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Our Team

While everyone on our team shares a passion for understanding and authentically representing the lives of kids, tweens, teens and parents to our clients, each member brings a unique set of skills and a particular outlook that, when combined, gives YouthBeat® its complex sensibility and its research integrity. Below, please meet the dedicated group of child experts who also consider themselves youth advocates. Every project we undertake is a celebration of childhood and families.

Mary McIlrath, PH.D., SVP & Partner

Mary brings broad business and academic experience to the research industry. She is a veteran of the youth & family space, having consulted with Fortune 500 companies on developing youth strategies. Prior to leading C+R’s youth and family division, she was a practicing moderator for more than a decade, with a special focus in developing techniques to help children express their opinions and preferences in a qualitative setting. 

Many collaborates with clients to leverage holistic custom and syndicated youth + generational insights into product, service, and communication practices that meet young people's needs and benefit both the provider and consumer.

Mary is a published author and sought-after speaker on a variety of topics surrounding children. Some of her most frequently requested presentations include: "Moms' Emotional Drivers of Appeal," “Shopping Cart Wars: Moms vs. Kids,” “From Recess to Responsibility: Growing Up Through Play,” and “Growing Up is Hard to Do: The Lifestages of Youth.” She also serves on the Board of Academic Advisors for the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), the self-regulatory arm of the Better Business Bureau that oversees advertising to children.

Before joining C+R in 2003, Mary worked for Disney Channel, Fox Family, and Warner Bros. Mary earned her Ph.D. in Media Communication at the University of California-Santa Barbara, and holds an MA and a BA from the School of Communication at the University of Houston.

Mary McIlrath

Jane Ott, Senior Vice President & Partner

Jane Ott is the head of the custom Quantitative research of YouthBeat® and has over 16 years of experience in research with Kids, Teens, and Parents.  Jane played a key role in the development of ParentSpeak, C+R Research's online research community of parents and acts as C+R’s quantitative expert for youth and family research.   

Her experience has been fed by a diverse background in a variety of quantitative methods for youth + family research including: segmentation, brand positioning, concept, product potential, optimization research, advertising awareness, brand tracking, and customer satisfaction research.  

Since she joined C+R in 2001, these methods have been implemented in partnership with a broad spectrum of clients in industries including CPG, toy, financial, non-profit, restaurant, entertainment, and online services. 

Jane received her BBA in Marketing from University of Wisconsin, Madison. 

Jane Ott

Mimie Lund, Vice President, Qualitative Research

Bringing more than 20 years of strategic planning and market research experience to C+R, Mimie is well-versed in moderating both adults and kids, across in-person qualitative methodologies, for QSR, CPG, automotive, apparel, tech, B2B and media clients. In addition, Mimie facilitates activation workshops and ideation sessions to guide clients in turning research insights into business strategies and innovation. ​

Prior to joining C+R Research, Mimie has held Insights and Strategic Planning roles for manufacturers such as Creata Promotions, and agencies including Arc Worldwide, Geometry Global (G2) and FCB Global (Draft Worldwide). ​

Mimie’s education background includes Columbia College Chicago and the Burke Institute’s Qualitative Certification Program. Her work has been recognized by many industry awards, including a Cannes Lion Gold win.

Mimie Lund

Rhonda Eviston, Senior Research Director

Rhonda Eviston is responsible for the day-to-day management of YouthBeat®.  She has been on the YouthBeat® team since its inception and has expansive and historic knowledge of the youth and family space.  In addition, Rhonda has been a researcher for over 25 years.  She has experience in a wide range of custom quantitative methods involving concept testing, home usage tests, and customer satisfaction studies.  Rhonda has managed several large-scale tracking studies in a variety of industries including home improvement, casual dining, and entertainment.  

Before joining C+R, Rhonda was an Account Manager at Dimension Research and a Senior Project Manager at Strategic Radio Research. 

Rhonda received her BA in Communications with a concentration in Broadcasting from Illinois State University.

Rhonda Eviston

Liz Dibley, Senior Analyst

Liz Dibley works on the daily administration of YouthBeat® as well as on custom quantitative and qualitative youth + family projects. She provides expertise in both online and in-person qualitative techniques for an array of industries.

Liz has been a youth researcher since 2012 and, in addition to business research, has contributed to a range of academic studies including trauma assessment in juvenile justice and youth exposure to violence. Her background in research is complemented by hands-on experience with children and their development as a preschool teacher and a nonprofit school counseling administrator. 

Before joining C+R, Liz received her MA in Developmental and Educational Psychology from Boston College with graduate certificates in Data Analytics and Positive Youth Development. She earned her BA in Psychology and Sociology from Valparaiso University.  

Liz D