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Denene Jonielle Rodney + Lita Balram + Carlos Vargas Ramos + David Sprague + Larry Zimmerman + Flo Brown + Kristian Keene + Michael Lawrence + Sharon Michelle + Reema Vyas +
DENENE JONIELLE RODNEY has always lived by the motto, "Be curious but not judgmental". Perhaps this is the reason people feel so comfortable opening up to her. She has that unique quality that allows her to communicate with on individuals from every background and on every level of society. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but in Ms. Rodney’s case, it gave birth to a ZEBRA.

With over two decades of experience in the marketing industry, Denene is the founder of the full service multi-disciplinary qualitative & quantitative research firm, ZEBRA STRATEGIES, which specializes in research design, focus group moderating and recruiting. She created this company because she wanted to provide a conduit through which multimillion-dollar corporations, agencies and organizations could understand the importance of nuance in culture, ethnicity, and socioeconomic experiences that create different lenses through which people see the world. Clients including: Aetna, McCann Erickson, Saatchi & Saatchi, the NYC Department of Health and the NYPD, have hired Rodney to conduct research using a myriad of methods including: focus groups, dyads, triads, in-depth interviews, executive interviews, in-homes, intercepts, shop-alongs, and ethnographies in an array of business sectors including: Consumer, Business to Business, Pharmaceutical, Public Health, Not-for-Profit, Social/Political Issues and Multicultural/Ethnic research.

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Denene has always been able to walk in someone else's shoes to grasp the full extent of where they are coming from. She brings that same understanding to her work, designing unique research methods that take into account the nuances that someone with a more traditional background might overlook. In fact, the very name of her company is an homage to the strength and beauty of diversity. The "zebra" in ZEBRA STRATEGIES is derived from something Rodney was told by a safari leader: "Zebras' stripes may all look the same, but every single zebra has an individual stripe pattern." While to a big company, all Black, White, Hispanic, poor, wealthy, old, or young people might fit into neatly defined groups, they each have a unique “stripe” pattern. Denene takes pride in the fact that it's her job to not only acknowledge those differences but to use that knowledge to develop better strategic marketing plans for her clients.

Ms. Rodney holds a B.S. from Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Communications and an M.S. from New York University's School of Continuing Education. Ms. Rodney recently won Women in Research (WIRe)’s first annual MRX Diversity Champion Award for her dedication to the advancement of women in the market research industry, who actively espouse the values of diversity and equality. She is on the Board of Trustees at Monroe College, where she is also an adjunct professor. For over 10 years Ms. Rodney has been a key supporter of the GEMS Program, Girls Educational Mentoring Services, which provides direct support to teenagers who have or are currently being sexually trafficked. Denene is also a proud member of the following professional associations: American Marketing Association, Marketing Research Association, Qualitative Research Consultations Association, and Association of Trial Consultants.
 
Zstrategies Denene
Denene Jonielle Rodney
CEO & Founder
Lita Balram is a seasoned project manager with a proven successful track record of utilizing tactical strategies to successfully lead and execute projects. Her diverse project management experience includes marketing and product management expertise, international markets, and sales strategy and support. Lita possesses a highly skilled aptitude for addressing cultural diversity and working in international markets including Asia, Australia, Europe, and South America.

Lita is able to build credibility, establish rapport, and maintain communication with clients at multiple levels, including those external to the business. She has worked with clients to monitor project development, discuss effective ways to resolve issues, and recommend service improvements. Lita has also coordinated nationwide projects for non-profit organizations across multiple cities in low income areas.

She has developed materials for internal executive meetings as well as content for client sales presentations. Lita has also been responsible for creating materials for client training meetings. In 2008, as a project management consultant, Lita partnered with commercial brokers to develop marketing materials that would attract a sub-lease tenant for the London office of an asset management company. For this same organization, she created presentation materials and detailed financial reports for an investors meeting that provided market expansion opportunities and analyzed financial performance.

Here at Zebra Strategies, Lita has managed quantitative and qualitative research for this nationwide marketing research firm and worked with multiple clients and executives to address clients' research requests and budgets.

Lita holds a B.A. from St. John's University and a M.A. from New York University. Using a bold and strategic approach to research, she is always able to effortlessly execute any task at hand. Here at Zebra she's considered our very own Superman of organized projects and field management. Lita specializes in managing complex recruitment and logistical issues with calm and grace. It's a bird! It's a plane! With Lita, it's arranged!
 
Zstrategies Lita Lita Balram
Director, Business Development & Retention
Larry Zimmerman, Vice President of Zebra Strategies, has more than twenty-five years' quantitative and qualitative market research experience. He holds an M.A. in Social Psychology and an M.B.A. in Marketing from Wayne State University. During his career he has worked with a number of leading corporations, financial services organizations, advertising agencies, publishers, and consumer goods organizations. He has extensive experience developing market research studies to meet the strategic needs of a variety of businesses. Larry is an experienced focus group moderator who has conducted thousands of focus groups and in-depth interviews.

As a qualitative researcher, he has helped to create advertising campaigns, developed new products, and guided editorial development for a number of start-up publications. He is highly skilled at conducting interviews with corporate executives, CFOs, physicians, dentists, purchasing managers, and other high-level executives. Larry is also a frequent panelist at trade shows and conferences, speaking on subjects such as Getting the Most Out of Focus Group Research, Selecting the Appropriate Research Methodology, Conducting Research Over the Internet, Using Market Research to Understand and Manage Your Brand, Integrated Marketing: A Case Study.
Zstrategies Larry Zimmerman
Larry Zimmerman
Vice President
David is a valuable member of the Zebra recruiting team. With over five years of managing a plethora of focus groups, his expertise in identifying client needs and wants has resulted in the best outcome for all involved. David�s work experience in politics (U.S. Senate), transportation (flight attendant) and a variety of customer service management positions, supports our unique brand of market research.
Zstrategies David
David Sprague
Recruiter
Dr. Vargas Ramos is a trained researcher and author. He received his B.A. in Political Science and Economics from Rutgers University (1987), holds an M.A. in Hispanic Civilization from New York University (1989), and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University (2000). Dr. Vargas Ramos is a lead researcher with the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College. He brings a mixture of traditional academic research and cultural understanding to his qualitative research clientele.

Ramos is also an adjunct professor at Columbia University. He has been called upon to offer Hispanic political and sociological perspectives/insights from a number of media outlets including: New York One, Channel 41 and El Diario, Telemundo, Univision, Channel 47, CNN en Espanol, Hoy, La Republica, Orlando Sentinel, New York Daily News, WBAI and The Amsterdam News.
Zstrategies Carlos Carlos Vargas Ramos
Lead Hispanic Researcher
Flo Brown has more than twenty years of experience in corporate, philanthropic, and community leadership. She brings a warm, bright, and refreshing approach to moderating, connecting with people in a meaningful way. Flo has lived in New York City and New Jersey; she is connected to the heartbeat of these diverse communities and has a commanding knowledge of civic, educational, and economic issues that concern people today.

Flo is the mom of millennials, three wonderful sons that keep her in touch with pop culture, sports, and technology. Respondents find her engaging in any group that she leads, and being a working mom only adds to her relatability. Flo graduated with a B.A. from Boston College and became a Salesian Cooperator, the lay association for the Salesians of Don Bosco, devoted to working with youths. In her spare time she volunteers with various organizations that are dedicated to helping the young people and the homeless.
Zstrategies Flo Flo Brown
Moderator
Kristian Keene is currently in the process of completing her B.A. in global studies and her M.A. in International affairs at The New School. Kristian is a research assistant for Zebra Strategies. Her flexibility in the office is her strong suit, jumping in to help on various things at a moments notice. She works on everything from the day-to-day office work, to recruiting and outreach, as well as intercept work.
Kristian Keene
Project Assistance
Sharon Michelle, holds a B.A. in African-American studies from Syracuse University and a Master's Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Seattle University. She has been working in the social sciences and human services field since 2003. Sharon has been with Zebra since its inception. She is a trained moderator skilled in African-American culture and identity, community health and marginalized populations, as well as consumer perceptions. This dedicated and enthusiastic professional is able to customize and apply a broad range of moderating modalities to meet each client's research agenda and is adept at working with diverse cultural groups at every level to create a comfortable climate within which to share opinions and personal beliefs.

She is a skilled moderator and clinician who mixes traditional social science, and counseling techniques to bring a human touch to issues of gender, race, and orientation to her moderating practices. Working from a strengths-based, culturally competent, spiritual and holistic perspective, Sharon is able to consider psychological, sociocultural, and life experiences in her understanding of human behavior.

Sharon is an avid chef and shopping addict and she always brings laughter and joy to any occasion. (The preceding is not a paid endorsement.) Her son Jeebus is an eight-year-old Westie that loves attention and long walks.
Zstrategies Michelle Sharon Michelle
Director, Brand Management/Moderator
Reema brings 20+ years brand strategy experience from roles at top agencies including McCANN, Deutsch, Inc., TBWA / Chiat / Day and Ogilvy + Mather. She takes pride in her ability to fuse art and science to inspire simple yet sophisticated ideas that transform businesses and brands and work to enrich people's lives.

Reema has deep and extensive technology experience having worked on clients such as Microsoft, HP, Cray, Nest Labs, and LinkedIn. Her expertise ranges from positioning and value proposition development, to messaging and creative exploratory, to customer journey and persona work, to user experience and design.

She also has a wide-range of pharmaceutical and healthcare experience. While she was at Deutsch, Inc. she pioneered principles of DTC healthcare advertising. She also led Healthcare Planning at TBWA / Chiat Day NY where she devised an innovative clinical trial advertising and recruiting program called "From Molecule to Marketplace."

Reema's experience in marketing, communications and creative strategy is based on the fundamental belief that good research is vital to effective in-market results. She uses novel and innovative qualitative and quantitative techniques to unlock transformative, actionable insights.

Reema graduated from Colgate University with a dual degree in Chemistry and Philosophy / Religion.
Zstrategies Reema Reema Vyas
Senior Brand Strategist/Moderator
Michael is a seasoned recruiter with more than 25 years of experience to his credit in the market research field. He has recruited and managed countless projects during this time, and it's during this quarter-century in which he has honed his recruiting skills expertise that he now brings to Zebra Strategies.
Zstrategies Michelle Michael Lawrence
Recruiter
Desi is a trained recruiter and field tester of staff at Zebra Strategies. She works diligently to ensure that potential recruits are qualified and that the needs of both the client and recruits are always met. Desi has a keen work ethic and a deep understanding of the marketing research industry, which serves her well with everyone she assists. Desi holds a B.A. from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and her previous work experience includes marketing and administrative work at MetroPlus Health Plan.
Zstrategies Desi Desione Arrindell
Office Administrator/Focus Group Manager