We’re a diverse team with a wide range of backgrounds and expertise. By combining our talents and skills we create our unique approach to research. What we all share is a passion for delivering high quality research and great customer service.
Perfectionist and self-confessed workaholic, Sarah Mather is our founder and managing director. Having worked in research for over 20 years, with more than 10 years experience of research within the built environment, Sarah ensures we are constantly improving, innovating and adding value to what we do.
Most likely to say: What’s the insight?
Least likely to say: I’m taking tomorrow off.
Mike constantly disproves the theory that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks! Mike, our chairman, is a long standing member of the MRS and Marketing Society. He reinvented his skills in the digital world about ten years before it became mainstream and now weaves his planning and insight skills into client experience and data analytics for our clients.
Most likely to say: What are their goals?
Least likely to say: I need a drink!
Ewen Cameron is our technical supremo. He’s able to sort out the most taxing and terrifying technical tantrums, coolly, calmly and with unfailing good humour. Ewen is also a talented photographer and a seasoned globe trotter.
Most likely to say: More gadgets, please!
Least likely to say: Computer says no!
Our senior project manager, Emma Adams, has a background in television and her strong communication and multi tasking skills make her a great asset to the team. Mother of three, Emma enjoys sailing, films and rugby, particularly when her son scores a try! Emma is fluent in French and Italian.
Most likely to say: Let’s get on with it!
Least likely to say: I slept for 10 hours last night!
Our research team leader, Samantha Hibbert, has a background in business development and corporate fundraising, both of which have allowed her to hone her listening skills and ability to help organisations fulfil mutual objectives. Outward looking, empathetic and interested in helping others to solve problems, Samantha loves roles where relationship building is at the heart of the task.
Most likely to say: Tell me more!
Least likely to say: I've heard enough.
Donna Bowden is our head of Quality Control. As a former PwC accountant, she is invaluable to the team for her good humour and razor sharp analytical skills. This busy mother of three is someone we can always depend on to pinpoint any issues and give feedback in a positive manner. Donna is a QPR supporter and season ticket holder!
Most likely to say: Check it, check it, check it!
Least likely to say: That’s looks approximately right!
Based in Nottingham, Nicki has a background in communications and corporate social responsibility and has worked in blue chip companies and national charities. A chatterbox at heart, Nicki thrives on building partnerships. When she isn't working she can usually be found on a sports pitch supporting her team - mad family!
Most likely to say: Let's crack on!
Least likely to say: Not sure we can get that done in time.
A native of Las Vegas, Holly traded the neon lights of Sin City for the peaceful coastline of the Isle of Wight. That was thirteen years ago, and she hasn't looked back. With degrees in History, French and Education, Holly’s great strengths lie in writing and maintaining the quality of our reporting. Always busy, she tries to stay one step ahead of her 7-year-old son and just about manages to keep pace with her Jack Russell puppy. When not retrieving shoes from the garden, Holly enjoys sea swimming, running and playing board games.
Most likely to say: Viva Las Vegas!
Least likely to say: I love it when my shoes look chewed!
Liz Aked has spent the last couple of decades travelling across the world sourcing wine for a raft of well known retailers. A trained negotiator, educator and tennis referee, Liz has all the skills that make her an astute researcher. She would also be extremely useful in a hostage situation! Liz lives in Yorkshire and Northamptonshire with her canoeist husband.
Most likely to say: Let’s unravel that a bit more...
Least likely to say: Let’s go canoeing!
Based in Taunton, Sharon is a former market researcher and marketing executive in both the manufacturing and retail sectors. Sharon is crazy about plants, and loves new challenges - she has even reinvented herself as a tennis player, proving that it’s never too late to learn something new!
Most likely to say: Please check that specification again!
Least likely to say: I’m going to bed early.
Sue brings to our team a wealth of experience across several disciplines. She has worked in the corporate sector as Managing Director of an event company delivering projects both in the UK and internationally. Early in her career, she held the position of Development Director for Wandsworth Borough Council and, more recently, she has lectured at St Mary's University. Sue has also worked in the charity sector where she created and launched a new charity in partnership with England Hockey. A Loughborough University graduate, Sue has a strong track record in developing creative solutions for her clients, challenging the status quo and bringing together diverse groups of stakeholders to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. When she is not working, you will find Sue running with her dogs and friends in Bushy Park.
Most likely to say: Does anyone fancy a run?
Least likely to say: I fancy a steak!
Carolyn is an accomplished professional with an extensive background in hospitality, wine and nutrition. A self-motivated, senior consultant with a 'can do attitude', she enjoys working to deadlines, responding to client needs, building cohesive teams, coordinating programs and communicating at all levels. She loves supporting clients to identify and make positives changes. Carolyn is also a fully trained wine auctioneer.
Most likely to say: Going, going, gone!
Least likely to say: I have no taste for Champagne.
Sophie Burkett has spent the last 25 years working as a programme, project and change manager in blue chip companies, charities and public-sector organisations. Sophie is a ball of energy, throwing herself head-long into everything she does. She loves sport, music and travelling.
Most likely to say: I like a little harmony.
Least likely to say: I’m out for a duck!
Our very own ‘grammar ninja’, Jenny has a background in marketing and communications and research analysis. Having lived in Leeds, Cambridge, Poland and New Zealand, Jenny settled down in her native North West of England, within easy reach of her beloved hills and coastline (sometimes sunny!) of Lancashire and Cumbria. Her varied work experience gives strengths in interpersonal skills, proof-reading and understanding the drivers of both projects and people.
Most likely to say: Come on City!
Least likely to say: Come on You Reds!
Having defected from the investment banks of London to her native and beloved far west Cornwall, Georgina has a ‘can do’ attitude and a mixed background in IT software training & development, graphics & presentation design and business systems analysis. The variety of her experience is united under a common theme of clarifying and exchanging ideas with the aim of streamlining processes and enabling more efficient and effective communication – ideal for Building Understanding. When not tied to a computer or running around after children, Georgina loves nothing better than exploring the Cornish coastline – by sea or footpath and hoping it doesn’t rain too much.
Most likely to say: It looks like a good day for a swim!
Least likely to say: No, that can’t be done.
With a background in journalism, Lucy’s skills lie in writing, interviewing, analysing, proof-reading, re-writing … but she believes the most important thing of all is listening. When not doing that, she’ll probably be found with her family, most likely at the ice rink in Nottingham where one daughter is a keen ice-skater, or the local stables where the other rides. Lucy loves music and would like to have more time to play her piano and selection of differently sized recorders.
Most likely to say: Shall we talk about that … over a STRONG coffee?
Least likely to say: I’ve got nothing to say about that.
Positive and energetic with a large helping of Yorkshire pragmatism, Rowena has a long career in Retail and Customer Experience working for major Global companies, managing large contracts both in the UK and Internationally. This background has given her the skills to communicate well, at many levels, and hone her listening skills (her husband wouldn’t agree). Rowena is a master at multi-tasking and time management is her forte. She loves to go for long walks and enjoys the cinema.
Most likely to say: We’re nearly there!
Least likely to say: Heaven knows I’m miserable now!
With a background in psychology, Matilda has a keen interest in other people’s perceptions and experiences and actually received training in qualitative research methods during her University education. Despite her Swedish background, she has come to love living in Glasgow and is there to stay. When she’s not working, Matilda can usually be found reading a book or ‘talking the ears off’ her friends!
Most likely to say: A tea for me, please!
Least likely to say: Ah dinnae ken
Peter’s career has been spent in business and product development, planning and market research with an eclectic mix of corporations in the petro chemical industry, banking and global FMCG. Stronger than he looks and wiser then he knows - a very rare fish - with an intuitive knowledge of all things practical; Peter likes to be the most useful person in the room. Impressively, he has overseen and project managed the building of his home, which he shares with his wife and sometime adopted cat.
Most likely to say: The answer is YES. What’s the Question?
Least likely to say: That can’t be done.
Mod’s name is simply an amalgamation of her initials. A Spanish speaker, with a degree in Latin American Studies, and experience in IT research, Mod most recently worked for the Colombian government, in London, coordinating trade and investment promotion in the UK. She juggles work, four children and a dog!
Most likely to say: I feel a Merengue coming on!
Least likely to say: Costa Rican coffee for me!
We're delighted to welcome Adele to our production team! Living in a small town outside Edinburgh, Adele has previously worked in telephone interviewing and data collection for a research company. Her main background and passion is in psychology, and she is currently undertaking her doctorate to become a counselling psychologist. From her psychology studies, she has hands-on research experience. With a keen interest in the interactions between individuals and discourse, Adele enjoys listening to others. In balancing a busy schedule, she loves yoga and reading.
Most likely to say: I'm practicing the Warrior pose.
Least likely to say: I can't wait to watch the football tonight!
Janice, a member of our production team, is also currently studying for her Doctorate in Counselling Psychology, which is a dramatic move from her previous career as an interior designer. Her psychology training is fuelled by an interest in the wellbeing of individuals and has led to experience in various research methods, but her creative background also gives her an appreciation of the built environment. In her spare time, you will find Janice trail running in the local hills with her dog Archie or attending one of her much loved life-drawing classes.
Most likely to say: Hold still!
Least likely to say: Let me do the gardening for you
Based in a picturesque part of Ayrshire, Peter has studied psychology for several years. In addition to his work with Building Understanding, he volunteers with third sector organisations as a counselling psychology trainee, and continues his work in academia and research. Peter is compassionate and empathetic, and enjoys using his psychology background to explore what motivates individuals. In his spare time, Peter loves playing board or video games with friends, listening to music, and baking.
Most likely to say: The name Pavlov rings a bell!
Least likely to say: Whisky please…double.