A diversity initiative for researchers founded by a researcher
Whitney Dunlap- Fowler
Whitney Dunlap-Fowler is a semiotician and seasoned brand strategist with nearly 10 years of experience building culturally intelligent brands through cultural insights, brand strategy and multicultural strategy.
Before founding Touch of Whit Creative, she co-lead the Cultural Insights practice at Kelton Global where she used her knowledge and expertise to aid in deepening the company’s brand strategy engagements.
Her ‘brand strategy roots’ were honed and polished during her time at Kantar Added Value, where excelled as in dual strategic roles across the brand and cultural insights teams while earning a Masters degree in Media, Culture and Communications at NYU.
Before leaving the company, she took on an additional role as the Multicultural Practice Lead for North America and started an initiative called “Insights in Color” for minority professionals seeking to connect with others in the research community. Since starting her own business, she’s restarted the IIC initiative in order to pursue her passion of creating a more connected network of researchers of color and a platform built to serve their needs.
Assisting and supporting various IIC initiatives
Mario X. Carrasco
Mario X. Carrasco is Co-Founder and Principal of ThinkNow, an award-winning, technology-driven cultural insights agency based in Burbank, CA. The agency enables companies and government agencies to discover the cultural drivers that influence consumer decisions. Under his co-leadership, ThinkNow has successfully launched several innovative initiatives, including ThinkNow ConneKt™, a MarTech segmentation solution focused on the multicultural market and DigaYGane.com, one of the largest and most representative Hispanic online panels in the industry. During his nine-year tenure at ThinkNow, Carrasco’s expert knowledge of multicultural consumers and his passion for unveiling the story behind the numbers is evident in his editorial contributions to Forbes, eMarketer, Quirk’s Magazine, Online MR Magazine, and MediaPost. Carrasco has been recognized for his accomplishments. Under his co-leadership, ThinkNow was named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies in 2018 and 2019. Carrasco was named the Next Gen Market Research (NGMR) 2018 Industry Change Agent of the Year and, in 2017, received the SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. He is also an SBA Emerging Leader Recipient. Carrasco is a Stanford Latino Entrepreneur Institute Graduate and USC Marshall School of Business alum.
Dee de Lara
Dee de Lara (sher/her) is a seasoned strategist specializing in cultural insights, media, wellness and social issues. Her work has expanded to content development, social media strategy and execution for agencies, publications and her eponymous jewellery brand. Dee has 15 years of research, strategy and consultancy experience in the US and Canada, with a focus on strategic storytelling. While at agencies in Toronto and New York and now as an independent strategist, she has worked with global brands and organizations in technology (Google, Twitter), media (Viacom), fashion (Hanesbrands, Chanel), beauty (L'Oreal), healthcare (diabetes, kidney disease), community (Girl Scouts of America) and government (Elections Canada). Dee is also a teacher of Pilates, yoga and dance-inspired movement, currently training in trauma-informed, accessible and inclusive approaches. She also facilitates discussions and spaces for people to meet and share stories with vulnerability and honesty. A member of the Filipinx diaspora, Dee grew up in Staten Island, NY and Victoria, BC, has lived in Manhattan and currently in Toronto.
Maya is an accomplished consumer insights professional experienced in leveraging market research to drive growth for industry leaders and beloved brands including: Honda, Del Taco, and most recently, Disney Parks. For 8+ years she has successfully spearheaded actionable, custom research projects while drawing from both her creative and analytical passions. As a second generation market researcher, Maya has a unique history with the industry starting from when she was very young. Through early exposure, she quickly realized her affinity for research, leading to her rapid progression in the industry while earning her Masters degree in Demographic and Social Analysis along the way. Maya is an example of the lasting impact early guidance can have on a career, and she hopes to emulate this by using her platform to support, encourage, and educate other young researchers trying to navigate the space for the first time. Recently, Maya has dedicated time to helping bridge the education gap for young and diverse individuals through volunteering, mentorship, and speaking opportunities.
I bring over 20 years of experience and expertise in integrating consumer stories and data, cultural currents, and category trends to informing, inspiring, and guiding brand strategy. Throughout my career I have applied a social science approach to consumer and health research to ensure insights are action focused. My consumer research specialties include brand positioning and comms development, new product development (NPD), and global/multicultural insights and strategy. I have led multi-disciplinary projects across categories such as financial services, automotive, entertainment, tech, and retail. Clients included Visa, American Express, Lucasfilm, Microsoft, Google, and the Gap. In health research I have worked in HIV prevention, substance use interventions, and medication adherence. My foundational training is in Cultural and Developmental psychology.