Many of you know that I am a soccer (football) coach and that I spend quite a bit of time on soccer fields in my hometown. The other day, I was training at a camp for local high school soccer players. Several of us were standing together watching players to see what the upcoming squads would look like. As we were watching, a ball was passed (right to left) from one player to another that was positioned in front of the goal. The player receiving the ball had played soccer for over 10 years and was very skilled. With only the goalkeeper to beat and very little distance between the player and the goalie (about 10 feet), he kicked the ball wide of the net and completely missed his opportunity to score.

The challenge that this player faced? He tried to shoot the ball with his right foot instead of his left. The mechanics of striking this particular shot with a right foot is likely to carry the ball wide of the goal about 90 percent of the time, so it didn’t surprise us (too much) that he missed. He had no left foot (he actually has a left foot but refuses to use it). One of my fellow coaches who saw the fail turned to me and said, “that’s what we call playing the piano with just one arm.”

I’m very enthusiastic about this board year. There’s so much to do, but so much energy around it. We held our first “official” meeting at the 2015 Corporate Researchers Conference (CRC) in St. Louis and it was excellent. One of the first items that we addressed was to place the board members as liaisons to the MRA committees. We added four, very active, board members this year that we are extremely excited about. Please welcome:

  • Ginny Kevorkian, PRC, Manager of Research and Planning – Beacon Health Systems
  • Ivy Boehm, Senior Director, Consumer Insights – Chico’s FAS 
  • Kathryn Korostoff, President – Research Rockstar 
  • Tim Hoskins, President – Quester 

Each of the board members has an assignment. Whether it be to participate with the chapters, event programming, marketing, strategy, etc., they all play an integral part. No one-armed piano players here (not that there’s anything wrong with actually being a one-armed piano player… in fact, quite impressive if you are or know someone who is).

There’s an exhilarating year ahead planned. More details and “save-the-dates” will be found in this and the next issue of Alert!, but the CEO Summit is January 25-27 in South Beach1 (a great opportunity to get out of the cold). For the Insights and Strategies Conference (ISC), we are headed to New Orleans, May 18-20. And the Corporate Researchers Conference (CRC) will be in September. Now is a really good time to get these conferences on your calendar and into your 2016 budgets. MRA is holding some of the greatest conferences, with the best attendance, in the industry. I’m sure they’ll be a blast.

It’s a real honor to serve the industry and each of you this year in the capacity of Chairman of the Board. Please reach out to any board member 2 or MRA staff3 if you have any questions, suggestions, want to volunteer or just have ideas on how to make our industry even better than it already is. We’re here to serve you, we appreciate you and look forward to an action-packed year.

P.S. More to come in the upcoming months on the potential industry association consolidation between MRA and CASRO (yep…just mentioned it).4