By Sally Wu, Steve August, Sjoerd Koornstra, BV Pradeep and Jake Steadman
Who are the individuals who’ve played a role in guiding others into or through the industry? We talk to prominent researchers from around the world and ask: who’s had the greatest impact on your career in research?

Sally Wu, director of audience and business insight at BBC Global News based in Singapore, says veteran US media researcher Ceril Shagrin and Georgios Kaperonis, a British digital analytics expert, have made the biggest impression on her and her work.

Wu worked with Shagrin for more than five years at Univision in the US. “I would say the one way that Ceril influenced me most was in her unwavering determination in keeping up sample quality,” she says. “She trained me not to accept at face value a seemingly flawless sample design, but to dig deeper for other crucial elements that may have biased the sample.”
Shagrin dedicated years to developing ways and standards of measuring media consumption among the fast-growing Hispanic population in the US, who had previously been overlooked in traditional sampling, which had relied on respondents being English speakers.

Wu met Kaperonis, who now works with Tesco in the UK, when he headed the Insights and Analytics Division at the BBC. “He is a formidable force when it comes to mastering digital analytics,” Wu say. “Under his tutelage, I’ve managed to ‘cross over’ to the world of digital analytics from traditional media. He introduced me to digital analytics, how to turn a large amount of data into valuable insight and how to use data visualisation to present these insights effectively.

The BBC’s award-winning research project ‘The Science of Engagement’, presented at ESOMAR’s 2016 APAC conference, used the principles of data visualisation that Wu says Kaperonis passed on.
She says it’s essential for young researchers to have mentors. “It’s absolutely critical, especially on the client side where you need to self-learn a lot of things. The sad thing is that over the past 10 years I’ve seen a lot of in-house research teams become smaller and smaller, and a few times I’ve seen a company that can only afford to hire one person in a research role … without having people around them to learn from.”

Steve August is chief marketing officer at FocusVision, the company that acquired his start-up, Revelation, in 2014. “It’s a pretty easy question, because the person that has influenced me most in the industry, the person who’s responsible for me being in the industry at all, is my wife,” he says. Kimberly Daniels August is principal at her own business, KDA Research.
Sally Wu is director of audience and business insight at BBC Global News based in Singapore
Steve August is chief marketing officer at FocusVision in the USA
Sjoerd Koornstra is global CMI planner at Heineken international in the Netherlands
BV Pradeep is global vice-president, consumer and market insight, markets, with Unilever UK
Jake Steadman (@jakesteadman) is director of research, international, at Twitter

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