Guest Blog: MRII Diversity Award Recipient Ava Wells-Quantrell

As a volunteer-driven nonprofit institute dedicated to educating market researchers and insights professionals, MRII believes in providing equal access to educational opportunities.  Moreover, MRII supports efforts to combat racism, discrimination, inequality and injustice.

To put this into action, MRII created the Diversity Award in 2022 for individuals residing in the US who come from under-represented groups in the population who want to enhance their market research insights skills. The award covers the cost for a Principles Express course presented by MRII and University of Georgia of the recipient’s choosing.

MRII congratulates Ava Wells-Quantrell, our most recent Diversity Award Winner. We invite you to read her story and the value she places on her award and how it’s helping further her career. 

During my time as an early-career market researcher, I very quickly recognized a slew of things such as the overall importance of communication, how important, rare, and valuable it is to not only have helpful, knowledgeable, and genuinely supportive senior executives, direct managers, and work colleagues, and also how essential it is to independently continue one’s professional development and competencies in the market research arena.  

Admittedly, I had always possessed an inquisitive, investigative mind, intrigued by the power of words, the use of language as a catalyst, and the beauty of structuring, uniting sentences together to tell the true, factual story and to make the reader feel the message being conveyed (essentially the techniques of storytelling and discovering insights which I would later learn during my market research career). 

While continuing deeper into the market research environment, I was primarily fascinated by revealing the real, objective stories behind the data of the average consumer like me and you. 

Once I recognized this about myself, I knew that I wanted to go far within this career path and needed to learn as much as humanly possible out of pure conviction that this was where I belonged. 

After searching online for a viable path that would lead me to appropriate, professional market research courses that would finally offer me the opportunity to refine and level up the fundamental and more advanced skills present throughout the market research field, I admittedly encountered more than one – sometimes terribly vague – path for me to take. Quickly, it felt as if I would have to either endlessly scroll through numerous Google searches for the right opportunity or be forced to speak to countless market research (or even academic research) colleagues for a great length of time in hopes of identifying some options at a much quicker pace. 

Finally, I was fortunate enough to come across the website of the Market Research Institute International – University of Georgia as well as their Principles Express course offerings.

As the price of a professional development course or certification is often a point of concern, coupled with living in the rather expensive city of Chicago where it feels like my paycheck is immediately spent on rent, food, and utilities before I could even think about independently funding my own professional development, I was excited to not only see the affordable costs of the courses but also a chance to apply and be considered as a recipient of the MRII Diversity Award.

I didn’t want to pass up a chance to apply as a multicultural, bilingual English & French, Black American woman originally from the north suburbs of Chicago who’s absolutely enamored by the world of research.   

Needless to say, I was even more excited about actually being awarded the MRII 2023 Diversity Award and was able to undertake any course that I was personally interested in.

I fearlessly opted to take the Global Market Research course.

The Global Market Research course was informative, thoughtfully detailed, and thought-provoking thanks to its simultaneous emphasis on the fundamentals of the entire research process and lifecycle as well as the various similarities and differences between domestic market research and global market research. 

Happily, I am currently progressing even further into my research and insights journey. Having taken the Global Market Research course, it has and will benefit me greatly as I presently feel capable of translating and applying the knowledge I have gained within my current position as a Research Project Coordinator at Northwestern University.  

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