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Business & Economy

North East agency strengthens research team

North East research and marketing agency, MMC, has appointed Vicki Shouksmith as Research and Project Manager to strengthen its team.

The successful Sunderland-based agency, which was named in the Top 50 Best Places to Work in the region, took the decision to appoint during the current climate to enhance its existing research offer, particularly to support its work around economic recovery, policy and public health research

Natasha McDonough, Managing Director, MMC, said: “For us, Vicki is the missing piece we’ve been looking for and I’m excited to see the impact she has on our client projects. Her vast quantitative research knowledge will mean we can expand our offer to do more survey and consumer research and her project management skills will mean that she can whip us into shape when it comes to planning!”

Vicki will be joining a research team headed up by Dr Kirsty Laing, a highly experienced senior research professional with a strong background in public health and academic research, as well as broader public and private sector experience.

An experienced market research analyst, Vicki has worked extensively within the advertising and tourism sectors and has previously run research projects on behalf of Leeds BID, Channel 4, BBC, Exterion Media and Northumberland National Park.

Vicki will be involved in a range of client projects including several that respond directly to the current climate including Bernicia’s investigation into agile working post lockdown; Sunderland BID’s city centre research (which will have a core focus on recovery) and MMC’s own research project exploring the impact of lockdown on the mental health of business owners.

Vicki said: “I was so excited to join MMC because it was clear that Natasha really values her staff and prioritises wellbeing and culture. Plus, working for a successful female entrepreneur felt like a learning opportunity I couldn’t pass up. The role means I get to stick with research which I’m passionate about whilst also honing my project management skills and learning more about the running of a business.

“Starting a new role virtually is strange, but being handed projects from day one has meant that I already feel like part of the team. There’s lots to learn, but questionnaire design and reporting skills are easily transferrable so I’ve been able to get started quite easily. It’ll be strange going into the office for the first time and actually meeting the team in person!”

Natasha added: “We’re delighted that Vicki chose to join MMC. It can’t be easy making a decision to join a company where you haven’t ever met your colleagues in person, but after just a few weeks of working with her remotely, it feels like she’s been here for years. For me it’s all about getting the cultural fit right first, and, from the time I spent with her on Zoom interviews prior to her joining us, I really did get the sense that she would fit straight into the team. Which she absolutely has.”