MRII Diversity Award Winner 2024: Leily Sánchez

MRII Diversity Award Winner 2024: Leily Sánchez

MRII established the Diversity Award winner program in 2022 to further our commitment to support efforts to combat racism, discrimination, inequality, and injustice—and our commitment to fair access for market researchers and insights professionals to learning opportunities. This award program is for individuals in the U.S. who come from underrepresented groups and wish to enhance their market research and insights skill sets. The award covers the fees for a Principles Express course of the recipient’s choice, which are offered in partnership with the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education.  The MRII Diversity Award is sponsored by Full Circle Research.

MRII congratulates Leily Sánchez our most recent Diversity Award Winner. We invite you to read her story below including the value she places on her award and how it’s helping further her career. 

  1. What motivated you to apply for the MRII Diversity Award?

The most recognized challenge of being a first-generation college student is that the knowledge sharing accessible to those with parents who have obtained a higher education is limited or absent, so navigating the college experience from the application process to the job search experience after graduation is novel at every step. Even with an older sibling attending college, unique challenges persist due to the different application processes for different majors and schools and different educational requirements for career paths. For me, the added challenges associated with holding a mix of various part-time and freelance employment positions while attending college meant I had less time to learn about professional organizations and development programs or hold internship positions in my desired field. After graduating, I relied heavily on networking to learn more about launching a career in market research and analytics. Through these efforts, I found mentorship and discovered the Market Research Institute International Diversity Award program. Once I learned about MRII and the organization’s dedication to providing equal access to educational opportunities in market research to diversify the market research industry, I knew that this was the right opportunity for me; I knew that I was applying for the opportunity to learn more in-demand skills from an organization that values the unique experiences and perspectives that I could add as a market researcher.

  1. What does it mean to you that you were selected as the MRII Diversity Award winner?

I greatly appreciate the significance of the MRII Diversity Award and its driving purpose. To be selected as the MRII Diversity Award recipient is validating, empowering, and motivating.

  1. Tell us about your motivations for pursuing an MR/Insights career.

When I transferred to Cal State LA from Pasadena City College, I learned more about the research, analytics, and strategy of creating successful, targeted marketing campaigns. I then realized that the brand/product style guide, the social media content planning, the tag lines, and the storyboards for advertisements weren’t the only creative aspects of marketing; selecting the correct methodology or designing the proper hybrid study, assessing objectives and developing questionnaires, and the problem-solving involved for data wrangling and management were just as creative and necessitate an analytical and strategic approach, which I also craved. I have since launched my career in research and analytics. Now, I can proudly say that the MRII Diversity Award has given me the confidence and skills to venture into qualitative research projects armed with fundamentals that I am applying to my work in high-visibility projects.

  1. Initial expectations (both positive and concerning) for the Qualitative Market Research Express course.

After being notified that I was the award recipient, I was hopeful that this course would help elevate me to support qualitative research projects. Once I registered, I felt concerned about the course length and the depth of the topics listed in the syllabus; it seemed very ambitious! I was pleasantly surprised that the course offered appropriate pacing and depth to each topic, all organized engagingly and insightfully.

  1. Tell us about your experience with the course

As I worked through the course, I communicated the content to my project manager, whom I was to support in a qualitative research project. Connecting the purpose, methodology, and process of the projects I supported with the coursework helped solidify the course content. It made me feel better able to onboard onto a new project quickly.

  1. What feature[s] about the course was most valuable to you?

I immensely enjoyed all the supplemental materials added to provide insight into the reading and modules. Nothing felt excessive or inappropriately detailed for a fundamentals course. The situational examples were also beneficial in understanding potential real-world applications and considerations one might encounter. However, the best part of the course was the added commentary or videos from qualitative experts. In addition to their valuable insights, observing their career trajectories, post-graduate degrees, certifications, and participation in professional organizations was an unforeseen advantage that helped me brainstorm ideas to map my career path.

  1. How do you look to leverage your course experience as you progress in your research and insights career

I have already begun to utilize the knowledge gained in the course, and I look forward to continuing to leverage this knowledge to develop as a research manager further. As I maintain my role as a supporting analyst in qualitative projects, I plan to use this course and my work as a guide for developing more skills to meet my goal of managing a qualitative project in the second half of the year.

To learn more about the MRII Diversity Award and other MRII awards, click here

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