At LAC Group, our information professionals come from a variety of backgrounds and specializations. With a flexible range of services, from working on-site to virtually, our research analysts may have different experiences despite working for the same company. In our recent acquisition of ShiftCentral, many talented research experts joined the LAC Group team. We interviewed Samantha Both, a Research Analyst, and took a deep dive into her experiences, outlook on the industry and advice for aspiring researchers or librarians.
What do your day-to-day activities look like?
I started on the original ShiftCentral research team with just a few colleagues and have been part of the team throughout their recent growth. My daily activities change based on the current needs of our clients. I often take on some of the larger projects, so my daily activities typically include project management and organization, project planning and scoping, qualitative secondary research and document analysis.
How does your background play into your current role?
I graduated from St. Thomas University in 2013 after completing an honors thesis in sociology. I started at Shift immediately after graduating and have been here ever since, so my background is purely academic. I’m also completing a Master’s in Environmental Practice. My academic research skills translate well into the world of corporate research and I’m constantly applying new skills to my role as a Research Analyst.
What is your favorite aspect of your work? Challenges?
I find it most enjoyable when there’s an intersection between my academic studies and work—I thrive on matters involving corporate sustainability. But I also enjoy diving into new areas of research and constantly learning about new markets. One of the biggest challenges is being able to rapidly adapt to research in new fields—but it’s also one of the best things about being a researcher. Constantly shifting one’s mindset to meet client needs is intellectually challenging and stimulating—and it keeps things interesting!
Where do you see this industry going?
The industry is evolving to become more future-oriented. Long-term strategies for creating sustainable business value are becoming increasingly important, particularly as stakeholders put pressure on corporates to be more environmentally conscious—and having the right research is critical to supporting that. The challenge for us, as researchers, is to not only keep up to pace on what’s going on in the industry in the present but to understand broadly where industries are headed.
Industries globally are moving toward sustainability—and that’s something I’m really excited about. It’s exciting to see how corporations are transitioning to a circular economy, implementing ESG in investment decisions, reporting on sustainability and accounting for ecosystem goods and services.
What advice would you give to young professionals entering the field?
To those looking to enter the field, the best advice I have is to always be curious. Curiosity drives good researchers—and can reveal some incredible findings if you allow it.
Bonus: favorite research project!
By far, my favorite research project to date has been exploring corporate strategies that move beyond CSR to implement true triple-bottom-line reporting while reimagining the role of corporate entities in a rapidly changing world.