Farewell Palm Springs, Hello New Horizons! (Update 2)

Posted: October 12, 2009 by Ben Smithee in Market Research, QRCA

I do not believe there could have been a better theme for the 2009 QRCA Annual Conference in Palm SpringsCommunicate, Rejuvenate, Celebrate!  After spending a few days with colleagues we see but once a year, you leave feeling a sense of refreshment, excitement and full of knowledge.  I think QRCA, as an organization, should adopt Joel Reish’s description of QRCA, “More Hugs than Handshakes”, it is truly fitting!  Everything from the schedule of speakers to the social food and wine was well-thought, and nicely executed.  A huge congratulations to Kirk and Shaili!

Conference Chairs

Conference Chairs

For those of you who were not able to make the trip this year, you were undoubtedly missed.  Some of the familiar faces from conferences past were definitely lacking at this year’s gala, but in their place at the round-tables and crowded in the market for the prize drawings, stood several new faces, which was quite encouraging.  For me, a theme of exploration and excitement resonated through the halls of the Esmeralda.  So many hot topics and ideas were put into focus and it was extremely exciting to see the way ideas of innovation were well-received.  Though, I have only one other QRCA Conference to compare it to, this year’s content was VERY strong!  The chance to learn from greats like Liz Van Patten, Martha Guidry, Barry Deutsch and Donna Vitale, speaks volumes for the depth our organization brings to the table of qualitative research knowledge.  On the other side of the spectrum, it was incredibly positive to see so many new faces and the increased presence of new/young professionals in our field!  These are the people who in a couple years will be standing on stage receiving the Rising Star award that Shaili Bhatt, so well-deservedly, accepted this year.  These are the people who, in time, will be the recipients of the Maryanne Pflug Spirit Award and the President’s Award, and will help to communicate the knowledge and stories they gain from our organization to future members.  As discussed in the town hall meeting, one of the wonderful things about QRCA is our blend of tradition and history with the exploration and acceptance of new and innovating.  Let us continue to fuel this spark that was ignited in Palm Springs and continue to share our story with new potential members.

I would strongly suggest checking out the conference agenda and ordering some of the audio recordings to review on your own!  The material truly was outstanding and the value it could provide for your business is unmeasurable.  All in all, I think this year’s conference was truly definitive in showing what QRCA is and where it is going.  An organization that can offer a full spectrum of benefits and provide the most up-to-date and valuable professional content, while maintaining a sense of true camaraderie and equally important social offerings.

So, until next year in Philadelphia, I encourage all of you to carry on the conversations in your local chapters, online in the member forum and in-person when you have the chance to meet up with another fellow QRC.  Share the knowledge you learned from this year’s conference, and share the stories that make QRCA the organization that we know and love……well share most of the stories, some better left untold 🙂

Feel free to add some of your favorite memories and parts of the conference in the comments section!

If you would like to find the QRCs that are online, visit the Member Forum under the Social Networking Thread – The Official List

Take care!


  1. Kristin Schwitzer says:

    What a great recap Ben, and really enjoyed meeting/talking with you! Cheers, Kristin

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