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Data Stories: Leaders at Work [Episode 1]

Data Stories: Leaders at Work [Episode 1]

Being Fearless and Challenging the Status Quo

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In the first episode of the podcast series, Rahul Jerome talks to Dr. Cristina de Balanzo, the Board Director of Walnut Unlimited, about merging the advertising industry with neuroscientific research. 

Cristina moved to London as a consultant for 6 months and ended up staying for 11 years, making waves in the advertising industry as well as finding and filling the gaps in research. Her journey into research was almost accidental, as she tells Rahul how she was in the right place at the right time for many of the defining moments of her career.

Episode Highlights

  • “The most successful projects, or the ones that you really enjoy, are where you feel that you have a voice.”
  •  “Neuroscience cannot answer all the questions, but when it is alongside other research techniques, that is when you have the perfect combination that will give the answers that your client is looking for.”
  • “Being in the advertising industry has given me the chance to learn client and comms agency language. It gives you the power of seeing the big picture – I see things, sometimes, that researchers miss.”
  • “It’s good when you’re judging an advertising agency or comms agency that you speak their language.”
  • Not everyone has the same interests and views, so you need to be more empathetic.
  • Be fearless. Be curious. Be ready to challenge the status quo.

About - Cristina de Balanzo

Dr. Cristina de Balanzo is the original founder of Walnut, a consumer neuroscience consultancy. In 2014, Walnut was acquired by Unlimited Group, and Cristina now serves as the Board Director of Walnut Unlimited. In 2000, she was appointed as the Strategic Planner at McCann Erickson, and in 2009, she went on to be the Global Head of Neuroscience at TNS. In 2015, in partnership with WARC, Cristina created Brainy Bar events.

Her research contribution includes many written papers and published articles on consumer neuroscience. Her regular speaking engagements include conferences such as ESOMAR, MRS, WARC, IIEX, and Market Research Summit, to name a few. Cristina currently holds a Degree in Sociology and a Ph.D. in Communication.

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