Today, we’re continuing our tour behind the scenes of aytm with our exceptional Director of Panel Ops, Rossi Dobrikova. Rossi has been with aytm since November 2019. A highly capable and experienced researcher in her own right, she is the queen of all things panel, including our proprietary panel, PaidViewpoint. Learn more about Rossi below.
Can you tell me a little bit about what you do here at aytm?
I lead the panel ops team. The department was built just about a year ago, and there was a lot to be created from the ground up. We started with only two team members (including me), and now we are a team of eight! We took on a lot of new responsibilities – now panel ops not only takes care of our PaidViewpoint panel health and panel partner relationships, but we also work on fielding all aytm surveys and providing bid support and feasibility assessment for tough to reach demographics.
How did you decide to get into market research?
It was purely a coincidence – by the time I was completing my Master’s degree, three months before my thesis defense, I got a job offer from a market research company after receiving a recommendation from a former university colleague. I found it interesting, and since I had some time before my thesis defense, I decided to try it. I ended up loving it. Before that, I was only involved in social sciences research related to my studies. I liked how diverse and unique each study was.
What drew you to aytm?
I was amazed by the level of automation at aytm – I have been in the market research industry for 14 years now, and I have never seen another company with this level of automation across all proprietary platforms and processes (panel, sampling, programming, fielding, statistical analysis, etc.). I recall thinking: “Wow, everyone working at aytm must be so smart!” Having bright colleagues is extremely important to me, as it promotes personal growth and development. Once I got to know the people, I also found out they are not only clever but genuinely nice and supportive.
Before working at aytm, what was the most interesting job you’ve ever had?
I worked for a qualitative market research company for a year. Having panelists come to the company facility to test new food, beverages, cosmetics/ personal care products was so much fun. We also had a glimpse into new brands that were not yet introduced to the public.
What’s a fact about you that might surprise people?
I published a book based on my academic research – it is available on amazon.com 😊 I am passionate about cross-cultural communication and had the chance to live, study and work in four different countries on two continents, so I found it interesting how cultures differ in the display of their emotions, which is what my book is about.
How do you balance your career and personal life at aytm?
I love my job and always thought that if I had a second choice in life, I would still do the same, so career and personal life boundaries are a bit fuzzy for me. It is certainly more challenging during the pandemic. I have two daughters – they are 6 and 3 years old. The older one had to start school remotely, so I feel like I am a bit of everything now – panel ops director, mom, teacher, cook, etc. I just create time for everything and set priorities. I think it’s also important to accept that perfection is not a goal but rather a road to follow and to allocate time for your personal well-being. First thing in the morning, I set aside an hour for myself to exercise or just unplug and catch up on the news.
How has aytm helped you in your career development?
There are so many talented and smart people at aytm – I learn on a daily basis. Not only have I expanded my knowledge in every aspect of market research, but I also feel appreciated. This is both rewarding and inspiring.
What advice do you have for prospective aytm candidates?
Get to know the company - there is so much you can learn about aytm from the company website. If you feel passionate about technology and enthusiastic about your job, you’ll feel right at home at aytm.
Which aytm Core Value is your favorite and why?
Creativity! I think this is so important in today’s competitive world. Everyone can learn from books and past experience, but being able to create something brand new and innovative is inspiring. Also, transforming ideas and dreams into reality is so fulfilling and gratifying on a personal level.