Connie Cheng

Connie Cheng

Senior Research Associate

Connie is a Senior Research Associate based in Vancouver. She has over 30 years experience in market research and public opinion polling, for a wide variety of private, public and non-profit clients, across the finance, environment, energy, defence, health and tourism sectors.

Connie has a solid background in project management, research methodology and data analysis, providing clients with strategic and actionable insights. She is particularly adept at managing complex research, including those involving multiple methodologies, as well as long-standing tracking projects.

Connie began her research career in the Vancouver office of Canadian Facts, and has spent time at Mendon Associates, Decima Research and Pollara before launching Cohesium Research.

Connie completed her Bachelor of Commerce degree in Marketing at the University of British Columbia. Connie has achieved the Certified Marketing Research Professional (CMRP) designation and is a member of the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association (MRIA).

Mike McDonald

Mike McDonald

Mike McDonald

Senior Research Associate (Vancouver)

Mike has built his career at the crossroads of public opinion research, communications, public affairs, and strategy. He led the BC Liberal Party’s 2013 election campaign, hailed as “stunning” and a “win for the ages” by Canadian news outlets and served as Chief of Staff to Premier Christy Clark.

He’s led major projects as a researcher and he’s commissioned major projects as a client. He adds a strong understanding of the underlying political, socio-cultural, and demographic context that is critical to informing strategy.

Mike’s work with Pollara complements his ongoing role as Senior Associate at Kirk & Co., a leader in communications, public consultation and engagement.

Danielle Armengaud

Danielle Armengaud

Danielle Armengaud

Research Associate (Ottawa)

Based on Ottawa, Danielle is a seasoned public opinion and market research specialist with more than 15 years of client-facing experience. She started her career at the Government of Canada, after which she made the switch to the private sector, where she focused on clients in the public affairs sphere. In particular, she has played key roles in projects conducted on behalf of many federal and provincial government departments, municipalities, NGOs, and associations.

Danielle is an expert quantitative and qualitative researcher, with extensive experience designing and analyzing survey and focus group projects, focus group moderating, and conducting one-on-one elite interviews. She is well-versed in a wide range of both online and in-person methods and is an accomplished moderator and interviewer who understands the art of both asking questions and active listening.

She has a keen understanding of the importance of using sound research to support policy development, communications strategies and messaging, advertising development and evaluation, stakeholder engagement and collaborative decision-making. Taking research findings to the “next level” is her specialty, integrating them successfully and seamlessly into client communications and strategies, and translating them into actionable insights for any audience, whether high level executive decision-makers within governments or businesses, or the general public.

Danielle holds a Bachelor of Journalism (High Honours) from Carleton University and attended the Environmental Journalism Academy, University of Maryland University College.

Martin Redfern

Martin Redfern

Research Associate (Ottawa)

Based in Ottawa, Martin has 25 years of experience in the public affairs and market research industry. A recognized research expert, he specializes in project and survey design as well as analysis of quantitative, qualitative, and hybrid data. He is also an accomplished focus group moderator, having conducted hundreds of groups during his career.

He has extensive experience conducting research for federal government departments, associations, and private-sector clients, including clients in the financial, health care, and post-secondary education sectors.

Martin is bilingual in English and French. He holds an honours degree in Political Science from Dalhousie University and has studied advanced research methods at the graduate level at Carleton University.

Mubashera Kothawala

Mubashera Kothawala

Mubashera Kothawala

Senior Research Manager

Mubashera is a creative and curious researcher who brings a wealth of experience and perspective to the research projects that she leads and supports. Over the course of her career, she has conducted research in Canada, the U.S., and the UAE for a wide variety of clients in the public and private sectors.

Mubashera has a passion for sifting through layers of data and a gift for extracting the hidden gems of insight and direction that clients need. She applies these talents as well as her focus on delivering real-life applications of the research findings to quantitative and qualitative projects across numerous sectors, including government, health care, IT, financial services, aviation, and travel and tourism.

Prior to joining Pollara, Mubashera worked at Nielsen UAE, where she was responsible for managing very large, complex, multi-methodology research projects requiring a high level of sensitivity and attention to detail. With education and work experience in India, the U.S., and the UAE, she brings the valuable perspective that comes from this diverse cultural experience. She holds a Masters in Pharmaceutical Sciences from University of Southern California.

Daniel Dharmasurya

Daniel Dharmasurya

Daniel Dharmasurya

Senior Research Manager

Daniel is a Senior Research Manager at Pollara and has almost 10 years of experience as a market researcher. In his role, he leads projects throughout the design, operations, and reporting phases. Daniel has experience conducting both quantitative and qualitative studies leading to actionable, strategic recommendations for many clients in both the public and private sectors.

He is an in-demand presenter among our clients, who also value him for his innovative and efficient survey design skills and his reporting – which concisely delivers sophisticated analysis and actionable recommendations. Daniel is also our leading online discussion forum qualitative research specialist.

On behalf of Pollara’s clients, he has contributed his expertise to a wide range of topics including policy development and assessment research, customer satisfaction tracking, image and impression management, message testing, and new product evaluation.

Daniel graduated with a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Toronto. He also completed a co-op Bachelor of Arts in sociology from the University of Waterloo.

Lesli Martin

Lesli Martin

Vice President

A 20-year research veteran, Lesli leads Pollara’s consumer insights and financial services divisions as well as our health affairs and reputation specialty practices.

With a client portfolio that encompasses every sector, she specializes in discovering the belief and motivational systems at the root of each relevant audience, and illuminating the message themes that will provoke and inspire these targets, influencers, and stakeholders.

Prior to joining Pollara, Lesli was a senior researcher and account lead at Leger and comScore, and led research departments at Sears, Cossette, and Great Gulf Homes. She has authored research-based articles in peer-reviewed medical journals such as Canadian Respiratory Journal, and her research has appeared in most Canadian newspapers as well as Marketing Magazine. Lesli holds a BA in Business Communication from Brock University.

Wendy Iwai

Wendy Iwai

Wendy Iwai

Chief Operating Officer

As Chief Operating Officer, Wendy leads the ongoing organizational, administrative, financial and governance elements of Pollara Strategic Insights.

Wendy brings valuable insight from both the private and public sectors. Her private sector business experience ranges from law, Canadian telecommunications to a B2B e-commerce firm in New York City. She served in various senior capacities within the Government of Ontario, and as Strategic Advisor to the Chair of the Toronto 2015 Pan and Parapan American Games.

Wendy’s commitment to community is evident through her roles on the Executive Committee of Toronto’s 2008 Olympic Bid, numerous charitable fundraising projects, and the organizational team for Queen Elizabeth’s Royal Jubilee Gala in Toronto. She is a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.

 

Craig Worden

Craig Worden

President

Craig leads Pollara’s research divisions and the development of our research methodologies and products. He provides actionable, insightful counsel to our clients, applying expertise gained over 20 years of conducting quantitative and qualitative research for an extensive array of private, public and not-for-profit sector clients. He is committed to providing creative, customized research solutions that provide clarity of understanding and direction to our clients.

For Craig, research is not our main deliverable – it is the critical foundation upon which we provide our primary value: insightful guidance and advisory partnership. Involved in the design and analysis of every study, his key activities include leading customized segmentation and motivational analyses as well as infusing insights with veteran interpretation, real-world context, and actionable recommendations. He is passionate about digging below the surface of topline results and helping clients identify and reach their key audiences with a sound understanding of the emotional underpinnings, engagement levels, persuadability, and key drivers of those segments.

Craig’s research career began at Angus Reid Group/Ipsos-Reid, where he rose to the position of Associate Vice President. Prior to joining Pollara, he founded and managed public affairs practices at Leger and Angus Reid Public Opinion/Vision Critical. He has appeared in print and broadcast media on hundreds of occasions, providing commentary on public opinion trends, elections, and research techniques. Craig holds a BA Honours in political science from Carleton University, and a MA in political science from Brock University.

Don Guy

Don Guy

Don Guy

Don Guy has been described as a “legendary political strategist”, a “brilliant strategist” and a “policy wizard” who has a unique understanding of the nexus between communication and policy. He is pleased to return home to Pollara as owner and Chief Strategist.

He is a founding partner of KTG Public Affairs and a member of global research and strategy firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and has provided the research and strategies that have fuelled some of the most successful public affairs campaigns in Canada.

Don is treasurer of the InterAction Council of Former Heads of State and Government, an international NGO think tank. Don’s graduate academic training was at the University of Toronto, where he took his MA and doctoral studies in political and democratic behaviour.