Meet EI: Q + A with Maria Garcia
This week, we sat down with Maria Garcia, a Research Director in our New York office, to talk about how she ended up in research and analytics, her transition from London to NYC, and her number #1 passion project. Enjoy!
What’s your role at Edelman Intelligence? What kind of work do you do?
I am a Research Director and my work varies day-by-day. The variety of clients and projects that I work on is what keeps me here! What I enjoy most is advising clients on how to solve their challenges and meet their goals through research, either by way of primary research like helping on a piece of IP or by way of secondary research like understanding a distinct landscape. I like to apply the techniques, methods, and tools necessary to meet a desired outcome, but the how (in terms of research methodology) is less important to me as long as we do our best work and help clients make smart decisions. I find it rewarding to establish and build strong client relationships, and I think that, in my role, it is crucial to stay up to date on industry trends, or more broadly, what is happening in the world that can help us create new opportunities and/or provide context for understanding our work.
Previous places of employment?
In the research world, I worked for a research company within Engine Group, previously known as ORC International, in London. I actually specialized in employee research and it is interesting to see how my past experience has become more relevant than ever with the recent focus on employees and employers as key audience groups. At my previous job, our main goal was to help our clients understand how to bridge the gap between internal and external audience perspectives, and at EI, it is the same equation but in reverse.
You transitioned from our London office to NYC. Tell us about your decision and the unique opportunity to do so.
I have been at EI London for just over 3.5 years and lived in London for over 11 years. I love London, but I wanted to experience what it was like to live in NYC. New York is the 5th city I have lived in and if I count a bit of the back-and-forth I have had in my life, this is the 8th time I have moved! I came to NYC with my family when I was (I think) nine years old and I still remember taking a helicopter ride to see the Statue of Liberty. That ride convinced me that this is a great city! Ha!
In all seriousness, it was being part of a global company and working with people across the network that really sparked my curiosity and EI helped make it happen. I truly believe that moving and having a diverse workforce is what makes our teams and client work better, and pushes us to learn, adapt, and keep an open mind. When I saw the opportunity to move, I took it!
Describe Edelman Intelligence in three words.
Energetic, Inquisitive, Dedicated
Working in research and analytics: accident or design?
100% accident. I contemplated going into the world of academic research, especially something related to International Affairs (my secret passion), but by means of fate, I ended up here.
Describe your typical workday in 5 emojis or less:
I had to choose six!
#1 passion project you are working on right now:
I am currently working on a new wave of research for one of our key clients and it is a great example of how, with every edition, we challenge ourselves to come up with new ideas and angles to evolve the work. The study has a robust methodology from landscape analysis, to in-depth interviews, to quantitative research, so we are able to expose ourselves to everything and be smarter with our thinking. It is also a topic that I am personally interested in, and it is great to see how we not only focus on the client and their core business areas, but also help them navigate the current political and economic climate.
In your opinion, the coolest thing happening in the world of intelligence right now is...
I could talk about the integration of data sources and AI and all that, but for me it is more about the application of research and how people’s behaviors and attitudes around the world are changing due to the political, economic, and social environment. I like to see new audiences and topics emerge in our research and companies that need to adapt to changing circumstances and an uncertain climate.
A culture of collaboration must _________________.
Empower, listen, and utilize everyone’s strengths. Having emotionally intelligent leaders is very important too.
What three skills do you think are essential in your role?
Perseverance, patience, thinking outside the box… (and remembering to breathe!)
Best piece of advice you’ve ever given or received?
If you don’t like something, change it.
To explore careers at EI, click here.