How did you get there? Nikki Lavoie

Nikki is currently running again for President of ESOMAR and so we caught up to find out her thoughts on three specific points members might be keen to hear more about.

How does it feel to be running again so soon after running and winning?

I would, of course, be lying if I said that I wasn’t disappointed at the need to run again for this position. I poured my heart and soul into my campaign in the last round, to try and show people the “stuff” I’m made of, and I really got so much feedback that my messaging resonated—and the votes to back it up.

So it has been challenging to dedicate that much energy to another election just a few short months later.

That being said: there is a different field of candidates now, and so the energy and the dynamic around this election are quite unique. There’s clearly a lot of passion for ESOMAR and our industry, and it’s been great to see that come out in so many different ways. 

Most importantly, though, running in an election that follows after something like an invalidation of previous results actually makes for a really powerful learning experience. A lot of folks have reached out to share what they want to see more and less of, simply because I’ve put myself out there as a candidate, so it’s clearly a great opportunity to hear from members and think about a strategic vision for ESOMAR’s future. 

What does ESOMAR need to do to move forward?

Great question! I think there are a few key things that the association needs to tackle:

  1. First and foremost is the need for two-way dialogue between ESOMAR Council and members: more frequent updates from Council, more townhall style meetings where people have the chance to express their thoughts and share ideas, and more opportunities to engage with folks at a local level 
  2. More up-to-date and accessible governance
  3. An increased focus on training and education that extends directly from our work in Legal Affairs and Professional Standards
  4. A dedicated effort to engage with researchers from other industries (data science, UX)
  5. A continuation of the efforts that have already been made via the recent website update to centralize and democratize our resources across all member types (job boards, mentorship programs, content and media, etc)

There will surely be more, as an association of now over 10k members are going to have a broad range of needs as it evolves. It’s for that reason that I look forward to opening the channels of communication and learning more about what our diverse community is looking for, from all corners of the earth. 

What are the key position points you’d focus on in your term?

The points above are the tactical elements I’d like to get rolling as quickly as I can, but I think those tactical points come together into four larger strategic streams:

  1. Reconnecting—this is about a focus on our core offer to the global insights community: events, content, networking, partnership and collaboration. ESOMAR has been facilitating strong connections between insights professionals for its entire existence, and it’s now time to ensure our programming and value provided back to the community is in line with our changing needs. 
  2. Reimagining our future—this is about the work that ESOMAR undertakes to protect our profession and our participants. We need to continue to stay atop changes in technologies and laws to ensure that we both understand/navigate these changes and that we are able to offer the expertise and guidance to legislative bodies who are having an impact on the work we do. This means more support for our Legal Affairs and Professional Standards committees, and the translation of their work to members at all levels and locales. 
  3. Re-energizing—here we are talking about the injection of “newness” into our community, and the zest it brings us all to be learning and exchanging! We have so much opportunity for greater connections with other insights professionals (data science, UX), with non-insights bodies (those focusing on tech, health, on sustainability), and with new talent (not just YOUNG talent, but those who come to us from other places). 
  4. Restoring trust—not just in ESOMAR as an industry body, but in our work as a whole. There is much being done with data these days that lead to participant mistrust in our work, and we must continue to be the leaders in proving the value and merits of ethical data collection and use. The focus here is on implementing and publishing the governance review that is currently underway, along with other advocacy efforts and our work in Public Affairs. 

There is much to be done, but I know there are a lot of motivated and passionate members who have put themselves forward to help lead the charge. Here’s hoping I can step into the role of President and join the effort.