Women in Research: Paige Schoenfeld

8 March

My journey through the world of Market Research: Lessons, challenges, and triumphs

paige schoenfeld

Ever wonder what drives someone to pursue a career in market research? For me, it started in an undergrad market research class that – unlike other courses - felt like a calling. Combine that newfound passion with a childhood spent hustling at lemonade stands and jewellery stands at farmer’s markets, and you’ve got a recipe for a market research enthusiast with a dash of entrepreneurial spirit. As we gear up for International Women's Day, I want to share my story with you—the ups, the downs, and everything in between.

Finding my path

It was clear from the start—I was hooked on market research. Thanks to a professor who saw my potential, I dove headfirst into the field, working alongside him on a project about tree fruits of all things while finishing my degree. My dream? To make it big in a bustling city, working at a major market research firm. Spoiler alert: For me, 'making it big' is really about finding reward in the path itself, despite its share of detours.

The big leap

Landing my first corporate research job at Ipsos was a game-changer. Those 12 years were an incredible introduction to the industry, a whirlwind of learning, growth, and forming lifelong friendships. But as with many of us, the itch for change crept in. I pondered moving client-side, faced rejections, and ultimately found my place at Leger. Here I'm engaging in work that allows me to make a meaningful daily impact in the industry, something that has grown to be of paramount importance to me. Looking back, every setback was a step forward to where I’m meant to be.

Agency vs. Client-Side: The eternal debate

If you’ve been in market research for a few years, you’ve faced this crossroads. Agency life? Or client-side? For me, the agency world—with its fast pace, innovation, and collaboration—has always been the place to thrive. It’s not just about the work; it’s about the variety, the challenges, and the people you meet along the way. Due to the variety and exposure, I’ve also found that I’ve been able to follow my passion and strengths in many areas of research while leading others to do the same.

Moments that matter:

Reflecting on my career, it’s the people who’ve made the difference—mentors who believed, friends who supported, and even participants who shared their stories. This industry is about connection, and that’s what keeps my passion alive. Becoming one of ESOMAR’s North American Representatives has been a wonderful enhancement to my career. The role has given me a unique platform to connect with global industry colleagues, fostering dialogue and initiatives that propel our industry forward. It's these connections that enrich our professional lives.

The tidal wave of AI

Being at the forefront of AI's transformative impact on our industry has been an exhilarating journey, and it’s only just begun. Witnessing firsthand how we're adapting, evolving, and seizing innovation in the face of this monumental shift is truly inspiring. It highlights the incredible resilience and adaptability that defines our field while also unlocking a ton of potential, offering fresh opportunities not only to seasoned professionals but also invigorating for those just embarking on their market research journey.

A few words of wisdom:

  • Find your niche: Whether it’s agency or client-side, go where you feel you belong.

  • Embrace change: Rejections and setbacks? They’re just plot twists in your story.

  • Cherish connections: The people you meet will be your greatest source of inspiration and motivation.

Closing thoughts:

As International Women's Day approaches, let’s celebrate not just the successes but the journey itself. To those navigating their own paths in market research or any field, remember: It’s the passion, the resilience, and the connections along the way that truly define your career. Let’s keep pushing boundaries, supporting one another, and making our mark in the industry. Who knows what amazing places your own journey will take you?