider specialisms in the market research ecosystem such as AI, technology, and data science, and thirdly, increasing the geographical reach from the US to a more global presence. By doing this she believes that industry luminaries and younger Change Makers can cross-fertilize ideas and learn from one another in the MRC forum. Fiona’s big initiative will be to develop the MRC Executive Leadership Program. Data, analytics, and insight are vitally important, yet this role is not always represented at the highest levels. Focusing on leadership skills will help this vital information be heard and acted upon.
MESH Experience Founder and CEO, Fiona Blades, said, “I’m so excited to be taking on the MRC Presidency this year. It’s a fantastic organization with a heritage of Change Makers – such as a young A C Nielsen meeting an MIT engineer at the MRC inspiring the creation of his agency through to Diane Hessan inventing research communities in the 21st century. Members are at the heart of the organization, and they get the most benefit from other members – the magic of brilliant minds networking together moves our industry forwards in leaps and bounds.”