Honoree Rhoda Brooks and        Janet Baldi

On Monday morning we arrived at the office excited because we knew this was going to be a great week. We were two of 25 people personally selected to help celebrate an “old friend” who was being awarded the Greater New York Chapter’s, Joyce Rachelson Silver Service Award. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves…we’d like to share with you the path that led us to this joyful evening.

Flash back to the early 2000’s. We were both becoming vital leaders within our own separate organizations. At this stage in the game, we realized that for continued growth – not only for our own professional careers, but also to gain exposure for our companies – we needed to become involved at an industry-wide level. We both chose the MRA (now Insights Association) as our channel into the MR community. The treasures that awaited us were far beyond our imagination.

Ginger De Stefano and Nan Canaletich, GNY Chapter President

We’ve all been there. A new experience. A small knot in your stomach all day. What to wear? Doubts creeping in… “What made me think I should do this?” Now you’re committed. You’ve registered for your very first industry event – there’s no turning back. You put your brave face on, take a deep breath and walk into the venue. While we both had individual experiences, the story is the same. Check your coat, take your first steps into the room and immediately you are embraced by genuine warmth and welcomed into the fold.

During that time, you could not go to an industry event without being greeted by Joyce Rachelson’s million-watt smile or be swept up into an intellectual, yet comfortable, conversation with Rhoda Brooks. These amazing women are just two examples of the people who make up the market research community. As an industry, we are here to support, guide and encourage one another. We often times find ourselves wondering if other industries are made up of folks who are as awesome as ours!

What most of us find out is that our first event is rarely our last. In fact, you are soon involved in planning events and driving initiatives. Then before you know it, you become an impactful member of the community – you are the new Joyce and Rhoda.

Back in the present, we had the pleasure of mixing the memory of Joyce’s million-watt smile and Rhoda’s comfortable conversation by honoring Rhoda with this special award – the first person ever to receive it! There were only 25 of us, but the energy was electric. These are the people who have your back. These are the people that you can count on. These are the people you can’t wait to see and talk to and catch up with, picking up where you left off in your last conversation. These people are old friends. Actually, these people are family, and this time we were gathered together to celebrate our favorite relative.

In closing, our wish for you, Insights Association Member, is that you too choose to get involved in our community so that down the road you will encounter magical evenings of your own!

Janet Baldi, SVP Data Collection & Data Quality, RTi Research
Ginger De Stefano, Field Director, RTi Research
Chapter Committee Liaisons