Naomi R. Henderson, Founder and CEO

Naomi Henderson opened RIVA in 1981 and is its CEO, directing policy and procedures for two divisions: Research and Training. She is co-founder of the RIVA Training Institute, where she serves as a Master Trainer writing curriculum for public and custom courses and fulfilling her dream to leave the industry in better shape than when she entered, by training researchers in the art and science of rigorous qualitative research techniques. Naomi has been a researcher since 1964, and has led more that 5,500 focus groups and interviewed more than 60,000 people in groups or individually and is a nationally recognized Master Moderator. She is most responsible for the well earned phrase sought after by moderators and potential clients alike: “RIVA Trained Moderator”.

Naomi holds a M. Ed. and a B.S. in Education and Psychology from American University. She is a licensed practitioner of NeuroLinguistic Programming [NLP] – a tool that accelerates the collection of behavioral data. As well, she is a certified Master Coach and has earned certificates of completion from Synectics, and the Creative Problem Solving Institute. She is a guest lecturer at George Washington University, Georgetown University and Hood College.

She writes a quarterly column, “Reflections,” for the American Marketing Association Journal of Marketing Research. She is also a frequent contributor to Quirk’s Market Research Journal on issues related to qualitative research. She has been quoted in American Demographics, Forbes and the New York Times. Appearances on TV include CBS Evening News, PBS Health Week, and NBC Dateline.

Contact Naomi at nhenderson@rivainc.com.

Amber Tedesco, Director of Research and Training/VP of Operations

Amber is Vice President of Operations as well as the Director of Training and Research. Amber is the first point of contact for research clients and companies seeking information to help craft custom courses to meet internal needs. She is responsible for the strategy, planning and management of all research projects from proposal through the final report. That means being deeply involved with clients from first request to research methodology and scheduling and logistics and steering them through the planning process so their objectives can be achieved.

In her role as the Director of Training, she works with clients to create custom courses for their staff members. She also manages the multiple open courses held at RIVA headquarters in Rockville, MD. Amber is a RIVA trained Moderator, Coach and a Research Analyst, giving her the ability to participate as a researcher on projects; write reports; and shepherd projects thought the RIVA 12-Step research process.

In addition to her 15 years of experience at RIVA, her completion of the following RIVA courses is the platform for the standard of excellence she offers RIVA’s clients:

Fundamentals of Moderating
The Art & Science of Qualitative Analysis and Report Writing
Qualitative Toolbox

She holds a B.S. in Family Science from the University of Maryland.

Contact Amber at amber@rivainc.com.

Jo Ann Hairston, Master Moderator & Master Trainer

The work Jo Ann does for RIVA is diverse. She works in both the Research and the Training division, shifting hats with ease. As a researcher she is – assigned to focus group projects that range from medical issues to health and beauty aids and from politics to new products. After leading more than 3,200 groups, and earning the title Master Moderator, Jo Ann helps clients access POBAs [Perceptions, Opinions, Beliefs and Attitudes] from respondents that range from homemakers to the homeless and from ages 7 to 97.

As a Co-Founder of the RIVA Training Institute she serves as a Master Trainerand developer of the framework and curriculum for both standard courses and custom courses designed to meet the needs of clients in a variety of industries. She is a credentialed Master Coach for Qualitative Researchers, as well as, individuals transitioning from one career to another.


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