Monthly Archives: April 2014

RIVA Staff | Tori

This is Part One of a multi-part interview series with RIVA Staff.  Today we are talking with Tori, receptionist and hostess for RIVA. If you have been to RIVA as a student, you have seen how hard Tori works to make each person feel at home in our office. Feel free to ask Tori additional questions in the comments!


What is your role at RIVA?

I am the receptionist/hostess. I sit at the main desk and am the first face people encounter here at RIVA. I also think of myself as the hostess for the students, a qualitative research assistant, and a personal assistant to our trainers.


Tell me a little about yourself. How long have you been in the area?

I’ve been in the area for a year and a half and I was born and raised in Baltimore County, Maryland.


What brought you to RIVA?

I’ve always had an interest in market research and focus groups. I also liked RIVA as a company. From the beginning, RIVA seemed like a tight-knit group and everyone was so friendly. My first meeting with Naomi was incredible, when people first meet her they are blown away. She has such an impact.


You have been at RIVA a little over a year now. What has been your favorite experience at RIVA in the past year?

Definitely taking classes – that has been amazing. Also, the camaraderie among the staff. We celebrate anniversaries and birthdays together. At my first Christmas party, I had to solo a Christmas song and I sang “Grandma got Ran over by a Reindeer.” We always have so much fun!


What aspects of market research do you enjoy the most?

I like how in Qualitative Research, it dives further into the consumer’s mind. It is interesting to see how people think. People never cease to amaze you.


If someone asked you what coming to a RIVA training class is like, what would you tell them?

It’s scary and intense but also really fun. You feel like you have never taken in so much information in one day in your whole life. Our trainers are so knowledgeable. It doesn’t feel like you are in a class, however, you are just talking and laughing and everyone is learning from one another. It is really neat.


Lastly, if you were to star in your own reality TV show, what would it be called?

“Pups and Crafts”! My dog, Nitro, is my best little buddy and I love doing all kinds of crafts whenever possible. I am always working on a project.

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From the Archives: Great Training Produces Great Moderators

On Thursdays, we re-post an article from our archives. Good moderating principles never go out of style. 

Great Training Produces Great Moderators

By Naomi Henderson

Originally Posted: 17 February 2012

While signing out at a facility with multiple rooms, and picking up DVDs of the sessions at the front desk before exiting, another moderator stood nearby, awaiting his turn to do the same.

While watching staff make the labels and sort items into tote bags, he turned and said:  “Are you Naomi Henderson?”   I acknowledged his question with a nod, but wondered why his face did not ring any bells of recognition.    He continued:  “The reason I’m standing here waiting for materials at a focus group facility is because of a course you and your husband, Luc, taught more than ten years ago.   I can still hear your voices reminding me to:

  “Be with people, not with paper.”

  “Watch what respondents do – not just what they say.”

   “Keep the study purpose in mind with every question asked.”

He went on to say that his company sent him to RIVA for Moderator Training and that he got a lot out of the course and collected great data for his company’s clients.  But, frustrated with working for others, he branched off on his own.  He went on to say:  “I’m doing well…and it is so nice to see you to say ‘thanks’ in person.”

Hearing his accolades reinforced the key principle of the moderator courses at RIVA:  “Marry best practices to authentic interviewing styles and the result is a moderator who is present in the moment, focused on achieving client goals, and keeps his/her ego in a suitcase outside the focus group room to be picked up on the way out the door.”

I am a proud “Mama” hearing him praise his training experience and his longevity as a freelancer.  I know that RIVA has produced lots of moderator “babies” who have now grown up to become outstanding qualitative researchers.  I remember the reason I started teaching courses for market researchers more than 30 years ago:   I wanted to leave my industry better by having been in it.   Talking with that RIVA graduate is proof that I’ve achieved that goal.