How did you get there? Leanne Tomasevic

I was lucky enough to catch up with Leanne Tomasevic, Managing Director of Truth Consulting. Leanne has a drive for creative thinking and innovation in research, using this to help brands and businesses become industry leaders. She believes brands shouldn’t only be focused on the commercials, but on the wider contribution they can make in society, creating a more positive impact for all. Leanne has been a judge for the MRS Annual Research Awards and is also running for a place on the MRS Board.

Hi Leanne, wonderful to catch up. Let’s get straight on to it shall we? So, how did you get into the industry, and take us through how you got to this point?

My trigger into research came via advertising. I loved the intellectual fodder and rigour that research brought into strategy. While I saw both good and bad research during my time in advertising, it inspired me to want to learn more and improve the way research was leveraged within marketing (and latterly product/UX development). It also inspired me to pursue my own research in post-graduate studies.

And if you had to distil everything you’ve achieved right down, what would you say are three secrets to your success so far?

  1. Listening.
  2. Instinct.
  3. Saying yes.

Love all three, but especially the third. Saying yes as often as possible opens unimaginable opportunities. So, come on, if you’re allowed to say, what’s the most interesting, crazy, fun project you’ve ever worked on?

When I hear the word ‘crazy’ there is one project that springs to mind and it involved mannequins that move, as well as many hours watching movies that were part reality TV, part arthouse film. It completely took us out of our research world and  reminded us of the psychological impact our experiences have in shaping the way we see the world and brands.

While it was the most bizarre project I’ve worked on, it has created lasting memories for the Truth project team that we all treasure in a weird, but moving way.

Love that! So, not being in the office and around colleagues, it is incredibly challenging, for younger researchers to stand out. What two bits of advice do you have for a junior researcher, working from home in lockdown, on how they can best stand out and impress their teams?

Working from home has led to the use of new virtual tools and initiatives – many of these help us connect much more than in an office environment. We have more channels and more informal ways to speak, share, learn and get involved. I’d encourage younger researchers to reach out more whether it is a project or new initiative. Show your interest and find ways to add value to a topic. Chat functions are a great way for more voices and opinions to get heard when you don’t have the floor.

And thinking more long term now, what two things should junior researchers focus on as they progress in their careers?

  1. Make sure you get the basics right. And prove this consistently over time to create confidence with your peers. You have to build the foundations and learn to walk, even if you feel you have the ability to fly very quickly! You won’t get to do the latter without the former.
  2. Be proactive and show your eagerness to take on new and more responsibilities. If you want to progress it helps to put your hand up (and not only for what you are interested in, as opportunities aren’t always selective).

You’re running for MRS Board congratulations! What is your key message and how do you plan to make a difference?

I believe our industry and the MRS should matter much more than it currently does. If I am elected (please vote for me!) I would like to contribute in three main ways:

  1. To help business leaders better understand the value of insight. That it has the power to influence nations. To inspire equality. To demand more respect for people and the planet. To encourage honesty and openness – producing more effectual leadership.
  2. To drive commercial value and positive societal outcomes. As representatives of the customer and the essential bridge with business, we have an opportunity and urgency to leverage the consumer charter and commercial agenda – fast tracking change for good.
  3. To create an inspirational industry platform, that is supported by the growing power and appreciation for data. Helping generate excitement in research and the wider industry, while also encouraging innovation and best practice. 

And do you have anyone who has helped your career so far that you’d like to acknowledge and say thanks or give a shout out to?

So many people! Earlier in my career I had a wonderful mentor who taught me about the importance of commercial thinking in both research and business. More recently, I learn from the Truth team every day – they are THE most capable individuals, far more talented than myself! I would also like to recognise Dr Mark Thorpe and Louise McLaren as they have driven Truth’s success through their absolute commitment, dedication and resilience. As well as an unwavering focus on excellence in client delivery.

Thanks Leanne, great to catch up and best of luck with the MRS Election!