From The President – Fall 2021

By Roben Allong, Lightbeam Communications (M/WBE), New York, New York, robena@lightbeamnyc.com  Welcome to Another Fantastic Issue of VIEWS!  I am honored to be the

By Roben Allong, Lightbeam Communications (M/WBE), New York, New York, robena@lightbeamnyc.com 

Welcome to Another Fantastic Issue of VIEWS! 

I am honored to be the twenty-seventh President of QRCA and the first Black woman to hold this prestigious office since QRCA was founded almost forty years ago! I am happy to report that QRCA is still going strong despite the COVID-19 pandemic and other accelerated changes in the category. I’d like to believe that one of the main reasons for our organization’s longevity is our roots. Roots are our beginnings—where we came from but also the pillars on which we stand. I liken our roots to those of the mighty oak tree—deep and strong. We are similar in our humble beginnings from a tiny acorn seed in the minds of our founders that has grown into a great big tree with many wide, sturdy branches that provide shelter, sustenance, and a sense of belonging to many here at home and across the globe. 

Did you know that the meaning of the mighty oak tree in many cultures stands for resistance, knowledge, and strength? QRCA, to me, embodies all of these attributes through its members. It’s important for us to revisit our roots because in times of stress and anxiety like we are going through now, it can help not only strengthen us as a whole but also reorient us to what is important and meaningful. It reminds us of what makes us who we are. First and foremost, as members we share a deep sense of commonality and camaraderie that lets us know we’re not alone. We’re in this together, and helping each other thrive is part of our QRCA DNA. As members, I know we all take great pride in welcoming and sharing knowledge, friendship, and empowerment with all who would join us. QRCA has been and will always be member-driven—and like the oak tree, we will continue to feed the needs of researchers with our wide leaves and branches of acceptance, networks, member referrals, and plentiful acorns of knowledge. 

Second, did you also know that there are 600 types of oak tree with different characteristics? We too at QRCA have members of all types and stripes, and we want to continue to build on that! It’s important to remember that QRCA started as a way for quallies to get together and feel a sense of belonging as the field emerged and evolved. Our community becomes stronger when we embrace that pioneering spirit of founder Judy Langer and other early supporters J.R. Harris, Naomi Henderson, Barbara Hairston, and others. They laid the table so that everyone could have a seat and today, likewise, we continue that tradition by reminding all those who practice qualitative research that there’s always a seat at our table for you regardless of whether you’re just visiting, returning home, or joining us for the first time. Welcome, Bienvenue, Willkommen, Bienvenidos, Karibu, 欢迎, Irasshaimase, Welkom… 

Lastly, ink from the oak, called gall ink, was used to write historical documents that changed the world—the Magna Carta, Newton’s theories, and Mozart’s music! I’d like to think that we quallies change the world with one brilliant insight at a time. As we turn the page in QRCA’s history with new leadership and vision, I look back at our roots—at the foundation of our organization—for inspiration to spring forward in a way that preserves our traditions of sharing and belonging but also proactively meets the future head on. We are operating in a new accelerated world with changing demographics. As president, my aim is to ensure that our organization remains resilient but also embraces change in a way that helps all members emerge stronger than before—more inclusive, more diverse, more culturally empathetic, more empowered, more compassionate, and more knowledgeable than ever. 

Thank you for your continued support. 

Best regards,