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Brittany Nicols – Research Heroes | Characteristic

The Market Research Society launched the Research Heroes program to celebrate the industry’s unsung heroes. Brittany Nicols has joined the Research Heroes 2022 cadre.

Brittany Nicols, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications, InnovateMR

With over 15 years of industry experience, Brittany has honed her skills at nearly every stage of the research journey. As Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications at InnovateMR, Brittany wears many hats essential to the day-to-day functioning of leadership teams in marketing, corporate training and bid management. She also shares her knowledge and expertise with the wider industry as a WIRe mentor and is particularly passionate about helping young professionals grow their careers.

Brittany is a champion of diversity, equity and inclusion and leads the InnovateMR Voices of Inclusion group dedicated to promoting workplace culture and inclusivity. She advocates for diverse leadership and promotes strong cross-cultural communication.

Brittany was nominated for her role as a mentor and “her ability to elevate their team and empower them to perform at their best, personally and professionally”.

What is the biggest challenge you have had to face in your career?
Fight the stigma surrounding advancement and leadership without a college degree. Yes, just like Abraham Lincoln, Walt Disney, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, I don’t have a college degree. However, I don’t have billions of dollars in my bank account to free me from the voices of insecurity and doubt that have plagued my head at times.

Since the beginning of my career, I have always taken the habit of being the first to walk through the door and the last to leave. I studied all the nuances of every role I held and cross-trained with other departments to understand what my colleagues were doing and how I could work more effectively with them. I am curious, capable and motivated.

More importantly, the biggest challenge has actually been inside myself. Having to learn to silence the voices of doubt and shame inside my own mind, and instead see my lack of a degree as my superpower. I published an article about my career in an article I wrote titled Are you an impostor?, hoping to help others who have been in my or similar positions realize that they can do anything. It requires trust, empathy, a strong work ethic, and positive self-talk.

What will be the next big trend or evolution in the search industry, and why?
Disintermediation and democratization of research. Research has already begun and will continue to be available to anyone who wants to ask relevant questions. Solid business responses and sustainability have become essential not only for savvy researchers, but also for marketers, product developers, project managers, and more.

Businesses want do-it-yourself technology solutions with the data quality/reliability to match. This means that the traditional profile of search buyers and the way they buy is constantly changing to encompass more groups, which makes my job as a marketer a little more difficult. But it is also an exciting opportunity. More and more companies really understand the power of ideas, especially young professionals. It makes me especially happy to see, as I am a champion at guiding young professionals to grow their careers and realize their full potential, faster.

Who inspires you as a researcher?
My friend, colleague and researcher extraordinaire, Lisa Wilding-Brown. I joined InnovateMR because of her, and stayed because of her incredible leadership. I could probably write an entire post about the things I’ve learned from her over the years, but I’ll try to keep it brief.

Lisa inspires me to be my best at work every day. Her passion for research and quality is unparalleled, and you see her enthusiasm for advancing the industry through every conversation you have with her. She was recently named Managing Director and is a true inspiration to women wherever the sky is the limit for your career.

She taught me through her actions to lead with empathy; empathy spills over into all of your relationships with co-workers, your team, and even your customers. It’s so important as leaders that we put ourselves in their shoes, that we remember all the times you were beaten, robbed of opportunities, or needed a project to shut down. Instead of saying, “Well, in my time, that’s what I had to go through, so that’s how it is and you have to experience it too,” be the change you wish to see. Instead, say something like, “Because I had to go through these things, I’ll do everything in my power to save you from having to go through this.” All in all, just be a good person. Lead with empathy, passion and enthusiasm.

Check Out the Full List of Research Heroes for 2022

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