About Corky

"It would be tempting to play on this researcher's name and say she does a corker of a job! But that would be to trivialise the fine work she does. She is one of only a handful of researchers I know in over a decade who is capable of digging really deep into the psyche of people to find motivators behind their behaviour. It's a rare skill that many claim they have, but few possess, but Corky's got it! And this is not due to some magical gift from the gods but because she is genuinely interested in people and works hard to understand them ... and not just the respondents, but also her clients!"

Graham Nelson - Former Senior Research Manager

Alliance & Leicester

Following three years as the senior qualitative researcher at BMP / DDB advertising agency in London, working alongside account teams, planners, creative teams and clients, Corky & Co. launched in 1990.

Education and background:

Corky is a Psychology graduate and a qualified teacher.

Corky's early career was in academic scientific research with children, teachers and parents at Cardiff University on two different projects. The first one investigated verbal and non-verbal communication amongst young children aged 5 - 9 years.  The second project, in liaison with The Welsh National School of Medicine Dental Hospital, looked at the psychology of malocclusion - attractiveness and teeth.

Interests and Voluntary Work:

My main interests outside work are my rescue dog Raffles, my family and swimming.

My first experience as a volunteer was on a Summer Camp for Children from London's East End for three summers whilst an undergraduate. We camped outside, went swimming, gliding and punting, cooked, made camp fires, made up ghost stories round the camp fire each night and had midnight walks.

I've also volunteered on a project for Earthwatch with Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, helping on a project with Manatees. This involved going out on a boat each day with the marine biologists - studying and photographing individual animals, which groups they socialised with, where they spent their time, and investigating the density of sea grass plants on which they depend. Their biggest enemy? Speedboats.  As sea grass needs light, it doesn't grow in deep water, and manatees spend a lot of time just below the surface in shallow water, eating. When a boat comes speeding along, they have nowhere to dive down, and they often get hit, or their skin gets scarred by the propellers. 

So please, if you hire a boat in Florida or elsewhere and you see a sign 'Caution: minimum wake, Manatee Zone' - slow down!  You won't see them, but they are there.

The Best Lesson I Ever Learned to Apply To Qualitative Research - came from - a Clairvoyant called Dorothy!

Between Focus Groups in Oldham one afternoon, at the suggestion of my recruiter  I visited a local clairvoyant called Dororthy. I didn't know what to expect but I wanted it to be worthwhile, so I parked round the corner and took off all my jewellery to provide as few obvious clues as possible. 

I asked Dorothy if I could record our session and she said no, so I asked if i could take notes instead- and she agreed to this. Having shuffled the cards and cut them according to Dorothy's instructions, I waited, pen in hand, poised to write down my future.  I need to point out at this juncture that this was well over 20 years ago, and I thought I was about to get the sack from the small research agency I worked for, and I thought that was then end of my career in market research. I didn't even dare look round for another job, as my bosses had told me in no uncertain terms that they had no desire to work with me, and I was wondering what my future held - which career should I try next? Clearly, if I wasn't sacked I was going to have to resign and admit I was a miserable failure at market research.

So it was when Dorothy announced that 'things are going to go up in the world regarding your work' that I stopped taking notes and thought 'what a load of rubbish'. Eagle eyed, she asked me why i hadn't written that down. Lying, I shrugged and said I didn't really know. Our session ended, I returned to my hotel and phoned the office to see if there were any messages. There was one message from someone I'd never heard of. When I returned the call, it was a research company inviting me for interview. Unbeknownst to me, a client had recommended me to them. I went for the interview, got the job, and the rest is - not just history but a fabulous lesson.

Because the prediction which I had instantly dismissed from the clairvoyant came true!

Never again would I be so quick to dismiss anything that I personally didn't agree with, or that I couldn't see working or happening. Now I wait until I have heard the whole story, until I have collected in all the information from my research, and I listen to and present the whole story, with strategic direction and future recommendations.

If you'd like to know more about any of this ...

Contact Corky on corky@corkyandco.com