Kristin Luck, president of Decipher, Inc., in Fresno, California, USA, won a Gold Stevie® Award for Women Helping Women in Business at the 2012 Stevie® Awards for Women in Business in connection with the organization that she founded, Women in Research (WIRe). (Entries for the 2013 Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the world's top honors for female entrepreneurs, executives and the organizations they run, will open in May. Join our mailing list and the entry kit for the 2013 awards will be emailed to you when entries open.)
In 2007, after more than a decade in the market research industry, Kristin Luck founded Women in Research (WIRe) as a means of introducing friends and research colleagues to other industry women in the Los Angeles research community. The group began informally when Kristin invited about 20 of her business colleagues to join her for cocktails.
Since then, WIRe has grown to an organization with more than 300 members worldwide. WIRe events are now hosted quarterly in Los Angeles, New York, and London. Here Kristin describes in her own words how WIRe is helping women succeed.
Says Kristin: “WIRe events facilitate networking, leadership, entrepreneurship, and other career development goals to meet the needs of professional women in the market research industry. Today, our mission is to encourage the establishment of empowering and nurturing relationships among women in market research.”
What started off as a few informal cocktail hours among female research colleagues has evolved into a non-profit industry organization that provides women in market research with a support network that includes mentoring and education opportunities.
Although WIRe originated as an informal way of connecting women in the industry, most recently the group has garnered attention for conducting, in partnership with Lieberman Research Worldwide, Decipher, and Research-live.com, the first industry-wide study on gender and diversity in the workplace.
Gender inequality, especially as it relates to compensation, has been under scrutiny for several decades; particularly in the United States where on average women are paid 77 cents to the dollar that men are paid for the same work.
WIRe’s industry gender and diversity study, which was released in October 2012, uncovered data that helped provide insight not only into the disparity between male and female earnings in the market research industry, but also the underlying reasons behind that disparity.
Commented Kristin: “With this study, we wanted to explore earnings inequality specifically within our industry. What we found was interesting: the study suggests that companies need to focus on salary parity and to make a shift to equalize the balance between personal life and work for their employees. This is especially important for women with children, who are less likely to progress into senior management positions.”
Why should businesses care about gender diversity in senior level roles? Because studies have confirmed that companies with more women in senior management meet with greater financial success.
- McKinsey’s Organizational Health Index (OHI) reports that “firms with three or more women in top positions score higher than their peers—findings supported by studies by Columbia Business School and University of Maryland, among others.”
- Fast Company recently reported that Catalyst, a nonprofit focused on expanding opportunities for women in business, “found a 26% boost in return on invested capital in companies with lots of women on their boards versus companies with no women.”
- A study conducted by MIT also found that diversity leads to better products and services.
In short, diversity improves performance, morale, and end product. Women are perceived as more empathetic and emotionally driven and they have a unique perspective on how products and services should be developed.
Concludes Kristin: “Considering these studies, if you take women out of the equation, out of the board room, out of the research process, there’s a fundamental perspective that’s being seriously missed. This WIRe study serves as a reminder that employers, no matter the industry, need to find ways to help ALL employees find a better work/life balance in order to be successful.
“Employers need to focus on creating working environments that are conducive to a healthy family life—whether or not that includes children, and regardless of an employee’s gender. “
Adds Kristin: “Make no mistake: Men are an important part of this dialogue. Men are welcome at all WIRe events—our most recent event in Los Angeles boasted double-digit male attendees in a group of over 60 women—and our biggest corporate sponsors (ESOMAR, The Advertising Research Foundation, uSamp, MRops) are organizations led by men. A big part of creating awareness about gender inequity in the industry is to educate BOTH men and women that it exists. We need to collectively support and encourage more women to progress to senior positions.”
WIRe’s first industry-wide mentoring program launched earlier this year and pairs female mentors and mentees based on their goals, interests, experience, and location.
Says Kristin: “64% of businesswomen see the absence of female role models as a barrier to their development. We need to encourage and invest in the leadership of women; mentor; and personify the characteristics you hope to see in the world around you.”
You can learn more about WIRe at www.womeninresearch.com, where you can also find detailed results from the gender and diversity study, as well as additional information about the mentoring program.
About Kristin Luck:
Kristin Luck has conquered several challenges over the years, initiating significant change in an industry steeped in tradition. She was a pioneer in the multi-media online research business, heading the fastest-growing research company in the world in the early 2000s and starting her own company in 2005. She currently serves as president of Decipher, which has appeared as one of the INC. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies, a GRIT Top 50 Innovative Firm, and on the Lead411 Tech 200 List.
In addition to founding WIRe, Luck is active in multiple industry and charitable organizations, constantly pushing the envelope to create products, solutions, and methods that benefit her industry. Luck shares this passion by speaking at events around the world, writing in-depth articles for international publications, and teaching as a guest lecturer at university level.
A marketing research services provider, Decipher specializes in online survey programming, data collection, data processing/reporting, and custom technology development. Utilizing Web-based applications, Decipher integrates state of the art technology with traditional research techniques. For more information, go to www.decipherinc.com.